Normal eye dominance is not necessary for restoring visual acuity in amblyopia

Research shows eye dominance and visual acuity are independent, governed by separate areas of the brain
Normal eye dominance is not necessary for restoring visual acuity in amblyopia

Aaron W. McGee, Ph.D.

Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” is a visual disorder common in children. The symptoms often are low acuity in the affected or “lazy” eye and impaired depth perception. Researchers have long believed that the impaired vision by one eye is a consequence of exaggerated eye dominance that favors the fellow or “good” eye.

Amblyopia typically is treated by patching the fellow eye to strengthen the affected eye with the goal of restoring normal eye dominance. If correction is not achieved prior to the closing of a “critical period” that ends in early adolescence, visual impairments are more difficult to treat, if not permanent.

Research published today, led by Aaron W. McGee, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Louisville Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, may lead to changes in how amblyopia is treated, particularly in adults. The research shows that eye dominance and visual acuity are controlled by different areas of the brain, and that one can be corrected without correcting the other.

“We unexpectedly discovered that they aren’t related. They’re independent,” McGee said. “It may not be necessary to instill normal eye dominance to correct visual acuity.”

Previously, McGee and fellow researchers identified a gene called ngr1 as essential in closing the critical period. He found that deleting ngr1 in animal models permits the critical period to remain open or to re-open, facilitating recovery of normal eye dominance and visual acuity. However, the relationship between the improved visual acuity and eye dominance was not clear.

Today’s research reports that recovery of eye dominance alone is not sufficient to promote recovery of acuity, and recovery of acuity can occur even if eye dominance remains impaired. McGee and his colleagues found that eye dominance is regulated by the brain’s primary visual cortex, while visual acuity is governed by another area of the brain, the thalamus.

McGee is the senior author on the article, published in Current Biology, (Distinct Circuits for Recovery of Eye Dominance and Acuity in Murine Amblyopia). Co-authors include Céleste-Élise Stephany Ph.D., a graduate student at the University of Southern California at the time of the research and now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Shenfeng Qiu, Ph.D., assistant professor of the University of Arizona, and others.

The researchers applied tools to selectively delete the ngr1 gene in different areas of the brain. When ngr1 was deleted from the primary visual cortex, normal eye dominance was recovered but acuity remained impaired. When ngr1 was deleted from the thalamus, eye dominance was impaired, but visual acuity recovered to normal.

“Genes that are limiting recovery from amblyopia are working in parts of brain circuitry that previously were not recognized to have a role in improving visual acuity,” McGee said. “This could allow researchers to address acuity directly, without having to restore normal eye dominance.”



June 7, 2018

UofL physician to participate in UN Day panel Saturday

Mittel will discuss health consequences of human trafficking
UofL physician to participate in UN Day panel Saturday

Olivia Mittel, M.D.

October 28, 2015

Olivia Mittel, M.D., assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, will be among an expert panel discussing human trafficking Saturday, Oct. 31. The event is part of the 70th United Nations Day Commemoration Conference, hosted by the Kentucky Division of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA).

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. at the University Club Ballroom, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

At UofL, Mittel is among the team that educates and trains medical students and residents to recognize the signs of human trafficking in patients and to intervene on their behalf.

In advance of the UN Day panel, Mittel shares the following statement:

“It is well known that human trafficking victims suffer severe mental and physical health consequences as a result of their exploitation. Because they often require immediate attention for violence-related injuries, serious psychological illness, pregnancy and substance abuse, health care workers are likely to be the only professionals to interact with these victims while they are being trafficked.

“For this reason, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, together with KentuckyOne Health, are committed to developing training protocols to teach our students, nurses and physicians how to identify these patients and refer them to safety.

“By increasing our efforts to understand the nature and scope of the problem in our community, we can better intervene on behalf of these patients and ultimately play a vital role in the fight to eliminate modern-day slavery.”

Mittel will be joined on the panel with Dianna Anderson, chair, Louisville Metro Human Trafficking Task Force; Amy Leenerts, founder and director, Free2Hope Inc.; and Jeanette Westbrook, UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Other speakers during the UN Day program include Rep. John Yarmuth, District 10 Louisville Metro Councilman Steve Magre and lecturer Ambassador Shabazz. Speakers in the afternoon include Mike Beard, executive director of UN Foundation Advocacy and global health director of the Better World Campaign; and Karen Mulhauser, national chair, UNA-USA.

For information, contact Teena Halbig, 502-267-6883 or


LMPD officers train to save lives at UofL

Willed Body Program provides resources to help officers learn to stop arterial bleeding
LMPD officers train to save lives at UofL

Police officers are often first on the scene when someone receives a serious injury. For victims with arterial bleeding, every second that passes puts them at greater risk of dying from their injuries. If emergency medical personnel cannot get there in time, it could be up to the police officer to save an individual’s life.

Thanks to the University of Louisville’s Willed Body Program, 16 Louisville police officers received special training this month in how to stop arterial bleeding – and potentially save a life. At the fresh tissue lab in the UofL Department of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology, members of the Louisville Metro Police Department participated in a day-long session to learn how to handle life-threatening arterial bleeds they may encounter at an accident or crime scene.

Emergency Medical Technician Brandon Heming and other emergency medical personnel instructed the officers using cadavers made available in the lab. It was the first such training held at the UofL lab for police officers.

“We are teaching police officers to save lives. No other form of training allows for the realism that is provided by utilizing a tissue lab,” Heming said.

Joe Heitzman, LMPD officer and one of the organizers of the training, said this was the first time many of the officers had worked with cadavers.

“The officers who were in the class had a great learning experience and a lot of them told me that the training was the first time they actually got to see how trauma affects our bodies and how to use a tourniquet correctly to save a life,” Heitzman said. “This was an opportunity that not many officers will ever get a chance at and they were excited about the lab.”

Nicole Herring, Ph.D., director of the Fresh Tissue and Willed Body Programs at UofL, said this type of training is part of the mission of the program, which provides cadavers for medical training within the UofL Health Sciences Center, as well as health-care professional students from Spalding, Bellarmine and Sullivan Universities, and Army Medical Corps team members from Ft. Knox.

“One of our primary goals for the Willed Body Program is not only to provide a resource for education for our medical and dental students, but for health-care professionals in our community as well,” Herring said.

October 20, 2015

UofL researchers awarded patents for innovations to improve cancer treatments, bone grafts and therapies for spinal cord damage

UofL researchers awarded patents for innovations to improve cancer treatments, bone grafts and therapies for spinal cord damage

Trabs, particles used in Trabexus EB bone graft material

Technologies to improve bone grafts and cancer immunotherapies, protect lung tissue during radiation treatment, reverse neurological damage and improve recovery from spinal cord injury are among the patents issued to the University of Louisville Research Foundation recently. Two of the inventions have been licensed and are in the process of making their way into the health-care system to improve the lives of patients.

Bone graft cement - A substitute bone graft material called Trabexus EB has been patented and cleared by the FDA for use by orthopaedic surgeons in patient care. The product, developed by Michael Voor, Ph.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and bioengineering at UofL, along with Robert Burden, M. Eng., a former student and employee of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Lab, is a bone replacement cement that provides both strength and resorbability in bone repairs. Licensed and marketed by Vivorte, Trabexus EB contains specially shaped bone particles, called Trabs, which interconnect to provide a biologically active framework for the bone repair. The specially formulated calcium phosphate that binds the particles together allows the material to flow into irregular void spaces then provides strength while allowing the body to resorb the material and replace it with living bone. Trabexus EB is used by orthopaedic surgeons in repairing bones damaged through injury, tumor or other defects.

Revolutionary treatment for paralysis - A three-pronged approach to the treatment of paralysis following spinal cord injury has received a patent based on the research of Susan Harkema, Ph.D., and Claudia Angeli, Ph.D., of UofL’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, along with researchers at UCLA and elsewhere. The treatment method centers on the use of epidural stimulation to activate the spinal cord, along with physical training and medications that when combined, allow individuals with spinal cord injury to have voluntary control of body movements and improve heart, lung and other autonomic functions. To activate the spinal circuits, an electrode array, controlled by the patient, is implanted in the lower spine. Participants in epidural stimulation research at UofL have experienced the ability to move and stand unassisted with some improvements in heart, pulmonary and bladder function.

Cancer therapy improvement - Haval Shirwan, Ph.D., endowed chair and professor in UofL’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, along with Esma Yolcu, Ph.D., of UofL and Kutlu Elpek, Ph.D., now of Boston, have developed a method of using a series of ligands, molecules that bind to cell receptors, to enhance immunotherapies used for the treatment of cancer and chronic viral infections, such as HIV. When diseases such as cancer and HIV have overcome the patient’s immune system, the T cells, which provide a natural immune response, are “switched off.” The patented compositions utilize specific ligands in combination with antigens or infectious agents to reactivate and generate new T cells, allowing the patient’s immune system to respond more vigorously in eliminating the tumors or disease and preventing recurrence. This method of stimulating the immune system has significant potential to make immunotherapies more effective and provide protection against recurrence of the disease.

Protecting lung function - Software to detect areas of depleted lung function during radiation treatment for lung cancer is the subject of a patent based on the work of Shiao Woo, M.D., chair, and Neal Dunlap, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at UofL, along with Amir Amini, Ph.D., professor and endowed chair in bioimaging at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering, and Mohammadrezza Negahdar, Ph.D., now at Stanford University. The group developed 4-D computed tomography (CT) image analysis software that can be incorporated into existing lung imaging used during radiation therapy to detect early changes in lung elasticity. If specific areas of the lung have been damaged by radiation, the treatments can be adjusted to prevent permanent breathing problems. The process also may be used in other lung diseases, such as fibrosis, to detect early changes in lung function.

Repairing the spinal cord - Fred Roisen, Ph.D., former chair of the UofL Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, along with UofL researchers Meng Qiu, Ph.D., and Chengliang Lu, M.D., and UofL graduate Meng Wang, Ph.D., developed a method for a tissue biopsy from a patient’s nasal passages and from those cells, isolating progenitor stem cells called RhinoCytes. These RhinoCtyes regenerate the spinal cord to repair an injury. The stem cells also can be used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. The method of generating the RhinoCytes has been licensed from UofL by RhinoCyte, Inc., and is scheduled for a concept study at the University of Louisville Hospital with Phase I/II clinical trials beginning in 2016.

These patents have been awarded to the University of Louisville Research Foundation, Inc., in the current fiscal year, which began in July, 2015, according to the office of Technology Transfer & Industry Engagement. That office works with UofL researchers to submit patent applications and negotiates commercialization opportunities for patented technologies. The university received 60 U.S. patents in the past two fiscal years, half of which are related to medical research at the School of Medicine. The Speed School of Engineering is responsible for most of the other patent applications.

UofL is the only university with three of the most prestigious innovation-associated commercialization grants, having received grants from the Coulter Translational Research Partnership, the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps and the National Institutes of Health Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH).


October 19, 2015

Parkinson’s Disease Buddy Program seeking participants

Program in its second year matching Parkinson’s patients with first-year medical students
Parkinson’s Disease Buddy Program seeking participants

Participants in the Parkinson’s Disease Buddy Program, 2015

Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease are invited to participate in the Parkinson’s Disease Buddy Program, which matches them with first-year University of Louisville medical students for a series of one-on-one meetings designed to benefit both students and the patients. Buddies will be paired for one calendar year beginning in September, meeting two to three hours a month and at special group events.

The PD Buddy program, the only one of its kind for Parkinson’s patients, was launched last summer as a partnership between UofL and the Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana. Twenty-five buddy pairs participated in the year-long program designed to give the patients social interaction and allow them to share their stories with the students, who in turn gained first-hand knowledge about living with a nervous system disorder. The program also serves to better educate students about Parkinson's, introduce students to research and career opportunities in neurology and movement disorders, and provide people with Parkinson's Disease the opportunity to interact more closely with the medical community.

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., the Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology at UofL and director of the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians, said the exchanges give the students a deeper understanding of how patients cope with the disease. LaFaver also meets monthly with the students to provide additional medical information and inform the students about research and career opportunities in neurology and movement disorders.

Since this program is unique for Parkinson’s patients, LaFaver, along with Erika Branch, executive director of the Parkinson Support Center, and Denise Cumberland, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UofL College of Education and Human Development, will present findings from the first year of the PD Buddy Program at the World Parkinson Congress in Portland, Ore., in September.

The PD Buddy Program, also sponsored by KentuckyOne Health, is open to anyone diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease who has the time and interest to participate. In addition to one-on-one meetings with the students, several group activities will be planned over the course of the year. Patients must understand that this is an education program and that the medical students will not be able to give medical advice.

Interested individuals may call the UofL Physicians Movement Disorders Clinic at 502-582-7654, the Parkinson Support Center of Kentucky at 502-254-3388, or email a completed application form to prior to August 15. Application forms may be downloaded at

Newest institute named in honor of Christina Lee Brown

Newest institute named in honor of Christina Lee Brown

Christina Lee Brown (third from the right)

In recognition of her support, the University of Louisville will rename its most recently created institute to The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute. The UofL Board of Trustees voted on the name change today.

“I cannot think of a better way to honor Christie for her tremendous generosity that has allowed the institute to become a reality and to get off to such a strong start,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

In May, Brown committed $5 million in support of the institute, which takes a holistic approach to researching how the human-environment interrelationship impacts peoples’ lives. In addition to building on the pioneering work of Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., that established the field of environmental cardiology, UofL will incorporate community engagement and citizen science to introduce a singular, new approach to the study of health. Bhatnagar is the institute’s director, as well as the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine.

The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute develops new infrastructure for transdisciplinary knowledge, bridging academic research with community engagement it transforms the city of Louisville into an urban laboratory and establishes the university as a repository of knowledge about the envirome. The Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute offers global leadership in developing new models of living by making decisions through the lens of health.

Louisville Bats game on Aug. 11 supports cancer patients at UofL

Louisville Bats game on Aug. 11 supports cancer patients at UofL

The M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center provides support, education and comfort to patients battling cancer.

Louisvillians who love sports and want to support the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center can do both on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018.

They can head on over to Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St and see the Louisville Bats take on the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of Allentown, Penn., on MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 2. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the game starts at 6:30 p.m.

The event will support the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at the Brown Cancer Center, said Elea Fox, executive director of development for the cancer center. “This is a great opportunity for baseball fans to support the region’s only comprehensive cancer center,” Fox said. “It gives supporters the chance to take take part in a fun evening while giving back to the Brown Cancer Center.”

In addition to fund-raising, representatives from the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center and the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofLwill be at the game providing cancer screenings and educational materials. Located on the first floor of the Brown Cancer Center, 529 S. Jackson St., the center is named for a former patient and her family who generously support the programs and services offered to the patients and to the community.

From coffee to counseling, the resource center provides a peaceful environment for cancer patients to learn, relax and heal emotionally. The goal of the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center is to help connect patients and family members with the services that go beyond medical treatment to achieve the best possible experience.

Educational materials, videos and Internet access to cancer-related websites are offered to patients, and the staff provides information patients need to cope with their condition and its treatment. Patients are connected with support groups and other free services that can help in the healing process.


About Louisville Bats’ MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 2

Coming off the success of MARVEL Super Hero Night No. 1 on June 23, the second MARVEL Super Hero Night on Aug. 11 will feature the Hulk with giveaways and promotions. Fans should be on the lookout for character meet-and-greet opportunities, special super hero-themed jerseys worn by the players and additional super hero merchandise, sights and sounds. Plus, the first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a special edition MARVEL Hulk bobblehead.

An added feature will come the following week: The hero-themed jerseys worn by players will be auctioned off online, also benefitting the resource center.

Raymond Loyd and his family provided funding to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center in honor of his daughter. A pre-game party with band will open the evening, and Raymond Loyd – whose family donated funding to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center – will throw out the first pitch. He will be joined on the field with other members of the Loyd family, including Krista’s children.

Cancer heroes and survivors will be honored throughout the evening, and resource center staff will be on hand with cancer awareness and education materials. An added feature will come the following week: The hero-themed jerseys worn by players will be auctioned off online, also benefitting the resource center. For details and ticket options, go to the Louisville Bats’ MARVEL Super Hero Night website.




UofL meeting behavioral health needs in rural Kentucky

UofL meeting behavioral health needs in rural Kentucky

Older adult talks with behavioral health worker

Rural areas in the United States face a shortage of behavioral health practitioners. As CNN recently reported, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 47-percent of non-metropolitan counties don’t have access to a psychologist. The shortage extends to psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and a cadre of behavioral health resources including shelters, hospitals and community support groups.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville is working to meet this need in rural Kentucky. This fall, the institute will place 38 students specializing in behavioral health into a dozen rural health care sites across 10 rural and underserved communities.

“Older adults are particularly affected by the lack of behavioral health practitioners,” said Anna Faul, Ph.D., the institute’s executive director. “Isolation and depression are common issues for older adults, with 20-percent of rural older adults diagnosed with depression. Not having access to behavioral health care can severely worsen conditions and lead to physical decline. Furthermore, mobility limitations can make it difficult for older adults to drive long distances to get the care they need.”

Locations where the students will be placed include:

  • Kentucky River Medical Practice (Henry County)
  • Kentucky One Health Primary Care Associates (Shelby County)
  • T.J. Samson Family Medicine Center (covering Barren, Hart, and Metcalfe Counties)
  • Exceptional Senior Living (Oldham County)
  • Multi-purpose Community Action Agency (Bullitt and Shelby Counties)
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency (Oldham and Trimble Counties)

Several practices, while in Jefferson County, serve older adults in rural areas:

  • Family Community Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville AIM Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville Family & Geriatric Practice (Jefferson County)
  • University of Louisville PNES Clinic (Jefferson County)
  • Park DuValle Community Health Center (Jefferson County)
  • Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky (Jefferson County)

A primary goal of this program is to increase the geriatrics behavioral health workforce in rural communities. Both undergraduate and graduate students across multiple disciplines are involved. Many of the masters and doctoral-level students are participating in the institute’s Flourish Behavioral Health Graduate Internship. The internship, funded by a four-year federal grant, is part of the institute’s Flourish Network, a program focused on team-based care coordination for older adults.


GSG III Foundation pledges more than $1 million for Lung Research Program at UofL

Gibbs Lung Research Program will develop new research models, test therapies
GSG III Foundation pledges more than $1 million for Lung Research Program at UofL

Cardiovascular Innovation Institute

A new research program at the University of Louisville will focus on developing better methods for studying lung inflammation and allow for new research into causes and potential therapies for lung diseases that affect millions of Americans. Thanks to a pledge of $1.05 million over five years from the GSG III Foundation, Inc., the UofL School of Medicine will create the Gibbs Lung Research Program at the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII). The program will use established research and existing partnerships at CII to develop improved methods for studying diseased lungs and to explore new treatments for inflammatory lung disease.

“Given the number of people in Louisville and Kentucky who suffer from lung diseases, from COPD to cystic fibrosis to asthma, we are happy to support the community by creating a program that can ultimately lead to life-changing therapies for the people of Louisville and across the United States,” said George Gibbs, chair of the GSG III Foundation, which is based in Louisville.

Lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) alone affecting 13.5 million people. Inflammation of the lungs is often the first sign of more serious lung disease. However, scientists have limited methods for studying inflammation in lungs to better understand how and why it occurs and to develop treatments.

“Other than lung cancer, most people do not understand the extent of the problem of lung disease,” said Laman Gray Jr., M.D., executive and medical director of the CII. “Inflammatory lung diseases are debilitating and affect millions of individuals. What is worse is the scientific world has limited capabilities for studying these diseases. This gift from the GSG III Foundation will allow us to develop expanded modeling opportunities with the goal of reducing human suffering from lung disease.”

More than 70 percent of donor lungs are unusable for transplant. Support from University of Louisville Hospital and Jewish Hospital, both part of KentuckyOne Health, will enable the program’s investigators to obtain donated human lungs that cannot be used for transplant. Researchers in the new program plan to develop techniques to sustain these donor lungs over a longer period of time, allowing them to study the causes of inflammation as well as test potential therapies.

The goals for the program are three-part:

-Establish an ex vivo human lung model allowing lungs that are unsuitable for transplant to be brought to CII for research. The donated lungs will be enclosed in a sterile plastic dome, attached to a ventilator, pump and filters. The lungs will be maintained at normal body temperature and treated with a bloodless solution containing nutrients, proteins and oxygen.

-Develop methods for long-term support of the ex vivo lungs. Current processes enable the lungs to be supported for up to 12 hours, which is long enough to transport them for transplant, but not long enough for meaningful study.

-Once these techniques are in place, researchers in the program intend to use the research models explore areas of potential benefit, including:

  • Cell therapy – Explore the use of stem and regenerative cells isolated from a patient’s own fat tissue to treat lung inflammation.
  • Mechanics – Develop improved methods of respiratory support by studying the biomechanics of diseased lungs and the benefits of ex-vivo lung perfusion, a method of strengthening lungs outside the body.
  • Gene expression - Understand the course of dysfunction and dysregulation among the more than 40 different cell types within the lung and profile the functional changes that occur in diseased lungs and compare the gene expression to healthy lungs.

The program’s investigators will include Gray, James B. Hoying, Ph.D., division chief, cardiovascular therapeutics, Stuart K. Williams, Ph.D., division chief, bioficial organs, George Pantalos, Ph.D., professor of surgery and bioengineering, Victor van Berkel, M.D., cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, and Shizuka Uchida, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, all of UofL.

UofL researchers hope the Gibbs Lung Research Program ultimately will become a comprehensive lung research program, leading to valuable treatments that will slow or reverse the course of lung disease, improving quality of life for millions of people.


About the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute

Since opening in 2007, the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute has focused on the discovery, development and implementation of innovative treatments for cardiovascular disease. The CII’s main goal is to foster a world-class collaborative, integrated, multi-disciplinary enterprise encompassing basic, translational, clinical and population research in cardiovascular disease, affecting individuals throughout their entire lifespan, from prenatal life to death. The CII is a partnership effort of the University of Louisville and the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence.

Red and blue collaborate for a better Kentucky, nation, world

UofL, UK joint research totals almost $11 million this year, covers diverse fields
On the football field this Saturday, it will be Red versus Blue, the Cardinals battling the Wildcats, the Ville going against Big Blue Nation. The rivalry between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky has been called the most heated in collegiate sports in the nation.
But beyond the gridiron, there are numerous examples of the University of Louisville working with the University of Kentucky in research that holds promise to improve life not only for Kentuckians but for people throughout the United States and around the world.
Currently, there are 20 projects funded at a total of almost $11 million in this year alone that involve collaboration between the two universities. Agencies funding these projects include the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Transportation, the United States Geological Survey, several state agencies and more. Researchers in medicine, engineering, psychology, physics, education and the geosciences are working together to advance the body of knowledge in their fields and subfields.
“On the playing field, we are fierce competitors, but in the laboratory, we work together to bring new solutions to questions that plague our state, nation and world,” UofL Acting President Neville Pinto, Ph.D., said. “As researchers and academicians, we put athletic rivalry aside and collaborate in research and development across a wide spectrum.”
The scope of collaboration being carried out covers a wide range of fields, from providing primary health care services and training future physicians through Area Health Education Centers across the Commonwealth to development of a paradigm-shifting therapy for humans exposed to radiation.
Other joint research is examining ways to power the Kentucky bioeconomy for a sustainable future; studying systems biochemistry with the goal of achieving a mechanistic understanding of non-small cell lung cancer; developing better ways to predict deterioration of asphalt and asphalt-overlaid concrete pavement roadways throughout the state; modeling urban watershed runoff in storm events; and more.
One example of UofL-UK collaboration is the Kentucky Multi-scale Manufacture and Nano Integration Node (KY MMNIN), one of just16 academic sites across the United States that make up the prestigious National Nanotechnology Coordinate Infrastructure (NNCI) network funded by the National Science Foundation. This 10-year project funded at a total of $7 million leverages more than 25 years of expertise in the fields of micro- and nano-fabrication and three-dimensional additive manufacture, otherwise known as “3D printing.”
The project’s principal investigator is Kevin Walsh, Ph.D., UofL Samuel T. Fife Endowed Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Associate Dean for Research in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Walsh also is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
The goal of the MMNIN project is to bring 3D additive manufacturing and micro/nanotechnology to the invention and creative marketplace.
“The next generation of revolutionary products and solutions will require the combination and effective integration of a diverse set of 3D manufacturing processes spanning various lengthscales ranging from nanotechnology to 3D printing” Walsh said. “Users want easy access to these resources and expertise to rapidly and efficiently fabricate their creative ideas.”
With both standard fabrication and 3D additive processes, the KY MMNIN initiative provides users with unconventional and nationally unique tools to realize their inventions, Walsh said.
One such user is Angelique Johnson, Ph.D., a part-time lecturer in the Speed School and President/CEO of MEMStim LLC. Johnson’s company is developing ways to improve and lower the cost of cochlear implants for people who are deaf.
Johnson’s Louisville-based start-up uses advanced manufacturing to fabricate cochlear implants in the Cardinal cleanroom, a controlled manufacturing facility that is one of the eight facilities of the KY MMNIN.
The complex circuitry in cochlear implants currently must be manufactured by hand, leading to higher costs. Johnson believes that if she can improve the manufacturing process, she could then lower the cost of cochlear implants and allow more people in need of implants to afford them.
Johnson is using a machine-driven process to reduce the need for costly handmade manufacturing of implant circuitry. Using the diverse toolset of the KY MMNIN cleanroom, Johnson can design different features on the electrode arrays needed for cochlear implants. Her process has never been done before in the manufacture of these types of devices.
Her circuitry for cochlear implants is still in the testing phase with the goal of one day achieving FDA approval for use in humans. “Being able to improve the technology is my motivation to improve the quality of life for patients” who use cochlear implants, she said.
What collaborative research between UofL and UK shows is the shared recognition of the importance such research carries today. Currently, more than 40 percent of published studies in leading journals are collaborative in nature. Not surprisingly, research funding favors collaboration as well; both government agencies and private foundations have increasingly structured requests for proposals to favor collaboration.
By taking a leading position on collaborative research, UofL and UK maintain their leadership positions in research within the national university community.

Telepsychiatry program recognized for reducing health care barriers in rural areas

Telepsychiatry program recognized for reducing health care barriers in rural areas

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville School of Medicine has partnered with a community mental health center to bring telepsychiatry to rural residents, most of whom would otherwise have difficulty obtaining care.

The department and The Adanta Group this month received an honorable mention from the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center’s Breaking Barriers through Telehealth awards for bridging gaps to mental health care in rural Kentucky and providing an innovative way to train resident physicians.

The collaboration began in 2015, transplanting the well-established model for teaching residents in a clinical setting to a video teleconferencing platform that connects patients at a rural mental health care facility to UofL psychiatrists. Through the partnership, UofL provides telepsychiatry primarily in Casey and Taylor Counties.

“Telepsychiatry often means the difference between care and no care for some rural patients,” said Robert Caudill, M.D., UofL Physicians – Psychiatry, residency training director and associate professor of the UofL Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “These patients can go long periods of time between appointments because they have to travel far from home for care or available slots are filled. Rural health facilities have a difficult time recruiting and maintaining medical staff.”

UofL has helped maintain Adanta’s staffing level without having to rely on temporary doctors who are typically expensive to employ. In turn, Adanta increased the length of appointments to allow residents time to learn under faculty supervision.

“We provide university-based physicians who are working with the clinics consistently and Adanta didn’t have to hire us at 40 hours a week,” Caudill said. “I could be there for four hours an afternoon in an isolated clinic, and with the click of a mouse, treat patients in a different clinic without having to drive somewhere. The logistics are persuasive.”

Telepsychiatry has other benefits to the patient. Stigma surrounding mental health treatment is reduced because the process of going to appointments is more private. It’s also less intimidating to patients who have experienced trauma to meet with a physician through a video monitor, Caudill said.

As mental health services transition from relying on traditional office visits, UofL psychiatry residency graduates are prepared to integrate technology into their clinical practice.

Timothy Bickel, telehealth director at the UofL School of Medicine, said training resident physicians in telemedicine should expand beyond psychiatry.

“Medical students and residents get attention from prospective employers for being involved in telehealth,” Bickel said. “Students should at least have the opportunity to be exposed to telehealth.”

Amid opioid crisis, new partnership will enhance autopsy services and training

Justice Cabinet teaming up with UofL and UK to strengthen Medical Examiner’s Office
Amid opioid crisis, new partnership will enhance autopsy services and training

The new partnership will broaden education and training opportunities for students, residents and fellows, says Eyas Hattab, M.D., chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville announced a new partnership today that will strengthen the state Medical Examiner’s Office, a vital step amid the deadly opioid epidemic and a national shortage of forensic doctors.

Under the agreement, the Justice Cabinet will contract with the universities for forensic pathology services, combining resources for both autopsies and medical education. The move is expected to boost salaries for doctors, helping improve recruitment and retention, and it will help the cabinet avoid charging counties a fee for autopsies.

“The opioid crisis has placed tremendous strains on our state, and we must take every opportunity to innovate and find efficiencies,” Secretary Tilley said. “By partnering with universities, we can improve the pay and size of our forensics team while also ensuring that families, coroners and police get the answers they need when tragedy strikes.”

The agreement also will help UK and UofL maximize training opportunities for medical students and residents in pathology.

“Our collaboration with the Justice Cabinet and their Medical Examiner’s Office illustrates the University of Kentucky’s desire to take a comprehensive, ‘all hands on deck’ approach to addressing Kentucky’s opioid crisis,” said Dr. Darrell Jennings, chair of the UK Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “This opportunity will provide our medical students in Lexington, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky, along with our residents and fellows, with unparalleled training on the front lines, harnessing the power of compassion and commitment to transform the future.”

“Through this strengthened relationship with the state Medical Examiner’s Office, we will broaden the educational and training opportunities for our students, residents and fellows,” said Dr. Eyas Hattab, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Sciences at UofL. “Our trainees will have access to the number and variety of cases that are invaluable as they prepare for the next steps in their careers.”

UofL will provide up to six pathologists in state medical examiner offices; UK will provide up to four. The cabinet will pay the universities for any services performed by these doctors on a scale similar to current costs. The cabinet and universities will also collaborate on strategies that could possibly lower the overall cost of the program in the long run.

The Medical Examiner’s Office currently employs nine doctors – six in Louisville, two in Frankfort and one in Madisonville. The partnership is expected to provide a net increase of one forensic pathologist immediately with opportunities to add an additional doctor, possibly within two years, thanks to recruitment assistance from the universities.

All doctors have an opportunity to transition into university positions, and those who do are expected to receive a salary increase depending on the individual contracts between doctors and universities. Added salary will compensate for additional responsibilities such as teaching, researching, writing, consulting or other contributions that doctors are interested in pursuing.

While the exact terms of employment will depend on the individual contracts, the higher pay scale is expected to make Kentucky more effective at hiring and keeping new doctors.
Kentucky, like many other states, has struggled to recruit forensic pathologists in recent years due to a national shortage. Only about 500 forensic doctors are currently practicing across the country. At the same time, overdose deaths have continued to climb over the past decade, driving up demand for autopsies and toxicology tests. More than 1,400 Kentuckians died from an overdose in 2016.

In response, enhancing the Medical Examiners’ Office has remained a high priority under the current administration.

In 2016, the office resumed services in Madisonville (following a two-year hiatus), helping coroners and law enforcement agencies across Western Kentucky reduce travel costs and obtain evidence at a faster pace.

Secretary Tilley said he plans to continue looking for ways to improve the office. For instance, the cabinet is aggressively seeking grant funds to expand capacity, reduce caseloads, expand toxicology analysis and enhance data collection.

“We want to consider every option to enhance services while avoiding fees for counties,” he said. “UK and UofL have been excellent partners in this process, and we look forward to continuing our work with coroners to ensure their needs are met.”

UofL provides quality, lifelong professional education for physicians

CME office receives full reaccreditation with commendation from ACCME
UofL provides quality, lifelong professional education for physicians

Staying up-to-date on the latest developments in medical research and clinical care is part of every physician’s duty to provide the best care for patients.

The quality and integrity of courses offered through the University of Louisville Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development have been affirmed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). In March, the ACCME awarded the school Accreditation with Commendation for a six-year accreditation period.

“We were thrilled to receive the notice that we have been reaccredited to continue offering lifelong learning programming for our physicians and physicians all over the U.S.,” said Daniel Cogan, Ed.D., assistant dean for CME and professional development at the UofL School of Medicine.

UofL’s CME office offers continuing education for physicians not only in Louisville, but throughout Kentucky and across the United States. The ACCME Commendation recognized the office’s effectiveness in addressing local and community issues such as the medical needs of diverse groups, including LGBTQ patients and other underserved populations.

“Continuing education for physicians in the community contributes to improved health care and a healthier population in Kentucky as well as throughout the region and the world,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “The exceptional services provided by this office are a credit to the leadership and dedication of Dr. Cogan and his staff.”

The office provides programming approved by the American Medical Association, AMA PRA Category 1 credit, for more than 40 major CME courses each year, as well as more than 50 regularly scheduled series programs such as Grand Rounds in UofL departments and divisions. The office provides services for local and regional partners, including Jewish Hospital, the Robley Rex Veterans Administration Medical Center, Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox, and Area Health Education Centers in the western half of Kentucky. They also provide administrative services for third-party CME providers.

“We work with joint providers to offer multi-day courses in many parts of the country and as far away as Hawai’i and the Caribbean,” Cogan said. “We also provide course development services for our partners in India. In 2017, our programs provided CME credit for more than 23,000 practicing physicians, from primary care to the most specialized practitioner, and another 20,000 non-physician health-care providers.”



April 17, 2018

Is there a doctor on board?

Innovative field training prepares future physicians for emergency situations – and allows them to serve as they learn
Is there a doctor on board?

Matthew Wilson practices a cricothyroidotomy in an airline seat

“Odds are that at some point in your flying career, you will have to respond to an overhead page:  ‘Is there any doctor on board the flight,’” Raymond Orthober, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville, told 35 second- and third-year medical students.

Orthober, the students and additional instructors were aboard a Delta aircraft, engaged in a training event for treating passengers who have medical issues during a commercial flight. Although the aircraft remained at the gate, the space created a realistic environment for learning to provide medical care in the air.

“One day that’s going to be me who can stand up and say, ‘I’m here.’ This is a chance to have a little background in what to do in those scenarios and to get comfortable managing those things in an airplane setting,” said Matthew Wilson, a third-year UofL medical student who took part in the training.

See a video about in-flight emergency training.

In-flight emergencies are just one of the scenarios Wilson and other medical students experience as part of the Disaster Medicine Certificate Series (DMCS), a program at the UofL School of Medicine that prepares them for a wide variety of emergency situations. More than 65 second- and third-year students have participated in DMCS training events, including mass casualty triage and handling hazardous materials, since the extracurricular program began at UofL last fall. Organizers believe it is the only program in the nation that exposes medical students to this type of training on an ongoing basis.

The DMCS grew out of third-year medical student Madison Kommor’s own desire to help in case of an emergency.

“I hope I never have to respond to a disaster situation, but I was tired of sitting in a library waiting for someone to teach me what to do if something happens,” Kommor said.

DMCS is designed to prepare future physicians in every specialty to put their skills to work in case of natural or man-made disasters such as a flood, hurricane or mass shooting.

“A lot of students got excited about it. They want to be useful, but they need to be trained,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at UofL and a faculty advisor for DMCS.

The program’s training sessions, which take place during the students’ free time, familiarize students with emergency response systems and prepare them to provide medical assistance outside of a hospital or clinical environment. During the in-flight emergency training, instructors shared stories of their own experiences with in-flight emergencies, described medical supplies typically found on commercial aircraft, and explained laws and best practices for helping passengers in distress and the use of ground-based medical support. Students then rotated among seven training stations, where they treated simulated in-flight emergencies such as cardiac arrest, drug overdose, turbulence injuries and choking.

“The disaster medicine training provides the opportunity to get hands-on in real-world settings that we really don’t get elsewhere in medical training,” Wilson said.

In addition to the flight emergency experience, the students have received mass casualty training from the United States Army, instruction in medical countermeasures from the Louisville Metro Department of Health & Wellness, and learned about trauma management in a wilderness setting. Once students have accumulated sufficient training points within a two-year period, they will receive a certificate of program completion.

Although the students will not be licensed physicians for a few more years, they are putting their training to work for the community immediately. Program participants are required to enlist in the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), a national network of volunteers organized for emergency response under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Some of the students have participated with the MRC in response to the Hepatitis A outbreak, assisting the Louisville Department of Health & Wellness with vaccination drives. Other students have joined the Norton Children’s Special Response Team, formed to handle hazardous material decontamination situations at Norton Children’s Hospital.

“I think the real world experience is valuable and you are not just waiting to give back, which is another thing that motivates the students,” Hodge said. “Being able to do something now is really positive.”

The opportunity for immediate application and the ongoing nature of the program, as opposed to a one-time event, give Hodge confidence that the students will retain their involvement in disaster preparedness throughout their careers.

“My hope is that we have people with the mindset for disaster preparedness,” Hodge said. “No matter what type of physician they become, they are able to support the systems that deal with natural and man-made disasters.”



April 16, 2018

Pride Week keynote to address meeting the health-care needs of LGBT older adults

The 2017 Pride Week HSC Campus keynote address will feature leading scholar and researcher Noell Rowan, Ph.D., addressing the unique challenges of the aging LGBT population, the clinical and social needs of LGBT communities and specific strategies professionals can employ to improve the health of LGBT populations, especially in later life.

Rowan is professor and associate director at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is the former director of the bachelor of social work program at the Kent School of Social Work at UofL (2007-2013). She earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Georgia and her doctorate in social work from the University of Louisville/University of Kentucky joint program. She has authored more than 20 publications in the research areas of gerontology, LGBT populations, alcohol and other drug addictions, and interprofessional education.

Presented by the University of Louisville LGBT Center and the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging, the event will be held in the HSC Auditorium in Kornhauser Library, on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences Student Council.

A part of the LGBT Health Certificate as well as Grand Rounds for the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, this lecture is designed for mental health and primary care professionals, however it is open to all community members. Medical CME and Social Work CEU credit are offered. 

Click here to register. 

More than 150 girls expected at first UofL STEM+H event

School of Medicine co-hosts event to interest girls in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health careers
More than 150 girls expected at first UofL STEM+H event

An attendee at the E-Expo 2018, the forerunner of the Girls Rule STEM+H Summit 2019.

To demonstrate the kinds of careers available to women in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health (STEM+H) fields, the University of Louisville is hosting its first Girls Rule STEM+H Summit event, Saturday, April 6.

More than 150 girls and young women ages 8-18 are registered to attend the 9 a.m.-2 p.m. event at the Belknap Academic Building. While the 3rd to 12th-grade students participate in hands-on workshops and activities, accompanying adults will be offered information sessions on how to prepare for higher education and careers in STEM+H.

Among the workshops, all taught by UofL students and faculty, will be robotics, medicine and genetics.

While UofL has hosted STEM introductory events for girls in past years, 2019 marks the first year health education and careers will be included. The event is co-sponsored by the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the School of Medicine and the UofL Army ROTC program.

 “We are delighted to once again open our doors and show girls and women the variety of careers in these exciting areas,” said Emmanuel G. Collins, dean of the Speed School. “These careers of the future need more women and under-represented minorities and we hope to inspire by example.”

A short informational video can be found here.

For further information, contact Kari Donahue, 502-852-6279,

New York LGBT care coordination director selected as UofL Health Sciences Center LGBT Center director

New York LGBT care coordination director selected as UofL Health Sciences Center LGBT Center director

Bláz Bush of New York will join UofL Feb. 25 as the director of the LGBT Center at the Health Sciences Center.

A professional with almost a decade in caring for patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-binary and those born with differences in sex development has been selected to lead the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center.

Bláz Bush of New York will join UofL Feb. 25. He brings a skill set particularly attuned to the needs of the LGBT community at the HSC, said Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs Mordean Taylor-Archer.

“Bláz combines a wealth of experience in LGBT health care with a collaborative, inclusive leadership style,” Taylor-Archer said. “These qualities make him perfectly positioned to take the HSC LGBT Center to the next level of success in serving our students, faculty, staff, community and ultimately patients.”

Bush comes to UofL after serving as the director of care coordination of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, one of the largest LGBT community health centers in the world, serving 18,000 patients annually.

At Callen-Lorde, Bush oversaw 40 case managers, patient navigators and prevention and outreach counselors. He also led the health center in a number of initiatives, including improving community HIV viral-suppression rates and developing interventions to address social determinants of health.

Bush also served on the Health and Human Services HIV Planning Council of New York’s Integration of Care subcommittee, working with city leaders to develop HIV/AIDS programs focused on transgender and non-binary gender health disparities, housing, opioid-use reduction, food and nutrition and care coordination programs.

Prior to Callen-Lorde, Bush was with the New York Blood Center’s Infectious Diseases Research Program. He earned a master’s degree with a focus in community counseling from the University of Oklahoma.

UofL is a leader in the field of educating medical students in the needs of LGBT patients, serving as the pilot program for the Association of American Medical Colleges recommendations to embed training in the care of these patients throughout the medical school curriculum. UofL’s project, eQuality, won the 2016-2017 Innovation in Medical Education Award from the Southern Group on Educational Affairs.

“The work being done at the University of Louisville to educate future generations of health care providers in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and gender non-binary health care needs is essential, lifesaving and radical,” Bush said. “Having worked at an LGBT health center, I understand the vital importance of adequate training and the desperate need for sensitive, quality health care to be widespread and accessible for all communities, especially for communities of color.

“The University of Louisville is already the leader in creating an LGBT-inclusive campus and is an innovator in creating LGBT educational programs. I am humbled and excited for this opportunity to help lead the Health Sciences Center forward and continue its progressive leadership in educating the caregivers of tomorrow.”









UofL oncologist leads study showing combination therapy better than single drug in treating melanoma

UofL oncologist leads study showing combination therapy better than single drug in treating melanoma

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

Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., acting director of the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, was study investigator on the Phase 2 ‘264 study that demonstrated Imlygic® (talimogene laherparepvec) in combination with the immune checkpoint inhibitor Yervoy® (ipilimumab) more than doubled objective response rate, defined as the proportion of patients with tumor size reduction, compared to Yervoy alone in patients with unresectable stage IIIB-IV melanoma. The results were presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 3.

The analysis showed that 38.8 percent of patients treated with Imlygic plus Yervoy achieved an objective response versus 18 percent of patients treated with Yervoy alone. Patients in the combination arm also experienced nearly double the complete response rate compared to Yervoy alone (13.3 percent versus 7 percent).  It was the first randomized study to evaluate the combination of Imlygic, an oncolytic viral therapy, with a checkpoint inhibitor.

“The results from this study demonstrate the potential of combining the complementary mechanisms of action of an oncolytic viral immunotherapy and a checkpoint inhibitor to enhance anti-tumor effect in patients with advanced melanoma,” one of the most difficult-to-treat types of cancer, said Chesney, who also serves as chief of the Division of Medical Oncology in UofL’s Department of Medicine.

Responses in the study were not limited to injected lesions. Among patients with visceral disease treated with IMLYGIC plus YERVOY, 35 percent had a reduction in size of visceral lesions by at least 50 percent. The rate was 14 percent in patients in the YERVOY arm.

The ‘264 study is a Phase 1b/2, multicenter, open-label trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of IMLYGIC in combination with YERVOY compared to YERVOY alone in patients with unresectable stage IIIB-IV melanoma. The primary endpoint of the Phase 2 portion of study is ORR. Secondary endpoints include duration of response, disease control rate, PFS, OS and safety. The study randomized 198 patients, 98 in the IMLYGIC plus YERVOY arm and 100 in the YERVOY arm.

Patients in the IMLYGIC plus YERVOY arm experienced a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 8.2 months (median follow-up at 68 weeks) versus 6.4 months in the YERVOY arm. While the effect was not statistically significant, the PFS analysis was not event-driven and is still ongoing, with only approximately 50 percent of PFS events reported at this time.

IMLYGIC is designed to rupture cancer cells causing the release of tumor-derived antigens, which along with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), may help to initiate an anti-tumor immune response. However, the exact mechanism of action is unknown. This may be complementary to YERVOY’s mechanism of action, as the blockade of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 has been shown to augment activation and proliferation of tumor infiltrating T-effector cells.

For more details, including safety information,  visit the Imlygic website.

Top brain cancer specialists to speak on primary gliomas July 8

Second annual James Graham Brown Cancer Center Neuro-oncology Symposium
Top brain cancer specialists to speak on primary gliomas July 8

Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building

Some of North America’s most respected physician researchers in neuro-oncology will share their expertise with physicians and the public at the second annual James Graham Brown Cancer Center Neuro-oncology Symposium on July 8 at the University of Louisville.

“Management of Primary Glioma in Adults,” co-hosted by the UofL Department of Neurology and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health, will be Friday, July 8 from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, 505 South Hancock Street on the University of Louisville Health Sciences Campus.

Conference director Eric Burton, M.D., assistant professor in the UofL Department of Neurology and director of neuro-oncology at JGBCC, will provide an overview of adult glioma, a tumor that develops in the supportive tissue of the brain. Presenters from MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, Toronto General Hospital and the University of Louisville will then address best current practices and future treatment directions for patients with primary gliomas using surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, as well as a discussion of molecular markers in adult glioma.

“These are some of the most influential and highly respected physician researchers in neuro-oncology and neuropathology,” Burton said. “This is an excellent opportunity for physicians across the region, as well as patients and their families, to learn about the latest developments in the pathology and treatment of brain tumors.”

In addition to Burton, presenters include:

Kenneth Aldape, M.D., senior scientist and director of MacFeeters-Hamilton Brain Tumor Centre at Toronto General Hospital and professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Aldape is a neuropathologist with a research interest in primary brain tumors. His work includes the identification of biomarkers in gliomas, characterizing glioma subtypes and identifying clinically relevant molecular alterations in these tumors. In 2014, Aldape received the Guha Award for Excellence in Neuro-Oncology Research from the Society for Neuro-Oncology.

Michael Prados, M.D., Charles B Wilson Chair in Neurosurgery and professor emeritus at the University of California San Francisco. Prados led the North America Brain Tumor Consortium for 15 years and was co-project leader of the Adult Brain Tumor Consortium until 2014. He formed and is co-project leader of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, a consortium of 15 major academic centers across the United States, and is co-project leader of a pediatric brain tumor SPORE project at UCSF. Prados has been NIH/NCI funded continuously since 1994 and is a member of the NCI/CTEP Brain Malignancies Steering Committee. In 2014, he was awarded the Victor Levin Award for lifetime clinical research excellence from the Society of Neuro-Oncology.

Raymond Sawaya, M.D., chair and professor of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He is director of the Brain Tumor Center at MD Anderson and served as professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine from 2005-2014. His awards include the Joseph P. Evans Award in Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati and the Charles Wilson Award from the National Brain Tumor Society. He is past chairman of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Tumors. Sawaya has particular expertise in primary and metastatic brain tumors and is renowned for his strides in enhancing the accessibility and safety of brain tumor surgery.

Shiao Woo, M.D., chair and professor in the UofL Department of Radiation Oncology, professor in the UofL Department of Pediatrics and the Kosair Children’s Hospital/Norton Healthcare Chair in Pediatric Oncology. His clinical focus and research is on brain and spine tumors, pediatric cancer and lung cancer. Woo has received Clinical Fellowship Awards from the American Cancer Society, Teacher of the Year Award from the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology and the Patient Golden Apple Award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also served as president of the MD Anderson Radiation Oncology Gilbert H. Fletcher Society.

“We have invited speakers with varied areas of expertise with the intention of creating a collaborative environment that will improve the regional standard of care,” Burton said.

Continuing education credit is available for health care providers. The event is free for UofL-affiliated providers, $15 for nurses and $20 for all others. For additional information, visit the conference website or contact Emily Rollins at

September golf tourneys benefit UofL cancer center

September golf tourneys benefit UofL cancer center

Two golf tournaments in September will benefit the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health.

The 7th Annual Don Happel Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, at Eagle Creek Golf Course in La Grange, Ky., and the 5th Annual Hammertime Golf Scramble will be Monday, Sept. 14, at Iroquois Golf Course in Louisville.

About the Don Happel Tournament

The Happel Tournament tees off at 8:30 a.m., Sept. 12, with a shotgun start. The tournament is a scramble and has payouts for the 1st, 2nd and “Lucky” 13th” holes. Cost is $300 per team of four and each player can purchase two red tees for $10. Hole sponsorships are available for $50 each.

The Eagle Creek Golf Course is located at 2820 S. Highway 53, La Grange. Since the tournament’s inception, it has raised almost $18,000 for the cancer center, helping to provide education, transportation and other non-clinical services.

Registration deadline is Aug. 29. For details, contact Bret Happel at 502-253-2207 or Cindy Hall at 502-767-3752.

About the Hammertime Golf Scramble

The Hammertime Scramble benefits the Larry Smith Lung Cancer Fund at the cancer center and will start at 1 p.m.  on Aug. 14. The event features a putting contest, long drive contest, silent auction, door prizes and the chance to win a new car. Individual fee is $75 and a team of four is $300. Sponsorships range from $100 to $3,500.

The Iroquois Golf Course is at 1501 Rundill Road, Louisville. The tournament is affiliated with the UofL Alumni Association. The tournament’s goal is $50,000 to help fund a new cancer screening van that will provide cancer screenings to underserved populations across Kentucky.

For details and to register, go to the tournament web page or contact Linda Dame at

About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. For more information, visit our website,