Student Won National Sports Medicine Award

Student; In this study exercise science student at The University of Texas at Arlington has become the first undergraduate ever to win the President’s Cup, a coveted award for poster presentations given by the American College of Sports Medicine. Sara Peper, a senior who is schedule to graduate in August, won first place for her poster presentation at the association’s recent annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

Student win award

Her research presentation was titled “Silicon Ions Enhance Myogenic Differentiation in C2C12 Skeletal Muscle Cells.” The research abstract is published in the International Journal of Exercise Science. Matthew Brothers, a UTA associate professor of kinesiology and president elect of the Texas chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine; said Peper’s achievement marks the first time a student from a Texas chapter has won this award.

It’s also notable, because the contest rarely features under graduates. The rationale is that they would not be able to compete with MS or PhD students; but Sara won anyway, Brothers said. Peper works in the laboratory of Venu Varanasi, associate professor in the Bone; also Muscle Research Center in UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

The laboratory focuses on traumatic injuries; so particularly those involving tissue loss. She credits Varanasi, researcher Neelam Ahuja and graduate student Kamal Awad with her research success. They taught me everything they know, she said. Peper’s research interest is in tissue regeneration using silicon base biomaterials.

Biomaterials enhance bone healing

So far they’ve show that silicone-base bio materials enhance bone healing; also they’ve shown that silicon ion enhances muscle tissue regeneration,” Peper said. “The next step will be to look at silicon bio materials to see if that also enhances muscle tissue regeneration. “They’re looking for a way to heal an injury involving bone muscle; connective tissue and nerve tissue, but in a way where they all heal together instead of a tissue-specific approach,” she said.

After graduation, Peper will begin work on a master’s in biomedical engineering at UTA and said she eventually plans to pursue a joint MD/PhD degree. Paul Fadel, a professor of kinesiology; also the college’s associate dean for research, said Peper is “a scholar who is destine to do great things.” This is a phenomenal accomplishment for Sara, for this lab; for the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and for UTA, Fadel said. This research has the potential to reduce the complications and recurrence rates in traumatic nerve or muscle injuries.