T32 Training Programs Host Seminar on Errors in Biomedical Articles

On October 24, The Behavioral & Biomedical Sciences and the Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32 training programs hosted Dr. Elisabeth Bik, an image forensics detective who switched careers from industry to the reporting of biomedical articles that feature errors or data of concern. Her seminar was titled, “Inappropriate Image Duplications in Biomedical Publications”, and in it she showed several examples of inappropriately duplicated images and other examples of research misconduct.  

Philip Bender, a CBTP trainee, was responsible for a lot of the details that led to hosting and arranging the visit. He says of the event, “Dr. Elisabeth Bik is a leading voice in the push to combat scientific fraud through the identification and correction of fabricated or manipulated data in scientific publications. Dr. Bik’s lecture focused on the need for vigilance and transparency when preparing and reviewing scientific data, and highlighted ongoing and developing challenges in the fight against scientific misconduct, such as machine learning models and AI image generation."

Obviously the use of artificial intelligence in particular in many world applications is garnering both world-wide excitement and concern, as leaders grapple with how fast this technology is advancing and what the implications are for the benefits to society, but also potential gross misuse.

The T32 training programs will continue to offer thought-provoking programming for the T32 students and the rest of the HSC community focused on relevant topics related to biomedical research and science today. 

T32 Student Details Recent Clinical Immersion Experience

 Cecily Conour, a bright student with a passion for pediatric psychology and a deep interest in multidisciplinary medical teams, particularly in conditions that can involve chronic pain, recently embarked on a clinical immersion experience, shadowing the impressive Dr. Parvez Shaikh in radiation oncology at WVU Medicine.

Cecily shared, "As a future pediatric psychologist with an interest in working on a multidisciplinary medical team, and possibly with an oncology team specifically, I was eager to gain experience that might allow me to better understand the perspective of medical providers." 

During her time with Dr. Shaikh, Cecily not only achieved her goals of gaining insight into the mindset of medical providers but also expanded her knowledge in reading various scans, such as MRI, PET, and CAT scan results. Dr. Shaikh mentored Cecily by dedicating an extensive amount of time to reviewing scans together, quizzing her on what she observed in each image until she grasped the finer details.

Moreover, Cecily had the invaluable opportunity to observe Dr. Shaikh's clinical interactions with patients. Before each appointment, Dr. Shaikh graciously reviewed the patient's chart with Cecily and discussed the concerns that would likely be addressed during the visit. This firsthand exposure enabled Cecily to gain a thorough understanding of the intricacies and dynamics involved in an oncology appointment, further enhancing her ability to empathize with both providers and patients.

Reflecting on her impactful immersion experience, Cecily shared, "By the end of my immersion experience, I had a better understanding of the components of an oncology appointment and potential perspectives of both the providers and the patients. I believe that my immersion experience will allow me to better serve as a psychological provider on an oncology team in the future."

Cecily's dedication to her chosen field and her enthusiasm for learning exemplify the passion that drives our students. Her clinical immersion experience is a testament to the invaluable opportunities provided by the T32 programs in our health sciences center 

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Cecily Conour on her incredible achievements, and we can't wait to see what she accomplishes next in her burgeoning career as a pediatric psychologist.

External Advisory Visit Enhances NIGMS Sponsored Behavioral and Biomedical (BBS) Sciences T32 Program

The WVU Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) T32 program directors, Drs. Albert Berrebi, Kevin Larkin and Zachary Weil, hosted a program external advisory visit on July 18th. The advisory team consisted of Dr. Daniel Tranel from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Dr. Julie Fiez from the University of Pittsburgh. Drs. Tranel and Fiez are both highly accomplished researchers and mentors, and they each oversee predoctoral NIGMS Interface training programs at their own institutions.

Throughout the day, Tranel and Fiez met with current and former BBS trainees and preceptors from across the campus, as well as HSC Graduate Education leadership. These interactions provided an exceptional opportunity for knowledge exchange, networking, and strengthening the collaborative spirit amongst all participants. Moving forward, the T32 program plans to incorporate the feedback received during the visit to further enhance the training experience and career trajectory of aspiring behavioral and biomedical scientists.

Another part of the visit included informal career development talks geared to trainees. Dr. Tranel, who is a practicing neuropsychologist, spoke on "Balancing research, teaching, and clinical service." Drawing upon extensive experience as a researcher, educator, and clinician, he offered strategies for effectively navigating and harmonizing these varied demands of an academic career.

Dr. Fiez’s talk was titled "How to make the most of a T32 traineeship." She highlighted innovative components of the University of Pittsburgh Interface T32 and emphasized the significance of maximizing the opportunities afforded during a traineeship, including developing essential skills, establishing mentorship relationships, and leveraging available resources to foster professional growth.

The external advisory visit reflects the T32 program's dedication to fostering excellence in research training and professional development.

Behavioral & Biomedical Sciences and Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32's Team Up to Present Emily Calandrelli at Annual Symposium

The Behavorial & Biomedical Sciences and the Cell & Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering T32's recently hosted a joint symposium at the Erickson Alumni Center. The event's theme was communication of science and featured student poster presentations, professional development workshops, and panel discussions around the topic.

The keynote speaker was none other than WVU alumna and public figure, engineer Emily Calandrelli. Emily formerly worked for MIT, but now is the host and executive producer of Xploration Outer Space and Emily's Wonder Lab, a favorite among children.

Student Kathryn Blethen was on the planning committee for the event and was thrilled at the turnout and excited to discuss the topic. She said, 'The selected topic of "Science Communication: Effectively Communicating Research and Increasing Science Literacy' felt important post-pandemic due to the rapid spread of misinformation and the public distrust in scientists. It is our responsibility as scientists to improve accessibility and inclusivity because effective science communication benefits everyone. It was an honor to serve on the planning committee and moderate the fantastic discussion panel with Emily Calandrelli, Dr. Danielle Davidov, Dr. Catherine Gouge, and Dr. Dan Totzkay."

Single training programs often hold their own symposiums, but this broader topic in science was relatable at an interdisciplinary level. All of the T32 training programs will continue to host and partner on a variety of events that focus on training, professional development and and cross-disciplinary topics.

The BBS Training Program is supported by a National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) sponsored predoctoral training grant (T32 GM132494).

Research Forrest