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Graduate student receives fellowship to further disease research

Liberty University biomedical sciences student Joe Gosnell.
Joe Gosnell

Joe Gosnell (’14), a graduate student in Liberty University’s biomedical sciences program, was recently awarded a fellowship to the Third Annual Workshop on Metabolomics, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), June 14-18.

The workshop, jointly sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the Department of Chemistry & Pharmacology and Toxicology at UAB, allows students to learn practical knowledge and testing methods in the area of metabolomics from professors, scientists, and experts in the field.

Dr. Ben Kalu, an assistant professor in Liberty’s Department of Biology & Chemistry, urged Gosnell, who works as a graduate student assistant, to apply for the workshop to further his research. Gosnell then began competing for one of 40 $1,200 scholarships that cover the cost of the workshop as well as travel and hotel expenses. Gosnell secured one of the spots after submitting an application, current curriculum vitae, a proposal, and two letters of recommendation.

Gosnell’s research is focused on developing drugs to prolong the time a Hepatic Fibrosis patient’s liver is able to function before a transplant becomes the only viable option. He expects to further his research with the knowledge gained at the workshop.

As a member of the first class of students pursuing a master’s in biomedical sciences, Gosnell’s work has helped to create new research opportunities for future biology students.

“Hopefully, what I learn at the workshop will allow me to lead fellow grad students into another direction for research to complement what we already have planned,” Gosnell said. “My goal is to give my colleagues as many research opportunities as possible, so they can get into better programs.”

Gosnell graduated from Liberty with a double major in biology (pre-med) and psychology (clinical, counseling, research) before going on to pursue a master’s degree. He hopes to go on to either an M.D. or Ph.D. program and ultimately work in the field of translational medicine (researching or testing new practices or treatments) in transplant surgery.

A presentation about his current research, “Novel Therapeutic Combinations for the Treatment of Hepatic Fibrosis,” earned Gosnell first place at Liberty’s Graduate Student Research Symposium in April.

“Joe has demonstrated the true principles of being a Champion for Christ,” said Dr. Mark Blais, pre-med coordinator and professor of biology. “He has selflessly led students in preparation for the medical boards while at the same time initiating a research program that may aid in helping to fight (Hepatic Fibrosis).”