Graduate Research Symposium

February 28, 2024
Student Center

The Graduate School hosts its 14th annual Graduate Research Symposium (GRS) on Feb. 28, 2024 in the Student Center. After three years in a virtual environment, the GRS returns to its original in-person format in 2024. The showcase is a unique opportunity to see the research being conducted at Wayne State University in Detroit through poster presentations, platform talks, and the lauded Three-Minute Thesis Competition. 

2024 participating researchers

Congratulations to the 2024 winners

Poster presentations


  • 1st place: Asra Akhlaq, biological sciences, “Diet and insulin signaling promote oocyte health and fertilization in Caenorhabditis elegans.”
  • 2nd placeAaron Lotvola, oncology, “c-Myc is downregulated by ABHD5 in prostate cancer cells.”
  • 3rd placeYogesh Joshi, anatomy & cell biology, “Inhibiting innate immune activation improves Drosophila model of Vps13D-associated neurodegeneration.”


  • 1st place: Elizabeth Slane, pharmacy & health sciences, “Flame retardant-induced neural cell death.”
  • 2nd placeArifur Rahman, pharmacy & health sciences, “Proteomic profiling of PNPLA3 mutants in human hepatocytes reveals potential pathways in NAFLD.”
  • 3rd placeAmirreza Samarbakhsh, pharmacy & health sciences, “Discovery and development of broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics by targeting PL protease.”

Platform talks

  • 1st place: Franziska Loetzner, kinesiology, health & sport studies, “Exploring health-related physical fitness in elite-level Special Olympics Unified Sports.”
  • 2nd placeRachel Sochocki, nutrition & food science,  “Uncontrolled eating differentiates weight loss maintainers from regainers.”
  • 3rd placeMichael VanNostrand, pharmacy & health sciences, “Exploring perceptions of physical activity in individuals newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.”

Three-Minute Thesis Competition

  • 1st place: Samantha Heldman, pharmacology, “From broken screens to broken seams: can exposure to LCMs contribute to obesity?”
  • 2nd place: Sarah Black, biological sciences, “Screening the neighborhood: using plants and insects to detect belowground plumes.”
  • 3rd place: Vishaka Pathiranage, chemistry, “Rational design of chloride sensors for living cells.”