Latest News from Research and Development

Fall Newsletter, 2016

Take a moment and see some of the exciting news from the  Research and Development department in our fall newsletter.

Carilion Clinic, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and Jefferson College Hosted the 9th Annual Research Day - 2016

Research and Development hosted its 9th annual Research Day on April 5, 2016.  The program ran from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and was held at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital’s 6th floor auditorium. 130 abstracts were submitted for presentation making it the most ever submitted. Over 250 people attended the event.

We continued with the three poster sessions. Having three sessions afforded the opportunity to display more posters and greater interaction with poster presenters and their research.

We kept with the format of rapid communication presentations (RCP) where the top 4 students and top 4 resident/fellow abstracts were presented as 4-minute talks with 2 minutes of questions.  This year we added the top 6 faculty/professionals abstracts to present a RCP. After the RCPs were selected, the top 4 abstracts from faculty/professional, residents/fellows, and students were identified for meritorious poster awards. The RCPs and meritorious poster awards are listed below.

This year’s event also highlighted the fascinating work of Phyllis Whitehead, Ph.D, A.P.R.N., A.C.H.P.N, clinical nurse specialist with the CRMH Palliative Care Service/Pain Management Team and Assistant Professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.  Dr. Whitehead’s presentation was “Research:  A Team Endeavor?”  According to the event evaluations, her presentation was extremely well received.

“We had our highest number of abstracts accepted this year and the quality was outstanding,” said Frank Dane, Ph.D., chair of Arts & Sciences at Jefferson College and assistant director of Research and Development at Carilion. “I want to thank everyone involved in research at Carilion Clinic, VTCSOM and Jefferson College, and acknowledge that Research Day would not be possible without the time and dedication of the Planning Committee and Abstract Review Committee (whose job is getting harder each year).”

Overall, the event also showcased 92 research projects through poster presentations by faculty from Carilion, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, VirginiaTech Carilion SOM, and Virginia Tech. Also, medical residents/fellows and students from VTCSOM, Jefferson, Radford University, and the Governor’s School participated.

To view the booklet of all abstracts accepted or for more information about Research Day and the opportunities available for conducting research through Carilion, visit the Research and Development website on Inside Carilion or call 540-985-8510 (88510).
The Rapid Communication Presentations (RCP) and Meritorious Poster Winners are:

Faculty RCP
John Clements, D.P.M., Carilion Clinic
Donald Kees, M.D., Carilion Clinic
Andre A. Muelenaer, M.D., M.S., Carilion Clinic - VTCSOM
Laurie W. Seidel, M.S.N., R.N., Carilion Clinic
Donna Bond, D.N.P., R.N., C.C.N.S., A.E.-C., C.T.T.S.,Carilion Clinic
JayasimhaRao, Ph.D., Carilion Clinic, Jefferson College, VTCSOM

Residents/Fellows RCP
Josh Gazo, M.D., Carilion Clinic - VTCSOMInternal Medicine Residency
Vu Nguyen, M.D., Carilion Clinic – VTCSOM  Gastroenterology Residency
Sarah Green, Pharm. D., B.C.P.S., Carilion Clinic – VTCSOM Pharmacy Residency
Onyedika J. Ilonze, M.D., M.P.H., Carilion Clinic – VTCSOM Cardiology Fellowship
Students RCP
Matthew Yanoff, B.S., VTCSOM
Nitasha Dhiman, VTCSOM
Conor N. O’Neill, B.S., VTCSOM
Zakk J. Walterscheid, B.S., VTCSOM
The following poster presentations received meritorious honors at the event:
Keel E. Coleman, D.O., Carilion Clinic - VTCSOM
David W. Musick, Ph.D., Carilion Clinic/VTCSOM (two awards)
Eric J. Vance, M.D., Carilion Clinic - VTCSOM
Mary C. Carter, M.D.,Carilion Clinic - VTCSOM Pulmonology Critical Care Fellowship
Santosh K. Nepal, M.D., Carilion Clinic – VTCSOM Pulmonology Critical Care Fellowship
John B. Ortolani, M.D., Carilion Clinic - VTCSOM,  Surgery Residency
Margaret Whitney, M.D., Carilion Clinic – VTCSOM OB-GYN Residency
LiqaAthamneh, M.S., VTCSOM
Catherine Gambale, B.S., VTCSOM
Nathan M. Johnson, M.S., VTCSOM
AlirezaNazemi, M.S., VTCSOM





2016 Research Day Abstract Book

Funding Opportunities

Funding Opps - May 2016

Funding Opps - April 2016

Carilion Clinic Basic Science Research Lab Acquires a new Gene Pulser Xcell Electroporation System by Bio Rad

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the research lab has just acquired a new Gene Pulser Xcell Electroporation System by Bio Rad. This equipment was purchased with grant funding from the Thomas F. and Kate Jeffress Memorial Trust of Richmond awarded to Dr. Jayasimha Rao, Senior Research Associate for the Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, at Carilion Clinic for his study entitled, “Mutational Analysis of RsmA Binding Sites and Regulatory Targets in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” This electroporation system is a much needed and appreciated addition to the research laboratory.

A Progressive New Viral Therapy Now Available at Carilion Clinic

Recently, the Gynecological Oncology Clinic opened the GOG 186H clinical trial offering cutting edge cancer treatment for ovarian cancer patients. Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in approximately 22,000 women annually and is responsible for an estimated 14,000 cancer deaths each year. This trial should make history by raising the bar for Carilion Clinic’s cancer treatments that were only available previously at cancer centers located miles from the patient’s home.

The GOG 186H is a phase II trial that offers two arms of therapy. A patient is randomized to either receive standard chemotherapy or standard treatment plus the new virus called Reolysin. This new drug is derived from the human reovirus and has proven to demonstrate the ability to seek out cancer cells, penetrate the cell wall, replicate within the cell and subsequently destroy the cancer. The reovirus is an acronym for Respiratory Enteric Orphan virus that is believed to inhabit the respiratory and bowel systems of humans. By the age of 12, half of all children show evidence of exposure to the virus and by adulthood, most people have been exposed. This virus is found naturally in water supplies and sewage systems. It is also in lakes, rivers and streams. It is important to note that the virus is considered non–pathogenic which means that usually no symptoms occur from exposure to the virus.

Reovirus was found to be capable of reproducing in various cancer cell lines. More specifically, it can penetrate the cancer cells that demonstrate the activated RAS pathway. Tumor cells that show an activated RAS pathway are not capable of producing an anti–viral response that is normally mediated by the host cellular protein called PKR. This protein is responsible for preventing reovirus replication in healthy cells. As the reovirus replicates within the tumor cell and then eventually kills the host tumor cell, the virus particles are released and seek out additional cancer cells. The cycle of infecting the tumor cell, replicating, and cell death is believed to be able to repeat until all cancer cells are destroyed. In addition, this process may also stimulate the immune system to recognize and kill other tumor cells. You can view an excellent video demonstrating the mechanism of action for Reloysin at

Currently, there are a limited number of options for women who present with recurrent ovarian cancer. This trial is showing promise, and the Gynelogical Oncology team is very excited to be able to offer this revolutionary treatment option to patients in our area. Notably, it has taken the hard work and dedication of various departments within Carilion to develop a treatment plan and set guidelines for the safe handling and administration of this exciting new therapy. It truly is a great time to be a part of Carilion Clinic!

Charlene Viers, RN, BSN, OCN, CCRP

Carilion’s Active Clinical Trials’ List

For a list of categories of Carilion’s active clinical trials, please visit our Clinical Trials page. Details of the clinical studies can be found in each clinical area.

Listserv Announcement

Carilion Clinic R&D distributes a list of new and current grant opportunities. This list includes new opportunities from federal agencies, as well as grant announcements from foundations and other organizations. Notices from federal agencies on e–submission, compliance or other subjects are also included in the e–mail.

If you are interested in subscribing to funding opportunities and announcement e–mail list, please e–mail with “subscribe to R&D listserv” in the subject line.