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By: Laura Damron |
October 24, 2019
Phillip Jen, Ph.D., professor of biology at the
University of Pikeville; Fadi Al Akhrass, M.D., FACP, medical director of Infectious Diseases and Infection
Control at Pikeville Medical Center; and a group of UPIKE
students have collaborated on a research project that examines the function of
specific neurons in the human gallbladder. Their study, entitled
Immunohistochemical Characteristics of Ganglionated Plexuses,” was recently
accepted by the European Journal of Anatomy.
Jen and Al Akhrass teamed up soon after Jen began
teaching at UPIKE. With a strong background in research, Jen developed a lab at
the university to engage students in scientific learning experiences.
After Al Akhrass provided tissue samples for the study,
undergraduate students, under Jen’s instruction, cut the tissue, stained and
coded slides, and helped map nerve patterns to better understand gallbladder conditions.
The student group included Nathan Pray, Cassie Day, Lais M. de Oliveira, Jaymie
Collins and Daniel Bosse-Joseph.
Jen said the research may be helpful in the
development of drugs and treatment of certain gallbladder disorders. Al Akhrass
also noted that the methodology of the study is the first of its kind.
Jen and Al Akhrass have plans for multiple observation
studies to investigate the physiology of specific tissues and determine the
associated implications. They are already pursuing a project in which they’re
studying lung tissue.