PCOM Research Day 2024: Cardiovascular and Biomedical Research
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For One Research Day Participant, PCOM is ‘Like a Miracle’ of Scholarly Opportunity

May 23, 2024
A PCOM student presents his research poster to participants during PCOM Research Day 2024

Positioned front and center in Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's (PCOM) Activities Center gymnasium, Cameron Stinson's research poster was hard to miss, as just about everyone who entered the gym for Research Day likely saw his first among many rows of posters displayed on easels.

Stinson, who is about to graduate from the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program from PCOM before starting the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program this fall, was displaying a study demonstrating how the drug Naltrindole can elicit robust cardioprotective effects in myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury in animal models.

A 2020 graduate of Penn State University, Stinson was connected to PCOM through his mother, a nurse who knew a PCOM graduate who had worked in the lab of Lindon H. Young, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology and groundbreaking researcher in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology. His innovative research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics to prevent ischemia-reperfusion injury of the heart and kidney. Stinson worked as a research assistant in Young's lab and was encouraged to pursue his master's degree on the road to medical school.

PCOM grad student Cameron Stinson (MS/Biomed '24, DO '28) talks to faculty in front of his research poster.

“Honestly, it was like a miracle, because ever since I wanted to become a doctor I've always been interested in the heart and cardiology, so it was very special that I got to work in a lab that deals specifically with cardiology,” said Stinson, who had presented his research for the first time less than a month before Research Day at the American Physiology Summit in Long Beach, California. “It's amazing to know that I'm part of research that could positively impact patients in the future in such a life-changing way.”

Stinson's research was one of 130 presentations at the 13th annual Research Day event held May 1 to celebrate the depth and breadth of scholarly activity conducted by PCOM students, faculty and staff. Examples of poster presentations included:

  • An examination of the relationship between expected outcomes and anxiety severity in patients using medical marijuana
  • Insights into a clinician-directed educational program about gun violence and prevention, and available resources in two community health centers in North and West Philadelphia
  • Ongoing development of therapeutic approaches to block fibrosis associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemia-reperfusion injury of the heart and kidney, loss of vision and progressive neurological disorders

“Research Day is the premier event that showcases scholarly activity across all three PCOM campuses,” said Mindy George-Weinstein, PhD, PCOM's Chief Research and Science Officer. “Our goals are to promote health through basic, translational, clinical, community-based and education research, and engage students in these efforts to nurture their curiosity, creativity and commitment to generating new knowledge throughout their careers.”

The day also featured a keynote address by Scott K. Dessain, MD, PhD, on “Human Antibody Therapeutics in the 21st Century.” Dessain is an oncologist, research scientist and professor at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, and an oncologist at the Lankenau Medical Center. He also is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Immunome, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in the development of human monoclonal antibodies for use in the treatment of infectious diseases, cancer and neurological illness.

“In the world we live in today, facts are more important than ever, and research drives facts in science,” said PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81, during introductory remarks. “At the end of the day, we're a science-based institution. … We can never underestimate the value and purpose of research.”

The research posters on display were accompanied by investigators who explained their studies to members of the PCOM community, guests and judges.

Aerial photo of PCOM's Student Activities center gymnasium filled with rows of research posters and attendees.

Alexa Bonacquisti, PhD, PMH-C, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychology, had four students presenting their dissertation projects within the area of reproductive health psychology. Bonacquisti was also the lead organizer of Research Day at PCOM's Philadelphia campus.

“It's very rewarding to see everything come together and to hear about all the work everyone is doing,” she said. “There's quite a wide range of projects, from the proposal stage to completed data. It's also nice to see interdisciplinary collaboration and students being really proud and excited about the work they're doing.”

The event culminates in the distribution of multiple awards, including the David Miller, DO '60, Memorial Endowed Research Day Awards. Those winners are:

Best in Show Award: Jason Fink (DO '27), “Improving IOL Calculators' Total Corneal Astigmatism Predictions with Deep Learning” 

Excellence in Research: Alexandra Barrera (DO '27), “Enhancing Intracellular Delivery of Protein Kinase C Beta II via N-Terminus Conjugation of Myristic Acid-Trans-Activator of Transcription to Attenuate Superoxide Release in Rat Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes”

Award in Psychology: Christina Shoshilos (PsyD '26), “The relationship between maternal stress, disordered eating, depressive symptoms, and infertility in women throughout the postpartum period” 

Masters in Biomedical Science Award: Kaitlin O'Boyle (MS/Biomed '24, DO '28), “The role of PPARs during Coxiella burnetii infection”

Award in Alzheimer's: Melanie Ventura (PsyD '28), “Does interplay among dementia severity, activities of daily living, and depression in older adults vary by social frailty and dementia subtype?”

Additional winners are:

Camille DiLullo, PhD, Memorial Award for Excellence in DO Research: Xiangliang Sui (DO '27), “Intravitreal injection of Noggin slows retinal degeneration in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa”

CCDA Award for Research Excellence: Christopher Stegmuller (DO '27), “Inhibiting MMP-9 activation prevents increased seizure susceptibility after early-life seizures in larval zebrafish”

Division of Research Staff Award: Gabrielle Davis, “Inhibition of CD38 recovers NAD+ and corrects metabolic dysregulation in skeletal muscle of mice modeling SBMA”

Division of Research Award for Exceptional Clinical Research: Danielle Terrenzio (DO '25), “Evaluation of Transitional Zone Lesions on Multiparametric MRI and MRI-targeted Biopsy in Detecting Clinically Significant Prostate Cancer in the Community Setting: A Retrospective Study”

Department of Psychology Excellence in Research Award: Jordan Barczak (PsyD '28), “Examining the psychosocial impact of having an adolescent sibling with a cancer diagnosis”

Department of Psychology Best Oral Presentation Award: Devin DeTurk (PsyD '28), “Music to move you: comparing music genre's effect on athletic performance in a practice setting”

Department of Psychology Best Visual Presentation Award: Kaitlyn O'Neill (PsyD '25), “(In)Animate: Exploring the relationship between obsessive-compulsive disorder, perceived thought control, and anthropomorphism”

Learn more about the College's research focus areas and student researchers at PCOM.

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For the past 125 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and school psychology. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

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