May 11, 2017

COPH Students Participate in UAMS Student Research Day

Seven COPH students participated in the UAMS student research day on April 12. Clare Brown, Melissa Clemens, Laura Ewing, Jing Jin, Adrienne Nevola, Cole Pace and Sun Hee Moon all presented their work to peers and faculty in the I. Dodd Wilson Education Building.

The annual campus-wide event gives graduate and professional students, postdocs, and medical house staff/fellows the opportunity to communicate about their work. It included morning and afternoon poster sessions, where students explained their research to judges. About 70 volunteer judges helped make the event possible for the 132 poster presentations.

In addition, there was significant excitement over the speaker, Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. who spoke to an audience of over 300 students, faculty, and staff. Students lined up to have their photos taken and exchange a few words with Laurencin, the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut, who has won numerous distinctions, including national-level awards from two presidents. His innovations are frequently listed among the top scientific achievements of the century.

Laurencin gave an overview in his groundbreaking work in regenerative engineering. He and his research partners have successfully developed processes and technologies for re-growing bone and skin, nerves, ligaments and other tissues. His process for regenerating a torn ACL has been used in humans for three years. His current project to repair rotator cuff tears and other shoulder injuries through regeneration has proven successful in mice.

Looking forward, he has set a goal to regenerate a knee within the next seven years and an entire limb in 15 years. Laurencin characterized it as a lofty – but achievable – goal.

“Actually, a lot of people have told me, ‘believe me, it is a moonshot,’ but as I’ve said before, the last time I’ve checked, we’ve been to the moon,” Laurencin said

COPH students represented the MPH, MHA, and Ph.D. programs at the research day.