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Country’s leading scientists to gather at NDSU biomedical symposium

Published May 23, 2014

NDSU researchers and students, and 14 leading scientists from around the country will gather at the university this month to exchange ideas.

The two-day gathering of scientists will be focused on biomedical research, where the researchers will present their latest discoveries in the quest for new ways to prevent or treat diseases, such as cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and arthritis.

“It’s a great atmosphere for science, where scientists and future scientists are directly sharing the results of their work and building off each other,” said Jane Schuh, associate professor of immunology in the NDSU Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences.

The visiting researchers represent a wide array of expertise and organizations, including the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School. NDSU will contribute experts in biology, biochemistry, animal sciences, pharmaceutical sciences and other disciplines.

“It takes a lot of different types of science to make an impact,” said Mukund Sibi, University Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry at NDSU. “That’s the nature of science in the 21st century.”

A similar symposium held two years ago at NDSU helped Schuh develop an immunology research program, which focuses on the interaction between inflammatory lung cells and the architecture of the allergic lung when repeatedly exposed to mold spores.

Schuh’s program is now funded by a National Institutes of Health grant and gives undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to develop into productive scientists, she said.

The previous symposium was critical in helping Schuh’s graduate students to uncover a new mediator in the long-term effects of asthma. James McCarthy, a cancer researcher at the University of Minnesota, reviewed a student’s poster presentation and identified a critical aspect of the lung architecture that led to new findings in the response to fungal allergens. He has been collaborating with the group ever since.

Yagna Jarajapu, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and two graduate students who work with him will present findings of their research and look forward to gaining new ideas from the visiting scientists.

“I am hoping to identify new experimental approaches from the symposium that I could adapt to answer some scientific questions I have been dealing with in my current studies involving diabetes and bone marrow cells,” Jarajapu said.

The symposium is sponsored by the Center for Protease Research, a National Institutes of Health-funded Center for Biomedical Research Excellence.  The center supports NDSU’s growing number of biomedical scientists through collaboration and seed grant funding, as well as core shared equipment facilities. The research conducted in the lab focuses on understanding, diagnosing and treating diseases such as cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and arthritis.

Schuh said the NDSU center allows scientists from across campus to work together to enhance their science and programs. “We might not all be doing the same thing, but we’re speaking the same language and conducting great research,” she said. “It really is science at its best.”

The “Frontiers in Biomedical Research” symposium is scheduled May 30-31 at NDSU. For more information, visit

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


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