By Wendy Sarubbi | September 12, 2011 9:51 am

Scientific excitement filled the air this week as the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences welcomed 45 new graduate students and presented student research on topics ranging from cancer to heart disease.

The Third Annual Graduate Research Colloquium featured student poster presentations and networking opportunities for new students to meet their professors, mentors and colleagues. Dr. Douglas Wallace, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, was the colloquium’s featured speaker.

“This event is really exciting,” said Dr. Dinender Singla, an associate professor who specializes in cardiovascular research at the Burnett school. “Here is our opportunity to share this impressive line of research by our students.”

Burnett school graduate students lined the second floor of the College of Medicine’s medical education building with their research posters on the major illnesses that plague mankind: cancer, cardiovascular, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases.

Through the poster presentations, new students had the opportunity to learn about research opportunities at the Burnett school and ask questions about specific research findings. Burnett school masters student Hilda Merino Chavez explained her study on how stem cells can help treat heart disease. Hilda is focusing on the cancer-fighting drug, Doxorubicin, which is widely used to treat tumors and leukemia. However, the drug can cause heart problems in some patients. Hilda’s research has shown promising results in using stem cells to reduce the toxicity of the drug on the heart.

“I have been interested in science all my life,” Hilda said. “I want to find answers to questions. With those answers we are going to help people.”

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