Discoveries in the Making series returns for fall kickoff Sept. 10

Discoveries in the Making speakers present on a variety of topics and new discoveries found through research.

Making2Discoveries speakers present on a variety of topics, including eating disorders, asthma, diabetes, sea turtles, anxiety and PTSD, breast cancer, epilepsy, and more.Hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Graduate School, Discoveries in the Making will give graduate students and postdoctoral researchers an opportunity to share their exciting new discoveries with the public starting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 10, at The Lumbar in Birmingham. 

Upcoming talks in the Discoveries in the Making series include:

Tuesday, Sept. 10

Speaker: Virginia Camacho; Title: “The bone marrow and beyond: T cells doing it all”

Summary: The immune systems of individuals who suffer from blood cancers, such as leukemia, are often compromised. In many cases, the immune system stops working before the disease develops. This makes it easier for the cancer to expand. Unlike other cancers, leukemia is a liquid tumor, and does not form solid masses. Instead, it affects the cells within bone marrow, which give rise to all other blood cells in the body. The onset of leukemia commonly occurs with increasing age, which is when the immune system generally becomes less effective. Therefore, it is important to evaluate which immune cells are dysregulated during leukemia and how these cells interact with their environment. Camacho examines how immune cells within the bone marrow respond to various challenges and re-shape this environment in a way that is independent of their immune functions.

Speaker: Ayushe Sharma; Title: “The seizing brain is on fire”

Summary: Sharma’s research uses brain imaging to measure inflammation in epilepsy patients.

Tuesday, Oct. 8

Speaker: Sabrina Heiser; Title: “Diversity matters – even in Antarctica”

Summary: Pictures of Antarctica often show charismatic animals and stunning landscapes of ice and snow. Hidden beneath the surface of the ocean are diverse seaweed forests and invertebrate communities. Heiser studies the diversity within seaweeds and how they defend themselves against grazers. 

Speaker: Elise Keister; Title: “The modern threat to coral reefs”

Summary: The unprecedented increase of global temperatures in the past 50 years places susceptible ecosystems in a vulnerable position, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in global bleaching events. Keister is investigating mechanisms corals are already using to withstand high temperatures and temperature stress in both Pacific and Caribbean corals. 

Tuesday, Nov. 12

Speaker: Valene Garr Barry; Title: “The possibilities of bioimpedance in women’s health”

Summary: Barry’s research investigates bioimpedance as a non-invasive, cost-effective method to detect insulin resistance and identify women with conditions such as pre-diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility. 

Speaker: Taylor Davis; Title: “‘Y’ are women more anxious”

Summary: Women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD compared to men. Davis is using animal models to study an important molecule that could be involved in these sex differences.

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Speaker: Colleen Anusiewicz; Title: “Causes and consequences of nurse bullying in Alabama hospitals” 

Summary: United States health care organizations continue to experience pressure to provide safe, high-quality patient care in a constantly evolving health care landscape. The presence of workplace bullying in the nursing profession may undermine safety culture in the workplace, potentially affecting nursing care and patient outcomes. This presentation will present preliminary findings of the organizational characteristics and patient outcomes associated with nurse-reported workplace bullying in health care organizations located throughout Alabama.

Speaker: Nicole Gallups; Title: “T cells in Multiple System Atrophy: Good guys turned bad?” 

Summary: Multiple system atrophy is a neurological condition similar to Parkinson’s disease but with no treatment options, and it is fatal. Gallups’ research has shown that the immune system plays an important role in the disease progression. She hopes to provide a possible treatment for MSA by manipulating the immune system.

The Discoveries in the Making series is free and open to the public. A complete schedule is available online.