Alderson Broaddus University biology professor, student publish paper on ovarian cancer cells

Alderson Broaddus University undergraduate student Ashley Booth co-authored a paper with Professor of Biology Dr. Yi Charlie Chen titled “Polyphenols Extracted from Chinese Hickory (Carya Cathayensis) Promote Apoptosis and Inhibit Proliferation through the p53-Dependent Intrinsic and HIF-1α-VEGF Pathways in Ovarian Cancer Cells.” The research paper will appear in the peer-reviewed open access journal on applied sciences by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), a prestigious transnational journal.

The research paper analyzes the effect of polyphenols extracted from Chinese hickory seed skin (Carya cathayensis) (CHSP) on ovarian cancer cells. Booth and Chen examined the antioxidant properties of polyphenols typically found in nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, tea, coffee, and wine. They argue that cell viability results showed that CHSP is more effective in inhibiting ovarian cancer cells than normal ovarian cells. Their observations suggest that more research, such as the current study, is needed to evaluate polyphenolic compounds’ therapeutic utility and safety.

Booth, who has a long family history of ovarian cancer, greatly contributed to the paper’s discussion and research components after being redirected from another opportunity due to COVID-19 implications. In March, Booth had been notified of her acceptance into the WV-INBRE Summer Research Program and Symposium. WV-INBRE, short for West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, is a federally funded program that provides opportunities for biomedical research with an emphasis on chronic diseases. The program consists of a consortium between Marshall University, West Virginia University, and an additional 14 partner institutions.

The following month, Booth was informed that the summer research she had intended to participate in would be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Booth explained the cancelation did not halt her motivation and was encouraged by Matthew McKinney, assistant professor of environmental science and biology at Alderson Broaddus University, to participate in this study with Dr. Chen. “I reached out to Dr. Chen to pursue research opportunities over the summer months. Once the fall semester began, I had a wealth of biomedical research experience and was able to continue my contribution to the paper as part of my curriculum.”

Professor McKinney allowed Booth to tailor her course work accordingly to further her involvement in the publication process. McKinney explained that Booth, with the help of Dr. Chen, went above and beyond. “I am stunned that Ashley was not only able to get the editing done but has already been published in such a short period,” said McKinney. “It’s incredible.”

“Booth is one of the few undergraduate students to publish in scholarly journals, especially as a first-time author,” said Dr. Chen. “I’m very proud to have published this paper with her.” The research paper was submitted in early November. Dr. Chen and Booth were later informed a few short weeks later that the report was accepted for peer-reviewed publication.

Booth plans to pursue her master’s degree after graduating in 2021 and apply to medical school. She is eager to use her lab experience to further her academic career in biology. “The knowledge I gained while working alongside Dr. Chen as an undergraduate has given me a unique appreciation of the field I am interested in, and now moving forward, I will be able to take that understanding with me into my post-graduate endeavors.”

About Alderson Broaddus University

Alderson Broaddus University is an independent institution of higher learning, committed to serving the region as an academic, cultural, and religious resource, with programs based on a liberal arts foundation.

The mission of AB is to provide students with the highest quality education, striving to prepare students to succeed in their chosen disciplines and to fulfill their roles in a diverse society as well-rounded and responsible citizens.

Since its founding in 1871, AB has been a leader and innovator in higher education, with accolades in the health and natural sciences. Alderson Broaddus University stands out as one of the most innovative health education providers in Appalachia, pioneering the nation’s first baccalaureate physician assistant program of its kind in 1968, a post-baccalaureate physician assistant master’s degree program in 1993, and West Virginia’s first baccalaureate nursing program in 1945.

AB is located on a historic hilltop in Barbour County in Philippi, West Virginia. The University is rooted in historic and continuing relationships with the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and the West Virginia Baptist Convention.

For more information about AB, visit