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Latest treatments for depression discussed Oct. 15

Building Hope Lecture Series features UofL Depression Center director
Latest treatments for depression discussed Oct. 15

Jesse Wright, M.D., Ph.D.

“What Works for Depression” will be presented at the next “Building Hope” lecture sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center. Speaking will be Jesse H. Wright, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Depression Center and professor and vice chair for academic affairs of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UofL School of Medicine.

The program will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15, in Room 251 of Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Rd. Admission is free.

The program will examine the most effective methods for treating clinical depression, including effective treatment methods for people who find themselves stuck in a depressive state. Wright also will answer audience members’ questions about treatment for depression.

Recent research indicates clinical depression is a topic Kentuckians are familiar with, either from firsthand experience or through a family member or friend. A 2014 study found that Kentucky is ranked third in the United States for incidence of depression, with 23.5 percent of adult Kentuckians experiencing depression at some point during their lives, compared to 18 percent nationally.

Wright is well-known in the psychiatric profession as an authority on depression and cognitive behavioral therapy. He has authored award-winning books for both mental health professionals and the general public, the most recent being “Breaking Free from Depression: Pathways to Wellness.” He was founding president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, is a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists and is a past recipient of UofL’s Distinguished Educator of the Year Award.

The University of Louisville Depression Center is Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. It is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers, a consortium of leading depression centers that develops and fosters connections among members to advance scientific discovery and provide stigma-free, evidence-based care to patients with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

For more information, contact the Depression Center at 502-588-4450.

 

 

Stanford medicine chair to present 'Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities'

22nd Annual Leonard Leight Lecture set for Sept. 30
Stanford medicine chair to present 'Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities'

Robert Harrington, M.D.

Robert Harrington, M.D., chair and Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, will deliver the 22nd Annual Leonard Leight Lecture at the University of Louisville. The address will be held at noon, Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center Conference Center, 16th Floor, 201 Abraham Flexner Way.

Harrington will present “Cardiovascular Clinical Research in the U.S.: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities.” Admission is free and continuing medical and nursing education credit is available. For details, contact 852-1162.

The Leonard Leight Lecture is presented annually by the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. For 30 years until 1996, Leight was a practicing cardiologist in Louisville and played a major role in developing cardiology services and bringing innovative treatment modalities in heart disease to Louisville. The Leonard Leight Lecture series was established in 1994 and is made possible by gifts from Dr. and Mrs. Kurt Ackermann and Medical Center Cardiologists to the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

Harrington is an interventional cardiologist and experienced clinical investigator in the area of heart disease. At Stanford, he leads a department of 220 faculty members in 14 divisions.

Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, Harrington spent five years as the director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, regarded as the world’s largest academic clinical research organization. The institute has conducted studies in 65 countries while building diverse research programs in clinical trials and health services research. He joined the faculty at Duke in 1993.

As a clinical investigator, he has worked primarily in the area of acute ischemic heart disease, or heart disease resulting from restricted blood flow to the heart muscle. He has established clinical research collaborations that involve investigators from around the world.

Where was this water before it was in my beer?

New location and time for Beer with a Scientist! Oct. 17
Where was this water before it was in my beer?

Robert Bates

Kentucky has an abundant supply of water – sometimes too much. So it may seem like we need not worry about our water use as much as people living in drier areas such as California or Arizona.

That is not necessarily the case.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Robert Bates, a water expert and nearly 30-year employee at Louisville Metro Sewer District, will explain that, while it is plentiful here in Kentucky, water still is a precious commodity and recycling it makes sense. He will discuss water recycling in the United States, the “Louisville water cycle” and how some local organizations are recycling water to make beer.

Now an operations specialist with GRW, an engineering consulting firm based in Lexington, Bates was in operations management for more than 10 years at MSD’s Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center, the largest wastewater treatment facility in Kentucky. He also is a past president of the Water Environment Association of Kentucky/Tennessee (WEAKT) and has co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific publications on wastewater.

“There is no new water, so the more we can do to protect this most vital resource, the better,” Bates said. “Plus, no water, no beer!”

His talk begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Enjoy this popular event, organized by Louisville Underground Science, at its earlier time and new location. Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers continue to encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Louisville donor provides $500K gift to UofL for type 1 diabetes research

William Marvin Petty, M.D., Research Fund will support next step for promising research to improve pancreatic islet cell transplantation success
Louisville donor provides $500K gift to UofL for type 1 diabetes research

William Marvin Petty, M.D.

JoAnn Joule’s father, William Marvin Petty, M.D., suffered from diabetes for many years. A 1952 graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Petty served as Jefferson County Coroner from 1962 to 1974 and was a family physician in Fern Creek for 43 years.

Joule’s son lives with type 1 diabetes.

To honor her late father and help improve the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, Joule has given $500,000 to the University of Louisville Foundation to establish the William Marvin Petty, M.D., Research Fund. The fund is designated to support type 1 diabetes research at the UofL School of Medicine.

“I saw the toll diabetes took on my dad, and now my son is faced with the same disease,” Joule said. “I was not happy that medical research has not come up with anything new in the 40 years my son has been suffering. I am putting my assets behind the UofL research team.” 

That research team includes Haval Shirwan, Ph.D., and Esma Yolcu, Ph.D., of the UofL Department of Microbiology and Immunology, who are working to develop techniques to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes with particular focus on transplantation of islet cells.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the pancreas does not produces enough insulin, a hormone required to convert glucose to energy in the body. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, and standard treatment involves regular injections of insulin, which is far from keeping blood sugar in balance.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas by a type of cells called islet cells. Individuals with type 1 diabetes have too few or altogether lack the type of islet cells that produce insulin to keep glucose at the proper level. In recent years, physicians have developed a treatment in which they transplant the needed islet cells into a patient. However, the patient’s immune system often rejects the transplanted islet cells over time, attacking and killing them. To keep the transplanted cells alive, patients must take immunosuppression medications, which have a number of undesirable side effects.

At UofL, Shirwan and Yolcu have pioneered a process to create a manufactured protein known as Fas ligand (FasL), to protect the islet cells from destruction by the patient’s immune system. This process, patented by the UofL Office of Technology Transfer, is called ProtExTM technology. ProtEx is used to create FasL, which is then applied to islet cells to protect them from destruction by the immune system once they are transplanted into the patient.

Preclinical research has shown that FasL is highly effective in protecting islet cells in small animal models. However, additional testing is necessary before the therapy can be used in humans.

“Ms. Joule’s contribution will enable us to achieve an important milestone for further development of the technology towards clinical translation by performing efficacy and safety studies. We are very grateful for that support,” Shirwan said.

Greg Postel, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL, said the university is grateful for the contribution to research by and in honor of members of the Louisville community.

“We are extremely pleased that Ms. Joule has elected to support this very promising research at the University of Louisville,” Postel said “We believe her donation will allow this research to improve the lives of type 1 diabetic patients sooner rather than later.”

 

September 10, 2018

Study demonstrates role of gut bacteria in neurodegenerative diseases

Research at UofL funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation shows proteins produced by gut bacteria may cause misfolding of brain proteins and cerebral inflammation
Study demonstrates role of gut bacteria in neurodegenerative diseases

Robert P. Friedland, M.D.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are all characterized by clumped, misfolded proteins and inflammation in the brain. In more than 90 percent of cases, physicians and scientists do not know what causes these processes to occur.

Robert P. Friedland, M.D., the Mason C. and Mary D. Rudd Endowed Chair and Professor of Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and a team of researchers have discovered that these processes may be triggered by proteins made by our gut bacteria (the microbiota). Their research has revealed that exposure to bacterial proteins called amyloid that have structural similarity to brain proteins leads to an increase in clumping of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain. Aggregates, or clumps, of misfolded alpha-synuclein and related amyloid proteins are seen in the brains of patients with the neurodegenerative diseases AD, PD and ALS.

Alpha-synuclein (AS) is a protein normally produced by neurons in the brain. In both PD and AD, alpha-synuclein is aggregated in a clumped form called amyloid, causing damage to neurons. Friedland has hypothesized that similarly clumped proteins produced by bacteria in the gut cause brain proteins to misfold via a mechanism called cross-seeding, leading to the deposition of aggregated brain proteins. He also proposed that amyloid proteins produced by the microbiota cause priming of immune cells in the gut, resulting in enhanced inflammation in the brain.

The research, which was supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, involved the administration of bacterial strains of E. coli that produce the bacterial amyloid protein curli to rats. Control animals were given identical bacteria that lacked the ability to make the bacterial amyloid protein. The rats fed the curli-producing organisms showed increased levels of AS in the intestines and the brain and increased cerebral AS aggregation, compared with rats who were exposed to E. coli that did not produce the bacterial amyloid protein. The curli-exposed rats also showed enhanced cerebral inflammation.

Similar findings were noted in a related experiment in which nematodes (Caenorhabditis elegans) that were fed curli-producing E. coli also showed increased levels of AS aggregates, compared with nematodes not exposed to the bacterial amyloid. A research group led by neuroscientist Shu G. Chen, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University, performed this collaborative study.

This new understanding of the potential role of gut bacteria in neurodegeneration could bring researchers closer to uncovering the factors responsible for initiating these diseases and ultimately developing preventive and therapeutic measures.

“These new studies in two different animals show that proteins made by bacteria harbored in the gut may be an initiating factor in the disease process of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS,” Friedland said. “This is important because most cases of these diseases are not caused by genes, and the gut is our most important environmental exposure. In addition, we have many potential therapeutic options to influence the bacterial populations in the nose, mouth and gut.”

Friedland is the corresponding author of the article, Exposure to the functional bacterial amyloid protein curli enhances alpha-synuclein aggregation in aged Fischer 344 rats and Caenorhabditis elegans, published online Oct. 6 in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group. UofL researchers involved in the publication in addition to Friedland include Vilius Stribinskis, Ph.D., Madhavi J. Rane, Ph.D., Donald Demuth, Ph.D., Evelyne Gozal, Ph.D., Andrew M. Roberts, Ph.D., Rekha Jagadapillai, Ruolan Liu, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard Kerber, Ph.D. Additional contributors on the publication include Eliezer Masliah, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of California San Diego.

This work supports recent studies indicating that the microbiota may have a role in disease processes in age-related brain degenerations. It is part of Friedland’s ongoing research on the relationship between the microbiota and age-related brain disorders, which involves collaborations with researchers in Ireland and Japan.

“We are pursuing studies in humans and animals to further evaluate the mechanisms of the effects we have observed and are exploring the potential for the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies,” Friedland said.

 

 

October 6, 2016

American Heart Association, universities awarded $17.98 million to continue research to provide evidence for tobacco regulation

UofL, other universities, to conduct research studies for the next five years

Building upon the success of the past five years, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to building longer, healthier lives, in partnership with the University of Louisville, has received a nearly $18 million, five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Tobacco Products to continue support for the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center.

Under the direction of Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., the association’s deputy chief science and medical officer, and Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine at UofL, the Center examines the short- and long-term cardiovascular effects of tobacco products and the overall toxicity of tobacco products and their constituents.

The AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center received $20 million in its initial funding in 2013 through this same interagency partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration as the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products began its investment in the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS). The AHA Center is a multi-institutional network focused on creating a broad scientific base to inform the FDA’s regulation of tobacco product manufacturing, distribution and marketing.

The renewal grant awards were based on the scientific and technical merit of the applicant organizations. The AHA Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center’s quality of research and productivity in its first five years created a strong foundation for future research and led to the renewed funding.

“We are honored to continue to be a part of this important national movement to protect the public health from the tragic consequences of tobacco product use that takes the lives of more than 480,000 Americans each year,” Robertson said. “In light of the fast-paced shifts in the landscape of new tobacco products, an accelerating trend of the use of these products by our nation’s children and an emerging generation of dual or poly-tobacco product users, the need for a better understanding of the health effects of these novel products has become even more imperative.”

During the past five years, more than 50 investigators from 12 institutions throughout the nation have collaborated on 82 publications from the center that examined topics such as the reasons behind the growing prevalence of adults and young adults who are vaping, the toxicity of flavoring chemicals used in e-cigarettes and the preliminary indicators of the growing use of poly-use, or the practice of using multiple tobacco products at the same time.

To date, researchers have found the use of tobacco products such as traditional cigarettes, hookahs, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and e-hookahs leads to a decrease in immune cells and prevents repair of damaged endothelial cells, increasing the risk of contracting secondary infections. Additionally, use of electronic hookahs can increase the risk of blood clots.

“Dr. Bhatnagar and his colleagues continue to demonstrate their leadership in the field of environmental cardiology, which obviously includes the use of tobacco,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D. “This renewal demonstrates the significance of the research being conducted and the potential impact it has on anyone who uses tobacco or similar products.  

“Hopefully it will impact those who are considering using tobacco both by providing information regarding health effects that can be used in health risk warnings, and also by providing FDA data regarding the toxicity of individual constituents within tobacco-derived aerosols.”

Research at the nine institutions –Boston University, Johns Hopkins University,  New York University, University of Louisville, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Wake Forest University, Stanford University, University of Iowa and National Jewish Hospital – participating in the AHA Center over the next five years will focus on understanding the toxic potential of combustible and newer forms of tobacco products, identifying the biological markers of cardiovascular injury caused by components of tobacco products and assessing the risk of heart disease for different racial and ethnic groups of people from the use of newer tobacco products.

“Identifying the biomarkers of cardiovascular injury caused by tobacco use can lead to improved standards for testing of novel tobacco products and lead to policies regulating the level of harmful chemicals present in tobacco products, thus aiming to reduce the overall burden of cardiovascular injury in the general population,” Bhatnagar said.

The researchers hope to identify specific substances from tobacco products and in their smoke or aerosols that contribute to heart disease. This includes flavoring chemicals used in electronic nicotine delivery systems such as  e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, JUUL and others, along with chemical solvents used in such products.

The center also has responsibility for training the next generation of tobacco regulatory scientists who will continue research into tobacco and its health effects. To this end, 23 people have been trained as fellows in tobacco regulatory science and 11 fellowship projects have been funded over the first 5 years. The center has also funded 12 short-term projects to study emerging topics of interest to tobacco regulation.

The renewed center has been designed to retain this flexibility to respond to FDA’s research needs in a shifting landscape of tobacco use through rapid-response research funding and independent fellowship grants that can enhance the center’s research database alongside its flagship projects.

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The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

 

 

Researchers earn federal funding to explore impact of environment on diabetes, obesity

Researchers earn federal funding to explore impact of environment on diabetes, obesity

UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D.

A team of researchers at the University of Louisville has garnered $16.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to explore several angles related to how different aspects of our environment contribute to the development or health impacts of diabetes and obesity.

“More than 90 million adults in the United States are obese and more than 30 million adults suffer from diabetes. Our faculty, staff and students work every day to understand the causes and impacts of both so that we can develop the next generation of preventions, cures and treatments,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D. “This group of dynamic researchers now is looking at how our environment, in the broadest sense of the word, plays a role. This understanding has the potential to change not just people in Louisville, but literally the world. This is some of what makes UofL a great place to learn, work and invest.”

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center and the recently created Envirome Institute, which houses the Diabetes and Obesity Center, earned a competitive renewal grant that provides funding for essential core programs for all researchers in the center. Additionally, the center grant helps set the director of the research with an emphasis on metabolic and inflammatory mechanisms leading to diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance; stem cell biology; and environmental determinants of cardiometabolic disease. This marks the second successful five-year renewal that Bhatnagar has earned.

Petra Haberzettl, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, and Bradford Hill, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, received funding to examine the effects of air pollution on stem cell health.

Jason Hellman, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, received funding to explore how exercise can reduce inflammation. His previous work has shown previously uncovered new mechanisms of sustained inflammation in atherosclerotic lesions in diet-induced obesity.

Matt Nystoriak, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, is examining how the heart talks to blood vessels to increase blood flow during exercise.

Timothy O’Toole, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, received support to study how the molecule carnosine can be activated in protecting humans against airborne particulate matter.

 

Professor Emeritus among honorees of optimal aging awards

Professor Emeritus among honorees of optimal aging awards

2018 Gold Standard Award winners

At age 96, Seymour “Sy” Slavin is still active speaking to groups in the community. A professor emeritus of the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, Slavin recently was recognized as one of 15 awardees of the 2018 Gold Standard Awards for Optimal Aging.

Now in its seventh year, UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging hosted the awards this month, honoring Slavin in the educator category.

After teaching more than 30 years, Slavin went on to create and serve as the first director of the Kentucky Labor Institute. He lectures on topics ranging from Einstein’s views on the relationship of science and religion to the role of the administrative state in a democracy.

The Gold Standard awards honor individuals age 85 and older who lead flourishing lives, said Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute.

“We do not have to be free of aging-related challenges to age optimally. It is our ability to flourish and live our best lives every day in the face of these challenges. This year’s outstanding cohort of awardees and nominees are true inspirations,” she said.

Fifteen awardees along with 58 other nominees were recognized at a luncheon on Sept. 7 sponsored by Hosparus Health. The event corresponds with Optimal Aging Month – an effort dedicated to promoting the positive view that aging is an opportunity, not a disease.

“The award winners demonstrate that while aging optimally looks different for every person, we can all strive to continue living our best lives at every stage,” said Christian Furman, M.D., medical director of the institute.

“Hosparus Health applauds the institute for recognizing that aging is a part of life. As an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life, we are honored to be a part of this event,” said Phil Marshall, president and CEO of Hosparus Health.

The complete list of 2018 category award winners include:

  • Elmer Lucille Allen, Category: Outstanding Individual, Age: 86
  • Mary Atherton, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 100
  • Elizabeth Bealmear, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 91
  • Les Brooks, Category: Never too Late, Age: 86
  • Thomas Cork, Sr., Category: Outstanding Individual, Age: 92
  • Don & Patsy Hall, Category: Outstanding Couple, Age: 87 & 87
  • Father Simon Herbers, Category: Compassion, Age: 97
  • Beatrice Huff, Category: Kentucky, Age: 89
  • Margot Kling, Category: Social Justice, Age: 92
  • Margaret Martel, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 106
  • Emma Patria Pedroso Iglesias, Category: New Beginnings, Age: 85
  • Dorothy Roehrig, Category: Years of Wisdom, Age: 100
  • William T. Shumake, Category: Leadership, Age: 92
  • Dr. Seymour Slavin, Category: Educator, Age: 96

Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Anna Faul, Ph.D.

A new assessment tool developed by the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging aims to measure functionality and quality of life for older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC).

The Flourish Index is a set of evidence-based, quality of care indicators across six determinants of health: biological, psychological, health behaviors, health services, environmental and social. Some specific factors include preventive care, medication management, process of care measures, promotion of health behaviors, transportation, isolation, income challenges and food access.

The index resulted from the institute’s research associated with the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).

Executive Director of the institute, Anna Faul, Ph.D., said the need for a broader assessment tool was clear.

“The majority of other indicators are disease and setting-specific and don’t fully account for the functional and quality of life factors affecting older adults with MCC,” she said. “Other scales and measures often do not capture a patient’s life satisfaction but focus solely on medical improvement.”

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded UofL’s institute with grant funding to lead the two-day training Sept. 20 – 21 for other GWEP programs at the University of Iowa, Rush University, University of Utah and Indiana University.

The workshop will focus on the customization of the Flourish Index - specifically, how to align it with the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, how the index can be used to facilitate primary care transformation and how it can be implemented by the health care workforce in collaboration with community-based services. Central to the conversation will be the index’s role in demonstrating the sustainability of comprehensive care coordination.

“We are honored by the recognition from HRSA to teach other GWEP programs about our Flourish Index,” Faul said. “The GWEP programs attending the workshop are united in our interest to develop new measures that fully capture the holistic health and well-being of patients. Being selected to host this workshop demonstrates that people are recognizing the exciting and transformative potential of our Flourish Index,” she said.

This workshop is part of the institute’s annual effort to celebrate Optimal Aging Month. Learn more about events happening in September.

 

UofL Hospital first in region to use advanced new imaging system

Discovery IGS 740 exceptionally accurate, faster and safer than traditional systems
UofL Hospital first in region to use advanced new imaging system

UofL’s Douglas Coldwell, M.D., Ph.D., with the new Discovery IGS 740 system at University of Louisville Hospital

NOTE: Watch a video of Dr. Coldwell talking about the new Discovery IGS 740 system at UofL Hospital here

University of Louisville Hospital is the first in the region to install and use a new imaging system that is more accurate, faster and safer than traditional units.

“This is the most advanced piece of arteriographic equipment in the world at the moment,” said Douglas Coldwell, M.D., Ph.D., director of vascular and interventional radiology and interventional oncology at UofL Hospital and a professor of radiology and bioengineering at the UofL School of Medicine. “And we are the only ones to have it in this area. This really is a big deal.”

The Discovery IGS 740 provides exceptionally detailed, 3-D images in real time of patient anatomy, which Coldwell said is invaluable in trauma cases.  Doctors can accurately determine the site of bleeding and close it off, saving lives.

He said Discovery’s laser-guided tools give doctors the ability to be much more precise in treatment.

“With this new system, we’ve taken a leap forward in patient care in this community and region,” Coldwell said.

With its unique mobile platform, the Discovery has the power and capability of traditional fixed imaging units, but rides on the floor, moving around the patient as necessary, free of interference from fixed floor or ceiling structures. At the touch of a button on bedside controls, doctors can use its laser guidance mechanism to precisely position it just about anywhere for the best possible images of parts of the anatomy. It can then be moved aside so medical professionals can work efficiently and have unobstructed access to patients.

Its exceptionally high-quality images allow doctors to perform delicate procedures such as blood vessel interventions with accuracy and confidence, Coldwell said.

“It allows us to get in, treat a patient and do it without complications, and have a better patient outcome,” he said. Even arteries can be looked at in 3-D, allowing doctors to “plan exactly where we’re going to go in treatments,” such as for stent and angioplasty.

Its large digital detector also gives doctors the ability to see more in a single exam with fewer X-ray images, and fewer injections of contrast dye, and carries just a fraction of radiation of traditional units, making it much safer for patients and staff.

“Everyone is concerned about radiation,” he said. “With this equipment, we get 1/10th to 1/100th of the radiation of other units.”

The Discovery unit’s precision makes it perfect for use in patients at the UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

“It allows for amazingly targeted radiation,” Coldwell said.

Tumors can be treated by injecting radioactive beads the size of talcum powder particles into them via arteries. “This requires precise placement, which we can do with the Discovery system,” Coldwell said. “A very high dose of radiation can be given to the tumor, while sparing the surrounding tissues. That means fewer side effects for patients.”

The equipment has its own dedicated room at the hospital. Mike Goode, the hospital’s director of imaging and neurodiagnostic services, said installation was finished last month at a cost of around $2 million, including precision leveling of seamless floors to hold the sensitive, heavy equipment, which took nearly a month.

Doctors have been seeing patients with the system for a few weeks, and the difference is profound, Coldwell said.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” he said. “It’s a game-changer.”

Community-based services topic of first spring optimal aging lecture, Feb. 8

Community-based services topic of first spring optimal aging lecture, Feb. 8

Barbara Gordon

Meeting the burgeoning need of older adults for community-based support is the focus of the Feb. 8 lecture of the Spring 2017 Optimal Aging Lecture Series, sponsored by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the UofL Alumni Association.

Barbara Gordon, director of social services of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA), will present a discussion entitled “Access to Community-Based Services: Challenges and Opportunities.” The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

Louisville is a health care hub and is proposing to be an age-friendly city, yet many older adults struggle to access the programs, services and support they need to maintain their quality of life. Funding and policy neglect can further exacerbate these challenges at both the local and state levels. If left unaddressed, Louisville and Kentucky will be incapable of meeting either the current needs or the future demands of an aging population. Gordon will address how creative collaboration can revive and strengthen this support for an uncertain future.

Gordon has been with KIPDA for 14 years after workingwith the Cabinet for Health Services as a branch manager for  Elder Rights, Special Initiatives and Supports Branch in the Office of Aging Services. Her experience serving older adults includes working as a home care case manager serving older persons in Southwestern Kentucky, working with older adults with mental health issues at the Barren River Community Mental Health Center, and as a senior citizen center director in Franklin County. Gordon also is an instructor at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work and is the current president of the Southeast Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Admission is $25 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. Click here to register. For information, call 502-852-5629 or email OptimalAging@louisville.edu.

 

 

Match Day 2015

"Screaming in a positive way..." "A celebration..." "Excitement, anxiety, so many emotions..." "No. 1 choice!"

Two Louisvillians named to James Graham Brown Cancer Center Advisory Board

Christina Durham and Michael Faurest, two noted Kentucky business people, have been elected to the Regional Cancer Center Corporation for the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Durham is the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for NetTango  Inc., a web solutions company that provides web strategy consulting and designs and builds interactive websites, web applications and integrated solutions. Durham has been with NetTango since 1999. Prior to that she was with Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc. as a network development manager.

Durham is a two-time alumna from the University of Louisville, having earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and her Master of Business Administration.

Faurest is a Principal with Brown Faurest, a financial planning organization focusing on advanced planning for business owners and families. Faurest founded Faurest Investments and Advisory, a wealth management firm in Chicago. Prior to that, he worked at Merrick Ventures and SHI in Chicago.

Faurest earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

OUCH! Why does stuff hurt? Find out at Beer with a Scientist, August 17

Kris Rau, Ph.D., explains why the “funny bone” hurts so often, why we get ice cream headaches and other painful topics
OUCH!  Why does stuff hurt?  Find out at Beer with a Scientist, August 17

OUCH! Why stuff hurts.

At this month’s Beer with a Scientist, Kristofer Rau, Ph.D., researcher at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, will discuss the neurobiology of why we feel pain. He’ll give an introduction to the neuroanatomy involved in pain processing and explain why the “funny bone” hurts so often, why we get ice cream headaches, why amputees feel pain in a lost limb and other painful topics.

Rau is a senior research scientist in the UofL Department of Anesthesiology and a member of the Louisville Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. His work focuses on the neurobiology of pain and the electrophysiological and molecular changes that occur following tissue injury and spinal cord trauma.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

Kristofer Rau, Ph.D.

UPCOMING BEER WITH A SCIENTIST EVENTS: Andrea Behrman, Ph.D., UofL Department of Neurological Surgery, September 14.  
Beer with a Scientist founder, Levi Beverly, Ph.D., will speak at the event during Research!Louisville, October 12.

What's the skinny on dietary fat? Find out at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 18

Ashley Cowart, Ph.D., of Medical University of South Carolina, will share the latest understanding of dietary fat, obesity and disease at the next Beer with a Scientist
What's the skinny on dietary fat?  Find out at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 18

Ashley Cowart, Ph.D.

We’ve heard the mantra for years:  Avoid obesity and the diseases that accompany it by eating less fat. But recent reports seem to contradict this advice. So what do we know about how the fats we eat affect our bodies?

At the next Beer with a Scientist, L. Ashley Cowart, Ph.D., will explain what we know – and what we don’t know – about dietary fat and health.

“Lots of information is presented in the media in a dogmatic way, but current science is revealing highly nuanced information on dietary fat and health, and recent studies have contradicted what we thought we knew,” Cowart said. “I will present current scientific data that challenge commonly held notions about dietary fat and health risks of obesity.”

Cowart is associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her work focuses on understanding how dietary intake of fats alters cellular processes leading to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. By understanding how different fats alter different cellular processes, her group hopes to find therapeutic targets to help treat various conditions. Cowart is the first out-of-state speaker at a Beer with a Scientist event and only the second speaker not affiliated with UofL.

The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Jan. 18, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014, the brainchild of University of Louisville cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., who created the series with the idea of making science accessible to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook. Upcoming dates for events:  February 15, March 15.

UofL scientists enhance understanding of muscle repair process with second publication in 10 days

UofL scientists enhance understanding of muscle repair process with second publication in 10 days

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D. and Yuji Ogura, Ph.D.

In today’s issue of Nature Communications, University of Louisville scientists reveal research that increases the understanding of the mechanisms regulating adult stem cells required for skeletal muscle regeneration. Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., of UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, and Yuji Ogura, Ph.D., now of Japan, and other researchers show that the protein kinase TAK1 (transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1) is vital in regulating the survival and proliferation of satellite stem cells. These cells are responsible for regenerating adult skeletal muscles in response to damage from disease or injury.

Specialized stem cells known as satellite cells reside in the skeletal muscles of adults in an inactive or quiescent state. When muscle injury occurs, a chain of signals prompts the satellite cells to awaken and generate new muscle cells to repair the injury. As part of this process, the satellite cells self-renew in order to replenish the pool of satellite cells for future muscle repair.

In the article, the authors reveal that when the protein TAK1 is reduced, satellite stem cells do not vigorously self-renew and many eventually die. Alternately, when TAK1 is increased, the satellite cells prosper. These results lead the authors to conclude that TAK1 is required for satellite cell proliferation and survival for regeneration of adult skeletal muscle.

This publication complements research published just last week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Hindi and Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., a professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, that describes the role of another protein, TRAF6 (TNF receptor-associated factor 6), in ensuring the vitality of the satellite stem cells. TAK1 and TRAF6 support distinct functions that regulate satellite cell survival and functionality. In the JCI article, Hindi and Kumar show that TRAF6 is critical for the satellite cells to retain their stem properties and prevents them from undergoing premature differentiation.

Kumar, also the corresponding author on the Nature Communications publication, believes the research in both of these publications may lead to multifaceted therapies for muscular dystrophy, cancer cachexia and other muscle-wasting conditions, including aging.

“In one disease state the muscle stem cells are undergoing premature differentiation. In that situation, TRAF6 is very important in preventing premature differentiation so the satellite cells maintain their stemness,” Kumar said. “But in some disease conditions, the overall cell population is reduced. If the cells are dying, we need to look at the protein TAK1 and if we put this protein back, determine whether it improves satellite cell survival.”

Hindi, a post-doctoral fellow at UofL, and Ogura are the primary authors of the Nature Communications publication. Ogura was a post-doctoral fellow in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology from 2012-2014 and now is an assistant professor at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Japan. Co-authors include Kumar, Guangyan Xiong, Ph.D., of UofL, Shuichi Sato, Ph.D., now an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Shizuo Akira of Japan.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Health grants R01AR059810, R01AR068313, and R01AG029623 to Ashok Kumar.

 

December 9, 2015

Forging a new PATH to optimal aging

Second year of Optimal Aging Lecture Series kicks off Sept. 14 with examination of new intervention for improved quality of life
Forging a new PATH to optimal aging

Valerie Lander McCarthy, Ph.D., R.N.

Exploring a new intervention to help older adults age optimally is the focus of the Sept. 14 lecture to kick off the second year of the Optimal Aging Lecture Series, sponsored by the University of Louisville Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the UofL Alumni Association This lecture is part of the Insitute’s Optimal Aging Month observance.

Valerie Lander McCarthy, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor at the UofL School of Nursing, will present a conversation entitled “Which PATH Will You Choose?” The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

McCarthy will share a new intervention called the Psychoeducational Approach to Transcendence and Health (PATH) Program. Developed by McCarthy and her colleagues, the program fosters self-transcendence to help older adults improve well-being, life satisfaction and health-related quality of life. The program utilizes mindfulness experiences, group processes, creative activities and brief independent at-home practice.

McCarthy teaches community health nursing and evidence-based research in the undergraduate program of the School of Nursing. Her research is focused on successful aging and increasing well-being, life satisfaction and health-related quality of life in older adults through promoting the late-life developmental process of transcendence.

Admission is $30 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. Click here to register. For information, call 502-852-5629 or email OptimalAging@louisville.edu.

 

 

 

Explore myths, realities of national health insurance Nov. 9

Explore myths, realities of national health insurance Nov. 9

From left, Syed Quadri, Kay Tillow and Edgar Lopez will tackle the myths and realities of a national health insurance program at a presentation on Nov. 9, sponsored by the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging.

For the final Optimal Aging Lecture for the fall semester, the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging and the UofL Alumni Association present a panel discussion entitled “Expanded Medicare: A Single Payer Alternative.” This lecture will unpack the myths and realities of developing a national health insurance program. The lecture will be held on Nov. 9 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

The panel presenters for this exploration of available health care options are Syed Quadri, M.D., Kay Tillow and Edgar Lopez, M.D., all from the national organization Physicians for a National Health Program. The PNHP is a non-profit research and education organization consisting of 20,000 physicians, medial students and other health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

The panelists will discuss their common belief that too many working individuals are unable to afford health care. In addition to their roles with PNHP, the speakers are Kentucky-based professionals with expertise and experience in the state’s health system. Quadri is the co-medical director of the Hardin County Free Clinic in Elizabethtown. Tillow is the coordinator of the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care, a Kentucky advocacy organization. Lopez is a Louisville-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon. 

Admission is $30 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. Click here to register. For information, call 502-852-5629 or email OptimalAging@louisville.edu.

UofL researcher receives $2.6 million from NIH to determine how gut microbiota protect against malaria

UofL researcher receives $2.6 million from NIH to determine how gut microbiota protect against malaria

Nathan Schmidt, Ph.D.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The bugs in our gut can help fight bugs from outside our bodies.

Nathan Schmidt, Ph.D., has published research showing that microbes in the gut of mice can affect the severity of illness suffered from infection with Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria. To pursue this research further, Schmidt, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has received a five-year research grant of $2.6 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health. In his new research, Schmidt intends to determine which microbes are responsible for protecting against illness and to learn more about the mechanism behind that protection.

“Now we are hoping to determine which bacteria or metabolites are interacting to determine the severity or lack of severity of illness in the individual,” Schmidt said. “If we can identify the bacteria, it raises hope that we can target those mechanisms to prevent severity of the disease, thereby reducing illness and death from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Globally, malaria afflicts more than 200 million people and causes more than 400,000 deaths each year, with 90 percent of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. However, many more individuals are infected with the Plasmodium parasite but do not become seriously ill. Schmidt’s research aims to learn more about why some people become seriously ill while others do not.

In 2016, Schmidt published research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) revealing that mice having one community of microbiota colonizing their gut were less susceptible to severe infection from Plasmodium than mice with a different community of microbiota. In this research, Schmidt showed that when the microbiota from the mice experiencing low or high levels of illness were transplanted to mice that previously had no microbiota (germ-free mice), the transplanted mice had similar levels of disease following infection as the low and high donor controls, respectively. These results demonstrate that it was the gut microbiota causing differences in disease severity. In another series of experiments, he treated mice with antibiotics followed by doses of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria in lab-cultured yogurt. The parasite burden in the susceptible mice decreased dramatically and symptoms of illness were reduced in the mice treated with the yogurt.

Schmidt believes the antibiotic allowed the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria introduced in the yogurt to colonize the gut, thereby controlling the Plasmodium population.

“Enteric bacteria provide a competitive environment for other bacteria to grow and survive in. Treatment of mice with antibiotics provided an opportunity for the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria to grow and provide protection against severe malaria. Alternatively, it is possiblethe Lactobacillus prevented recovery of bacteria that cause severe malaria,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt hopes to further isolate which bacteria are responsible for protecting the host from illness and tease apart the mechanisms by which they influence Plasmodium populations and immune response. This should allow collaboration with other researchers to test those effects in humans.

“Nathan’s current findings and the proposed studies will enhance our understanding of how microbiota may modulate host immunity to malaria, which could explain why some individuals develop severe disease while others suffer milder symptoms. This is an understudied area with many opportunities,” said Nejat Egilmez, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Schmidt is one of a growing number of researchers investigating links between gut microbiota and disease across the UofL Health Sciences Center campus.

“The role of commensal microbiota in host physiology and health is a highly active, cutting-edge area of research amounting to a new paradigm in medicine,” Egilmez said. “In addition to Nathan, several of our faculty, including Drs. Michele Kosiewicz, Krishna Jala and Hari Bodduluri, have ongoing projects exploring the link between host microbiota and diseases such as autoimmune disorders, infectious disease and cancer. The new award will create opportunities for future collaborations not only amongst these individuals but also with others in the department who study the more basic processes underlying host immunity and microbial pathogenesis.”

 

February 20, 2017

Health professional students called to address social justice

Health and Social Justice Scholars will learn methods for improving health equity in disadvantaged communities
Health professional students called to address social justice

UofL Health Sciences Center students performing community service

Health-care professionals often are aware of larger social issues facing their patients in disadvantaged communities but feel powerless as individual practitioners to change these health disparities. The University of Louisville’s new Health and Social Justice Scholars Program is accepting applicants who will be trained to work with other professionals in communities to bring about changes to benefit underserved and disadvantaged populations.

Students in the UofL schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences who are dedicated to social justice are encouraged to apply for the program, where they will learn techniques for working interprofessionally and with community members to improve the overall health of the populations through community engagement and scholarly activities. The students will work with faculty mentors to combat issues such as youth violence, public water safety and depression in adolescents in West Louisville and other disadvantaged communities.

“As a pediatrician, I know that a physician can’t do it alone,” said V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives at UofL. “You have to have different perspectives and different skills to move that needle. We cannot work in silos; we have to work as a team to accomplish the goal of health equity.”

One second-year student from each of the four schools in the UofL Health Sciences Center will be selected for the first cohort of scholars for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Health and Social Justice Scholars will conduct interprofessional, community-based research along with a faculty mentor, participate in community service projects and attend monthly discussions. In addition, the scholars will receive annual financial support of $10,000 toward their education programs. Scholars are expected to continue in the program for three years.

“We want students who are dedicated to community engagement and who are passionate about making a difference,” said Jones, who oversees the program. “Eventually, these professionals will be leaders in advocating for policy changes to improve the overall health of the community.”

Applicants for the program must be entering their second year of a doctoral program in the school of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing or Public Health and Information Sciences (Au.D., D.M.D., D.N.P., M.D. or Ph.D). They will be required to submit an essay describing a health concern in the community with a proposed path for improvement, a summary of their research experience, letters of recommendation and transcripts.

Applications will be accepted through May 31. For additional information and to apply, visit the Health and Social Justice Scholars web page, or contact the UofL Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 502-852-7159 or hscodi@louisville.edu.

 

About the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The UofL Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion welcomes and embraces the community of students, faculty and staff. The office seeks to encourage and foster all constituents’ growth and development to allow for everyone to be successful at UofL. By augmenting a culture and climate that demonstrate a belief that diversity and inclusion add value to intellectual development, academic enrichment, patient care, research and community engagement, the office intends to place HSC at the forefront of opportunity and innovation. Its mission is to conceptualize, cultivate and coordinate partnerships across the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health and Information Sciences by building organizational capacity and expanding leadership competency for HSC diversity and inclusion efforts. The office aspires to be a model for innovation for health equity driven by excellence in education, community outreach and research.