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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.

UofL Health Sciences Center holds first ‘Thank A Donor Day’ Oct. 14

UofL Health Sciences Center holds first ‘Thank A Donor Day’ Oct. 14

The University of Louisville Health Sciences Center will show appreciation to supporters who have provided donations to the institution in the inaugural “Thank A Donor Day” event on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The celebration will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the HSC Quad, located on South Preston Street between Kornhauser Library and the HSC Instructional Building.

Students, faculty and staff will sign a large sign at the event expressing thanks to donors. They also will create video and photo messages of gratitude, said Eileen Chapoton, UofL director of donor relations. These messages will be shared with donors throughout the coming year. They and the public also can share messages of thanks and follow news of the day’s events on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #UofLThanks.

The messages will show appreciation for all types of support provided to the HSC: endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, funding for research and facilities, sponsorships and other donations to student, faculty and staff groups, and more.

“Thank a Donor Day gives the University of Louisville community an opportunity to publicly thank our many benefactors,” Chapoton said.  “As funding from public sources has decreased over the past decade, private donations now and in the future are critical for UofL if we are to be competitive in attracting the finest students, faculty and staff.”

An identical “Thanks A Donor Day” event will be held in the Humanities Quad on UofL’s Belknap Campus on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details on both events, contact 502-852-5064 or visit the Thank A Donor Day website.

 

Oct. 1, 2015

 

 

 

Scholar to discuss diseases, epidemics in ancient Mesopotamia

Scholar to discuss diseases, epidemics in ancient Mesopotamia

Walter Farber

A scholar who works on decoding civilization’s earliest forms of writing will speak Thursday, Sept. 24 at the University of Louisville about new clues into ancient life.

University of Chicago Professor of Assyriology Emeritus Walter Farber, Ph.D., will discuss “Diseases and Epidemics in Ancient Mesopotamia: Medical Conceptualization and Responses.”

Farber’s free, public lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium on UofL's Beknap campus. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Liberal Studies Project is the event sponsor.

Farber is curator of the tablet collection at UChicago's Oriental Institute. He continues his academic writing since his 2013 retirement from UChicago’s Near Eastern languages and civilizations department, where he had worked since 1980.

He has published texts of cuneiform, or inscriptions made by using reed tools to press marks into damp clay tablets. Scholars continue to scour such artifacts to decipher signs from ancient languages for glimpses into Mesopotamian life.

For more information, contact John Hale at 502-852-2248 or john.hale@louisville.edu

Specialized nurses keep the focus on stroke care at UofL Hospital

“We are the string that ties the story together”
Specialized nurses keep the focus on stroke care at UofL Hospital

Deidra Gottbrath, R.N., B.S.N.

When a patient comes into the emergency room at University of Louisville Hospital with symptoms of a stroke, they benefit from a team of specially trained nurses dedicated to ensuring they receive the appropriate care quickly. In cases of stroke, time is brain!

As the state’s first Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, UofL Hospital meets the highest standards of stroke care, and continually raises the bar. Prompt treatment with intravenous Alteplase (IV t-PA) is associated with better outcomes, lower mortality and shorter length of stay for patients with ischemic stroke. One of the key stroke treatment guidelines established by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is the administration of IV t-PA within 60 minutes of arrival at the hospital for patients with ischemic stroke. The staff at UofL Hospital continually works to improve this time, aiming to deliver IV t-PA to eligible patients within 45 minutes.  

Deidra Gottbrath, R.N., B.S.N., leads a team of specialized stroke clinical resource nurses on staff at UofL Hospital to help ensure that eligible stroke patients receive IV-tPA as quickly as possible. It can be challenging to determine whether a patient’s symptoms are due to a stroke or another condition. Gottbrath, who is certified in critical care and stroke care, provides the added resource to help expedite this process.

“From the moment we start participating in care, the ultimate focus becomes treating the stroke. That sounds simple, but there are a lot of complex cases that involve stroke symptoms,” Gottbrath said. “We don’t wait until we are sure it is a stroke before we apply that urgency. We focus on treating every case with stroke symptoms as though it is a stroke until we firmly rule out a stroke and let go of that urgency.”

Paula Gisler, R.N., Ph.D., is director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Program and helped define the stroke clinical resource nurses’ role. “These nurses are a resource to patients and physicians to drive care for all stroke patients. They do whatever it takes to get stroke patients appropriate care to achieve the best outcomes.”

The stroke clinical resource nurse supports emergency room nurses to assess potential stroke patients, facilitate scans, get IV-tPA medication prepared, and work with family members. They keep lines of communication flowing among emergency room nurses, doctors, the stroke team, the radiology staff and other providers.

“We are the string that ties the story together so it makes a complete circle, rather than leaving threads that might be woven together later,” Gottbrath said. “Because we focus solely on that one patient and situation, because that is our priority, we can offer the resource of locating family members to get the full story to get the patient treatment.”

Gottbrath and the other stroke clinical resource nurses follow patients beyond the emergency room, advocating for patients and keeping the lines of communication open throughout their stay. They provide education for patients and their families, as well as bedside nurses who care for stroke patients outside of the stroke unit.

“We are involved in the daily discussions of what type of rehab is appropriate for a patient and communicating that back to the families,” Gottbrath said. “We are there from the scariest moment to looking forward to going home or to rehab. We see the full circle of care.”

Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center and chair of the UofL Department of Neurology, says Gottbrath and her colleagues are invaluable assets to stroke care.

“Deidra and the other stroke clinical resource nurses provide an exceptional service to our patients,” Remmel said. “They are vital in keeping the focus on stroke care for those patients and making the connections that have led to even more improvements in the care we provide.”

Gottbrath and Tina Walsh, R.N., B.S.N., another stroke clinical resource nurse at UofL Hospital, compiled research data showing that since the introduction of stroke clinical operations nurses in 2016, door-to-needle times at UofL Hospital have shortened by an average of 2.5 minutes for eligible patients receiving IV t-PA at the hospital. In addition, eligible patients receiving IV t-PA within 45 minutes of arrival increased from 37 to 49 percent. Gottbrath presented the data at the International Stroke Conference earlier this year.

Although the UofL program does not yet have stroke nurses on duty around the clock, having these nurses in the hospital has led to faster door-to-needle times even when a stroke nurse is not in the building.

“This position has encouraged and educated the staff so that even when we are not physically present, stroke care is fresh on people’s minds – they remember the urgency of it,” Gottbrath said.

Gisler expects UofL Hospital will have a stroke clinical resource nurses on duty around the clock by the end of 2018.

A native of southern Indiana, Gottbrath originally planned to become a physician, but she did not  feel as engaged in that career path as she expected. She followed her sister’s suggestion to try nursing and discovered it gave her the interaction with patients that she enjoyed.

“As I delved into it, I felt more connected to nursing,” she said. “The minute I started nursing school I thought, ‘This is what I’ve been missing. This is the connection to medicine I always wanted.’”

“Every day is so different and so challenging but so rewarding. Now I can’t image doing something different."

 

More about stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked (ischemic) or ruptures (hemorrhagic), causing a loss of blood flow to the brain. In cases of ischemic stroke, the “clot-busting” drug, Alteplase (t-PA), delivered intravenously within hours of the stroke, can provide brain-saving relief, which can prevent death or result in improved recovery for the patient.

To learn more about recognizing stroke and stroke treatment guidelines, visit the American Stroke Association.

 

 May 23, 2018

Society of Toxicology recognizes lifetime achievement of John Pierce Wise, Sr.

Society of Toxicology recognizes lifetime achievement of John Pierce Wise, Sr.

John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., receives the Career Achievement Award

A researcher whose work has substantially advanced the understanding of metals toxicology, John Pierce Wise, Sr., Ph.D., University Scholar and professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has received the Career Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Metals Specialty Section.

The award, presented at the SOT’s annual meeting held last month in San Antonio, recognizes the outstanding achievement of a researcher, mentor and leader in the field of toxicology.

Wise was nominated by Max Costa, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine at NYU School of Medicine.

Costa says Wise’s influence in the education, training and mentorship of young scientists in the field of metals toxicology is “unequivocal.”

Wise has served as primary mentor for more than 40 doctoral and masters level students, while guiding nearly 90 undergraduate and  60 high school students in the field of biomedical and environmental research. He received the SOT Education award in 2016.

His research focuses on mechanistic toxicology with an emphasis on metal carcinogenesis and the “One Health” concept that human health, animal health and ecosystem health are intertwined and interdependent.

“Dr. Wise’s work has led to important advances in metal-induced genotoxicity, DNA repair and chromosome instability,” Costa said. “He is leading the effort to understand how metals can induce DNA breaks while suppressing their repair. In addition, he is a pioneer in the effort to understand how metals impact centrosome biology.”

The breadth of Wise’s work is exemplified through research in human cells as well as cells from other species including fish, whales, sea turtles and sea lions. In addition to bench science, Wise has lead field efforts to study the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis on resident whale species, the impact of metals on whales in the Gulf of Maine, and the conservation of sea turtles in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of more than 7,800 scientists from academic institutions, government and industry in the U.S. and abroad. The Metals Specialty Section is one of the organization’s 28 subgroups.

April 9, 2018

History and future of vaccines the topic of next Beer with a Scientist Oct. 28

What was the world like before vaccines, and what would happen without them now?
History and future of vaccines the topic of next Beer with a Scientist Oct. 28

Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N.

At the next Beer with a Scientist event, Ruth Carrico, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and the associate founding director of the Global Health Initiative, will discuss life before vaccines, what life would be like without them now and what we can expect in the future. This month’s event is held in conjunction with Research!Louisville.

“We will focus on the history of infectious diseases and their impact on society as well as what vaccines have done for us in terms of health and disease prevention. The emphasis will be on smallpox, polio, flu, childhood diseases and pneumonia,” said Carrico, who also is a family nurse practitioner, a fellow of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and clinical director of the Vaccine and International Travel Center.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session. The timing coincides with the 20th annual Research!Louisville conference, taking place October 27-30 throughout the city.

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.

Research!Louisville, an annual conference that highlights research conducted by the institutions in the Louisville Medical Center, is sponsored by the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, University of Louisville Hospital/KentuckyOne Health, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation/KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare. For the full schedule of presentations, go www.researchlouisville.org.


October 19, 2015