Dear CBA colleagues,
I am very pleased to announce that CBA graduate student Shannon Barwick, who defended her thesis on April 21, 2022, has been notified by the Graduate School Dean that her dissertation has been accepted by the Graduate School and that she has successfully completed all of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Shannon’s dissertation was entitled: “Activation of a molecular chaperone (sigma 1 receptor) in a murine model of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa.” The faculty members who served on Shannon’s thesis committee were Drs. Liu, Hamrick, Gonsalvez, Saul and Smith. Dr. M. Zhang served as the reader.
Congratulations Shannon and many thanks to your committee members!
The awards ceremony for The Graduate School was held at the Summerville campus amphitheater. I am delighted to share that two of our CBA graduate students, Theresa Akoto and Frederick Baker received awards.
Theresa, who is mentored by Dr. Yutao Liu, received the Ji Cheng memorial award for excellence in research.
Frederick, who is mentored by Dr. Graydon Gonsalvez, received the CBA/Excellence in Research Award!
Husam Bensreti and Dima Alhamad (PhD students Meghan McGee-Lawrence lab) were just selected for the 2022 ASBMR Student Cohort program.
This selective program will feature a year-long series of mentoring, networking, and educational opportunities promoting career development, along with free society membership for a year.
We are excited for the opportunity this will provide to Husam and Dima!
Dr. Ellen LeMosy has been selected to serve as a mentor for two CURS students for the summer of 2022. The students will work with Dr. LeMosy on a project entitled “Learning how extracellular matrix functions in face and neck development.” The CURS program provides stipends for students and covers some of the reagents needed to perform the proposed study.
Congratulations Dr. LeMosy!
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Mark Hamrick along with CAHS assistant professor Dr. Deborah Jehu on their new grant supported by the Intramural Grants Program (IGP) titled: “The effects of exercise on executive function in older adults living with dementia.”
This is terrific news and a great collaboration between MCG and CAHS!
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ming Zhang who has been notified that his application titled “The roles of RIP kinase 3 in the development of AMD-like pathologies during cytomegalovirus ocular latency” will be funded by the Retina Research Foundation.
Congratulations Dr. Zhang!
We are delighted to announce that four CBA faculty have been selected by the medical students for the MCG exemplary teaching awards for AY2020/21! Please join me in congratulating Drs. Jerry Guillot, Morganne Manuel, Meghan McGee-Lawrence and Carol Nichols for this distinction. They epitomize excellence and commitment to medical education and we are very proud of them.
Dr. Jerry Guillot
Dr. Morganne Manuel
Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence
Dr. Carol Nichols
Congratulations and thanks to these dedicated colleagues for a great start to 2022!
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Jerry Guillot and colleagues for their recent notification that the American Association for Anatomy will fund a program entitled “Portfolios of People: Advancing Anatomical Representation Together – POP AART”. POP AArt aims to address a lack of anatomy teaching visual supplements that are representative of human diversity. Dr. Guillot will work with colleagues in Washington DC, Virginia, and California on this exciting project, which launches in January 2022.
CBA is delighted to announce that Dr. Yutao Liu has been notified by the Associate for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology that he has been approved for the honor of ARVO Silver Fellow for his exemplary contributions and dedication to ARVO! This distinction recognizes enthusiasm and commitment to the values and goals of the association!
Congrats to our newest ARVO fellow (FARVO)!!!
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Jerry Guillot and colleagues for their recent notification that the American Association for Anatomy will fund a program entitled “Portfolios of People: Advancing Anatomical Representation Together – POP AART”. POP AArt aims to address a lack of anatomy teaching visual supplements that are representative of human diversity. Dr. Guillot will work with colleagues in Washington DC, Virginia, and California on this exciting project, which launches in January 2022.
Congratulations to Shannon Barwick, graduate student in Dr. Sylvia Smith's lab. Shannon presented her 3 minute thesis (3MT) entitled "Saving Vision: Enabling patients too clearly see their dreams" to the USG Board of Regents on November 9, 2021 in Atlanta. This is great recognition for our graduate program and our department.
Learn more about the presentation here.
Photo: From left: Teresa MacCartney, acting chancellor of the USG; Shannon Barwick, PhD student at Augusta University; Brooks A. Keel, PhD, president of Augusta University; and Sachin Shailendra, chair of the Board of Regents, pictured at the board meeting Nov. 9. [Rod Reilly/Georgia Gwinnett College]
On Monday, Nov. 1, there was a Research Retreat at the Cyber Center. The gathering was to analyze where we were with NIH funding and how to achieve greater success in securing NIH grants. Many sessions were conducted, one of which was a session about cores and their critical role for our mission. Dr. Joe Miano sent a survey to users to learn their opinions about the cores. He wanted to learn what worked well and cores that needed improvement. I am delighted to share news that our two CBA cores have garnered “TOP” marks for customer satisfaction and quality. The EM/Histology core and the Cell/Tissue Imaging core were singled out for amazing contributions to the research mission on our campus. Please join me in acknowledging the terrific members of our “CORE” giver teams: Donna Kumiski, Libby Perry, Brendan Marshall, Tania Green and Kristen Carver in our EM/Histo core and Rachel Cui, Michael Yu, Hannah Neiswender and Dr. Graydon Gonsalvez (director) Cell/Tissue Imaging
Thank you for a job well done!
Congratulations to Dr. Xingjun Fan for his $750K award entitled "The Pathogenic role of disrupted glutathione homeostasis in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)” which is supported by the James Fickel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Fund. This funding will lead to new discoveries and we are very pleased to celebrate Dr. Fan’s success!
Dr. Morganne Manuel, Assistant Professor, has been selected as a fellow of the 2022 MCG Teaching Development Seminar Series (formerly the Teaching Scholars Fellowship). Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition of your commitment to medical Education!
Dr. Carol Nichols has been elected to the position of Secretary for the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE)! Congratulations on this international recognition for our deserving colleague and our institution!
The 2021 Kelly lecture was presented on October 14, 2021 by Dr. Krzysztof Palczewski,
Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine and Irving H. Leopold
Chair of Ophthalmology, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California,
Irvine California. Dr. Palczewski, a member of the National Academy of Medicine is
best known for his discovery of the crystal structure of rhodopsin. His lecture was
entitled “Treatment of an inherited retinal disease in a mouse model by in vivo base
The Kelly lecture, established in 2017, honors the legacy of former Anatomy professor and department chair, Dr. G. Lombard Kelly. The lecture is organized annually by graduate students in the Cellular Biology and Anatomy PhD program. The students select and invite the speaker and oversee all aspects of the visit. This year, Shannon Barwick and Hannah Youngblood were the coordinators of Dr. Palczewski’s visit. All CBA graduate students had the opportunity to meet with this outstanding scientist. Through this endeavor our students demonstrate eagerness to learn and to conduct meaningful research, continuing the tradition and legacy of Dr. Kelly. Dr. Xingjun Fan is the faculty coordinator of the CBA seminar series and guided the students in organizing the visit.
Dr. Carol Nichols has been selected as an “MCG Woman Who Inspires" for the 2021 Women In Medicine Month Campaign. She is honored for her thoughtful leadership and mentorship in the evolution of the MCG curriculum, vastly improving the educational experience of our students and junior educators! The Women in Medicine Month campaign is sponsored by the MCG office for faculty success.
CBA graduate student Hannah Youngblood, Dr. Yutao Liu’s lab, has received a Travel Award for the ISER/BrightFocus Glaucoma Symposium, Oct 6-9 at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Hannah will present her research “Estrogen Signaling in Intraocular Pressure Regulation.
Good luck at the meeting Hannah!
CBA graduate student Anik Tuladhar, Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence’s lab, has been selected to receive a Travel Fellowship to attend the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Meeting in San Diego in October 2021. Anik will present his abstract: Tuladhar A., McGee W.A., Yu K., Hamrick M.W., McGee-Lawrence M.E. Prkd1 is critical for repair of plasma membrane disruptions (PMD) in osteocytes. ASBMR 2021 Annual Meeting, Abstract ID #A21023817. San Diego, CA; American Society for Bone and Mineral Research; 2021.
Good luck at the meeting Anik!
CBA graduate student Shannon Barwick, from Dr. Sylvia Smith's lab, has been selected to receive a Travel Fellowship to attend the XIXth International Symposium on Retinal Degenerations (RD2021) and the BrightFocus Macular Fast TrackSM, which will be in Nashville, Tennessee from September 27, 2021 to October 2, 2021. Shannon will present her research “Activation of Sigma 1 Receptor attenuates degeneration in the Rho P23H/+ mouse model of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa.”
Good luck at the meeting Shannon!
Effective 1 July 2021, Dr. Anna Edmondson, Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, has been named Director of Curriculum Operations for MCG. In this new role, Dr. Edmondson will work closely with leadership of the Office of Academic Affairs to oversee the redesigned, complex, integrated pre-clerkship curriculum. Dr. Edmondson was selected for her new role owing to her excellent organizational skills and strong commitment to our medical students. In addition to her new duties, Anna will continue to oversee medical gross anatomy and to direct the skin-musculoskeletal module.
Dr. Jing Wang has been promoted to Research Scientist effective July 1, 2021. Dr.
Wang is a long standing member in Dr. Sylvia Smith's lab.
Congratulations on your promotion Dr. Wang!
Dr. Barbara Mysona has been promoted to Research Scientist effective July 1, 2021.
Dr. Mysona is a long standing member in Dr. Kathryn Bollinger's lab.
Congratulations on your promotion Dr. Mysona!
Dr. Eve Gallman, Associate Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at our Athens
partnership campus, has been notified that she has been nominated for the 2021 Outstanding
Reviewer Award for the journal Medical Science Educatore.
Congratulations on this award Dr. Gallman!
Dr. Yutao Liu, vision scientist and human geneticist in our Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, is the Basic Science Research Distinguished Faculty Award recipient. This expert in dissecting diseases like the progressive, double vision inducing keratoconus, and glaucoma, is a prolific, inspired and extremely well-funded scientist and generally great citizen of MCG and internationally.
To read more about Dr. Liu's achievement, visit the Deans Diary
Congratulations to our CBA colleague Dr. Gerard "Jerry" Guillot! Dr. Guillot was selected
to receive one of the Educator of the Year awards. The excellent educator award honoree
was nominated by the students from the MCG class of 2024.
To read more about this wonderful achievement, visit the Deans Diary
Congratulations to our CBA colleague at the AU/UGA partnership campus, Dr. Robert
Dr. Mackin was selected to receive one of the Educator of the Year awards. The excellent educator award honoree was nominated by the MCG AU/UGA partnership students, class of 2024.
To read more about this wonderful achievement, visit the Deans Diary
Congratulations to Ms. Linda James, our assistant dean for student diversity and inclusion, who has received the inaugural Champion of Diversity Award! She is director of the now 50 + year-old SEEP pipeline program for high school and college students and director of the Igniting the Dream of Medicine Conference. Most recently, Ms. James helped start and is co-advisor of Black Men of the Medical College of Georgia. She is a member of the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, a voting member of our Admissions Committee and co-advisor to the Student National Medical Association. She first joined us as a research assistant in 1986, we lost her (their win) to Paine College for about 16 years, then she came back in 2004 as director of SEEP and Diversity Outreach. Class of 2023 student Gina Dominguez Castillo says it well: “All my interactions with her are always ones of support and encouragement.” For these reasons and about a million more Ms. James is the inaugural recipient of our Champion of Diversity Award.
Congratulations to Dr. Ellen LeMosy! She was nominated by her student Brooklyn Zwinklis
for the High Five My Faculty Award. This
award goes to a faculty member who has mentored one or more undergraduate students in research or scholarship. This is a way
for students to recognize and give thanks to undergraduate research mentors who have positively impacted their lives.
We are delighted to share the good news that graduate student Mackenzie L. Hagan successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “The role of Sptbn1 in osteocyte mechanosensation and downstream bone adaptation” on April 22, 2021. Her work was mentored by Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence and her committee members were Drs. Graydon Gonsalvez, Mark Hamrick, William Hill and Mitchell Watsky. Dr. Yutao Liu served as a reader for the thesis. We are very proud of Mackenzie’s accomplishments and wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Congratulations to Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence! She was nominated by her student Victor Piedra for the High Five My Faculty Award. This award goes to a faculty member who has mentored one or more undergraduate students in research or scholarship. This is a way for students to recognize and give thanks to undergraduate research mentors who have positively impacted their lives.
Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence has been named as one of the recipients to receive the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship’s 2021 Mentor Excellence Award! Considerable effort is expended in mentoring talented undergraduate students and we are very proud of the work of our colleagues in this important endeavor.
Congratulating Shannon Barwick, PhD student in Dr. Sylvia Smith's lab, won first prize
in the “3MT” competition on Thursday, April 22, 2021! The “3MT” refers to a three-minute
thesis presentation. The Graduate School launched this five years ago and graduate
students have the opportunity to compete. The idea of being able to present your (80,000+
word) thesis work in only 3 minutes started at Queensland University (Australia) and
has been adopted by more than 900 universities. We are very proud that two CBA students
were in the top five 3MT finalists: Hannah Youngblood & Shannon Barwick.
Thank you for representing our department so well!
Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence was recognized with the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Graduate School. Dr. McGee-Lawrence oversees a robust research laboratory, mentors several students, has directed/participated in several graduate school courses. She is the Director of the Molecular Cell Biology Core course, which has consistently been very highly evaluated by first year students and offers an excellent foundation for studies in biological sciences.
Congratulations Dr. McGee-Lawrence!
We are delighted to share with you the recognition for several students at today’s graduate research day awards ceremony: Frederick Baker (Gonsalvez lab) was the recipient of the Cellular Biology/Anatomy Excellence in Research Award; Hannah Youngblood (Liu lab) was the recipient of the James and Jean Culver Excellence in Vision Research Award; Shannon Barwick (Smith lab) was the recipient of the Graduate School Excellence in Research Award. Congratulations to these awardees and to all of our students for participating in Graduate Research Day and for the high quality of the work you are conducting.
We are very proud of you!
Dr. Mark Hamrick's newly announced cluster hire in inflamm-aging and brain aging research has been recognized by the Augusta Chronicle.
Read more about this exciting research here.
Congratulations Dr. Hamrick!
Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence has been appointed as a standing member of the NIH Skeletal Biology Development and Disease (SBDD) study section for a 4 year term.
Congrats Dr. McGee-Lawrence!
Dr. Ellen LeMosy has been named as one of the recipients to receive the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship’s 2021 Mentor Excellence Award! Dr. LeMosy is pictured here with CURS students Brooklyn Zwinklis (far left) and Helena Blackburn (far right). Considerable effort is expended in mentoring talented undergraduate students and we are very proud of the contributions Dr. LeMosy has provided to this important endeavor.
Congratulations Dr. LeMosy!
Dr. Jing Wang, Assistant Research Scientist (Smith lab), has been notified that her competing renewal of her Knights Templar Eye Foundation application (Sigma 1 Receptor and Retinopathy of Prematurity) will be funded beginning July 2021!
Great work Jing!
Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence has been named as one of the recipients to receive the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship’s 2021 Mentor Excellence Award! Considerable effort is expended in mentoring talented undergraduate students and we are very proud of the contributions Dr. McGee-Lawrence has provided to this important endeavor.
Congratulations Dr. McGee-Lawrence!
Terrific recognition for Dr. Wanling Xuan, stem cell biologist in the Vascular Biology Center, for her new RO1. Dr. Mark Hamrick, bone and muscle biologist in the MCG Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy and Senior Associate Dean for Research, is Co-Investigator. Both were recognized for their research on stem cell therapy on the Augusta University Jag home page. Read more about this exciting research here.
Congratulations Drs. Xuan and Hamrick!
Hannah Youngblood, PhD candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Yutao Liu, was invited to attend Augusta University’s Virtual Research University Day at the Capitol. This event, which was held virtually on March 16th, 2021, featured institutional leaders (Dr. Keel and Dr. MacKinnon) as well as several Georgia legislatures.
Congratulations Hannah on being selected for this honor!
CBA is pleased to announce that Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence's amazing research is being
featured in the Augusta Chronicle!
NASA grant aids AU professor's research on bone loss, potential repair
As the NASA Rover Perseverance approaches Mars for a touchdown later this month, Dr. Meghan McGee-Lawrence of Augusta University is studying ways to make the same flight easier for humans one day. But her research might also apply to aging and perhaps even make exercise more productive. McGee-Lawrence has a $750,000 grant from NASA to study a basic problem that would plague astronauts during such a long mission: the lack of gravity would lead to bone loss. Humans form and reshape their bones constantly in response to gravity and other forces and one of the key cells for doing that are osteocytes, long cells nestled into the matrix of bone, she said. "The osteocytes are the managing cell population in the skeleton," said McGee-Lawrence, an associate professor in Cellular Biology and Anatomy. "They do a great job of sensing what is around them and telling everyone else what to do. The osteocyte population senses what is going on and then they tell the osteoblasts how much bone to build and the osteoclasts how much bone they should break down so that the tissue has the ability to adapt and has the best possible structure to withstand the loading it experiences on a routine basis. Basically, it tells everyone what to do so that the tissue is the right shape and size to do the job it needs to do." Adapting bone is important as a response to the environment so that the skeleton has just the right amount of bone needed, she said. "Bone is a very metabolically expensive tissue," McGee-Lawrence said. "It’s heavy and it takes a lot of work to maintain it." One of the ways, and there are many, that bone responds to forces like gravity is possibly through small tears in the osteocytes, known as plasma membrane disruptions. McGee-Lawrence has early work in mice that shows these form routinely in response to gravity and normal activity. Normal cells can easily heal these tears in about 10-30 seconds but they appear to be a signal to the other cells to do the necessary work. The NASA grant is to explore if the opposite will prove true, that the lack of gravity or force causes fewer of these disruptions or interferes with their repair. "We think of repair rate almost like a thermostat where you can speed it up or slow it down and in doing so control the magnitude of the downstream response of that cell," McGee-Lawrence said. A previous study shows that repair rate is out of tune in older osteocytes, which may contribute to bone loss in aging, she said. Her work is building on what is already known to happen in skeletal muscle, that these tears happen in muscle cells and the lack of gravity appears to impair their repair rate, McGee-Lawrence said. "That then is our jumping off point for this project: does bone behave in the same way as muscle?" she said. "And if so, can some of the therapeutic approaches that have been applied to muscle apply to the skeleton?" That would be important to NASA, McGee-Lawrence said. "Both bone and muscle are lost during space flight," she said. "Trying to find ways to prevent that bone and muscle loss or recover it once it has occurred is pretty important in the context of long-term space flights. If you send an astronaut to Mars, you want them to maintain their bone and muscle mass during space flight so when they land you don’t want them to all of a sudden start suffering a lot of fractures and muscle injuries. You want to be able to help them recover whatever they may have lost on that journey, whether they are returning to Earth or maybe some day landing on Mars." Those insights could also help with what happens to people during disuse, such as prolonged bed rest or spinal cord injury and thus could be relevant long before those space flights become possible, McGee-Lawrence said. "NASA gives you interesting problems to pursue that not only advance space travel but come up with novel solutions to problems we face every day here on Earth," she said. "If we can find ways to make bone and also muscle more sensitive to mechanical loading, one goal is maybe you could get some of the same benefits of exercise with a less strenuous exercise program. You can see how that would also be greatly applicable to life here on Earth. Who wouldn’t want to get stronger bone and muscle with less exercise than you would need to otherwise?"
Congratulations Dr. McGee-Lawrence on this fascinating venture!
Heartfelt congratulations to Drs. Graydon Gonsalvez, Carol Nichols, and Patricia Schoenlein in addition to our AU/UGA Medical Partnership, Drs. Thom Gaddy, DeLoris Wenzel and Brett Szymik. All have been selected to receive the MCG Exemplary Teaching Award for their teaching efforts in academic year 2019/2020. The award is given to recognize faculty who have made a significant contribution in either undergraduate or graduate medical education at MCG in the past year.
Congratulations to all!
Dr. Ellen LeMosy will be hosting two students this year through the Summer Scholars Program. They will be working with Dr. LeMosy on a project titled "Extracellular Matrix Tinagl1 in Craniofacial Development and Wnt Signaling." Dr. LeMosy has been mentoring undergraduate student researchers for a number of years and just this past year, one of her trainees (Ms. Brooklyn Zwinklis) was awarded funds from the Provost/Student Research Program. Ms. Zwinklis was one of only two undergraduate students receiving this competitive program vetted through the Department of Medicine's Translational Research Program.
Congrats Dr. LeMosy!
Dr. Barbara Mysona, Assistant Research Scientist, has been notified that she will receive an IGP (intramural grants program) award for her project entitled: “Role of astrocyte-endothelial interactions in von Hippel-Lindau disease.”
Congratulations Barbara and best wishes for a fruitful project!
CBA is pleased to announce that Dr. Yutao Liu, Associate Professor, has been selected to receive one of three grants awarded in the Pilot Grant Program in Aging Research. His project investigates the role of arginase 1 and 2 in age-related eye pressure regulation.
Congratulations Dr. Liu! Another terrific start to the New Year!
CBA is pleased to announce that Dr. Yuqing Huo, Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy and member of VBC, has been selected for a pilot grant to conduct metabolic analyses of aortic vascular cells of aged mice with aortic aneurysm via scRNSseq approach.
Congratulations Dr. Huo!
CBA is pleased to announce that Dr. Qingqing Wei, Assistant Professor of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, has been awarded an NIH R01 from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Her project entitled "The regulation and function of long non coding RNA in ischemic AKI: Role of GSTM3P1."
Congratulations Dr. Wei! A terrific start to the New Year!
Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2020 Augusta University Research Institute (AURI) research awards!
Congratulations to everyone on these exceptional achievements!
Dr. Mark Hamrick, George G. Weiss Research Professor and Regents' Professor, has been appointed Senior Associate Dean for Research at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. In his new position, Hamrick will work closely with MCG Dean Dr. David Hess and other MCG research leaders to develop a plan to move MCG toward the top 50 in National Institutes of Health funding. Among the nation’s medical schools, MCG currently is ranked 73rd by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, with nearly $48 million in funding. However, research funding grew to over $65 million last fiscal year, which should move that ranking to somewhere in the 60s. He will work with MCG department chairs and center and institute directors to recruit and retain new federally funded research faculty and identify and develop new research collaborations across MCG departments, other AU colleges and with university and industry partners across Georgia and beyond.
Congratulations Dr. Hamrick!
CBA is pleased to announce that Dr. Patricia Schoenlein was selected by the MCG Class of 2023 as the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award! This is truly an honor – to have our student learners select one of our faculty for this distinction. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Schoenlein for her accomplishment!
Congratulations Dr. Schoenlein!