Veterinary student receives first place award at Research Recognition Day

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 15, 2007 – Dr. Ashish Ranjan of Blacksburg, a Ph.D. candidate in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (DLACS), recently received first place for his research poster during the two-day Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine Via Research Recognition Day.

The focus of the competition was nanomedicine research and its application. The competition was divided into biomedical sciences and clinical sciences. Ranjan won in the biomedical sciences category for his poster, “Targeted Delivery of Antimicrobials Using Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes to Control Intracellular Bacterial Infections.”

Intracellular bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella have typically been able to evade rapid destruction from a patient’s phagocytes or “killing cells,” according to Ranjan. This is a phenomenon that often results in long-term anti-microbial therapy. Lengthened drug therapy increases the chances of the pathogens becoming drug resistant, which is a rapidly growing global health concern, explains Ranjan. However, the utilization of functionalized carbon nanotubes –long, thin cylinders of carbon-- to deliver antimicrobial therapy or antibiotics may decrease the amount of time a patient is on medication and decrease the necessary dosage size, thereby reducing the chance of pathogens becoming drug resistant.

The Research Recognition Day awards were presented by Sir Harold Kroto, a 1996 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry who also served as keynote speaker for the event. According to Ranjan, Kroto’s role made the award even more meaningful.

“I have been awarded a number of first prize awards in my academic career, but this award was very satisfying since I received it from a Nobel Prize winner,” said Ranjan. “In addition, my research was based to some extent on the properties of the nanoparticle which Dr. Kroto discovered.”

Ranjan was joined in this project by Dr. Ramanathan Kasimanickam, assistant professor, DLACS; Dr. Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology; Gary Pickrell, assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering; and Navin Manjooran, a graduate student from materials science and engineering.

Ranjan received his B.V.Sc. in 2005 from Madras Veterinary College in India. He currently serves as the president of the Biomedical and Veterinary Science Graduate Student Association and as the social director of the Council of International Students Organization.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.