OCASCR Grant Deadline
January 28, 2022- Check the OCASCR website for more information.

The American Heart Association is accepting
grant and fellowship proposals
Click here for more information.
OCASCR scientist makes potential heart failure breakthough
OCASCR Scientist is the new co-leader for the
Cancer Biology Program at the Stephenson Cancer Center
Resham Bhattacharya, PhD, is the new co-leader for the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. Dr. Bhattacharya is an accomplished scientist whose research encompasses cancer biology and vascular biology, leading to bench-to-bedside clinical translation. Her research activities have been funded by the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, and other national agencies. In her new role she will work with Cancer Biology Program co-leader Dr. Min Li to help promote and support cancer-focused basic and translational research at the Stephenson Cancer Center.
Spotlight on OCASCR Scientist

Matthew Walters, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1.   What is the goal of your OCASCR project?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major cause of death in Oklahoma and the US. The disease is typically caused by cigarette smoking, which damages the airways and lung. Specialized epithelial cells (e.g., secretory and ciliated) line the airway providing a protective barrier to the outside world. A balance in the number of each cell type is critical to maintaining a healthy airway and lung. Cigarette smoking damages and alters the structure of the airway epithelial cell layer. In response to damage, resident adult stem/progenitor cells repair the airway epithelial cell layer by changing into the types of cells that need replacing, via a process termed “differentiation”. However, the stem/progenitor cells from people with COPD are defective and have an impaired capacity to repair and regenerate the airway epithelium correctly. This leads to epithelial remodeling, which has a significant negative impact on the health of people with COPD. The outcomes of my OCASCR project will give us a better understanding of how adult airway stem/progenitor cells from COPD patients are defective. In turn, this knowledge will help the development of new stem cell-based regenerative medicine therapies to repair damage to the airway epithelium and treat people with COPD.
2.   What is your training/scientific background?
My training encompasses virology, molecular biology and cell biology. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of Liverpool, UK, I went on to earn a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from the University of Leeds in 2004 studying the mechanisms regulating herpesvirus reactivation under the mentorship of Dr. Adrian Whitehouse. I then moved to the United States to undertake Postdoctoral training at Columbia University, in the laboratory of Dr. Saul Silverstein. My postdoctoral research continued on from my graduate studies and focused on characterizing the molecular and cellular mechanisms of virus-host interactions contributing to the regulation of herpesvirus lytic and latent infection. Upon completion of my postdoctoral training (and 1 year as an Assistant Research Scientist), I joined the Faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College as an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Genetic Medicine working with Dr. Ronald Crystal performing research in the area of cigarette smoking and lung disease. In October 2016, I joined the Faculty in the Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) to establish my independent research program.
3.   What’s your most critical piece of research equipment in your lab? Why?
The most critical piece of research equipment in my laboratory is a BioRad CFX96 Real-Time PCR machine. This machine allows us to quantify gene expression levels of multiple cell-type specific markers in a single experiment using small amounts of sample from our stem/progenitor cell differentiation assays.
4.   What’s your favorite scientific meeting to attend? Why?
My favorite scientific meeting to attend is the “Lung Development, Injury and Repair" Gordon Research Conference. This is a 5-day meeting held every other year, which usually attracts ~100-150 scientists specialized in lung research. It is my favorite meeting because it is highly relevant to my research interests and it provides a great opportunity to network and establish collaborations with other investigators in the field.

Core Facilities
Check out the updated list of equipment that is available to all scientists in Oklahoma.
Have OCASCR News to Share?
Please send ideas for future newsletter items to Kelly Gentry (Kelly-Gentry@OCASCR.org).