By Wendy Sarubbi | August 16, 2012 8:50 pm

The UCF College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences welcomed 22 new Ph.D. and Master’s students during its 4th Annual Graduate Research Colloquium August 16.

As part of the event, biomedical sciences students presented research posters on topics that included reducing plaque in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, earlier detection of pancreatic and ovarian cancers, and gender differences in stress-induced heart disease. Dr. Bruce A. Freeman, professor and chair of the Department of  Pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh spoke to faculty and students on how “The  Fires of Inflammation Forge New Drugs.”

Later, members of the Dean’s Aesculapian Society viewed the posters and heard about biomedical research from Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, who holds the College of Medicine’s Florida Hospital endowed chair in cardiovascular science. Aesculapian Society members demonstrate strong dedication and support of the college through personal involvement and participate in the life of the medical school as true insiders.

“You can’t train medical doctors if you don’t train them in an environment where research is actively taking place,” Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, told Aesculapians.

Dr. Parthasarathy, who serves as the Burnett’s school’s associate director of research, is an internationally recognized cardiovascular scientist who co-discovered the fact that oxidized LDL cholesterol blocks arterial vessels in the heart. His research focuses on arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular nutrition and heart failure and is extensively funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has received over 23,000 citations of his research findings and is one of the most highly cited authors worldwide in his field.

Dr. Parthasarathy spoke about the extent of the Burnett school’s research, which ranges alphabetically from Alzheimer’s to vascular disease. “You name it, we are studying it,” he said. Special areas of focus of Burnett school faculty researchers include signaling – or how cells “talk,” cell death, the use of stem cells to repair diseased organs, new targets and treatments for cancer and better ways to fight infectious disease. The school focuses on the diseases that plague humanity, or as Dr. Parthasarathy explained, “Everyone knows about malaria, but still there is no cure.”

One of Dr. Parthasarathy’s goals is to use “new science, new technology and new collaboration” to bridge clinical and basic sciences. That, he said, will bring research faster to patients. “My goal,” he said, “is that every clinician is a scientist and every scientist is a clinician.”

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