Marshall Ph.D. candidate meets with members of Congress

Kristeena Wright a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate at Marshall University, was one of 19 young scientists from colleges and universities across the United States who meet with senators and representatives in Washington D.C. about the value of biomedical research.

Wright said meeting with WV representatives allowed her to share and gain more knowledge on how to improve funding for research.

“I realized that they are very aware of the low levels of funding for biomedical research that are reaching our institution,” Wright said. “They were very supportive of the idea of increasing NIH [National Institute of Health] funding at the national level. I was also able to bring back some ideas on how we, as researchers, can help the policymakers with this goal.”

This was Wrights second year applying for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s (ASBMB) Hill Day. Nineteen applications from hundreds were selected based on efforts to effect policy.

Wright said she has done all she can to reach out to lawmakers about biomedical research.

“Over the past year I have made it a point to keep abreast of science policy happenings and even used ASBMB online tools to reach out to our Senators about the importance of biomedical research,” Wright said.

Diana Maue, Graduate Recruitment and Communication Coordinator in Marshall’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, said Wright displays all the qualities necessary to represent the university’s Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. program.

“She is kind, approachable, intelligent, professional and hard-working,” Maue said. “Kristeena has shown considerable growth as a person and scientist over the last five years, and continues to demonstrate perseverance through the challenges of such a demanding doctoral program.”

Wright is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in biomedical engineering. She also spent two years as a process development engineer at a pharmaceutical company.

Wright is currently in her fifth year of Medical School at Marshall, studying endometriosis, a reproductive disorder that causes infertility and chronic pelvic pain in young women.

Wright said she has gained a passion for studying women’s health while at Marshall.

“Over the past few years I’ve become very passionate about women’s health research and hope to pursue a career that will blend my love for this work with my passion for policy change,” Wright said.

Wright is working under Dr. Nalini Santanam of the MU OB/GYN department. She has provided her and other researchers with patient samples that allowed them to investigate biomarkers and genetic trends that may cause the disease and its symptoms.

Britanie Morgan can be contacted at [email protected]