They gathered around the book excitedly, flipping through the pages until, on page 135, the result of a year of late-night revisions and lab work paid dividends: their names in print as authors of a textbook chapter on HIV/AIDS.

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) Associate Professor Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, mentored several Western University of Health Sciences students in writing recently-published textbook chapters:

  • Nutrition, Immunity, and Infection, edited by Philip C. Calder and Anil D. Kulkarni and published by CRC Press, includes a chapter, “Glutathione, Immunity and Infection” written by Enrique Vera Tudela, Manpreet Singh and Vishwanath Venketaraman. Tudela and Singh are fourth-year COMP students. The book can be found online here:
  • HIV/AIDS: Oxidative Stress and Dietary Antioxidants, edited by Victor Preedy and Ronald Ross Watson, was published in November 2017 by Academic Press:
    • “Selenium supplementation, antioxidant effects, and immune restorative effects in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (chapter 17) was written by Justin Dong, Anand Muthiah, Parveen Hussain, Miya Yoshida and Vishwanath Venketaraman. Dong and Yoshida are fourth-year COMP students. Muthiah is Venketaraman’s former lab volunteer.
    • “Opportunistic Infections in HIV Individuals and Enhanced Immunity by Glutathione” (chapter 12) was written by Alexis Alejandre, Leslie Gonzalez, Parveen Hussain, Judy Ly, Anand Muthiah, Tommy Saing, Anddre Valdivia, and Vishwanath Venketaraman.

Parveen Hussain and Alexis Alejandre were Master of Science in Medical Sciences students in the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences (GCBS) when they worked on their chapter during the 2015-16 academic year. Leslie Gonzalez and Judy Ly were students in GCBS’s Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program. All four are now second-year COMP students. They expressed interest in becoming DOs, and Venketaraman encouraged them to publish in order to help them attain their goals.

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) Associate Professor Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, shows off a textbook featuring collaborative efforts with COMP students from left, Parveen Hussain, Judy Ly, Leslie Gonzalez and Alexis Alejandre (Wilson). (Jeff Malet, WesternU) Click to view larger image

“I thought it would be nice to involve them for the simple reason that if the publication comes out, it’s going to benefit them in terms of getting into residency programs,” Venketaraman said. “Having a research publication is looked at with great respect by the program directors of residency programs.”

The team created a Google doc that everyone contributed to. They would message each other and ask for others to read over their work.

“We would keep giving each other deadlines,” Ly said. “We just kept reading it over and over again, working with everyone’s schedule.”

“It really taught us how to work effectively in a team and to have critical thinking skills,” Hussain said. “People have different styles of approaching the topic, so ensuring that we are presenting this one cohesive message is something that can be challenging. I’m happy to see it turned out well, but it was a lot of hard work.”

The students said they were inspired by Venketaraman’s dedication to his research, and said his mentorship went beyond helping with the book chapter.

“He told us, ‘If in the middle of the night you have questions, call me. If you have issues, call me. If you’re feeling anxiety and you feel like you’re going to break down and cry right now, call me,’” Ly said.

And his support continues to this day. “One weekend before every exam, he wishes us the best of luck,” Ly said.

The book chapters are based on research Venketaraman’s lab has been working on for decades.

“Our previous research publications have been recognized and the scientific community has been getting in touch with us either to contribute a research article, a review article or a book chapter,” Venketaraman said. “It is exciting to be part of this big project that involved world-renowned researchers. I feel very humbled about it.”