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Pharmacology Students Win Top Prizes in Poster Competition

Award Recipients
Student winners of the poster competition receive their awards. From left to right: Agnes M. Rimando, chair of the poster awards committee; Pranapda Aumsuwan, 3rd place; Praneeth Reddy, 3rd place; Monica Gole, 2nd place; Krishna Nagalla, 1st place; and James Cizdziel, president of the Ole Miss Section of ACS

February 18, 2013

Three graduate students in the Department of Pharmacology were awarded top prizes in a recent student poster competition sponsored by the Ole Miss section of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Pharmacology students Krishna Nagalla and Monica S. Gole won first and second prizes, respectively. Pranapda Aumsuwan, also a pharmacology student, tied with Praneeth Reddy, a chemistry graduate student, for third place.

"This poster session was a great opportunity to showcase our work and have it critiqued by others," Nagalla said. "It also helped us learn new methods or techniques that can be used in our research. I was very happy to hear that my work was among the winning posters."

The competition was in conjunction with the School of Pharmacy's annual research poster session in November. The competition awarded certificates and cash prizes: $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third.

A total of 47 student posters were entered in the competition and judged by 18 faculty members and research scientists from the departments of chemistry and biochemistry, medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutics, plus the National Center for Natural Products Research and the USDA-ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit.

Nagalla's poster outlined his study of the mechanism behind high blood pressure-induced cardiac remodeling, which occurs when the walls of the heart thicken and reduce the organ's efficiency and even lead to failure.

Aumsuwan's research focused on a possible treatment for breast cancer.

"Our goal is to evaluate wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), used in a traditional Chinese medicine, as a gene-specific demethylating agent in breast cancer prevention and treatment," said Aumsuwan, who was quick to encourage her fellow students to participate in poster competitions.

"I think it is important because they will definitely learn a lot of new and exciting things," she said. "They will also have interaction with colleagues from various departments of the school, and this kind of competition will boost their confidence, which is necessary for entering into the research arena."

Gole's study focused on changes in the expression pattern of cannabinoid receptors in response to cardiac remodeling in rats.

"We studied the temporal changes in expression pattern of myocardial CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in a pathological state of hypertension, which causes changes in the structure and function of the heart," Gole said.

Gole was impressed that three out of the competition's four winners students from the Department of Pharmacology.

"It reflects on the excellent efforts by the faculty and students of our department in carrying out good scientific work," she said. "The support and guidance given by the faculty helps us to perform well in competitions such as these."

Anthony J. Verlangieri, professor and interim chair of pharmacology, is proud of his department's students.

"I am very pleased with the high-quality of research the Department of Pharmacology graduate students are involved with," he said.