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Ma wins 2nd place Student Investigator Award in AICR Abstract Competition

September 22, 2015

Elizabeth Ma, graduate student trainee in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), has been awarded the 2nd place prize in the Student Investigator Category at The Obesity Society (TOS) Obesity & Cancer Section’s abstract competition, sponsored by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), for her study titled “Urinary F2-Isoprostanes Do Not Reflect Oxidative Stress Operative in Human Insulin Resistance, but are Correlated with Lean Mass and Serum Lipids.” She will present her research at TOS’s ObesityWeek 2015 meeting, to be held in Los Angeles on November 5, 2015.

This research focused on F2-Isoprostanes (F2-IsoP’s), which are generated through lipid peroxidation and are often used as biomarkers for oxidative stress in humans. Since some previous studies suggest that F2-IsoP’s are elevated in patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and previous work in her lab has shown that muscle lipid peroxidation was increased in insulin resistance, F2-IsoP’s have been thought to reflect oxidative stress contributing to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, although this has not been rigorously examined. Ma’s work, however, showed that there were no correlations found between urinary F2-IsoP’s or their metabolites with either glucose disposal or lipid oxidation rates. Instead, both were significantly negatively associated with lean body mass and positively correlated with serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

For this work, she is also the recipient of a Pat Simons Travel Grant to attend ObesityWeek 2015, which was established for young investigators in the field of obesity research.

Ma joined UAB’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in 2011 and, having completed her first two years of medical school, is now immersed in her PhD studies in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Her current research involves using microRNA’s to better understand the pathophysiology behind Type II Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases mediated through insulin resistance, as well as the effects of diet on the microbiome in relation to these disease states. She is also interested in aspects of herbal medicine, immunology, regenerative medicine, and sports medicine.