The Research Symposium aims to recognize the research efforts of those at Des Moines University and in the surrounding medical and scientific communities. The Symposium provides a forum for the collaboration of ideas, the production of new hypotheses, and demonstrates to attendees the critical role that research plays in the advancements of health care.

Target Audience

DMU faculty, staff, students, residents, alumni, external researchers and health professionals from the Des Moines area and surrounding medical and scientific community are invited to participate and present. All students, faculty, and residents are encouraged to develop research projects to be presented at the Symposium.

The 2021 DMU Research Symposium is going virtual! There is no cost to attend but registration is requested. Visit for more information and to register.

About the Research Symposium

12:00pm Welcome Address
Abigail Amissah-Arthur, PhD
Senior Director of Research Administration, Des Moines University
12:15pm Keynote Address - 39 Years of Coronavirus Research: Insights into COVID-19
Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa
  • Discuss COVID-19 history and epidemiology.
  • Describe COVID-19 clinical disease and pathogenesis.
  • Examine some of the key research questions in COVID-19.
  • Explain how to prepare oneself for research in coronavirus biology.
1:00pm Oral Presentations Session 1

Calmodulin availability regulates basal autophagy
Elizabeth McConnaha, MS, PhD'25, Jennifer Giles, MA, Eric Wauson, PhD, and Quang-Kim Tran, MD, PhD

Validation of the foot arch stiffness measurement in healthy non-symptomatic adults
William Bui Tran, DPM'23 and Vassilios Vardaxis, PhD
1:16pm Poster Presentations Session 1
Breakout Categories: Biomedical Sciences 1 and Clinical
1:41pm Break
1:45pm Oral Presentations Session 2

NMDA receptor modulation in protracted ethanol withdrawal
Mercedes C. Foster, MBS'25, Jennifer Giles, MA, and Daniel T. Christian, PhD

Reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy primarily among the Medicare population, associated disparities and methods to address the gap in vaccination rates
Nimo Nour, DO'24 and Tami Swenson, PhD
2:01pm Poster Presentations Session 2
Breakout Categories: Education, Movement Science, and Public Health
2:26pm Break
2:30pm Oral Presentations Session 3

Potential renoprotective effects of chronic remote ischemic conditioning in a rodent model of sleep apnea
Benjamin G. Madigan, DO'24, Katherine Harbeck, DO'24, Raina Gerritts, DO'24, Kalie A. Savage, DO'23, Sarah C. Clayton, PhD, Kiefer W. Kious, MS, Kelsey S. Schwartz, BS, James A. Lang, PhD, and Noah J. Marcus, PhD

Medial orbital floor thickness and asymmetry: implications for blow-out fractures
Michael A. Munafo, DO'24 and Lauren Butaric, PhD
2:46pm Poster Presentations Session 3
Breakout Categories: Biomedical Sciences 2 and Anatomy
3:11pm Awards/Closing Ceremony
3:30pm Adjourn
Continuing Education Information
  • MD: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS). Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this live activity for 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • DO: Des Moines University (DMU) is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to provide osteopathic continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this program for a maximum of 3.0 AOA Category 2-B credits and will report CME and specialty credits commensurate with the extent of the physician’s participation in this activity.
  • DPM: Des Moines University (DMU) is approved by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education as a provider of continuing education in podiatric medicine. DMU has approved this activity for a maximum of 3.0 continuing education contact hours.
  • Nurse: Des Moines University is Iowa Board of Nursing approved provider #112. This live activity has been reviewed and approved for 3.0 continuing education contact hour(s). No partial credit awarded.
  • Other healthcare providers: This live activity is designated for 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.


No commercial interest company provided financial support for this continuing education activity.


The speaker(s) will disclose if any pharmaceuticals or medical procedures and devices discussed are investigational or unapproved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Determination of educational content and the selection of speakers is the responsibility of the activity director.

Relevant to the content of this educational activity, the following individual(s) have no conflict(s) with commercial interest companies to disclose.

Abigail Amissah-Arthur, PhD, Planning Committee Member
Christina Billings, MPH, CHCP, Planning Committee Member
Lori Byrd, MS, Planning Committee Member
Vanessa Gray, MHA, CMP, CHCP, Planning Committee Member
Mollie Lyon, Planning Committee Member
Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD - Speaker
Kennedy Wrice, Planning Committee Member


The information provided at this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The content of each presentation does not necessarily reflect the views of Des Moines University.