Stowers Researchers Shine At Student Competition

From left to right: Kristin Watt, Yi Zhou and Shachi Bhatt.

Three University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) graduate students performing research in Stowers laboratories were recognized for their outstanding presentations at the 2013 Student Research Forum. The two-day event, hosted by the Graduate Student Council at KUMC, included poster presentations and formal talks by students in the schools of medicine, nursing, health professions, and graduate studies.

Kristin Watt, a graduate student conducting her research in Investigator Paul Trainor’s lab, was awarded first place in the Basic Science I competition. Watt’s winning presentation highlighted her research on two genes that may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Treacher Collins syndrome, a craniofacial disorder characterized by severe deformities of the eyes, ears, and facial bones in humans.

Another student researcher in the Trainor Lab, Shachi Bhatt tied for second place in the Basic Science IV division. Her studies focus on novel gene mutations which are responsible for defects in cranial-sensory neurons and derail vascular development. Bhatt hopes further investigations will lead to a better understanding of genetic etiologies for craniofacial disorders.

Yi Zhou from Stowers Investigator Ting Xie’s lab placed first overall in the poster competition. His poster described work recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that provides a better understanding of the signaling pathways involved in development of the ciliary body structures of the eye that may play an integral role in glaucoma.