The Society for In Vitro Biology has established several initiatives to support the professional development of our student members. These initiatives include: free registration at the annual meeting with an accepted abstract, travel awards, research presentation competitions, direct involvement with committees and program planning, and the inclusion of sessions at our annual meeting that promote student professional development. In the next several issues of the In Vitro Report we will include testimonials from students who have benefited from the student initiatives. Please remember that these student initiatives are possible due to the generous financial support of our membership. If you would like to help support the professional development of our student members, please use the following link to make a donation.

Magnolia Ariza-Nieto, Member, since 2003, “Wilton R Earle Award” and “Student Travel Award” Winner


In 2003 my focus was in finishing my dissertation bench research as well as writing my final thesis, in the midst of this very hectic time my mentors encourage me to present an extended abstract to participate in the “Wilton R Earle Award” an award open to students working in all areas of in vitro biology. It came as a surprise that I was awarded the “2004 Wilton R Earle Award” but also received a “Student Travel Award”, as a new PhD those two awards granted by the SIVB were the best complementary accomplishments that would later define my research career. The awards were a ticket of success to start my research on biofortification towards the elimination of micronutrient malnutrition “hidden hunger”; by assessing micronutrient accumulation, distribution and storage in plants (staple crops) and their bioavailability using the in vitro digestion Caco-2 cell model. After my experience using in vitro models with cancer cell lines to understand intrinsic nutrient bioavailability in staples foods, I started to recognize the need to use normal human cell lines to study bioavailability. It was over many years attending the SIVB annual meeting, networking with researchers in industry, government and academia that I was able to learn that I could improve or create a new human model with human genotyped normal cells lines, and continue to improve my system. My next goal is to isolate mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and differentiate them into organ like cell lines, which will be used in the BOAC device, for physiologically-based pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics assays. During the last 10 years I have definitely been involved with my society in both the IVACS and PBS sections, I have served as a volunteer, co-convener for both plant and animal sections, and I served as IVACS secretary (2011-2013). I continue to come to the SIVB meeting every year to learn, network, and especially to bring my students and expose them to the same wonderful experiences I have with SIVB.

I am currently interested in understanding regulatory signaling between organs in humans that would cause changes in the expression of adipokines. I believe the dysregulation of the epigenome is involved in this process and wonder to what extend the epigenome is modified in response to biotic and abiotic environmental factors, and if diet and the environmental factors can affect the expression of single or multiple genes at the same time. I use the human genotyped in vitro model called body-on-a-chip BOAC (Shuler ML, 2012) that together with clinical observation allows for the identification of epigenetic sensors. I am part of a multidisciplinary group of researchers at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University and a local central New York health care provider “The Guthrie Foundation for Research and Education” with the common goal to develop in vitro tools to prevent the onset of obesity. I am a molecular biologist with expertise in both plant and mammalian cell systems, my role comes handy when we try to understand the complex diet-host interactions when we assess nutrient bioavailability. I believe the BOAC device is the tool that will make current the old proverb, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Hippocrates in 370 BC.

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