News Articles

Graduate Student in BMED Lab Honored with Awards from the Society of Toxicology

March 2016 - Joanna Kreitinger, a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology Graduate Program at the University of Montana, will be honored with two prestigious awards from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) at their upcoming annual national meeting in New Orleans from March 13-17. The SOT annual meeting hosts over 6,000 scientists from around the world.
Ms. Kreitinger who works in the laboratory of Dr. David Shepherd, a professor in the Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences Department, will be awarded the “Best Presentation by a Graduate Student Award” from the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section for her presentation titled  “Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor Activation in CD11c+ Cells Mediates Effects of TCDD on T Lymphocyte Development in the Thymus”. Ms. Kreitinger also will receive a highly competitive “Graduate Student Travel Award” from the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section to attend this meeting and present her research.

CHPBS leads the way, develops UM Health & Medicine web portal

February 2016 - In an effort to improve the experience of current students and enhance recruitment efforts, the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Science's Dean Reed Humphrey sparked the development of a new comprehensive web portal that highlights opportunities through which students can join UM's community of learners, teachers, practitioners and researchers interested in health & medicine and pursue their academic and career goals. The new UMHM web page can be accessed at: UMHM's mission is to advance academic healthcare opportunities at UM and to enhance the quality of healthcare provided to Montanans through education, research and outreach. View full article here

UM Pharmacy Student Earns Immune System Research Funding

Shelby ColeDecember 2015 - Shelby Cole, a first-year pharmacy student from Malta, recently was awarded an Undergraduate Diversity Student supplement by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that will fund her own individual research project studying dendritic cells. Cole is Gros Ventre and Little Shell.

The funding comes as an administrative supplement to UM Professor David Shepherd’s five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, through which his team studies dendritic cells – cells that play a pivotal role in immune system interactions. The team’s goal is to develop drugs that help control immune functions – whether limiting chronic inflammation, curing autoimmune diseases, combating an infectious disease, or blocking the detrimental effects of different environmental pollutants. View full article here

UM Now Offers Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience

Neuro Injury Center Image

December 2015 – Students attending the University of Montana can now earn an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, the study of the nervous system and the brain.

The interdisciplinary major, approved by the Montana Board of Regents earlier this year, draws from courses in multiple University departments, mainly biomedical sciences, psychology, and biology. The major also requires courses in chemistry, math, and physics and offers elective courses ranging from kinesiology and health to behavioral economics, literature, and dance. UM will offer four new courses developed for the major including From Molecules to Mind: Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Central Nervous System Diseases. Full article here.

Concussion Research at UM Breaking New Ground

Patel and Rau

December 2015 - Potentially groundbreaking research is taking place in Montana to improve diagnosis and treatment of concussions. Two scientists are attempting to find critical information in human blood. This program gives an inside look at people who suffer a concussion, and those who are trying to help them. View full article here

UM Professor Appointed to National Institutes of Health Study Section

David ShepardSeptember 2015 The National Institutes of Health recently selected a University of Montana professor to be a member of its Center for Scientific Review. David Shepherd, a faculty member in UM’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, accepted the four-year appointment to serve on the Innate Immunity and Inflammation Study Section.

NIH chooses its members based on their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities and honors. View full article here

Researcher Earns $3.8M Grant to Investigate Chemical Exposure

Chuck ThompsonSebtember 2015 - A new, five-year $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has been awarded to a research team led by University of Montana Professor Chuck Thompson.

The grant will be used to support research that investigates new chemical and imaging technologies to understand how poisonous chemical agents known as organophosphates (OPs) enter the brain and how antidotes and therapeutics can be used to reduce neurotoxic effects to OP exposure. View full article here

New UM Faculty Member Pleased to Call Missoula Home


Monica Serban is a new Montanan, having moved to Missoula with her family this summer.

Serban, a new faculty member at the University of Montana, was most recently in Boston. She's lived in Utah, Nebraska, North Carolina, and years ago, her native Romania.

She had an opportunity to take a job in Maine, but she chose Montana instead, and she's ready to make a home in the Big Sky and make a difference in the lives of students and others in her community. View full article here

CHPBS research team earns MREDI award

Neuro Injury Center Image

August 2015 - CHPBS researchers were recently awarded a $2.2M grant to address traumatic brain injury from the MREDI program. An issue that affects a significant portion of Montana’s population, there are currently no available diagnostic tests to assess recovery & no proven treatments to reduce the cognitive and neurological damage from TBI. This project will bring together TBI researchers & private companies to create diagnostic tools for TBI survivors and expand clinical services for TBI survivors & veterans at UM’s Neural Injury Center by initiating clinical trials based on the technology developed by the research team. Full article here.

NFL, GE Award UM Brain Researchers $500,000

Sarj Patel and Tom Rau

July 2015 - Two University of Montana researchers were among six final winners nationally to receive $500,000 from the Head Health Challenge I, an up-to-$10 million program sponsored by General Electric Co. and the National Football League. UM Research Assistant Professors Sarj Patel and Tom Rau, whose work aims to speed diagnosis and improve treatment for mild traumatic brain injury, received the news this week.

The goal of the Head Health Challenge is to improve the safety of athletes, members of the military and society overall. The winners were selected from an initial group of 16 challenge winners who were chosen from more than 400 entries from 27 countries, after having been reviewed and nominated by a panel of leading health care experts in brain research, imaging technologies and advocates for advances in brain research. View full article here

High Schoolers Learn about Health Careers at Summer Camp

Highschool students in labJune 2015 - While some Missoulians were still eating their breakfast on Monday, two dozen Montana high-school students taking part in a health career summer camp were wrist-deep dissecting the heart of a pig.

The summer camp, called MedStart, is designed to give high-school juniors and seniors a chance to explore health careers and the various programs offered at colleges in Montana.

The MedStart camp in Missoula is sponsored by the Western Montana Area Health Education Center at the University of Montana, a not-for-profit funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. View full article here

UM Partners With Company to Create New Therapies


June 2015 - For Bridges and a research team at UM’s Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, it took almost two decades of experimentation to arrive at two related breakthroughs. They offer a potential treatment for brain tumors, which is an area in dire need of new therapies. It’s also great news because the now-patented research has led to an exclusive agreement with a drug company – and that kind of commercial development has resounding economic effects for the University and the Missoula community.

The discoveries in the group began with transporters – tiny proteins found on the surface of cells, which Bridges describes as turnstiles or revolving doors that move small molecules into and out of cells. Experimenting with those revolving doors has been a major focus for a number of groups in UM’s neuroscience center since its inception in 2002. View full article here

UM Pre-Med Program Sees Steady Increase in Grads Accepted Into Medical School

Med Students

May 2015 - With 18 students accepted into medical schools this year, the Pre-Medical Sciences Program at the University of Montana reached an acceptance rate of 64 percent – 20 points higher than the national average of 44 percent.

The pre-med program has seen a steady increase in the number of students admitted into medical programs the past several years. In 2009, seven students received acceptance letters from at least one school. In 2010, just five. The number grew to 12 in 2011, and the program has had between 18 and 21 students admitted each year since then. View full article here

BMED faculty partner with Project Lead the Way to bring Biomedical Sciences curriculum to MT high schools

Project Stem

May 2015 - The University of Montana has joined Project Lead The Way, the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math programs for students in grades K-12. UM’s new role as a PLTW affiliate reinforces the University’s support for STEM education and its dedication to providing high-quality educational opportunities for Montana students and teachers.

PLTW offers programs with pathways in engineering, biomedical science and computer science. As an affiliate, UM will offer professional development training programs to PLTW teachers, host annual conferences for school administrators and counselors, and provide ongoing support to PLTW schools throughout the state of Montana. View full article here

UM Researcher Brings Pharmacogenetics to Reservation

Erica Woodahl

April 2015 - One of the biggest buzzwords in health care right now is pharmacogenetics, also known as personalized or precision medicine. During his latest State of the Union, President Barack Obama announced he was launching a $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give Americans access to the personalized information needed to keep healthier. Last week, the governor of California unveiled a similar $3 million public-private statewide initiative. 

As interest and investment in personalized medicine increases, University of Montana Associate Professor Erica Woodahl stands in a prominent position. She's currently the only person in the continental United States doing pharmacogenetic research on an indigenous population. View full article here

Graduate Level Research at UM's Center for Environmental Health Sciences

CEHS LogoMarch 2015 - Learn about Toxicology Graduate Students at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences performing state-of-the-art research at the University of Montana. For more information, please visit View full article here

BMED faculty host student Brain Bee event

Brain Bee Participants

March 2015 - Kit Fieldhouse, the winner of University of Montana’s first Brain Bee competition, will travel to Baltimore on Friday and Saturday to compete in the U.S. National Brain Bee.

On Feb. 21, Fieldhouse won UM’s Brain Bee, an initiative of the spectrUM Discovery Area and the UM Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. The Hellgate High School junior competed against 17 other high school students from Missoula, Lolo and Florence in a written and laboratory exam, with the finalists advancing to the live Brain Bee. View full article here

Crusade Against Cancer: Scientists Search Berkeley Pit for Answers

Andrea Streile

February 2015 - Professors researching at the University of Montana have turned to Butte's Berkeley Pit fungi as a potential building block in the cure for cancer.

In their lab, Andrea Stierle tracks data on her computer while her husband, Don Stierle, writes the couple’s findings in a lab notebook. They are surrounded by chemical hoods, scattered petri dishes and graduated cylinders.

The Stierles started working at UM in 2010, and brought their research about fungi that live in the Berkeley Pit. Bacteria there have adapted to survive in its harsh waters, and the Stierles' research focuses on fungi that could block the pathways cancer uses to travel through the body. View full article here

Researchers Advance Novel Therapy for Immune System-Related Diseases


February 2015 - When the body turns against itself, it can strike with debilitating and deadly accuracy. The war raging inside people with autoimmune disorders can be devastating, and the current gold standard of care involves complete demilitarization of the body’s defenses by highly immunosuppressive drugs. Because one part of the immune system can’t be trusted, the whole thing is brought down, leaving the body highly susceptible to increased and more severe infections, as well as unchecked growth of cancerous cells. But now UM researchers are developing a more targeted response. View full article here

Study: Air Pollution Affects Short-Term Memory, IQ, Brain Metabolic Ratios


February 2015 - City smog lowers children’s IQ. This is among findings from a recent University of Montana study that found children living in cities with significant air pollution are at an increased risk for detrimental impacts to the brain, including short-term memory loss and lower IQ.

Findings by UM Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children with lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current U.S. standards, including fine particulate matter, are at an increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. View full article here





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