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KCOM Microbiology/Immunology Associate Professor Melissa K. Stuart, Ph.D., was recently selected as the 2010 Item Writer of the Year for Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensure Examination of the United States (COMLEX-USA) Level 1 examinations. This is the second year in a row that Dr. Stuart has received this designation.

Dr. Stuart successfully completed the item-writing training course overseen by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), which is a not-for-profit corporation that serves public and state licensing agencies by administering examinations testing the medical knowledge of those who seek to serve the public as osteopathic physicians.

According to the 2010 NBOME Annual Report the NBOME undertook an objective evaluation of more than 200 item writers and case authors who contributed to all levels of the COMLEX-USA examinations in 2010 while making its 2010 Item Writer of the Year selections.
The COMLEX-USA examination sequence is currently accepted for licensure in 50 states, and is used as an accreditation requirement for all schools and colleges of osteopathic medicine by the Commission on Accreditation of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine of the American Osteopathic Association.

Faculty and students from the department of Microbiology/Immunology, ATSU-KCOM, presented research posters at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology held May 21-24 in New Orleans.

“Analysis of Proteins that Co-precipitate with RadA/Sms in X-irradiated Escherichia coli” was presented by Melissa K. Stuart, Ph.D., associate professor. Co-authors were Nastassia C. Richardson, M.S., ’11, OMS II; Jacob L. Hiatt, B.A., BMSI; Vineet K. Singh, Ph.D., associate professor; and Neil J. Sargentini, Ph.D., professor and chair.

Trintje Johansson, B.S., BMSI, presented “Expression Pattern and Significance of Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases in Staphylococcus aureus.” Co-authors were Anchal Singh, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow; Kuldeep Singh, M.S., ’11, OMS I; and Vineet K. Singh.

TSU master’s degree candidate Megan L. Folkerts, B.S., presented “Transcription of radA/sms Is Upregulated in UV or X-irradiated Escherichia coli.” Co-authors were Debra A. Hudman, M.S., research associate, and Neil J. Sargentini, Ph.D.

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The first annual Student Research Symposium, organized by ATSU’s Interdisciplinary Research Committee, was held on May 20, from 3-5 p.m., on the Mesa, Ariz., campus. The event showcased student research from seven academic programs: athletic training, audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, osteopathic medicine, health sciences, and dentistry and oral health.

The symposium began with a keynote address presented to students, faculty and staff by speaker Tinna Traustadottir, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS, associate director of exercise sciences for Kronos Longevity Research Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. Dr. Traustadottir conducts research in the area of stress resilience and aging and spoke on “Oxidative stress: a friend or foe to aging.”

After the keynote address, symposium attendees enjoyed light refreshments while viewing student research poster presentations. Thirty-one student research projects were displayed.

“I think the symposium was well received and was a great first attempt at getting students from all schools on the Mesa campus together to share their research,” said Tamara Valovich McLeod, Ph.D., ATC, FNATA, associate professor, interdisciplinary health sciences. “Hopefully, we can expand the event in the future to highlight the great scholarship of ATSU students.”


The following ATSU students are the 2011 Women’s Wellness Scholars Program recipients. The Scholars Program is funded by members of ATSU’s Women’s Wellness program. This is the second year the Women’s Wellness program has provided student scholarship support. In total, the program has awarded 19 scholarships to students.

Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH)

Catherine Guerrero – ASDOH, class of 2012
Brandi Lynn Molina – ASDOH, class of 2013
Onika Patel – ASDOH, class of 2014

Arizona School of Health Sciences (ASHS)

Stephanie Phelps – ASHS/Physical Therapy, class of 2012
Laura Demick – ASHS/Occupational Therapy, class of 2013
Mia Pozzanghera – ASHS/Audiology, class of 2014

School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (SOMA)

Melissa Marie Blessing – SOMA, class of 2012
Mohammad Iqbal Naqvi – SOMA, class of 2013
Shane Wylie Monnett – SOMA, class of 2013

ATSU’s Women’s Wellness program is committed to bringing together women who want to learn about healthcare innovations and issues that impact the community’s health and the health of their families. The Women’s Wellness program is equally committed to providing philanthropic support for the University’s innovative educational models, scholarships for its graduate healthcare students and patient care for vulnerable populations.

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Jack Magruder, Ed.D., president, ATSU, and Douglas L. Wood, D.O., Ph.D., senior vice president-academic affairs, ATSU, presented the Employee Excellence Award to two employees during the Employee Recognition Ceremony held on May 19 on the Mesa, Ariz., campus.  Ashley Whalen, who works in communication & marketing, received ATSU’s Employee Excellence Award for the fourth quarter of 2011, and Pedro Torres, dental clinic assistant, ASDOH, was the first quarter recipient.

Whalen was nominated for the award by the entire communication & marketing department team. They wrote in their nomination: “When thinking about phrases such as dedicated, responsible, and committed to service, our team believes you have just described Ashley. She has been an employee of ATSU since 2008, and in that time has established outstanding relationships among faculty, staff and students. Despite her busy schedule, Ashley always makes it seem that she has time devoted just to you.”

Torres was nominated by Maureen Romer, D.D.S., M.P.A, associate professor, ASDOH. “Pedro’s calm demeanor, positive attitude and willingness to help various departments of ASDOH are only some of his best attributes,” said Dr. Romer.  “He brings knowledge and experience into the clinic every day and always has a willingness to learn new things.”

The Employee Excellence Award is given to an ATSU employee that meets the following requirements:

  • Must have at least one year of employment and be a non-supervisory hourly or salaried employee.
  • Contributes to a positive institutional image by their attitudes and personal actions displayed.
  • Displays courteous, pleasant, and professional behavior in all circumstances.
  • Communicates in a manner that contributes to a well-functioning department and institution.
  • Treats patients, students, visitors, and/or coworkers with care, concern, and respect at all times.
  • Takes the initiative to recognize a job that needs to be done, and does it without expecting to be recognized.
  • Has a well-groomed appearance that is consistent with the job requirements.
  • Has not received the award for the past two years.

Thirty-five employees were also recognized for their five, 10 and 15 years of service to the university at the ceremony.

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