Dr. Bates Took The 2nd Place in UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s Summer Incubator

Congratulations to Associate Professor Melissa Bates who spent the summer participating in the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) summer entrepreneurship incubator program for faculty and staff startups. Dr. Bates is developing a new device to improve the monitoring of chronic lung disease. At the end, Dr. Bates had to pitch her idea to investors and won 2nd place, which came with an investment toward the continued development of the technology.

“For the entire length of my career, [looking at] our ability to monitor lung disease, we haven’t really created any new tools. What I learned in the first round of the incubator program, doing some customer interviews, people still rely on not being able to breathe to know whether they’re getting worse.”

Melissa Bates.

Bates said it was “terrible” that individuals needed to rely on their ability to breathe to determine the health of their lungs and the progress of their lung disease. She said she believed some of the research she has done could potentially help individuals and decided to enter the entrepreneurial marketplace.

“I never thought about starting a business,” Bates said in her interview to Ryan Hansen, The Daily Iowan. “I decided to participate [in the incubator] and see if we could, maybe, miniaturize this research technology to be used by patients.”

In spite of being in academia for almost two decades now, she said she was enjoying thinking about things in ways she has never considered before.

“Even though I’m a tenured professor, I feel like a student all over again,” Bates said. “It’s really exciting because I’m learning so much. I had the opportunity to create this start-up, LSF medical productions and… it’s a lot of fun.”

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is proud to have graduate students across the University of Iowa

Graduate Student Spotlight

   As a native of Shijiazhuang city, Hebei province in China, Zishan Zhang’s undergraduate studies took her to Hebei University of Science and Technology, where she graduated in 2014 with a BS in Biological Science. Having lost both grandparents to cancer, Zishan began to develop an interest in cancer research. 

     After completing her undergraduate studies, Zishan earned an MS degree in Integrated Biosciences from the University of Minnesota – Duluth in 2018. Zishan joined the Molecular Medicine graduate program at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2018 where she is in the labs of Holden members (program affiliation: Cancer Genes and Pathways), Michael Tomasson, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, and Melissa Bates, Ph.D., Department of Health and Human Physiology. In the Tomasson and Bates labs, Zishan is investigating the effect of chronic intermittent hypoxia on the bone marrow macrophages.
     The next step for Zishan will be to enroll in a postdoctoral program in order to open her own laboratory and become a principal investigator.

Break a leg, Zishan! We’re proud of you!

Hardik Kalra Dares to Discover

Breaking into the new year with awe-inspiring news!

Hardik Kalra became 1 out of 82 of the University of Iowa’s rising stars of The Dare to Discover campaign!

The University of Iowa undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers and scholars in the Dare to Discover banner campaign are rocking the foundations in fields ranging from astronomy to medicine, public health, education and art. This achievement shows recognition of an outstanding academic achievements!

Congrats Hardik!

“By understanding how we breathe, I develop methods to better help physicians alleviate the suffering respiratory patients experience. Being involved in research has allowed me to implement concepts I learned in class into real life applications, and it has made me think critically about my career path.”

The banners are displayed from January to March 2022 on Washington Street, Clinton Street, Dubuque Street, and Linn Street downtown of Iowa City.

Caylie Sheridan received a scholarship from CoBGRTE

Caylie Sheridan is IPG Laboratory alumnus who received a scholarship from CoBGRTE, an organization that serves to increase the graduation rate from respiratory care programs!

“I have always had an interest in human physiology and, more specifically, respiratory physiology. I graduated from The University of Iowa in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology. During my time at Iowa, I was given the opportunity to be a research assistant in the Integrative Pathophysiology and Genetics Laboratory. I studied the effects of chest wall strapping on COPD patients. This is when I was introduced to respiratory therapy and knew I wanted to pursue respiratory care for my graduate education. I am currently a master’s student at Rush University Medical Center in the Respiratory Care Program. After graduating from Rush, I hope to become a registered respiratory therapist and continue my education to obtain a doctorate degree. Ultimately, I want to become a professor teaching respiratory care and a principal investigator. In addition, I have a great interest in critical care medicine and patient education. As a future respiratory therapist and educator, I hope to inspire future generations to pursue a career in respiratory care!”

You have made such an accomplishment and we are so very happy for you!

Caylie Sheridan, BS, MSRC

Joseph McDonell is Ready For a Challenge

Chris Gardner from “The Pursuit of Happyness” stated: “You got a dream, you gotta protect it… If you want something, go get it. Period.” This is basically the definition of perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Goosebumps on the skin when you encounter movie characters in real life.

After outstanding defense and graduation with Masters degree, Joseph McDonell is accepting his long-awaited challenge!

“There were times it was negative 50 degrees outside, and my gloves were frozen to my hands,” he says. “And if I can do that, I think I can do this. It’s stressful at times thinking about how I’m going to sort out all these variables—what time is class going to end so I can pick up Eli on time from school and stuff—but I think just falling back on those past situations helps me understand that I can do more.”

We are proud of you, Joe! Wishing you the very best of luck!

Anthony Pamatmat and Hardik Kalra Won the Impact Award at the Hawkeye Startup Accelerator

With the coronavirus pandemic that was continuing to disturb the usual course of life on the campus, the 2020-21 academic year was a challenge. This has been one of the most difficult periods in all of our lives and we have for the most part persevered. Nevertheless, IPG Laboratory members were continuing making major steps towards unexplored frontiers.

Pneumero team has become a winner of the Impact Award at the Hawkeye Startup Accelerator with the innovative lung monitor idea, which positively impacts the lives of patients living with respiratory illness.

Hardik Kalra is a Master Health and Human Physiology Student and Anthony Pamatmat has graduated this spring with a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

We are very proud to have such outstanding young entrepreneurs among our members!

This award stands alone proudly witnessing your hard work! What an accomplishment!

Welcoming Dr. Dodd’s Laboratory

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Dodd Laboratory has joined the MERF’s 5th floor alliance this summer!

The Dodd lab studies soft-tissue sarcomas, a type of cancer that develops in connective tissue such as muscle, nerves, fat, or tendons. Their research program designs and utilizes powerful in vivo model systems to directly address critical questions in tumor biology.

We are excited to have our new neighbors!!!

Dr. Tomasson Joins Physiological -Omics Group of the American Physiological Society as Awards Co-Chair!

The American Physiological Society’s Physiological -Omics Interest Group “provides a forum for communication and collaboration among physiologists with an interest in –omic-related sciences, including but not limited to: genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology, computational biology, bioinformatics, genetics and gene manipulation and molecular intervention.” Dr. Tomasson has had a long term passion for understanding the genetic contributors to blood cancers, and how genes interact with physiology to impact patient outcomes. He is an international expert in genetic contributors to the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

He is pleased to join this exciting and dynamic group as Awards Committee Co-Chair and support the next generation of scientists interested in -omics!

Mackenzie Berschel and Laura Flores Win Awards from the American Physiological Society!

Tap, tap, tap!! Is this thing on?

Twenty-twenty has been a difficult year for many of our laboratories, families, and communities. Still, members of the IPG Laboratory have continued to work together to address important challenges in biomedicine and physiology and have achieved success in their work.

Mackenzie Berschel

Mackenzie Berschel, a senior undergraduate member of the lab and Health and Human Physiology Honors student, was a recipient of the 2021 Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award. As an abstract awardee, Mackenzie will receive $100 and a 1-year complimentary membership with the APS. She presented her abstract at the 2021 Experimental Biology national meeting in April. Her research addresses genetic changes to the bone marrow microenvironment that support the development of multiple myeloma, a painful and debilitating cancer of bone marrow plasma cells. She is also the recipient of a University of Iowa ICRU fellowship and the Dr. Tom Rocklin Meet the Challenge Excel Award. The Meet the Challenge Excel Award is awarded by the University of Iowa Division of Student Life to a handful of undergraduates who set and pursue ambitious academic objectives that advance their overall goals and challenge their abilities.

Congrats Mackenzie!

Laura Flores

Laura Flores, a freshman Health and Human Physiology Honors student, has been named one of four Hearst Summer Research Fellows by the American Physiological Society. The Hearst Fellowship is supported by the Hearst Foundation and is awarded to the top applicants to the summer research program. The fellowship provides fellows with a hands-on research experience in the laboratory of an established American Physiological Society member, professional development activities and an opportunity to present their research at the national Experimental Biology meeting in the spring. Laura has also been awarded an Honors College scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement this year.

We’re proud of you, Laura!