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Alcorn MHIRT participants publish research papers on neurotoxicology and molecular pharmacology

Lorman, Miss. (January 17, 2014) - “We are elated to report that three of our students recently published research papers in the areas of neurotoxicology and one in molecular pharmacology. It was a result of their ten-week intensive training in biomedical sciences within Alcorn’s Minority Health International Research Training (ASU-MHIRT) that they competed in India,” shared Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and director of ASU-MHIRT.

Through a multiyear funding program from the National Center for Minority Diseases and Disease Disparity (NCMHD) of National Institute of Health (NIH), Alcorn State University offers high quality research training in biomedical sciences to students at two nationally known research institutions in India, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and St. John’s Research Institute of St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore.

All three students who published papers - Kendra S. Robinson Taylor, Dale Williams and Myron Green - were trained at Andhra University at different times, but all of them received top-notch training and support. Their research mentors were Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna and Sharada Rajanna, professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences who collaborated with Dr. Y. Prabhakarara Yellapragada, professor and director of Neurotoxicology and Molecular Physiology, Dr. Rajeswararo Pragada, professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Andhra University, Viskhapatnam, India. Alcorn student researchers also received valuable hands-on training in laboratory research by three Andhra University pre-doctoral research student scholars Manoj Kumar Velaga, Charan Kumar Basur (both specializing in neurotoxicology) and Sambasivarao Ethadi who specialized in molecular pharmacology.

Kendra S. Robinson Taylor coauthored a paper in neruotoxicology, “Ameliorative effects of Bacopa monniera on lead-induced oxidative stress in different regions of rat brain”, and her coauthors were Manoj Kumar Velaga, Charan Kumar Basuri, Prabakararao Yellapragada, Sharada Rajanna and Bettaiya Rajanna. This publication appeared online on December 13, 2013, in Drug and Chemical Toxicology [ISSN: 0148-0845 (print); 1525-6014 (electronic)]. The print version will be out in early June 2014. Taylor Robinson went through MHIRT training in 2009 and her reseach mentor at Andhra University was Dr. Prabhakararao. Later that year, she presented her paper at the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) organized by American Society for Microbiology. At this conference, she and two other ASU-MHIRT participants won the best paper award. A native of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Kendra graduated from Alcorn in 2011, she did graduate work at Mississippi College, and currently she is admitted to the University Mississippi School of Medicine. She is very thankful to have had a chance to receive MHIRT training and believes that it paved her way to continuing her education in medicine.

The coauthor of a second research paper Dale Williams was a junior in animal science when he participated in the MHIRT program in 2011. His research paper “Protective Role of Coriandrum sativum seed extract against lead-induced oxidative stress in rat liver and kidney” was published in Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy, Vol. 7, page 650-664. His coauthors were V. Manoj Kumar, doctoral student, Dr. Y. Prabhakararao, professor and director at Andhra University, Sharada Rajanna and Bettaiya Rajanna. Williams presented his paper at ABRCMS Conference in 2011. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science in May of 2013.

“Both the research papers listed above focus on neurotoxic nature of lead,” explained Dr. Rajanna. “Dr. Prabhakara Rao, professor and principal mentor at Andhra University, worked as a research scientist with our research group in Alabama in 1991-1993. Together, we have worked on several aspects of neurotoxicity of lead on the brain and published numerous research papers.”

The third paper was coauthored by Myron Green, who completed her training in India in 2010. A New Orleans, Louisiana, native, Green, majored in biology at Alcorn and was trained in molecular pharmacology in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Rajeswara Rao, professor of molecular pharmacology at Andhra University. Green’s paper “Comparative study on some selected species of Ocium genus on free radical scavenging activity and hepatoprotective activity against CCL4 induced intoxication in rats” was published in 2013 in American Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 3, 183-186, and online. Coauthors of this research paper were Dr. Rajeswara Rao Pragada, Sambashivararo Etnhdi and Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna.

“The research work done by Alcorn students is of a very high quality,” stated Dr. Rajanna, principal investigator of the ASU-NIH-NCMHD-MHIRT program. “And it has been proved by the fact that international peer reviewed research magazines published their work. This also is a clear indication of the quality of the research training our students receive.” He added, “Our MHIRT program begun in 2001 and since then we trained over 110 students at two research sites in India. This program has been rated as an outstanding program by the NIH Review Panel. We thank all research mentors at various research laboratories in India for their untiring efforts and selfless support in offering superior research training unparallel anywhere in the world.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Rajanna at brajanna@alcorn.edu or 601.877.6681, or Sarada Rajanna at srajanna@alcorn.edu  or 601.877.3984.


Alcorn State University is a premier comprehensive land-grant university that develops diverse students into globally competitive leaders, and applies scientific research through collaborative partnerships that benefit the surrounding communities, state, nation, and world.