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Institutional Review Board
147 Sycamore Street
Pikeville, Kentucky 41501
UPIKE has a long history of defying expectations. However you may have viewed yourself, the Appalachian community or the world before setting foot on our campus.
Research is the repeated systematic process of testing hypotheses to develop theories. It can include basic science, clinical, social science or translational research and encompass testing on human subjects and animals.
Before beginning, the researcher may need to complete several certifications and gain approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board. These processes are in place to protect the participants and researchers.
For more information:
Creswell, J. W. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. 4th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014.
The University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic College (KYCOM) has been growing and sustaining a successful research program located on campus. The research program at KYCOM provide students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to engage in a culture of inquiry through ethical and safe biomedical research. Located in the Coal Building, the state-of-the-art 2,600 square foot laboratory provides students and faculty with all the equipment and resources needed to conduct successful research. In addition to the research laboratory, KYCOM also has a 10-room clinic located in the Coal Building that is available for clinical research studies.
The clinical research priority areas include osteopathic manipulative treatment, osteopathic patient care, clinical case research, community health research and research for primary care in underdeveloped areas.
The research program at KYCOM strives to serve as a continuation of the mission of the college and provide solutions for problems that are prevalent in the rural areas of Appalachia.
The combination of research, scholarship, and teaching are all valuable aspects needed in the training of osteopathic physicians. Student fellowships for research are available to KYCOM students in good academic standing.
In addition to providing valuable information to the medical community, students who participate in research, gain valuable information about experimental designs, data collection, and analysis as well as important techniques for biomedical research.
The research program at KYCOM aims to advance biomedical knowledge, give students opportunity to grow beyond the curriculum framework, and produce future physicians who will continue improving health in Appalachian communities.
The biomedical science research priority areas include cancer prevention and treatment, cardiovascular physiology, aging of the immune system in the context of thymic structure and function, mammalian macroevolution, diabetes research, black lung and medical education research.
Kartick Pramanik, Ph.D.; M. Pharm.
The central goal of Dr. Pramanik’s research is to discover natural, or biologic compounds in the prevention of pancreatic cancer progression and chemo-resistance. Currently, his laboratory is actively engaged to understand the underlying mechanism of induction of senescence and activation of chemo-sensitization by natural agents: (A) Senescence is the proliferative arrest of cells in the cell cycle. Cells remain metabolically and synthetically active but are not able to proliferate. Therefore, senescence has become a favorable tumor suppressor therapy in cancer. Like many other cancers, pancreatic cancer often involves the inactivation of, or a mutation p53 tumor suppressor gene. Experimental evidence has shown that p53 loss allows cells to escape cell cycle proliferative arrest and activation of p53 induces senescence. My laboratory is actively involved to investigate the underlying mechanism of activation of p53 by natural agents in the induction of senescence. (B) The major obstacle to successful treatment in patients with pancreatic cancer is due to multi-drug resistance (MDR) which is a decreased effectiveness of an anticancer drug. Extensive studies reported that both p53 and multi-drug transporters play important roles in chemoresistance. The laboratory is also involved to understand the fundamental mechanism of natural agents in the induction of P53 leading to chemo-sensitization of gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer cells.
Ji, Z.-L., Yao, L., Pramanik, K. C., Cai, Z. J., eds. Artificial Intelligence for Translational Pharmacology. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. Frontier in Pharmacology, doi: 10.3389/978-2-88963-888-8, 2020
Vijay P Kale, Hasan Habib, Robert Chistren, Milan Patel, Kartick C. Pramanik, Subash Jonnalagadda, Kishore Challagundla, Manoj K Pandey*. Old drugs new bold purpose: Assessing drug repurposing in hematological and childhood malignancies. Semen Cancer Biol. 2020 Mar 6. pii: S1044-579X(20)30063-8. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2020.03.005.
Monish Ram Makena, Himavanth Gatla, Dattesh Verlekar, Sahithi Sukhavasi, Manoj K. Pandey, and Kartick C. Pramanik*. Wnt/β-catenin Signaling: The culprit in Pancreatic Carcinogenesis and Therapeutic Resistance. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 20, 4242, 2019
Kartick C. Pramanik, Monish Ram Makena, Kuntal Bhowmick and Manoj K. Pandey, Advancement of NF-κB Signaling Pathway: A Novel Target in Pancreatic Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. Nov 19, 3890; doi:10.3390/ijms19123890. 2018
Wu W, Karelia D, Pramanik K, Amin SG, Sharma AK, Jiang C, Lu J, Phenylbutyl isoselenocyanate induces reactive oxygen species to inhibit androgen receptor and to initiate p53-mediated apoptosis in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Mol Carcinog. Aug;57(8):1055-1066, 2018
Yong Zhang, Yinhui Dong, Michael W. Melkus, Shutao Yin, Su-Ni Tang, Peixin Jiang, Kartick Pramanik, Wei Wu, Sangyub Kim, Min Ye, Hongbo Hu, Junxuan Lu and Cheng Jiang. Role of P53-Senescence Induction in Suppression of LNCaP Prostate Cancer Growth by Cardiotonic Compound Bufalin Mol Cancer Ther. Nov;17(11):2341-2352. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-17-1296. 2018
Malgorzata Simm, Ph.D., MSc
Dr. Simm’s research project is highly exploratory and at its initiation stage. Simm is testing the hypothesis that the residual function of thymus persists in humans until the end of life and plays a role in optimizing human immune function. This hypothesis is supported by (i) studies in animal models, (ii) sporadic reports of finding functional thymic activity in postmortem samples from persons over 50 years of age and, (iii) by the growing body of evidence showing the presence of naïve “virgin” T cells in the periphery of persons, who by current medical definitions should not have a functional thymus. There is a noticeable void in the knowledge about the function of the involuted thymus in humans due to the scarceness of human tissues and a lack of standardized methods of testing the postmortem markers of cellular activity such as RNA and protein expression. Simm proposes to fill this gap in knowledge by the initiation of systematic studies on the immunological fitness of thymus in human subjects by assessing the epithelial compartment in thymi harvested from donor bodies used for gross anatomy training at KYCOM. For the appropriate sample representation, we aim to harvest the thymi from persons whose age at the time of death spans from 18 to 80+ years. Utilizing the thymic tissue along with the modern molecular biology and immunocytochemistry techniques, we will focus on research variables that define thymic activity. Simm’s research is highly collaborative and student-oriented, as most of the experimental approach, requires college-level laboratory training. The research team incorporates members of the gross anatomy and immunology departments.
This project is in its exploratory stage and did not generate a publication record. To see Simm’s publications from previous research projects, visit the bibliography at the National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/14KAgwqly6EkP/bibliography/public/
Shumaila Hanif, Ph.D., MSc, MBA
Tuberculosis remains the most serious global infectious disease caused by a single causative organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. One-fourth of the world’s population has been infected with MTB. Moreover, the incidence of co-infection with HIV, multiple and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis presents an imminent threat to global health. No new drugs in over thirty years, and no new vaccines in 92 years have been launched. Consequently, the search for new drugs, vaccines and therapies, in general, is an urgent need in global health. Thus, Dr. Hanif’s research interest is in Infectious Diseases specially in developing new diagnostic methods, new drugs and new vaccines for TB. Hanif is also interested in educational research involving students. Currently, Hanif is working on two projects “Osteopathic Medical Student Preferences for PowerPoint Presentation Structure” and “Osteopathic Medical Student’s Preferences for Lecture Delivery.”
Fadi A, Abdallah L, Hrizat A, Hanif SNM. Toxic shock and shock-like syndrome: The constant threat. Remedy Publications LLC., 2019, 4:1-7.
Ethan Fullwood, Ph.D.
Dr. Fullwood’s research is driven by the desire to better understand mammal macroevolution through the particular lens of dietary ecology. Fullwood’s work has focused largely on primates, and much of it uses digital tools for characterizing functional tooth shape, known as dental topography metrics. Fullwood works on testing the effectiveness of these metrics in capturing dietary ecology in extant primates, examining how they may reflect geographic gradients in food material properties, and then applying these metrics to extinct species. Dental topography metrics are also well suited for capturing potential trends in tooth functional properties as teeth wear. Teeth change shape dramatically as they wear, but some taxa appear to maintain function by sculpting new cutting surfaces. Mammal lineages may evolve to improve their ability to maintain functional wear across macroevolutionary time, with certain dental morphologies, like bilophodonty, representing adaptations that maximize the sculpting of new functional surfaces. Fullwood is beginning a collaborative project studying the effect of longitudinal tooth wear in fossil tapirs to test this hypothesis in the tapiromorph lineage.
Fullwood’s work on functional morphology lays the groundwork for a broader program examining the relationships between rates of morphological evolution and ecological opportunity in mammals. Fullwood has worked with colleagues to combine quantifications of tooth shape and macroevolutionary modeling approaches to investigate the relationship between ecological opportunity and morphological divergence in lemurs. We proposed a new model for lemur evolution in which the exploitation of defended plant resources in expanding forests facilitated ecological diversification. Fullwood has begun a similar study examining rates of evolution, disparity, and climatically mediated ecospace availability in Eocene North American fossil primates, which will explore the responses of this fauna to Paleogene climate fluctuations. This has the potential to enhance our understanding of the evolutionary history of North American primates and explore fundamental evolutionary questions about the response of lineages to ecological opportunity.
Fulwood EF. Ecometric modelling of tooth shape and precipitation gradients among lemurs on Madagascar. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 129: 26-40. 2020
Fulwood EF, Boyer DM, Kay RF. Stem members of Platyrrhini are distinct from catarrhines in at least one derived cranial feature. Journal of Human Evolution 100: 16-24, 2016
Guichun Han, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Han’s research focus is in the field of female hormone effects on cardiovascular system. More specifically, Han’s research team studies the role of individual estrogen receptors in coronary blood flow regulation and the interplay of different receptor signaling pathways. Childbearing age women are protected from coronary heart disease compared to men, owing largely to the female hormones. Studies have confirmed that within six years after menopause, oral estradiol therapy is associated with less progression of subclinical atherosclerosis. In contrast, in women >65 years of age, who have the highest mortality rate, estrogen replacement is associated with even greater risk of coronary heart disease. Han’s research team apply comprehensive research approaches in our investigation. Isometric tension study and microvessle cannulation study are for measuring vascular tension or diameter changes in a chamber that provides a controlled environment for an arterial ring or arteriole under study. Biochemistry and molecular biology approaches are employed for investigating the molecular basis of the functional changes that being observed in the aforementioned functional study. Confocal imaging is to visualize the molecular interactions of the receptor signaling. In their endeavor of making new discovery, they have found intriguing interplay relationships between the classic estrogen receptors ERα/ERβ and the membrane G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER). The crosstalk of between ERα/ERβ and GPER is of the most significant area to explore in the field and the findings will shed light on the current understanding of estrogen effects in cardiovascular system as well as in most organs and tissues where estrogen receptors present. Therefore, their research findings will meet the need of providing molecular basis for new drug targets in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Han’s research projects have been funded multiple times by American Heart Association.
Yang S, Jiang M, Grabowska MM, Li J, Connelly ZM, Zhang J, Hayward SW, Cates JM, Han G, Yu X. Androgen receptor differentially regulates the proliferation of prostatic epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Oncotarget. 2016 Oct 25;7(43):70404-70419. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11879.
Yu X, Zhang Q, Zhao Y, Schwarz BJ, Stallone JN, Heaps CL, Han G. Activation of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 induces coronary artery relaxation via Epac/Rap1-mediated inhibition of RhoA/Rho kinase pathway in parallel with PKA. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 9;12(3):e0173085. doi: 10.1371/journal. pone.0173085. eCollection 2017.
Yu X, Zhang Q, Zhao Y, Schwarz BJ, Stallone JN, Heaps CL, Han G. The activation of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor induces relaxation via cAMP as well as potentiates contraction via EGFR transactivation in porcine coronary arteries. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 23;13(1):e0191418. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191418. eCollection 2018
Yan H, Yang W, Zhou F, Li X, Pan Q, Shen Z, Han G, Newell-Fugate A, Tian Y, Majeti R, Liu W4, Xu Y, Wu C, Allred K, Allred C, Sun Y, Guo S. Estrogen Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Suppresses Gluconeogenesis via the Transcription Factor Foxo1. Diabetes. 2018 Nov 28. pii: db180638. doi: 10.2337/db18-0638 [Epub ahead of print].
One of the aims of the research program at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine is student-lead.
The program seeks to reinforce KYCOM’s mission statement by encouraging students to participate in research and cultivating an appreciation of lifelong scholarly activity by providing students with the opportunity to learn research techniques and practices. KYCOM students are invited to apply for the summer research program through the KYCOM Student Research Application.
Students selected for the summer research fellowship will receive a stipend. Students work closely with their mentor faculty members throughout the summer.
They can also find their mentor outside the university. Students work with very knowledgeable faculty that will assist them and assure that the research is successful.
Students have the opportunity to present their research work at regional, national and international conferences and during KYCOM Research Day.
Prospective students are encouraged to view the faculty research tab to discover topics of interest.
Students Summer Research:
Statistics is a tool that helps researchers relay the meaningfulness of the subject by organizing the collected data (descriptive statistics) and make statements about how characteristics of that data are applicable to new settings (inferential statistics). Which statistical tests are selected depends on the question to be answered.
Meg Sidle, Ph.D., director of institutional research and effectiveness, assists faculty and students with statistical analysis of their research projects.
For assistance, contact Meg Sidle at:
Office: Record Memorial Building 600
In support of the research process, IBM SPSS Statistics software is installed on a set of computers in Allara Library.
Statistics textbooks that may be of benefit in research include:
Salkind, N. J. (2017). Statistics for people who (think they) hate statistics ( 6th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. [ISBN: 978-1-5063-3383-0]
Trochim, W. M., and Donnelly, J. P. (2006). The Research Methods Knowledge Base (3rd Ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Atomic Dog Publishing, Inc. [ISBN: 978-1-5926-0291-9]
The University of Pikeville’s Office of Advancement supports the grant writing efforts of faculty and other campus researchers. Grant writing services include searching for funding opportunities, developing proposals, developing budgets, editing and managing awarded grants.
Contact Grant Writer Michelle Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 606-218-5279 for help funding research interest or study.
For more information about funding opportunities, visit:
National Institutes of Health
National Eye Institute
National Science Foundation
Kentucky Academy of Science
Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network
American Academy of Optometry
American Osteopathic Association
Selective Laser Trabeculoplaty (SLT) vs Combigan
Name of researcher(s): Ian McWherter, O.D.
Project Title: Selective Laser Trabeculoplaty (SLT) vs Combigan
Project Description (250 word limit): This study aims to compare the effectiveness in intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering between SLT and Combigan in primary open angle glaucoma patients who are uncontrolled on a topical prostaglandin analog.
Contact Information: email@example.com
Accepting new research interns: no
Cataract Surgery Activity Study
Name of researcher(s): Duane Corbett, Ph.D and Ian McWherter, O.D.
Project Title: Cataract Surgery Activity Study
Project Description (250 word limit): This study will investigate the effects of cataract surgery on the daily activities levels in elderly patients.