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USC professor named 2010 Eminent Scientist

first_imgA USC professor has been recognized by the International Research Promotion Council for his work with cancer and the human papillomavirus.W. Martin Kast, who teaches molecular microbiology, obstetrics and immunology at the Keck School of Medicine, won the Millennium Golden International Award and was named the 2010 Eminent Scientist of the Year and North American Immunologist of the Year.Man of the year – Professor Martin Kast receives the Eminent Scientist of the Year award for his research in human papillomavirus. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily Trojan“From my undergraduate through now, I have always had interest in and worked on projects having to do with antiviral immunity,” Kast said.  “In the future I plan to translate our laboratory findings into clinical trials and perform these trials with a team of physicians on the medical campus.”Knowledge about HPV can be used in researching other cancers as well, he said, such as prostate cancer and melanoma. Hopefully, Kast added, the publicity of his award will result in more opportunities for his work.“The award shows that the international research community is appreciative of the work that I am doing in this area and sees the potential of treating woman with this deadly disease in underdeveloped countries,” Kast said. “This will also bring very positive publicity which might lead to funding agencies and more grants to help the research efforts.”More than 500,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but according to Kast, cervical cancer is completely preventable in developed countries through vaccination.Underdeveloped countries, however, are not able to afford this vaccine, often resulting in death for women with cervical cancer. Kast’s research is aimed at assisting women after they are diagnosed.“Therapeutic vaccines work after the fact that you have a virus or cancer and it tries to manipulate your body and stimulate the immune system so it can fight the infection,” Kast said.  “My research is helpful in giving treatment to cervical cancer after it has infected the body.”Some of Kast’s research focuses on learning how HPV enters the immune system, gets into the cells and escapes from the system, and how to reverse the escape.Kast’s 11-member research team has also contributed greatly to this project, he said.“They physically carry out the experiments and intellectually attend meetings and develop new ideas to see if they can be used in our research,” Kast said.Diane Da Silva, a senior research associate who has worked with Kast for 12 years, said he is very passionate about his work and research.“What is great about Dr. Kast is that he injects his enthusiasm he has for the research into his staff, and gives us independence to develop new ideas and test our hypothesis,” Da Silva said.  “He really cares for all of his students and team members and wants all of us to do our very best and succeed as independent scientists.”Lisa Yan, a second-year graduate student studying genetic, molecular and cellular biology, said Kast’s mentorship has been invaluable during her time in his lab.“There are often times when Dr. Kast would question me until I am speechless, allowing me to realize how much more I have to learn to become an expert in this field,” she said. “His comments and intellectual input into my research has opened my eyes to different aspects of my work. This contribution is priceless.”last_img read more

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Baylee Douglass and Jessica Heese rekindle childhood bond as Syracuse transfers

first_imgBaylee Douglass stood in the circle and watched as her best friend, Jessica Heese, entered the batter’s box. Earlier in the game, Heese knocked a home run off the starting pitcher. When Douglas took the circle, Lynn, her father, told her to hit Heese with a changeup to avoid pitching to her. After Heese drew a full count, Douglass drilled Heese with a fastball.“Jess turned around at me and looked at me and threw the bat at me,” Lynn said of the summer league game, “I was like ‘I told her to hit you with a changeup.’”Douglass and Heese spark each other. And for the first time in two years, they’re teammates at Syracuse (6-3). Through seven games, Heese is batting .273 with two RBIs. Though Douglass has struggled, allowing nine earned runs in just over seven innings, she remains in the rotation. They are two of four transfers Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch signed this year.Douglass played two years at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, where she earned Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year honors in 2015. As a sophomore, she won 18 games with a 1.85 earned run average. Heese, meanwhile, finished 2016 at Southern Illinois-Carbondale with 27 RBIs and third in the Missouri Valley Conference with 14 doubles.The competition between the two in high school turned into motivation and brought them closer. Douglass would often stay with Heese for several days at a time after making the near three-hour drive to Kansas City. Heese’s mother, Stephanie, said she barely knew that they were there. She said they were always out playing softball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Baylee would pitch, and Jessica would hit,” she said. “And they’d bring whoever else they could with them.”Stephanie Heese remembered a tournament in which the pair played during high school. One cold morning in Athens, Georgia, they were playing against a team with a lot of future Power 5 players.Douglass shut the opposition down. Hitters didn’t figure her out until it was basically over. Offensively, Heese ripped a triple down the right field line against an Alabama-bound pitcher. Yet both Douglass and Heese landed in mid-majors, where they continued to face each other during the regular season.Besides the annual matchup against each other, the competition of mid-majors wasn’t enough. Douglass ripped through batters en route to a 2.04 ERA and Heese finished second on the team in RBIs and fourth in SIU history in single-season doubles. But both players realized their only chance at legitimate competition was to leave, with Douglass saying she urged Hesse to transfer.Heese and Douglass moved across the country and found a home in Syracuse, where Heese starts in the outfield and Douglass pitches. On and off the field, the roommates stick by each other’s sides, whether on trips to Wal-Mart or dinner dates.“We go on more dates than her and her actual boyfriend do,” Heese said.Still, their competitiveness shines through. At summer ball, Heese would take more attempts hitting off of Douglass than anyone else, and she brought that to college. The loser does dishes. As fierce as they may be, the two are each other’s strongest support systems.“It’s just fun having my best friend playing with me again,” Heese said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 21, 2017 at 12:09 am Contact Matt: [email protected]last_img read more