Editorial  |   July 2016
Marian University and the Research Enterprise at Its College of Osteopathic Medicine
Author Notes
  •  *Address correspondence to Bryan Larsen, PhD, Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences, Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, 3200 Cold Spring Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46222-1960. E-mail:
Article Information
Medical Education
Editorial   |   July 2016
Marian University and the Research Enterprise at Its College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2016, Vol. 116, 416-417. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, July 2016, Vol. 116, 416-417. doi:
Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) in Indianapolis, Indiana, welcomed its first class in 2013 with a clear understanding of its alignment with body, mind, and spirit as tenets of both osteopathic medicine and Marian University, which historically emphasized these ideas as a liberal arts college founded in the 19th century. The osteopathic medical school was a welcome addition to the area, where Indianapolis is the sixth largest life sciences hub in the United States,1 and the state of Indiana is home to 800 biosciences businesses. Multiple large hospital systems in Indiana provide a foundation for the second medical school in a state that has a shortage of primary care physicians.2 
To help meet the medical needs of Indiana and beyond, MU-COM has budgeted funds for mini-grant research available to faculty applicants. National-level funding may be difficult to reach, but research support can be attainable by grants through industry sponsorship. For example, one of our faculty members recently identified a Homeland Security grant mechanism as being applicable to his translational research program and prepared an application to that agency. 
In our experience, student-led projects are more likely to receive funding when students are engaged in real-world, mentored research activities. Faculty collaborates with not only our medical and graduate students, but also undergraduate students and even, on occasion, exceptional high school students. Vertical integration of students in the laboratory engenders mentorship and valuable conversations that inspire undergraduate students to transition to medical school and create a supportive team atmosphere where all participants have a role regardless of their level of training. 
At MU-COM, we have been developing a research program alongside an exemplary teaching program. We have urged our faculty and students to embrace research as a teaching or learning experience—and to recognize that teaching and learning can be topics for research. Our faculty emphasizes using valid clinical evidence to guide current approaches to maintaining health and diagnosing and managing disease. Research skills should be cultivated at the medical school level because these skills will be imperative throughout students’ future careers. With the single accreditation system for graduate medical education, research experience will help elevate students to top resident spots as well. 
Our researchers have also extended their reach beyond Marian University. We have been pleased to have Eli Lilly and Company, headquartered in Indianapolis, and provide research internships to some of our top medical students. Faculty from Marian University have collaborated with faculty and students from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana; the Enteric Microbiology Laboratory at the State of Indiana Department of Health; and the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. International collaborations are also part of the research landscape at MU-COM.3-6 Additional collaborations are underway. Expanding our work beyond the walls of our university allows us to enlarge our impact and transform leadership worldwide. 
Research efforts, especially those that bring students into the process, are exemplified by the review article7 published in this issue of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association as part of its ENGAGE Initiative.8 In the article, Aaron M. Hudnall, OMS III; Jonathan W. Arthur, OMS II; and Jonathan W. Lowery, PhD, summarize the clinically relevant scenarios in which the basic metabolic panel and pathways of bone morphogenic prtein and activin and transforming growth factor β reportedly oppose one another, and they identify several molecular mechanisms proposed to mediate this interaction. A previous example of engaging students in the research and writing processes was a recently published study9 by Tyler Beach, OMS II, and Benjamin E. Hart, OMS II. 
As we grow our research enterprise, we are growing our faculty and shaping students in ways that will have a substantial impact on medicine and on the populations who will be served by our graduates. 
Indiana life sciences leaders, governor announces nation’s first industry-led biosciences research institute [news release]. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Biosciences Research Institute; May 30, 2013.
Feldman R. Lack of primary-care doctors will hit Indiana hard. Indy Star. May 19, 2014. Accessed May 27, 2016.
Kobaku S, Lowery JW, Toyono T, et al.  . Muscle regulatory factors regulate T1R3 taste receptor expression [published online November 3, 2015]. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015;468(4):568-573. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.10.142. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Oh YT, Lee KM, Bari W, Raskin DM, Yoon SS. (p)ppGpp, a small nucleotide regulator, directs the metabolic fate of glucose in Vibrio cholerae [published online April 15, 2015]. J Biol Chem. 2015;290(21):13178-13190. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.640466. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
De Seta F, Hunter M, Larsen B. In vitro evaluation of small molecule inhibitors and probiotic byproducts on growth and viability of vaginal microorganisms. Br J Med Med Res. 2014;4(36):5779-5792. doi:10.9734/BJMMR/2014/12327. [CrossRef]
Kuchera M. Integrating the osteopathic respiratory-circulatory model. Presented at: Vienna School of Osteopathy; November 26-28, 2015.
Hudnall AM, Arthur JW, Lowery JW. Clinical relevance and mechanisms of antagonism between the BMP and activin/TGF-β signaling pathways. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2016;116(7):452-461. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.089.
Orenstein R. ENGAGE Initiative: showcasing osteopathic scholarly activity. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2016;116(5):276-277. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2016.054. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Beach T, Hart B, Larsen B. Stress response in Candida albicans induced by boric acid. Br J Med Med Res. 2016;15(8):1-11. doi:10.9734/BJMMR/2016/25887. [CrossRef]