July 2013 // Newsletter Archives //Get Social:

In this Issue

Department Highlights

Student News

Cardiovascular Physiology Research Updates

Neuroscience & Anatomy Research Updates

Reproductive Biology Research Updates


Department Highlights

The Department of Biomedical Sciences is diving into the deep end of social media.

Join one of our online communities for engaging discussions on research, news, and other opportunities in the broad field of biomedical research.

BMS faculty member Dr. Greg Amberg was recently awarded the CVMBS Pfizer/Zoetis Research Excellence award for 2013.

The purpose of the award is to foster innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the Veterinary profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity.


Student News

BMS senior giving campaign sees great success in first year

As public resources for higher education continue to shrink and emphasis on programmatic excellence heightens, the role of alumni donations has become even more critical to building the strength of academic and research programs at a university.

At CSU, the loyalty and support we receive from our alumni, as they leave campus and continue their personal and professional journey, is at the core of what makes CSU such an outstanding institution of learning and innovation. This spring, the Department of Biomedical Sciences was the first program on campus to organize a senior giving campaign, and the response was overwhelming. Close to 25% of the graduating seniors donated to the program, helping to ensure that other students will share in the same quality experiences they had at CSU.

“I made a gift to the department because I felt that it was my responsibility as a current student and future alumna,” said Sam Leonard, BMS senior and Biomedical Student Association Vice-President. “Giving back to CSU does not even come close to paying back the education I received, but it does help the university in ensuring that future students are given the same opportunities that I was fortunate enough to receive.”

The Biomedical Student Association played an active role in supporting the campaign and encouraged fellow students to get involved.  They also matched every donation with an additional $5 gift to the BMS undergraduate program.

“Such a high level of student commitment to the Department is a testament to the quality of services BMS faculty and staff provide for our students,” said Dr. Colin Clay, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “This fall, as we prepare to welcome a new class of freshmen and say goodbye to another outstanding group of seniors, the memory of our time together (and the potential in our future) will continue to be strong because we have built a community of supporters that value their education, and the CSU experience.”

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BMS students take center stage during May commencement

It happens every semester…undergraduate seniors prepare to step out into the world and with them goes the education, experiences, and memories collected during their tenure at CSU.

This spring, as the Department bid adieu to 68 undergraduate students, two outstanding BMS seniors were honored at commencement – not only for their academic achievements, but also for the level of engagement they’ve shown with the program and strengths in the biomedical field.

BMS student Lindsay Leech was honored as the outstanding senior for Spring 2013. An honors student with a 4.0 GPA, president of the Biomedical Student Association, and leader of the first-ever undergraduate student philanthropy campaign only begin to describe Lindsay’s achievements during her time at CSU.

“Lindsay Leech is one of those individuals you want to surround yourself with,” said Dr. Tod Clapp, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “She has been an exceptional student at CSU whose efforts and accomplishments will benefit countless students in the future.”

Lindsay has been accepted to the Indiana University School of Medicine for Fall 2013.

BMS student Thomas Hennings was also recognized during May’s commencement ceremony as a keynote speaker.

In his parting words to the class of 2013, Hennings said:

“[…] regardless of whether you know what your life after CSU will be like and regardless of whether that life makes you worry or not, your presence here today at graduation is proof of your intellect, ambition, and determination to achieve what you set your mind to. By choosing to apply these traits towards earning a degree in this college, many of us have exhibited a desire to work toward making the world a better place. So go do that: go change the world, and instead of worrying about whether you are ready for the future, worry about whether the future is ready for you!”

This fall, Thomas will be starting a PhD in biomedical sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Cardiovascular Physiology Update

New Cardiovascular Physiology Center hopes to position CSU as a leader in cardiovascular research and graduate education

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – at a rate of 30-40%. Start talking to people, and you’ll quickly learn that almost everyone has a story about how heart disease has impacted their family and friends. For a group of researchers at Colorado State University, those statistics are both haunting and unacceptable, and they are taking steps to bring a new level of focus to cardiovascular research programs at CSU.

On the heels of this spring’s successful Colloquium on Cardiovascular Research, a newly approved Cardiovascular Physiology Research Center will officially launch on July 1st, and begin working to enhance cross-campus synthesis of cardiovascular research and graduate training. In development for almost seven years, the new center will position the university as a leader in cardiovascular research by leveraging the world-class expertise already on campus and building an organized platform for research collaboration and scientific communication. Helping to lead the charge for the new center is Director Dr. Scott Earley, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

“The idea came about because there are a lot of people in different departments across campus doing work in cardiovascular physiology, but we’ve never had a home where everyone can get together and share research and ideas,” said Dr. Earley. “Right now, contact across departments is pretty limited, but there is value in people sitting down face to face and having conversations – lots of synergy can come from those social interactions and impromptu meetings.”

Research collaboration isn’t the only goal the new Center hopes to accomplish; graduate education will also be a core focus. Currently, there isn’t a formal mechanism to bring new graduate students into faculty labs, but that will soon change. One of the Center’s main missions is to develop a graduate intake program that can bring in students – undifferentiated – to do interdisciplinary lab rotations before they find their primary home base.

“One of our long-term goals is to increase graduate student enrollment fairly significantly – 2-3 students per year,” said Dr. Earley. “Eventually we’d have a community of 15-20 additional PhD students that wouldn’t be here otherwise, all focused on solving one of our largest global health issues.”

While Dr. Earley and his colleagues have already jumped through a number of administrative hoops to get the program up and running, they still face an uphill battle as they begin to seek out funding and resources for the new Center.

“I think we have a lot of strength in this research area and could increase our competitiveness for national funding if we were centrally organized, but we need some help from central administration to really push it over the top,” said Earley. “We hope to continue building momentum going forward, but without any start-up resources, it will take some time to get to where we need to be.”

This type of collaborative model is not new for biomedical research in higher education, and many interdisciplinary cardiovascular research centers already exist across the US and abroad. For CSU, the main goal is to build a small, focused community that excels at innovative cardiovascular research and can work collaboratively to make a global impact.

“There’s not a single person in the world that can say ‘why do I need to learn this’ or ‘this doesn’t matter,’ every single person is touched by this disease and these problems,” said Dr. Earley. “CSU has the potential to be internationally recognized for cardiovascular research – the faculty are in place and with modest support, we could really make a difference for a lot of people.”

Dr. Scott Earley, Department of Biomedical Sciences directs the Cardiovascular Physiology Center with Associate Director Dr. Frank Dinenno in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. To learn more about the center contact Dr. Earley at scott.earley@colostate.edu or Dr. Dinenno at frank.dinenno@colostate.edu.

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Neuroscience & Anatomy Update

The Engaging Kids in Science and Health through Anatomy project has been building connections for over 20 years

A room full of third graders sit silently fixated. Eyes wide, mouths gasping with wonder…patiently waiting in anticipation until suddenly there it is: a grayish-pink form covered in twisting caverns and deep ridgelines – a human brain. Murmurs of excitement grow as the presenter holds up the organ and invites the brave to come forward and touch the mysterious anatomy that drives their body, their thoughts, their dreams.

This is not a scene ripped from the pages of every science teacher’s fantasy curriculum, but instead just another day for Department of Biomedical Science’s Engaging Kids in Science and Health through Anatomy project. For the past 20 years, this program has allowed CSU undergraduate honors students to make presentations for K-12 classes that demonstrate the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, while inspiring young students to consider careers in health care or other science-based fields. Every year the program reaches over 2,500 K-12 students in and around Fort Collins, and also provides a platform for CSU students to take a leading role in science communication and education in the community.

As attendees, budding scientists experience hands-on anatomy demonstrations that illustrate the effects of poor health decisions, such as eschewing sunscreen, smoking cigarettes, abusing alcohol, or taking drugs. The elementary students who attend these presentations are able to view and handle diseased organs while middle and high school students get to explore human cadavers – appreciating first-hand the consequences of our lifestyle choices.

Recognizing the importance of programs like these, the Bohemian Foundation recently awarded the Engaging Kids in Science and Health through Anatomy project a $3,750 community Pharos grant to keep the project moving forward as university resources shrink.

“This program has incredible value to both CSU students and K-12 students, and we are honored that the Bohemian Foundation recognized the significance of this program in the community,” said Dr. Tod Clapp, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at CSU, and coordinator of the Engaging Kids in Science and Health through Anatomy project. “Through participation, CSU students develop many skills including how to better communicate difficult and complex topics, while speaking to a wide variety of ages and knowledge levels. The K-12 students get a chance to handle delicate human organs and cadavers while gaining information as to why we need take great care of our bodies.”

Moving into next year, Dr. Clapp and the rest of the program team plan to continue looking at ways to innovate the curriculum and reach even more students than previous years, all with a focus on the nexus of science, health, and personal action.

“New collaborations with Rocky Vista University of Osteopathic Medicine and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are providing opportunities to reach broader communities and larger groups of kids,” said Dr. Clapp. “Particularly for students from underserved communities – who are typically at higher risk for some of the focal health problems – this hands-on experience may be one of the few instances in which they are challenged to take control of their own health before they develop harmful habits.”

To learn more about the Engaging Kids in Science and Health through Anatomy project or to help support the program, please contact Dr. Tod Clapp at Tod.Clapp@colostate.edu.​

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Reproductive Biology Update

From two tragic births, a second chance at a new beginning…

New life is a beautiful thing to behold. The birth of a foal in a dew-covered pasture, the sun slowly rises as it sheds first light on a mother and her child. Yes, the entrance of new life is a wondrous occasion…but sometimes birth can be marred by sadness and complications. This is how the story went last month when a newborn foal was rushed to the Equine Reproduction Laboratory at Colorado State University. The neonate was found wandering alone in a pasture, orphaned when her mother succumbed to trauma during the birth.

Once at the ERL, the expert staff worked vigilantly to provide the foal with nutrition – combatting dehydration and low blood sugar – and providing meals every two hours throughout both day and night. It wasn’t until the next morning that another tragedy helped to turn the situation around. Just as this unfortunate foal had lost its mother, a local mare had birthed a still-born foal. It was the fateful timing of these two grievous events that provided opportunity for the ERL to provide a second chance at a new beginning.

In times like these, there is always concern about failure of passive transfer. The circumstances have to be just so – for the mourning mare to accept the foal, and for the foal to latch on to a new mother. After a 2-hour visual bonding period, the level of interest this mare had for the foal signaled they were ready to be physically introduced. Under careful supervision by the ERL staff, the mare and foal were brought together, and in short order, the newborn was nursing, the mother looking on with instinctual maternal satisfaction. They have since been inseparable – both able to experience the mother-offspring bond they would have otherwise lost.

While this story doesn’t follow the conventional beginning of a mare and her foal, it is a great example of the role the dedicated faculty and staff at the Equine Reproduction Laboratory can play in supporting equine reproductive health in the community. Serving as the nexus to bring together two mournful families and turning it into the best possible outcome (given the circumstances) is just another way the ERL creates new life.

Read Dr. Patrick McCue’s full account of little ‘Orphan Annie’ in next month’s American Quarter Horse Journal.


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Upcoming Events

Advanced Radiation Oncology Treatment Strategies with Photon, Proton, and Carbon Ion Radiation Cancer Symposium

August 1-2, 2013
Anschutz Medical Campus

CCTSI Summit - Building New Synergies with New Partners

August 20, 2013
Embassy Suites, Loveland

Save the Date: Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences Seminar

Details TBD

More Events >>

New Grant Awards

Dr. Noreen Reist

Functional Analysis of Synaptotagmin Domain Structure

Sponsor: NSF
Amount: $682,000

Dr. Richard Bowen

Combining Adjuvants and Delivery Systems for the Next Generation Vaccines

Sponsor: Infectious Disease Research Institute
Amount: $294,153

The reduction of Treponema pallidum using the Mirasol® PRT System for Plasma/Platelets titered using an in vivo rabbit ID50 assay

Sponsor: Terumo BCT, Inc.
Amount: $52,559

Evaluation of Cantacuzino and BioFarma Adjuvant
in Combination with Stockpiled Sanofi Pasteur A/Viet

Sponsor: Infectious Disease Research Institute
Amount: $62,982

Study to Determine the Dose of Rabies Challenge Virus to Induce at Least 80% of Infection in Horses

Sponsor: Zoetis
Amount: $34,736

Funding Opportunities

Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species
Sponsor: NIH /USDA
Deadline: 9/24/2013

Communities Forward- A Community-Based Comprehensive HIV Prevention, Counseling and Testing Program to Reduce HIV Incidence
Sponsor: USAID
Deadline: 8/08/2013

NIBIB Biomedical Technology Service Centers
Sponsor: NIH
Deadline: 1/07/2014

DoD Prostate Cancer Collaborative Undergraduate HBCU Student Summer Training Program Award
Sponsor: DoD
Deadline: 09/05/2013

Developing and Improving Institutional Animal Resources
Sponsor: NIH
Deadline: 8/03/2015

Get in Touch

Send your BMS news or story ideas to:

Kerri McDermid
Communications Coordinator
Department of Biomedical Sciences

(970) 491-8747