2011 Delta Omega Student Poster Session Winners

 Three University at Albany School of Public Health students were selected by the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health as 2011 Student Poster Session Winners. Delta Omega is the honorary society for graduate studies in public health. The winners were nominated by the Albany Alpha Gamma Chapter following the April 15, 2011 School of Public Health Student Poster Day. The winning posters will be presented at the 14th Annual Student Poster Session being held through the Public Health Caucus during the 139th American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on Monday, October 31, 2011.
The University at Albany winners include:

  • Gretchen L. Beach presenting on “Copepods and Vibrio cholera: A New Probe for Detection of Attached Bacteria Using Fluorescence in situ Hybridization.”
  •  Deesha Patel presenting on “What factors influence hospitalizations among dying cancer patients? An analysis of aggressive end of life cancer care.”
  • Anastasiya Yermakova presenting on “Subunit Vaccinces for Biodefense Toxins.”

Student Poster Session has been held by Delta Omega at the annual APHA meeting since 1998. Each Delta Omega chapter selects student posters to submit to the Delta Omega National Office for final selection. This year, a total of 19 posters were selected from all Delta Omega chapters submitting nominations.



Anastasiya Yermakova

Biological toxins, such as anthrax, botulinum, and ricin, pose serious biothreats and require the development of effective countermeasures. Through her research, Anastasiya has identified an antibody, SylH3, which can protect mice against a lethal dose of ricin toxin. She determined that SylH3 recognizes the subunit of ricin that is involved in attachment and entry of toxin into cells. This information provides a rationale for using the ricin binding subunit as a vaccine and carrier for other biodefense vaccines.

Deesha Patel

She studied aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care and how it is usually considered to be of poor quality and little value, but cancer patients make avoidable and distressing hospital visits shortly before death. This study aimed to reveal factors that influence aggressive EOL cancer care, with the hope of directing efforts toward eliminating disparities. She used Linked New York State Cancer Registry, Medicaid, and Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System databases to evaluate predictors of aggressive EOL care in a cohort of NYS breast and colorectal cancer decedents diagnosed 2004-2006. She found being ≥ 85-years-old was negatively associated with hospitalizations, ER visits, and ICU admissions. Private insurance was positively associated with hospitalizations. This was NYS’s first study examining the quality of dying for cancer patients using linked databases.

Gretchen Beach

Planktonic copepods, which exist in symbiotic relationships with Vibrio cholerae bacteria, have been implicated in the spread of cholera. The goal of her study was to improved V. cholerae detection and investigation of symbiont spatiotemporal distribution. Results of FISH experiments using pure cultures show that the new probe produces a positive signal for V. cholerae O1 and non-O1 serotypes, but not V. mimicus. As demonstrated in this study, V. cholerae can be detected on whole copepod specimens using the new probe. In the future this new probe will be used to examine copepods and bacterial isolates obtained from the Artibonite River in Haiti, the source of the current cholera epidemic in that country.