Three biology students in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University recently contributed research presentations to scientific meetings.

Linda Vona-Davis, adjunct associate professor of biology and associate professor of surgery, was instrumental in helping these students display their research with posters across the nation.

Reyna VanGilder, a native of Fairmont, conducted research in Dr. Vona-Davislaboratory. Their collaborative work focused on the adipocyte hormone leptin and its effects on cancer growth. VanGilder was the recipient of a 2004 Hurlbutt Award in undergraduate biology research, which helped fund her research project, titledIdentification of Leptin Receptor Isoforms in Human Prostate Cancer Cells.

The project was presented to the Association of Academic Surgery annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif. It was also presented at the first annual Undergraduate Research Day earlier this year at the West Virginia State Capitol.

VanGilder will begin her Ph.D. work at the WVU School of Medicine this fall.

Randall Erik Peterson of Scott Depot conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Surgery in Vona-Davislaboratory. Supported by academic enrichment funds from the Eberly College, Petersons research contributed to an abstract at the Sixth World Congress of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Association in Washington, D.C.

More than 1,300 attendees from more than 68 countries attended the worlds premiere meeting for findings related to HPB disorders, including more than 300 surgeons from the United States. The meeting was among the most highly attended IHPBA World Congresses.

Petersons research focused on the molecular signaling in the pancreas during the inflammatory condition of pancreatitis. The title of the poster presentation wasLPS and TNF -a induce SOCS -3 mRNA Expression in Pancreatic Acinar Cells.He plans to apply to medical school at WVU after graduation.

Kristina Lebedeva, a native of Morgantown, also conducted undergraduate research in the Department of Surgery in Vona-Davislaboratory with academic enrichment funds from the Eberly College. While in the lab, Lebedeva contributed to a poster presentation titledLPS and TNF -alpha Induce SOCS -3 mRNA Expression In Cardiac Myoblasts.

Vona-Davis presented some of Lebedevas work in a poster at the 27th annual Conference on Shock held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Along with Vona-Davis, Lebedeva worked on research with Krista Frankenberry, a research assistant in the Department of Surgery, and David W. McFadden, chair of the Department of Surgery. The research focused on the molecular mechanisms involved in cardiac failure during sepsis.

Lebedeva also plans to apply to medical school at WVU following graduation