Medical students rank UofL high for career support

The University of Louisville School of Medicine recently was ranked third in the nation for career support for its students. The poll, produced by, defines career support as the quality of career planning, resources and support received during and after graduate studies.

“This is a very meaningful ranking for us because it says that our students believe we are preparing them for their futures,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “This is a reflection of the quality work of our Student Affairs leadership and staff and all our faculty as we prepare the next generation of physicians.”

UofL is ranked ahead of schools such as Vanderbilt, Duke, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania. Ohio State topped the rankings, followed by the University of Southern California. assigns 15 ranking categories to each graduate program at each graduate school. Rankings cover a variety of student topics, such as academic competitiveness, career support, financial aid, and quality of network. For a given graduate program, rankings are determined by calculating the average score for each program based on the 15 ranking categories. These scores are then compared across all ranked schools for that program and are translated into a final ranking for that graduate program, i.e., business and management. A given graduate program is not ranked until a minimum threshold of graduate student surveys is completed for that graduate program.

UofL also ranked in the top 25 of the rankings for Financial Aid.


UofL GI well represented at 2015 Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting

Louisville contingent displayed several presentations at annual session in San Antonio
UofL GI well represented at 2015 Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting

Research Society on Alcoholism

Members of the University of Louisville Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and their collaborators presented the following abstracts at the 38th annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting held June 20-24, 2015:

  • PDE4B Inhibition Significantly Attenuates Alcohol-Induced Hepatic Lipid Peroxidation and Prevent Inactivation of AmpK - Diana Avila

  • Oral Administration of Tributyrin Targets The "Gut-Liver" Axis and Attenuates Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) - Shirish Barve, Hridgandh Donde

  • Embryonic Exposure to Ethanol Increases The Susceptibility of Larval Zebrafish to Chemically Induced Seizures - Shao-Yu Chen, Keling Wang

  • Sulforaphane Protects Against Ethanol-Induced Apoptosis in Neural Crest Cells by Epigenetic Modulation of BCL2 Gene Expression - Shao-Yu Chen, Xiaopan Chen

  • Up-Regulation of Siah1 by Ethanol Triggers Apoptosis in Neural Crest Cells Through P38 MapK-Mediated Activation of P53 Signaling Pathway - Shao-Yu Chen, Fuqiang Yuan

  • Lipid-Derived Aldehyde, Acrolein, is a Critical Mediator of Alcohol-Induced Gut-Liver Injury in Alcoholic Liver Disease - Wei-Yang Chen, Swati Joshi-Barve

  • FGF21 Mediates Alcohol-Induced Adipose Tissue Lipolysis by Activation of Systemic Release of Catecholamine in Mice - Wenke Feng

  • Ethanol Inhibits Transcriptionally Permissive Promoter Histone Modifications and Decreases Il-2 Expression in Activated Human CD4+ T Lymphocytes

  • Alcohol-Induced Neuro-Inflammation is Critically Regulated by Phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) - Leila Gobejishvili

  • Lipoxygenase Inhibition Ameliorates Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury and Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Alcoholic Liver Disease - Huillin Liu, Irina A Kirpich

  • Improvement of Inflammatory Biomarkers, Liver Fibrosis & Clinical Parameters With 3 Months Zinc Sulfate For Alcoholic Cirrhosis-Zac Clinical Trial - Mohammad Mohammad

  • Role of Drinking History and Sex-Differences in Metabolites Involved in Inflammation in Alcohol Dependents - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Role of Family History of Alcoholism and Recent Drinking on Subjective & Objective Responses to Acute IV Alcohol: Clamp and Biphasic Exposure Profiles - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Association of Liver Injury Exacerbation and Fatty Acids of W-6 and W-3 Inflammatory Pathways in Early-Stage HIV-Diagnosed Alcoholic Patients - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Mixed Lineage Protein Kinase 3 Contributes to Ethanol-Induced Liver Injury - Sanjoy Roychowdhury, Megan R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

  • Specific-Sized Hyaluronan Fragments Differentially Regulate LPS Signal Transduction in Kupffer Cells After Ethanol Feeding to Rats - Paramananda Saikia, Katherine A. Pollard, Megan R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

  • Factor D Contributes to Hepatoprotection from Chronic Ethanol-Induced Liver Injury in Mice - R.L. Smathers McCullough, S. Roychowdhury, M.R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

Vasavada wins 2015 Louisville Medicine essay contest

Nephrologist joins two others from the University of Louisville as winners in annual contest
Vasavada wins 2015 Louisville Medicine essay contest

Nina Vasavada, M.D., of the UofL Division of Nephrology & Hypertension

Mary G. Barry, M.D., editor of Louisville Medicine, announced the winners of the eighth annual Richard Spear, M.D., Memorial Essay Contest during the Greater Louisville Medical Society Presidents' Celebration on May 31 at the Muhammad Ali Center.

Among the winners was Nina Vasavada, M.D., assistant clinical professor with the University of Louisville Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the UofL Department of Medicine who came in first place in the practicing/life category for her essay titles "The Unexpected in Front of Us."

The theme of the physician essay contest was "Medicine and the Unexpected" for the practicing/life category and "Using Technology in Medicine Without Becoming a Robot" for the in-training/medical student category.

Spear was a respected Louisville general surgeon who also served on the faculty of the UofL School of Medicine. When he died in 2007, he left GLMS a bequest to fund the annual essay contest. Spear wished to support high quality writing about the practice of medicine.

The winning essays will be published in Louisville Medicine's July edition.

In the student/trainee portion of the contest, Joseph Bales, M.D., a resident in the UofL Department of Emergency Medicine was the first of two winners for his piece, "The Machine in All of Us" while Sarah Khayat, a third-year medical student at UofL, was the second winner for her piece, "Hold the Phone."

Previous winners from the Department of Medicine include Michael Stillman, M.D., in 2013 for "'Dismaying' Number of Uninsured Kentuckians," and Sohail Ikram, M.D., FACC, in 2012 for "It's Worth It."

UofL experts on aging to guide Kentucky Alzheimer’s efforts

Anna C. Faul, D.Litt., and Betty Shiels, Ph.D.-C, M.S.S.W., L.C.S.W., of the University of Louisville have been appointed to the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council by Gov. Steve Beshear.
UofL experts on aging to guide Kentucky Alzheimer’s efforts

Anna C. Faul, D. Litt.

Faul and Shiels will serve terms on the council expiring in May 2019. The council’s 15 representatives help the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living identify ways to help Kentuckians with memory loss and their families. Council members include representatives from state government, local health departments and Alzheimer’s associations, as well as consumers, health-care providers and medical researchers.

Faul is the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (ISHOA) at the University of Louisville and the associate dean for academic affairs at UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. She also is a Hartford Faculty Scholar of the Gerontological Social Work Initiative, a national effort of the John A. Hartford Foundation to address gaps in social work education and research around the health and well-being of older adults.

“Only one-third of people with Alzheimer’s are properly diagnosed and that has a lot to do with awareness,” Faul said. “There needs to be a better way of delivering the diagnosis in a supportive environment. Once we have the diagnosis, the key is to create Alzheimer’s-friendly communities where these individuals and their families are supported and included.”

Shiels is the director of the Kentucky Person-Centered Care Program for Long-Term Care and the director of the Kentucky Emergency Preparedness for Aging and Long-Term Care Program, both administered through UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. She is the institutional director of the UofL Geriatric Education Center and manages the interprofessional training program in Alzheimer’s in collaboration with the UofL Department for Family and Geriatric Medicine, UofL School of Nursing, UofL’s Kent School of Social Work and Spalding University.

“My work focuses on improving quality of care and quality of life for those living in Kentucky's nursing homes, of which 60 to 70 percent have Alzheimer's or related dementia,” Shiels said. “It is impossible to separate nursing home care and Alzheimer's disease.”

As members of the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council, Faul said she and Shiels can work synergistically to promote the understanding, management and prevention of the disease.

The Value of Accredited Continuing Medical Education

The Value of Accredited Continuing Medical Education
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) has prepared a resource to assist continuing medical education (CME) providers, planners, developers and other stakeholders in understanding and communicating the value of accredited CME.  
CLICK HERE to view the PDF report

UofL part of first successful study of virus attack on cancer

University of Louisville researcher Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and a team of international scientists found that stage IIIb to IV melanoma patients treated with a modified cold sore (herpes) virus had improved survival. The results of the findings were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
UofL part of first successful study of virus attack on cancer

Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D.

May 28, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It’s a new weapon in the arsenal of cancer fighting treatments: utilizing genetically modified viruses to invade cancer cells and destroy them from the inside.

University of Louisville researcher Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and a team of international scientists found that stage IIIb to IV melanoma patients treated with a modified cold sore (herpes) virus had improved survival. The results of the findings were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

UofL was one of the major sites for the phase III clinical trial involving 436 patients who received the viral immunotherapy, Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC). Scientists genetically engineered the herpes simplex I virus to be non-pathogenic, cancer-killing and immune-stimulating. The modified herpes virus does not harm healthy cells, but replicates when injected into lesions or tumors, and then stimulates the body’s immune system to fight the cancer.

“The results from this study are amazing,” Chesney said. “Patients given T-VEC at an early stage survived about 20 months longer than patients given a different type of treatment. For some, the therapy has lengthened their survival by years. ”

Shari Wells from Ashland, Kentucky is one of those patients. She entered the trial in 2010 with stage IV, or metastatic, melanoma. Before entering the T-VEC trial, she had been through numerous procedures and major surgeries. According to Wells, nothing worked and she was facing a death sentence.

“When you hear that you may only have three to six months to live, it is very scary,” Wells said. “I would not be alive today if I had not been accepted into the T-VEC trial. Dr. Chesney and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center saved my life.”

Wells drove to Louisville every two weeks for about two and a half years to receive injections in each of the more than 60 lesions on her leg. The lesions eventually began to fade and finally disappeared. She has been in remission for almost eight years.

“I want everyone to know they should never give up hope. With research there will always be something new tomorrow that wasn’t here today,” she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are considering findings from the trial to make the treatments available to more patients with advanced melanoma.

More Research

The Journal of Clinical Oncology report comes on the heels of Chesney’s findings from another study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article describes an immunotherapy for melanoma utilizing the checkpoint inhibitors, ipilimumab and nivolumab. In cell biology, their role is to reduce the effectiveness of two immune checkpoint proteins responsible for telling the immune system to turn off and not kill the cancer cells.

The study found that injection of the two inhibitors shrunk tumors in the majority of patients with advanced melanoma. The JGBCC was one of the top centers worldwide to enroll patients and find that ipilimumab combined with nivolumab resulted in the highest anti-cancer efficacy ever observed after treatment with a cancer immunotherapy.

Chesney and his team, working with the pharmaceutical company Amgen, are taking the success of their trials a step further – combining T-VEC with the immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab into a treatment regimen. The clinical trial is underway at the JGBCC and other sites in hopes of accelerating cancer immunity and curing patients.

“We finally understand how to activate the human immune system to clear cancer cells, having developed new classes of immunotherapies that dramatically improve the survival of cancer patients,” Chesney said. “I believe T-VEC combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors will not only reduce cancer-related mortality in melanoma but in all cancer types, and we are moving quickly to develop these methods.”

Learn more about all melanoma and sarcoma related clinical trials at : or by contacting the Clinical Trials Office,, 502-562-3429.

UofL pulmonary group makes its mark at 2015 ATS conference

Faculty, fellows from the University of Louisville make an impact at annual international conference
UofL pulmonary group makes its mark at 2015 ATS conference

Pulmonary specialists from across the globe, including a contingent from the UofL Department of Medicine's Lung Health Initiative, converged in Denver for the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Several members of the University of Louisville Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine participated in the recent 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, an annual meeting of the largest respiratory society in the world.

This year's conference was held in Denver, and the contingent from the UofL Department of Medicine Lung Health Initiative made many and various contributions.

Among the highlights for the UofL group include:

  • Caleb Greenwell, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Jesse Roman’s laboratory, delivered a well-received oral presentation during a symposium on the Lung Tumor Microenvironment.
  • Dr. Roman delivered a lecture on Lung Fibrosis and Cancer during a symposium on Scarcinomas and chaired a session during an NIH-ATS Workshop on Health Equality and Diversity. He also chaired the Medical Advisory Board Meeting of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation held in conjunction with the ATS Meeting. In addition, Dr. Roman was the Lead Discussion Facilitator for a thematic Poster Session titled "Magical Mysteries of IPF," and also was session chair for a Poster Discussion Session named "Aging: The Common Denominator."
  • Dr. Roman was named Chair of the ATS Health Equality Committee.
  • Dr. Julio Ramirez chaired a two-day NHLBI-sponsored symposium on Clinical & translational research in pneumonia, influenza, and emerging respiratory pathogens (CAPO symposium).

Pulmonary fellows and faculty presented 14 pieces of research work and participated in thematic poster, poster discussion, and symposium sessions.

Their presentation addressed important issues related to a diverse of clinical problems ranging from critical care, pulmonary hypertension and sleep medicine to infectious diseases and lung cancer.

Those presentations include:

Graduate students receive national research awards

Leila El-Aryani received the Sinclair Student Award from the Dermal Toxicology Specialty Section and the second place graduate student award in the Metals Toxicology Specialty Section at the March 2015 national meeting of the Society of Toxicology held in San Diego, California.

Dominique Jones received a national travel award and the first place Delores C. Shockley Best Abstract Award at the April 2015 national meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Samantha Carlisle received a national travel award to attend the June 2015 annual NIGMS-sponsored workshop on metabolomics in Birmingham, Alabama.

Gretchen Holz received an international travel award to present her abstract at the July 2015 annual meetings of the American Society for Virology in London, Ontario, Canada.

DentaQuest selects UofL’s David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., as Health Equity Hero for innovations in care delivery

Dunn one of only seven people nationwide recognized for their work on oral health
DentaQuest selects UofL’s David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., as Health Equity Hero for innovations in care delivery

David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – DentaQuest has selected David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs (EVPHA), University of Louisville, as one of its 2015 Health Equity Heroes, recognizing his distinguished work in making oral health care accessible to underserved populations. The inaugural Oral Health Equity Hero Awards were given to only seven people nationwide, each hero making significant contributions toward removing barriers to oral health.

“Dunn is a health leader who is committed to providing critical care in the Louisville community and beyond,” said Steve Pollock, CEO of DentaQuest. “He is connecting historically underserved populations with this care by employing the skills and traits that continue to mark his career - innovation: strategic outreach and compassion for the people he serves every day. The people of Kentucky are lucky to have him as a health advocate and ally.”

Tooth decay affects 20 percent of Kentucky’s preschoolers, 50 percent of second-graders, and nearly 75 percent of 15 year olds-- statistics that Pollock cites as being part of a national oral health crisis. More than 83 million people in the United States are facing barriers to dental care, barriers related to such factors as race, age, income level, language, health literacy, and geographic isolation.

A highly-recognized and respected transplant surgeon, Dunn has served as UofL’s EVPHA since 2011. He is an advocate for the importance of coupling dental coverage with medical coverage to promote enhanced overall health, noting that this “one-stop-shopping” approach helps eliminate barriers and connects more people with consistent preventive care. Under his leadership, UofL has made it a priority to establish medical-dental homes for children, ensuring access to health care is convenient and collaborative. Additionally, UofL medical and dental staff have partnered with the area’s public schools to advance health information and education programs.

“The University has a very robust community engagement initiative, particularly in Louisville’s West End, where there is unique opportunity to reach some of the most vulnerable populations in the state,” Dunn said. “Oral health is critical to overall health and our outreach programs emphasize that connection.”


Medical Students Pound the Pavement for Pediatric Patients

Medical Students Pound the Pavement for Pediatric Patients

UofL medical students run the Kentucky Derby Marathon and miniMarathon in honor of pediatrics patients with cancer and blood disorders.

Medical students pound the pavement of pediatric patients

For the past seven years, University of Louisville medical students have run in the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon or Marathon in honor of patients with cancer and blood disorders in the university’s pediatric hematology/oncology division. This year’s runners presented their race medals to their young buddies in a special ceremony following the races on April 25 in the lobby of the Kosair Charities Clinical & Translational Research Building.

“It’s an opportunity to share yourself and your time. In doing so, you create a bond with a patient and gain a better understanding of what they go through,” said McKenzie Vater, a third-year medical student who has participated in the event for the past three years. “I train with them in mind to get through 13.1 miles of road knowing they are running a much more difficult race of their own.”

Medals4Mettle (M4M) distributes race medals earned by distance athletes to critically ill patients across the nation who are running a race of a different kind – a race for their lives. The UofL School of Medicine program is unique in that the students have the opportunity to meet with their buddies prior to the race and personally present their medals to them after running. The students often run for the same patient year after year, developing a special relationship between the students and the patients and their families.

Read the full article.

DOM faculty honored for years of service

Three honorees total a nearly collective 100 years of service to UofL
DOM faculty honored for years of service

Drs. Jon Klein (left) and Stephen McClave (right) were honored by UofL President Dr. James Ramsey for their years of service to the university.

Members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were among those honored recently for their many years of service to the university.

They were recognized at the Faculty Service Awards ceremony held May 4, 2015, and hosted by UofL President Dr. James Ramsey and Provost Dr. Shirley Willihnganz at the University Club.

The annual Faculty Service Awards honor faculty who have been at UofL 25 or more years, in five-year increments. They received dinner at the University Club and Ramsey and Willihnganz presented each with a certificate.

In all, 45 honorees represented a total of more than 1,300 years of service to the university.

Among those honored from the Department of Medicine:

Marsano part of ACG media tour

UofL hepatology specialist one of six doctors from around the nation to take part in radio programs
Marsano part of ACG media tour

Luis S. Marsano, M.D., FACG

Luis Marsano, M.D., FACG, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Hepatology at the University of Louisville took part in the recent American College of Gastroenterology 2015 CRC Awareness National Radio Media Tour.

Marsano, who serves as and ACG Regional Councillor and Governor of Kentucky, was joined by five other gastroenterology specialists from around the nation in the series which was targeted to reach the resistant un-screened population with emphasis on Spanish language stations, key African American radio markets and syndicated networks.

The radio tour focused on several customized messages to move the un-screened to action that aim to overcome barriers recently identified by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) in consumer research.

UofL researchers detail role of silica and lung cancer

UofL researchers detail role of silica and lung cancer

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D.

Researchers at the University of Louisville have detailed a critical connection associated with a major environmental cause of silicosis and a form of lung cancer. Their study is reported in today’s Nature Communications.

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and a researcher in the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, and his team made the crucial connection between exposure to inhaled silica and rapid progression of lung cancers. This study also outlines the critical role of the inflammatory mediator LTB4 and its receptor BLT1 in promoting silica mediated lung tumor growth.

“We believe this is a significant step in our understanding of how environmental exposure alters the way lung cancer progresses,” Bodduluri said. “It is our hope that this new information will allow for the more rapid development of treatments for this currently incurable disease.”

Exposure to crystalline silica (CS) is common to a variety of industrial operations including mining, quarrying, sandblasting, rock drilling, road construction, pottery making, stone masonry, and tunneling operations. Chronic silica exposure causes severe health complications eventually leading to the irreversible, debilitating disease silicosis.

Approximately 2 million U.S. workers potentially are exposed to breathable crystalline silica. Silicosis in the developing part of the world is of an even higher concern as it is spreading like an epidemic with more than 10 million people affected around the world as a result of rapid industrialization, massive expansion of construction industry and possibly less regulated working environments.

“Silicosis continues to be a growing worldwide health issue. Being from Kentucky, where overall lung cancer is a major health issue, it is exciting that we may be able to develop treatments that impact people in our backyards, in addition to around the world,” Bodduluri said.

Silicosis keeps progressing post-exposure because people are unable to cough up the tiny particles, and macrophages that ingest silica particles end up dying, resulting in persistent sterile inflammation and may eventually lead to lung cancer. Though CS has been designated as a human carcinogen it also has been difficult to discern silicosis associated lung cancer because of a number of confounding factors including the fact that cigarette smoking is a common factor with workers likely to be exposed to silica.

Bodduluri and his colleagues report that in mice that develop spontaneous lung tumors, CS exposure accelerates lung tumor progression. Moreover, this result also was replicated in an implantable lung cancer model.

Their results highlight the importance of silica induced leukotriene B4 mediated inflammation in lung tumor promotion. Leukotrienes are involved in regulating inflammation, especially in the lungs. Mice deficient in leukotriene B4 receptor BLT1 are significantly protected from silica induced tumor promotion, suggesting the possibility for novel treatment strategies for both silicosis and associated lung cancers.

Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center said, “This work reflects the strong commitment of the Brown Cancer Center to better understand the important role of environmental factors in causing lung cancer.  Dr. Bodduluri and his team are world leaders in this field and this work may lead to novel therapies for lung cancer.”

$3 million NIH grant to aid UofL in speeding technologies to market (w/ VIDEOS)

To be matched with another $3.1 million to commercialize research
$3 million NIH grant to aid UofL in speeding technologies to market (w/ VIDEOS)

Dr. Donald Miller (left) listens as Dr. Paula Bates, both of the University of Louisville Division of Medical Oncology & Hematology, discuss an NIH award of $3 million to create an ExCITE Hub at UofL.


The University of Louisville announced April 22 that a grant from the National Institutes of Health will combine with matching funds from the university to create a new $6.1 million initiative to commercialize discoveries made by UofL researchers.

UofL is one of just three institutions in the United States selected as a Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) by the NIH. The REACH award consists of $3 million over three years matched by an additional $3.1 million from UofL.

"The funding from the REACH grant significantly advances UofL's ability to bridge the gap between a great idea and the marketplace," UofL President Dr. James R. Ramsey said in announcing the award. "The university will continue to supply a robust pipeline of diverse technologies and other discoveries along with the infrastructure and expertise required for translational research. The REACH grant will provide additional resources needed to bring that research to market."

"This award illustrates the success UofL is witnessing in its mission to become a premiere metropolitan research university," Dr. William M. Pierce Jr., executive vice president for research and innovation said. "We know it is not enough only to make great discoveries; we must find ways to bring those discoveries to the marketplace where they will benefit the people of our city, state and beyond. This grant provides significant support to do so."

Executive Vice President for Health Affairs David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., said the work that the grant supports is a natural outgrowth of UofL's already demonstrated success in research.

"UofL's commitment to invest in talent and infrastructure already has paid dividends in translational research," Dunn said. "UofL research that has led to new discoveries includes a first-in-class anticancer drug, a method to prevent organ transplant rejection, a treatment that can reverse damage caused by heart attack and a protocol that allows people with spinal cord injury to regain voluntary movement of their once paralyzed limbs. The REACH funding will enable us to translate even more of these types of new discoveries to the market."

About the Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub grant

The REACH grant will create UofL's "ExCITE Hub" – reflecting its function to "Expedite Commercialization, Innovation, Translation and Entrepreneurship" to increase the success rate and speed at which biomedical research is translated into products that bring a positive impact on health.

The ExCITE Hub has three major aims:

  1. Identify the most promising technologies from UofL researchers and provide funding for product definition studies;
  2. Promote the commercialization of selected products; and,
  3. Expand education, experiential and networking opportunities for stakeholders such as researchers, other faculty, students and others within the university.

Paula J. Bates, Ph.D., is principal investigator on the grant and will direct the ExCITE Hub program. Bates is an associate professor in UofL's Department of Medicine and a researcher with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Eugene Krentsel, Ph.D., acting director of UofL's Office of Industry Engagement, and Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the cancer center, will serve as co-principal investigators for the program. A team of faculty entrepreneurs and technology transfer professionals also will support the mission of the hub.

"We have given the ExCITE Hub a structure that will overcome the obstacles that can impede translating research from the research bench to the marketplace," she said. "This structure comprises five innovative features, working in concert, that make the ExCITE Hub genuinely one-of-a-kind in the field of research commercialization."

Those features are:

  • The ExCITE Hub is a geographically focused program to expedite operations and maximize the impact on the local ecosystem.
  • An innovative governance structure has been developed to integrate achievement of the three aims of the program and "avoid the creation of silos," Bates said.
  • The program will proactively integrate education into the approach to continue to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in research.
  • A technology development grant program in the ExCITE Hub will provide mentored direction and provide for early and continued interaction among scientists, technology transfer staff and industry consultants.
  • Emphasis will be placed on consciously improving academia-industry relationships by increasing opportunities for mutual understanding, ensuring a robust technology pipeline and responding quickly to industry needs.

The NIH selected UofL along with the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the Long Island (N.Y.) Bioscience Hub, a consortium of Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory, as the three recipients of REACH funding.

REACH is based on an initiative created by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute called the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations. The program is a public-private partnership whose objective is to change how to identify and develop innovations with scientific and commercial potential. The effort utilizes industry-style project management to determine technologies that are poised to have the greatest potential to launch into the marketplace.


Health equity program sets stage for integration of LGBT competency in UofL medical school curriculum

LGBT Health and Wellness Competency certificates presented to 102 students, faculty and staff
Health equity program sets stage for integration of LGBT competency in UofL medical school curriculum

Recipients of 2015 LGBT Health and Wellness Competency certificates

Last year, the first year it was offered, the University of Louisville LGBT Center awarded 26 certificates in LGBT Health and Wellness Competency. This year, that number nearly quadrupled to 102 certificates awarded April 13 to students, faculty and staff members at the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. The year-long program educates health-care workers about treating individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“It really speaks to the interest and the passion of all of those who have attended sessions for making sure they are doing their utmost in caring for a broad swathe of the population,” said Stacie Steinbock, director of the LGBT Center Satellite Office on the Health Sciences Center Campus, who organized the program.

The certificate program consists of monthly lunchtime sessions covering issues facing LGBT patients and their health-care providers. In all, more than 650 people attended this year’s sessions. Individuals who attended at least four of the sessions and completed a post-test were eligible to receive the certificate and lapel pin recognizing their completion of the LGBT Health and Wellness Competency program. Recipients included students in the schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health, as well as faculty and staff members from all parts of the Health Sciences Center campus.

“The speakers were dynamic and I couldn’t ask for a better certificate series,” said Ron Welch, of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, who received a certificate.

“It was really about diversifying and providing a more inclusive environment for our students, for our faculty, for our staff. Beyond that, it was also about improving the health and the care of our LGBT patients,” Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine, said of the program.

"This certificate training further fosters diversity and inclusivity as we work together in the future as interprofessional teams," said Marcia Hern, Ed.D., C.N.S., R.N., dean of the UofL School of Nursing.

The certificate program coincides with the UofL School of Medicine’s incorporation of LGBT training competencies identified by the Association of American Medical Colleges into the formal curriculum beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year. UofL is the national pilot site for this program.

“Having additional training in the equitable, just and affirmative care of LGBT patients is critical. We as a medical school are going to be one of the first in the country to systematically build it into our curriculum and the certificate program was really something that preceded our ability to change the medical curriculum,” said Amy Holthauser, M.D., a member of the UofL School of Medicine faculty and certificate recipient.

To increase the relevance of the program to students and staff in the individual schools, next year’s program will offer four general sessions, with two sessions designed to be specifically relevant to each of the medical, dental, nursing and public health programs.

Professor Emeritus Len Waite

We mourn the loss of Professor Emeritus Len Waite who passed away April 16, 2015  after an extended illness.  Dr. Waite provided exemplary leadership, teaching, and service to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology for 40 years from 1970 until his retirement from the faculty in 2011.   During his tenure, he served as the Department Vice Chair and Director of the graduate program.  He mentored outstanding graduate students including our current Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Bill Pierce, and served on the graduate committees of numerous other students. In addition to biomedical graduate students, Dr. Waite directed and largely taught many undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses and students in the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Waite was recognized for his excellence in teaching by the School of Dentistry and the President’s Award for Distinguished Service by the University.  His service towards such a large and broad array of our educational programs at the University of Louisville exhibited his talent, work ethic and dedication to teaching.  He was a dear friend and advisor to many of us and will be deeply missed.

Grant to aid UofL research into asthma in older adults (w/ VIDEO)

$2.3 million in funding from the National Institutes on Aging will assist in examining asthma triggers
Grant to aid UofL research into asthma in older adults (w/ VIDEO)

Bryan Beatty (far left) and Dr. Rodrigo Cavallazzi (far right) of the UofL Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine join Barbara Polivka, Ph.D. in the announcement of a $2.3 million grant to study asthma in older adults.


Understanding the personal and environmental influences of asthma in older adults is the focus of a $2.3 million National Institute on Aging grant awarded to Barbara Polivka, Ph.D., the Shirley B. Powers Endowed Chair in Nursing in the University of Louisville School of Nursing, and her interdisciplinary team.

That team includes Rodrigo Cavallazzi, M.D., and Bryan Beatty, RRT, CPFT, of the UofL Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine.

Although often considered a childhood health problem, asthma – a chronic inflammatory disease that causes recurrent cough, wheezing and chest tightness or shortness of breath - can cause serious illness for people age 60 and older, and little is known about the triggers of asthma specific to seniors.

"Asthma is a complicated health problem as it's considered a collection of various characteristics versus a single disease," Polivka said. "This study is novel because until now there has been no comprehensive measurement of the many biophysical factors, along with environmental exposures that impact asthma control and quality of life in older adults."

The researchers hope to recruit 190 asthma suffers age 60 and older who are non-smokers and have no other lung diseases. They’ll gather information related to patient demographics, health history, occupational exposures, age at asthma onset and duration, tobacco use, the presence of other diseases, medication profile and individual asthma-specific knowledge.

Blood-work, pulmonary function tests and a skin-allergy test will be a part of the data collection process for each participant.

During this five-year study, the team also will measure chemical emissions from outdoor and common indoor materials and allergens associated with higher risks of asthma. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaning products, room fresheners, polishes, carpets, solvents, floor adhesives and paints are known to cause problems for children with asthma, but this is the first study to explore VOC exposure and asthma control in older adults.

Asthma sufferers often experience exacerbations following exposure to dust, smoke, fumes, fungi, animals and plants. Such allergen exposures will be measured in each participant home – ranging from single-family houses to retirement community-style arrangements.

"As the population ages and the number of older adults with asthma in the United States increases to an estimated 4 million by 2030, the information from this study can be used to develop and test patient-centered interventions to help seniors with asthma better manage their symptoms, reduce trips to the emergency room and improve their overall well-being," Polivka said.

Study participants can receive up to $200 in gift cards, asthma trigger control supplies and test results. For more information on qualifications for study inclusion, contact Susan Rames at 502-852-2273 or


UofL pulmonary group launches MICU Care

New initiative aims to standardize protocols and streamline patient care in local intensive care units.
UofL pulmonary group launches MICU Care

MICU Care will standarize care at UofL Hospital, Jewish Hospital and the Louisville VAMC

Standardizing protocols and providing more efficient management of medical intensive care units (MICU) across several locations is the focus of MICU Care, a new initiative of the University of Louisville Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Disorders Medicine.

Under the direction of Drs. Mohamed Saad, Rodrigo Cavallazzi and Juan Guardiola of the UofL pulmonary division, the new initiative was launched March 30, 2015, in the Medical Intensive Care Units of University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville.

Developed by critical care experts at the University of Louisville, the initiative is aimed at improving outcomes while at the same time decreasing costs in the critical care setting.

With the implementation of MICU Care, protocols defining the management of critical care disorders ranging from pneumonia and sepsis to pulmonary embolism, gastrointestinal bleeding, and acute lung injury will be used by critical care specialists at these Medical Intensive Care Units.

"Standardization is essential in critical care medicine," Dr. Jesse Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine and chief of the pulmonary division said. "It ensures that patients are treated based on best practices, promotes health equality, improves outcomes, and decreases costs."

The primary objectives of MICU Care include:

  • Implementing clinical protocols for the management of multiple critical illnesses, thereby achieving the goal of standardizing Medical ICU care throughout a hospital network.
  • Developing a monitoring strategy that ensures that the protocols are used, while being updated as soon as new data are available to ensure that protocols are consistent with evidence-based practices and national standards.
  • Improving medical education for fellows, residents and students as trainees will be exposed to patients cared for in the same manner in Medical ICUs throughout the system.
  • Engaging in clinical translational research in Medical ICUs designed to identify best practices that lead to improved outcomes (e.g., decreased length of stay and less complications) while decreasing costs.

"MICU Care represents the foundation for standardized education, and the infrastructure for future multi-hospital clinical trials which is needed for advancing discovery," Roman said. "I am proud of this team of faculty and fellows who have worked to improve the quality of care we deliver in medical intensive care units."

- For more information regarding the MICU Care initiative, please contact Drs. Saad, Cavallazzi and Guardiola at 502-852-5841, or Dr. Roman at 502-852-5241.

Residency programs roll another perfect match (w/ VIDEO)

Internal Medicine, Med-Peds programs once again fill all available categorical and preliminary positions.
Residency programs roll another perfect match (w/ VIDEO)

UofL medical students open their envelopes from the NRMP to find out where they matched for their medical residencies.



Match Day for University of Louisville medical students, and others nationwide, was March 20 as they opened their envelopes from the National Residency Match Program to find where they had been matched for residency training.

Conducted annually by the NRMP, The Match uses a computerized algorithm designed to the best results by aligning the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs. The results are used to fill thousands of training positions available in the United States.

The UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program completed a perfect match yet again, filling 24 categorical and 12 preliminary positions.

In addition the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program, under the direction of Laura Workman, M.D., added five new members.

"I am pleased to welcome a very talented group of new interns in internal medicine to the University of Louisville!" Jennifer Koch, M.D., FACP, Director of the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program said. "We are very excited to have once again filled all available spots in the match with a wonderful group of young doctors. We very much look forward to welcoming them to Louisville and preparing them to begin their residency training!"

Jesse Roman, M.D., Chairman of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine, looks forward to bringing in the new class.

"We are excited to welcome our new residents into our program," Roman said. "They will quickly find that our stellar faculty are eager to usher them into this new stage of their careers."

Our incoming Class of 2018 includes:

Categorical Residents

  • Mohammed Ahmed - M.S. Ramaiah Medical College
  • Alok Bhatt - Kasturba Medical College
  • Gregory Bills - Marshall University
  • Nikhil Borkhetaria - University of Louisville
  • Taylor Burkhart - The Ohio University
  • Dhruv Chaudhary - St. George's University
  • Monika Darji - Chicago Medical School
  • Jugraj Dhanoa - Adesh Institute
  • Rahul Dhawan - Government Medical College Chandigarh
  • Brian Dong - University of Louisville
  • Idona Goode - University of Louisville
  • Farrah Harden - University of Louisville
  • Syed Hussaini - St. George's University
  • Natalie Kelsey - St. George's University
  • Ninad Maniar - Seth G.S. Medical College
  • Nsehniitooh Mbah - University of Louisville
  • Drew Murray - St. George's College
  • Nevin Murthy - Chicago Medical School
  • Sanjay Patel - University of Pikeville
  • Alexander Pontikos - Virgina Commonwealth University
  • Chetan Prasad - Bangalore Medical College
  • Srividya Srinivasamaharaj - Sri Ramachandra Medical College
  • Benadin Varajic - University of Louisville
  • Chandra Vethody - Kasturba Medical College


Preliminary Residents

  • Andrea Breaux - University of Louisville
  • Nicolas Burnett - University of Louisville
  • Vlad Codrea - University of Texas
  • David Duncan - University of Louisville
  • Megan Holtgrave - University of Louisville
  • Timothy Jan - Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Alden Klarer - University of Louisville
  • Mariko Kubinec - University of Texas-San Antonio
  • James Morris - University of Louisville
  • Paul Overdorf - Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Niloofar Piri - Tehran University of Medical Sciences
  • Charles Robinson - The Ohio State University


Combined Med-Peds Residents

  • Molly Maggard - University of Louisville
  • Christian Matar - University of Kentucky
  • Douglas McConnell - Florida Atlantic University
  • Michael Orangias - University of Louisville
  • Mary Rush - Indiana University