Postdoctoral Scholar Wins First Place at UB Research Symposium

Published July 25, 2014

Kenneth Seldeen, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Medicine, won first place for his research poster on vitamin D insufficiency and physical performance decline at the University at Buffalo’s sixth annual postdoctoral research symposium.

Studying Vitamin D Insufficiency in Mice

To better understand the effects of low vitamin D levels — a condition estimated to affect nearly 70 percent of the world’s population — Seldeen developed a mouse model of vitamin D insufficiency.

He followed the mice for one year, the mouse equivalent of about 40 human years, testing their physical performance for potential differences in balance and coordination, endurance and raw strength.

Seldeen found that the mice with vitamin D insufficiency demonstrated a functional decline: they had poorer anaerobic strength endurance, shorter stride lengths and reduced abilities to explore their surroundings.

Expert Mentorship ‘Vitally Important’

Seldeen works in the lab of Bruce R. Troen, MD, professor of medicine and chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine.

Seldeen says Troen’s support has been “vitally important” to his success. “I have a great appreciation for Dr. Troen's guidance,” he says, noting that Troen gives him plenty of space to develop projects.

“My background before joining his lab was in molecular biophysics,” he explains. “It has been quite a transition to working in the field of nutrition and mouse physiology, and Dr. Troen has been instrumental in my transition.”

An expert in geriatrics and gerontology with a background in molecular biology and biochemistry, Troen specializes in researching vitamin D, the biology of aging, frailty and osteoporosis.

Manhui Pang, MD, research assistant professor of medicine, also collaborated on the study.

The research was supported by a Merit Review Pilot project grant from the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. Troen has an appointment with the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System.

Strong Showing from Medical School Postdocs

In all, 45 postdoctoral trainees from across UB participated in the June symposium. Nearly half of the participants were postdoctoral researchers from seven departments in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences:

Researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Research Institute on Addictions also showcased their work.