Local receives first place in WVU undergrad symposium

MORGANTOWN — Buckhannon native Kennedi Lewellyn received an award recently for her research project during a West Virginia University (WVU) undergraduate symposium. Lewellyn won first place in Health Science division.

Lewellyn currently attends WVU as a sophomore and is majoring in Biology. She has received a research apprenticeship. Lewellyn said, “This is a milestone for me.” Lewellyn credits her award to her having a mindset towards progressing and her motivation. When asked what she would say to students who are questioning their future, she said, “I would definitely recommend for students in high school to not close out any opportunity.”

Lewellyn’s project is titled “Therapeutic Evaluation of recap for Sepsis-Associated Pathology.” The project stated the following, “Sepsis is a severe systemic immune response that is a reaction to infection in the body. Multi-organ failure associated with this response contributes to a high morbidity and mortality among sepsis patients. Currently, there are no FDA-approved therapeutics to treat sepsis other than supportive therapies. Alkaline phosphatase (AP) is present throughout the body and is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Recombinant alkaline phosphatase (recAP, AM-Pharma) is a drug that is currently in Phase III clinical trials and has been shown to reduce mortality by over 40% in sepsis-associated acute kidney injury (SA-AKI).”

The project’s rationale and hypothesis were as follows, “Rationale: The anti-inflammatory properties of AP will aid in decreasing inflammation and sepsis severity. Hypothesis: Treatment with recAP will lead to higher survival, lower bacterial loads, and decrease in inflammation which will lead to better overall outcomes.” The project also further discussed the experimental design, sepsis survival and severity scores, fecal bacterial load post-sepsis, organ bacterial loads, and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) ELISA details.

The conclusion of Lewellyn’s research project stated, “Preliminary findings suggest that recAP increased survival and maintained baseline bacterial loads in septic mice” and future directions would be to “increase in sample size and include male mice and to add antibiotics during treatment course to improve translational relevance.”

Furthermore, information obtained from Lewellyn’s project poster included the additional names of Rhiannon V. Macom, Andrew G. Strutz and Candice M. Brown Departments of Neuroscience, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, Center for Basic and Translational Stroke Research and Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown W. Va., 26506. An acknowledgement was also included which stated, “This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health R21 AG070443. We also wish to thank AM-Pharma for their recAP donation. Thank you to all the members of the Brown lab.”

Congratulations to Kennedi Lewellyn on your outstanding achievement at WVU!


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