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Personal physician to the Dalai Lama speaks on compassion in medicine at UofL White Coat Ceremony

Barry Kerzin, M.D., addresses School of Medicine class of 2020
Personal physician to the Dalai Lama speaks on compassion in medicine at UofL White Coat Ceremony

Barry Kerzin, M.D.

Barry Kerzin, M.D., personal physician to the Dalai Lama and founder of the Altruism in Medicine Institute, addressed the 156 members of the incoming class of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and guests at the school’s White Coat Ceremony on Sunday, July 24. Kerzin, an American trained physician and Buddhist monk, spoke to the students about cultivating and preserving the desire to help others.

“Compassion is the chief reason we all go into medicine,” Kerzin said prior to the event. “Research suggests at the third year of medical school, compassion in medical students decreases significantly. I'll address how to sustain our compassion through our training and out in the world practicing medicine.”

The ceremony welcomeed the class of 2020 to the UofL School of Medicine. The students each received a white coat, a gift from the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and a stethoscope, provided by an alumnus of the school through Stethoscopes for Students. The white coat symbolizes cleanliness, as well as the sense of compassion that inspires students to become physicians. At the ceremony, the students recited the Declaration of Geneva, promising to serve humanity and honor the traditions of the medical profession.

Kerzin, a California native, is a board-certified family medicine physician and an honorary professor at the University of Hong Kong School of Medicine. He is a former assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. After traveling to India in the 1980s to help train Tibetan doctors in modern research methods, he studied Buddhism and meditation and ultimately was ordained as a Buddhist monk. Kerzin now provides medical care to the poor in India and serves as a personal physician to the Dalai Lama in addition to traveling around the world to teach about meditation and compassion. He founded the Altruism in Medicine Institute with the goal to bring more compassion into health care.

UofL School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Sunday, July 24, 3-5 p.m.
Louisville Downtown Marriott
280 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, Ky., 40202

 

 

Originally published July 20, 2016. Updated August 5, 2016.

A life in the clouds: The science of extreme weather

UofL weather researcher will discuss cloud physics and climate change at Beer with a Scientist, Jan. 23
A life in the clouds:  The science of extreme weather

A rotating thunderstorm, called a supercell, in northwestern Minnesota. Photo by Naylor

With spring just around the corner, Louisville area residents will expect not only April showers and May flowers, but spring tornadoes. These destructive storms are fairly common in the greater Louisville area, which may lead weather buffs to wonder:  What causes tornadoes and what makes them more or less destructive?

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Jason Naylor, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Louisville, will discuss the formation of tornadoes and share data that indicate there may be pockets in and around Louisville that are more prone to severe weather. Naylor studies severe weather events with the goal of identifying factors that affect their intensity, duration and frequency.

“The number of tornadoes in the United States in 2018 was far below normal. This may have been an anomaly or it may be related to climate change,” Naylor said. “There are factors related to climate change that may impact the frequency and spatial distribution of U.S. tornadoes and other severe weather events.”

He also will discuss how humans may be affecting severe weather on a smaller, more local scale. His current research is investigating how severe weather patterns may be altered by the presence of large cities.

Naylor’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

Organizers 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.

Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  Feb. 13, March 13, April 17, May 15.


Jan. 17, 2019

International Americans help make up Louisville MOSAIC

Three from UofL among five receiving annual awards
International Americans help make up Louisville MOSAIC

2017 MOSAIC Award recipients, left to right: Anna Faul, John La Barbera, Vik Chadha, Barry Barker and CoCo Tran.

Two University of Louisville faculty members and an entrepreneur affiliated with the university’s co-working space iHub are among the five honorees of the 2017 MOSAIC Awards, scheduled for presentation May 18 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville.

Named to recognize “Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community,” the MOSAIC Awards benefit Jewish Family & Career Services and honors international Americans who make a significant contribution in their profession and in the local and global communities.

From UofL, faculty members Anna Faul, Ph.D., and John La Barbera and iHub co-founder Vik Chadha will be honored, along with J. Barry Barker, director of Transit Authority of River City (TARC), and restaurateur Huong “CoCo” Tran.

“JFCS was founded to assist newcomers to Louisville, and this event honors its original mission,” Judy Freundlich Tiell, JFCS executive director, said. “To date, the event has recognized 57 international Americans who make our community a richer and more interesting city, creating a mosaic of many colors and perspectives.”

At the event, a cocktail reception will start at 5:30 p.m., featuring a showcase of new micro-businesses that have received training and financial assistance from the JFCS Navigate Enterprise Center. Dinner and the awards presentation will follow.  

Tickets to the event are $150 per person, and table sponsorships begin at $2,000.  For reservations, contact Beverly Bromley, JFCS director of development, at 502-452-6341, ext. 223 or bbromley@jfcslouisville.org.

Title sponsor of the MOSAIC Awards is the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. Kindred Healthcare is the new American sponsor. WLKY32 is the media sponsor and Papercone Corp., PharMerica, TARC and Churchill Downs are major sponsors.  Rachel Greenberg is this year’s event chair.

About the 2017 MOSAIC Award winners

Annatjie Faul, Ph.D. – South Africa

Faul originally hails from South Africa and is Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging at the UofL Health Sciences Center and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Kent School of Social Work. A specialist in gerontology, Faul has been awarded multiple grants to develop rural health collaborations that address serious diabetes problems in the outlying rural areas of the state. She has established outreach programs to Latinos and Hispanics, created services in rural Kentucky, and most recently was awarded more than $2 million to help primary physicians in the region better serve the geriatric populations.

John La Barbera – Sicilian Descendant

The son of Sicilian immigrants, La Barbera is a first-generation American and Grammy-nominated composer/arranger whose music spans many styles and genres. He is a professor emeritus of music at the UofL School of Music and is an international music clinician and lecturer whose topics range from composing and arranging to intellectual property and copyright. His works have been recorded and performed by Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Chaka Kahn, Harry James, Bill Watrous and Phil Woods, to name a few. Though his major output has been in jazz, he has had works performed and recorded for symphony orchestra, string chamber orchestra, brass quintet and other diverse ensembles. He is a two-time recipient of The National Endowment for the Arts award for jazz composition. His published works are considered standards in the field of jazz education.

Vik Chadha – India

A native of India, Chadha is the co-founder of two successful technology companies - Backupify and GlowTouch -  that collectively employ more than 1,300 people globally. He was instrumental in conceptualizing and creating the high-tech, co-working space, iHub, at UofL’s J.D. Nichols Campus for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. His roles at EnterpriseCORP, the entrepreneurial arm of Greater Louisville Inc., and Nucleus allowed him to help create hundreds of high-paying jobs within the city of Louisville, and he has played an instrumental role in developing the city’s entrepreneurial environment. Chadha is a board member of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation and was recently appointed by the governor to the board of the Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative.

J. Barry Barker – Great Britain

Barker is from England and has been a leader and innovator in the fields of public transit and community planning for over four decades. Currently he manages a $64 million budget serving as the director of TARC. His primary contributions in the field include introduction of service innovations, priority on and increasing customer centric services, initiating improvement in labor-management relations, and improved safety and environmental leadership. Also, he has added hybrid and electric buses and significantly increased outside funding for Louisville’s transit authority. He has served as a board member and chaired many community boards and has been recognized and awarded for his contributions by many local and national organizations.

Huong “CoCo” Tran – Vietnam

A Vietnamese refugee in 1975, Tran opened the first Chinese fast food restaurant in Louisville. Since opening the Egg Roll Machine, she has opened a total of nine restaurants. She hired many of the first Vietnam refugees who came to Louisville. She has impacted the community greatly by promoting healthy eating. She encourages and guides other Asian entrepreneurs by mentoring them. For the past 16 years, each of her vegetarian restaurants has provided free meals on Thanksgiving Eve. She is a member and a strong supporter of the Vietnamese Community of Louisville and served on the Advisory Community Board.

 

 

Epidural stimulation leads to improved regulation of blood pressure in spinal-cord-injured people

Research from UofL published in JAMA Neurology shows recovery of cardiovascular function in spinal-cord-injured people sustained following epidural stimulation training
Epidural stimulation leads to improved regulation of blood pressure in spinal-cord-injured people

Stefanie Putnam and Glenn A. Hirsch, M.D.

For the first time since 2009, Stefanie Putnam is able to prepare – and eat – meals for herself, put the vest on her service dog, Kaz, and drive herself to activities with her horse without losing consciousness or gasping for breath.

“My whole life has opened up for me again!” Putnam said.

A C4 spinal cord injury in 2009 left Putnam paralyzed from the neck down and suffering from chronic low blood pressure. She relied on medication and tight corsets to maintain her blood pressure, but she still passed out five or six times a day.

Her new lease on life is the result of spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES) she received as a participant in research at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord injury Research Center (KSCIRC) to aid recovery for individuals with spinal cord injury. Research published today in JAMA Neurology describes the improvements Putnam and three other research participants experienced in blood pressure and heart rate regulation during and after scES. All four participants had chronic, complete cervical spinal cord injury, persistent low resting blood pressure and blood pressure decrease when sitting up prior to receiving scES.

[Video story on Youtube]

“From a quality of life perspective, orthostatic hypotension, or low blood pressure when sitting up, is truly life limiting,” said Glenn A. Hirsch, M.D., a cardiologist with the UofL School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

Spinal cord epidural stimulation uses an implanted electrode array to deliver electrical signals to the lumbar spine. For this study, research participants received stimulation using specific configurations selected to target cardiovascular function, monitoring blood pressure and cardiovascular function throughout, for an average of 89 daily, two-hour sessions. Earlier research showed the benefits of scES in controlling cardiovascular function during stimulation, but this data reveals participants’ blood pressure and heart rate remained stabilized between sessions, showing an enduring effect.

“What was most surprising was that only having it on for a few hours a day, we were noticing participants having normal blood pressure through longer periods of each day,” Hirsch said. “We are noticing it now across the research participants who had that problem, that there is a prolonged stabilizing effect even after the stimulator is turned off.”

Since receiving scES for her cardiovascular symptoms, Putnam said she enjoys increased independence and alertness, and she no longer needs medication to increase her blood pressure.

“I am an active member in my own life instead of merely existing. I am really living! I can prepare and cook my own meals. I can feed myself and carry on a conversation. Without the disruption of passing out or gasping for breaths in the middle of a task or having to stop and be back in my chair for two hours at a time, I can accomplish so much more. Now I can live my best life with energy to focus on my future.” Putnam said.

Research at UofL using scES, led by Susan Harkema, Ph.D., associate director of KSCIRC and professor of neurosurgery at UofL, began with the goal of restoring motor function. However, researchers and participants soon noticed stimulation led to improvements in cardiovascular and autonomic systems as well.

“In our motor system studies, we observed that we could actually regulate blood pressure without activating the motor system. That launched us into another area of research,” Harkema said. “Many people don’t realize that walking in many cases is not really the aspect that makes their daily lives most difficult because they have cardiovascular dysfunction and problems with respiratory, bowel, bladder, and sexual function. All of those things are disrupted so every day is incredibly difficult for people with spinal cord injury.”

In ongoing research to explore further the life-enhancing effects of epidural stimulation, the UofL researchers are conducting a six-year study with 36 participants with chronic, complete spinal cord injuries.

To learn more about supporting and participating in spinal cord injury research at UofL, visit the university’s Victory Over Paralysis website:  victoryoverparalysis.org

Today’s published research, “Epidural Spinal Cord Stimulation Training and Sustained Recovery of Cardiovascular Function in Individuals with Chronic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury,” was supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, University of Louisville Hospital, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Medtronic Plc.

 

September 17, 2018

UofL Hospital earns Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

American Heart Association recognizes commitment to quality stroke care
UofL Hospital earns Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

University of Louisville Hospital has earned the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award continuously for the past 12 years.

University of Louisville Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite or Elite Plus, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

May 2017“University of Louisville Hospital has been recognized with the Stroke Elite Plus award again as we continue to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients,” said Kerri Remmel, M.D., Ph.D., chair of UofL’s Department of Neurology and director of the UofL Hospital Stroke Center. “This recognition further reinforces the UofL stroke team’s hard work and commitment to caring for patients with stroke.”

UofL Hospital now has received the Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Award for the past 12 years. In 2004, UofL Hospital became Kentucky’s first Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center and in 2012, the hospital became Kentucky’s first Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, the 20th in the nation.

“Stroke is 80 percent preventable. High blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation and sedentary lifestyle are treatable and modifiable risk factors. If we could give the community one message for the prevention of stroke, it would be to know your own risk factors and be aggressive about controlling them,” Remmel said.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.  

About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines in stroke, heart failure, resuscitation and atrial fibrillation. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001.

Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients experiencing stroke is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke has had an impact on more than three million patients since 2003. For more information, visit heart.org.

Can increasing green space improve our health?

Learn about research into the effects of foliage on health at Beer with a Scientist Mar. 14
Can increasing green space improve our health?

In neighborhoods with poor air quality and many busy streets, residents have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Louisville are studying air quality, innovative landscape design and human health to determine, scientifically, whether planting more trees and adding greenspaces in a neighborhood could increase the health of its residents.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center at UofL, will discuss the research, the Green Heart Project, at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“No one knows whether and to what extent trees and neighborhood greenery affect human health and why,” Bhatnagar said. “This work will tell us how to design a neighborhood that supports human health and whether an increase in the urban greenspaces and vegetation could enhance physical and mental health by decreasing the levels of ambient air pollution.”

The Green Heart Project is a collaboration of UofL, The Nature Conservancy, Hyphae Design Laboratory, the Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil, the U.S. Forest Service and the City of Louisville. The goal of the project is to assess how residential greenness and neighborhood greenspaces affect the health of our communities by decreasing the levels of pollution and promoting physical activity and social cohesion.

The talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Mar. 14, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

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. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Apr. 18, Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ph.D., will discuss super bacteria, antibiotic resistance and why everything is labeled "anti-bacterial."

Whale of a tale: How marine mammal research informs us about global pollution at Beer with a Scientist, June 15

Whale of a tale:  How marine mammal research informs us about global pollution at Beer with a Scientist, June 15

John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D.

Obtaining and studying tissue samples from hundreds of whales around the world has been a mission and a passion for John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D. for the past 18 years.

A professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Louisville, Wise is a leading authority on metal-induced cancer development. He studies the mechanisms of cancer and investigates the health impacts of chemicals and toxic metals in the environment, comparing their effects in humans with whales, sea turtles, alligators and other wildlife. Wise has conducted more than two dozen marine research expeditions, including three in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well. In April, his team collected tissue samples from free-ranging whales in the Sea of Cortez. Read more about this trip, including a video of his first encounter with a majestic blue whale, at http://uoflnews.com/section/science-and-tech/encounter-of-a-lifetime-uofl-researcher-finally-meets-a-blue-whale/.

At this month’s Beer with a Scientist, Wise will share his experiences on the water and explain how his research, funded by the U.S. Army, NIH, NASA, NOAA and other sources, is improving our understanding of the effects of environmental pollutants in marine life and in humans.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 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.

Rising country duo Brothers Osborne added to Julep Ball lineup

'Hart of Dixie,' 'Anger Management' star Laura Bell Bundy also scheduled to perform

Two of the hottest acts making names for themselves in country music have just been added to the lineup of performers at The Julep Ball.

The duo Brothers Osborne, who recently dropped their latest single “Rum,”and Hart of Dixie and Anger Management star Laura Bell Bundy, whose country single “Giddy On Up” garnered over 4 million streams, will join J.D. Shelburne and the Bob Hardwick Sound on The Julep Ball stage.

The premier Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball is held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby and supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The event on May 2 at the KFC Yum! Center kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m.

An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby®, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning. A limited number of tickets to The Julep Ball are still available. The full evening’s entertainment is $600 per person, $5,000 for a table of 10, and $100 per person for dance-only tickets. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website, julepball.org.

About Brothers Osborne:

One of 15 acts chosen by Country Weeklyas “Ones to Watch in 2014,” Brothers Osborne were chosen this month to open for Eric Church in his upcoming tour that includes a stop in Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center on Sept. 25.

The current Rolling Stone(April 24) hails the duo’s current single “Rum”: “There are plenty of drinking songs coming out of Nashville these days, but this twangy party anthem by a rising sibling duo from Maryland takes the genre to a whole new level of catchy fun. Sounds like a hit to us!”

For John and TJ Osborne, getting into music was unavoidable. Growing up in the water town of Deale, Md., their close-knit-family of seven spent most nights not in front of the television, but writing and playing songs.

John (guitar) moved to Nashville first to play in other bands before TJ (vocals/guitar) joined him. It was then they formed Brothers Osborne and began playing as many writer rounds as they could. In April 2011, Warner Chappell/King Pen Music offered them a publishing deal. A year later, Capitol Records offered them a record deal. The Brothers Osborne are currently in the studio finishing their debut album, an album they describe as “aggressive, bold and fragile at times.” For more information, visit www.brothersosborne.com.

About Laura Bell Bundy:

A Kentucky native, Laura Bell Bundy is a performer who has done it all: from appearing on the Broadway stage as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde – a role that garnered her a Tony Award nomination – Glinda in Wicked, and Amber Von Tussle in the original cast of Hairspray, to the launch of her country music career with a captivating performance on the nationally televised Academy of Country Music Awards, to acting in various film and TV roles including Dreamgirls, Jumanji, The Adventures of Huck Finn, MTV’s smash telecast of Legally Blonde, Guiding Light, CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, Malibu Country, Home Improvement and Cold Case. Bundy’s screen success has followed her to the web, where she has attracted a worldwide audience with her hit comedic web series, Cooter County, which she created, produced and directed.

Bundy released her debut country music album, Achin’ and Shakin’, in 2010, featuring her hit single “Giddy On Up,” which has since garnered over 4 million streams and has been certified gold in Norway. Her most recent singles, “Two Step” and “Kentucky Dirty,” push music boundaries and answer the question of what happens when you combine hot country, dance tracks and hip-hop beats.

Bundy currently can be seen on the CW’s hit television program Hart of Dixie and FX’s Anger Management, both of which are aired throughout the world. Her latest song release, “Kentucky Dirty” hit iTunes in November of 2013. The track references the singer’s good ole Kentucky roots. For more information, visit www.laurabellbundy.com.

About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

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

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Ashton Advertising, Bob Montgomery Dixie Honda, Boutique Serendipity, The Dahlem Company, Dillards, Enterprise, Headz Salon, Heaven Hill, Hubbuch & Co., InGrid Design, Jaust Consulting Partners, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, KentuckyOne Health, Kroger, Louisville Magazine, Maker’s Mark, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, Morgan Stanley, MPI Printing, Nfocus, Old 502 Winery, Power Creative, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, WAKY and WHAS11.

UofL adds three faculty members to Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The UofL School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and University of Louisville Physicians Orthopedics have added three new faculty members:  Rodolfo Zamora, M.D., Lonnie Douglas, M.D., and Jon Carlson, M.D. 

“We are very excited about the growth in our practice and  to be able to offer orthopedic specialty care in upper extremity, musculoskeletal oncology, sports medicine, hip and knee arthroplasty and foot and ankle,” said Craig Roberts, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Zamora, a native of Chile, specializes in orthopedic oncology and serves as chief of musculoskeletal oncology for UofL Physicians. His areas are benign bone and soft tissue tumors, bone and soft tissue sarcomas, metastatic disease procedures, orthopedic limb-salvage procedures, infections and orthopedic trauma.

“My professional philosophy is to be as close as possible to my patients. I love to have direct communication with them and referring physicians, medical oncologists and medical radiotherapists,” Zamora said.

Zamora is actively involved in research, with interests including navigation systems in orthopedic oncological surgeries, surgical resections, pelvic and lower extremity, external fixation, osteosarcoma and cryosurgery/cryotherapy.

Douglas is a former college football player who specializes in sports medicine, orthopedic trauma and general orthopedics. He completed a sports medicine fellowship with world-renowned sports surgeon James Andrews, M.D., and has served as an associate team physician for the Washington Redskins and Auburn Tigers, as well as a consultant for the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Rays. Douglas has been involved in research and presented nationally and internationally. He received the Brower-Harkess Research Award at the Kentucky Orthopaedic Society’s annual meeting in 2013.

Carlson specializes in orthopedic trauma. He is a published researcher on a variety of orthopedic topics. His areas of expertise include complex fractures of the pelvis, hip, knee and extremities, as well as post-traumatic arthritis and degenerative arthritis of the hip and knee.

“Many patients with fractures about the hip and knee joints go on to develop post-traumatic arthritis. Joint replacement surgeries are often an important option with a proven track record and continue to be among the most successful operations in all of medicine,” Carlson said.

“The key to providing excellent care is communication among all members of the health-care team, both inside and outside the hospital, as well as with the patient, their family and loved ones. I look forward to serving my patients.”

Cancer immunotherapy to be discussed at next "Beer with a Scientist" event

Can we teach our own immune cells to kill cancer? Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D. of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center will discuss recent research at the next “Beer with a Scientist” program July 15
Cancer immunotherapy to be discussed at next "Beer with a Scientist" event

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

One of the most promising areas of research in the fight against cancer is immunotherapy, or stimulating the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer. Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Louisville Department of Medicine and the deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, is conducting clinical trials using checkpoint inhibitors as well as modified herpes virus in the treatment of melanoma with impressive results.

Chesney will speak at the next “Beer with a Scientist” event about immunotherapy research being conducted at UofL and elsewhere and treatments that may be available in the next few years.

“We finally understand how to activate the human immune system to clear cancer cells, having developed new classes of immunotherapies that dramatically improve the survival of cancer patients,” Chesney said.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15 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.

Five from UofL presenting at National Neurotrauma Society symposium

Five from UofL presenting at National Neurotrauma Society symposium

Scott Whittemore, Ph.D.

Three faculty members holding endowed positions, an associate professor and an instructor from the University of Louisville Department of Neurological Surgery will share their expertise this summer at the annual meeting of one of the nation’s premiere organizations of brain and spinal cord injury specialists and researchers.

Neurotrauma 2015, the 33rd Annual Symposium of the National Neurotrauma Society, will be held in Santa Fe, N.M., June 28-July 1. The annual symposium is considered the primary scientific forum for exchanging information in the fields of both traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI).

On Sunday, June 28, assistant professor Enrico Rejc, Ph.D., will present Lumbrosacral Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation for Standing After Chronic Complete Paralysis in Humans. At UofL, Rejc investigates the effects of different combinations of stimulation parameters, weight-bearing related sensory information and training on the modulation of the spinal neural networks, with the intent to promote the recovery of motor function for standing.

On Monday, June 29, Scott Whittemore, Ph.D., will chair the presentation on Genetic Dissection of Locomotor Circuitry. Speaking during the presentation will be David Magnuson, Ph.D., on Conditional Silencing Propriospinal Neurons: Hopping to a New Tune.

Whittemore is the Dr. Henry D. Garretson Chair in Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research and the scientific director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, considered one of the largest such centers in the nation. Magnuson is the Friends for Michael Endowed Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research and also serves on the Symposium Program Committee organizing the 2015 event.

On Wednesday, July 1, Michal Hetman, M.D., Ph.D., will chair and Whittemore will co-chair the presentation, Cell Death is Still Alive, a look at the effect of cell death on TBI and SCI. Hetman is the Endowed Professor of Molecular Signaling and his research is concentrated on identification of the molecules controlling neural cell survival and  growth. Instructor Sujata Saraswat-Ohri, Ph.D., will present one of the three sessions of the presentation, Targeting the Homeostatic Arm of the ER Stress Pathway Improves Functional Recovery After SCI.

“The Neurotrauma Annual Symposium has informative discovery, translational and clinical sessions and workshops, as well as programs for students and early career investigators,” Whittemore said. “We are proud to bring the accomplishments of the University of Louisville into this discussion of the latest research and evidence-based medicine with our peers from throughout the country.”

Single dose of HPV vaccine may prevent cervical cancer

Study shows one dose could be as effective as the three now recommended
Single dose of HPV vaccine may prevent cervical cancer

Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.

A single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Cervarix appears to be as effective in preventing certain HPV infections as three doses, the currently recommended course of vaccination. That is the conclusion of a study published today in The Lancet Oncology and co-authored by Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., the Rowntree Endowed Chair and professor in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

In the study, data from two large trials of the vaccine Cervarix were analyzed to compare the effectiveness of one, two or three doses of the vaccine in preventing HPV infection. In the trials, women were randomly chosen to receive three doses of Cervarix or a control vaccine. Although a number of the women received fewer than the three doses, follow-up tests were completed to evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine in all the women for a period of four years.

The analysis determined the protection from one dose is similar to that achieved by three doses of the vaccine.

"These exciting findings address the fact that nearly two-thirds of people who get HPV vaccines do not get all three doses in a timely manner," said Harper, who was a principal investigator in one of the trials included in the analysis. “Knowing that Cervarix offers protection in one dose reassures public health agencies that they are not wasting money when most of their vaccines are given to those who never complete the three-dose series.”

“Kentucky is one of the states that has not had a program in place to make Cervarix available to all of its citizens, and has very low three-dose completion rates of Gardasil, the other HPV vaccine,” said Harper.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women. HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. These and other types of HPV cause a cancer precursor known as CIN 3.

“From all studies done, we see that Cervarix protects against CIN 3 caused by all HPV types at 93 percent efficacy,” Harper said.

The study is published in The Lancet Oncology with the title, “Efficacy of Fewer than Three Doses of a HPV-16/18 AS04 adjuvanted Vaccine:  a Meta Analysis of Data from the Costa Rica Vaccine Trial and the PATRICIA Trial.”

Paying attention to rising ADHD rates at the next "Beer with a Scientist" program

Find out what’s behind increased diagnoses at “Beer with a Scientist," Wednesday, June 10.
Paying attention to rising ADHD rates at the next "Beer with a Scientist" program

Paul Rosen, Ph.D.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become one of the most common, controversial and important public health issues in the United States. Rates of ADHD have increased by more than 50 percent in the past 10 years, and the CDC reports that Kentucky has the highest rates of ADHD in the nation.

Is ADHD a real disorder or just a drug company scam? Why are the rates of ADHD going up so quickly, and why are they so high in Kentucky?

Paul Rosen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at UofL, will address these and other questions in the next “Beer with a Scientist” program:  “Paying attention to increased ADHD rates:  increased prevalence, over diagnosis or a better understanding?”

Rosen is the director of UofL’s Research on ADHD and Children's Emotion Regulation (RACER) Lab, where his research focuses on emotion regulation and dysregulation in children with and without ADHD and emotional and behavioral problems in children with ADHD.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 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.

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

$50,000 childhood cancer research grant awarded to University of Louisville

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, has awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant to the University of Louisville (UofL). This grant is one of 40 infrastructure grants awarded as part of the foundation’s fall grant cycle, totaling more than $2.5 million and surpassing last year’s total awarded during this same period.

The University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation makes approximately 100 new diagnoses per year. One of the primary goals of the division is to offer novel therapies to allow patients to receive treatment within the region and not have to travel elsewhere. This grant will provide support to hire a nurse coordinator for neuroblastoma and sarcoma patients on clinical trials, providing them with additional access to those trials.

“The St. Baldrick’s Foundation grant will help children diagnosed with cancer to receive the best care here in Louisville,” explains Kerry Powell McGowan, M.D., pediatric oncologist at UofL. “With the grant we hope to help more children and their families stay close to home to get the treatment they need.”

The grant to UofL is part of a series of grants that, combined with the more than $24.7 million awarded in July to fund cutting-edge research, brings the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s funding total to more than $27.2 million awarded in 2014. Grants were awarded based on the need of the institution and its patients, anticipated results of the grant and local participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events and activities.

“These grants are critically important to saving children’s lives, and would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and generous donors who believe kids deserve better than medicine is currently able to provide,” said Kathleen Ruddy, chief executive officer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

To learn how you can get involved visit www.StBaldricks.org, and connect with St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube and Vimeo

###

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s coordinates its signature head-shaving events worldwide where participants collect pledges to shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer, raising money to fund research. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $154 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, and the new International Scholar grants train researchers to work in developing countries. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1.888.899.BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.

 

 

 

 

New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

UofL School of Medicine is first in nation to provide core competencies program
New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine will serve as the nation’s pilot site for training future physicians on the unique health care concerns and issues encountered by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD).

“We are very excited to serve as our nation’s learning ground in training the next generation of physicians in meeting the unique health care needs of our LGBT and DSD-affected population,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “Every segment of our population brings its own set of health care issues and concerns. As we strive to provide the highest quality training possible, it is a privilege to model that educational experience for our colleagues throughout the nation.”

UofL will spend the next few months developing the formal curriculum and begin the pilot program in the 2015-16 academic year, with full integration into the curriculum in 2016-17.

People who are LGBT, gender nonconforming or born with DSD often experience challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms. Research shows that these health disparities result in decreased access to care or willingness to seek care, resulting in increased medical morbidity and mortality for LGBT and DSD-affected patients.

All aspects of patient care, from the intake forms and interaction with caregivers in the outpatient office to interactions during critical illness, require an accepting, informed, patient-centered approach from all physicians in order to improve the adverse health outcomes seen in this patient population.

In early November, the Association of American Medical Colleges identified 30 competencies that physicians must master. These competencies fall under eight domains of care critical to training physicians, including patient care, knowledge for practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, interprofessional collaboration and personal and professional development.

This competency-based framework will allow medical educators to integrate the new guidelines into existing curricula more easily and encourage faculty and health care professionals to move away from thinking of patients in these groups as separate from the general patient population.

“As a university, we continue to be a leader in recognizing the importance of understanding our diverse population and working to meet the varying needs,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the LGBT Center at UofL.

UofL School of Medicine will be assisted in this curriculum integration project by two of the primary authors of the competencies, Jennifer Potter, M.D., Harvard School of Medicine, and Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and fourth-ear medical student. Additionally, John Davis, M.D. from The Ohio State University and the AAMC Group on Diversity & Inclusion LGBT Issues Representative also will assist in the project.

Underrepresented undergraduate students gain medical research experience in summer program

Students will present research at poster session Wednesday, August 3
Underrepresented undergraduate students gain medical research experience in summer program

Kayla Massey and Maura Fordham

This summer, Kayla Massey is using an infrared spectrometer at the University of Louisville to determine how the structure of a lipid called meibum found in the eyelid affects tears in the eye. Massey, who will be a junior at Howard University this fall, is spending the summer in Louisville to gain experience working in a research lab that will help her when she applies to a post-graduate program.

“I’ve done research in biology before, but this is centered around the lipids in the eye so it is a lot more about organic chemistry. It is good for me because I had never done any chemistry research before,” Massey said.

Massey is one of 10 students participating in the Summer Undergraduate Experiences in Biomedical Research program, directed by Irving Joshua, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physiology at UofL. The program, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, allows students who are economically disadvantaged, the first in their family to attend college, underrepresented minorities or from underserved areas to spend 10 weeks working in research labs with faculty mentors in areas such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.

“Our goal is to get more underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students involved in research, doctoral programs and medicine. This experience will give them exposure to clinical research that can help them in their careers,” Joshua said.

The Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Academy of Medicine support the idea that a diverse workforce in health care and biomedical research will serve to reduce health disparities in the United States.

Massey, a biology major who hopes to attend medical school and become a surgeon, is being mentored at UofL by Douglas Borchman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. His research focuses on dry eye and cataracts related to diabetes.

“I am interested in diabetes and high blood pressure. Dr. Borchman is doing work with the effects that glucose has on lenses,” Massey said. “I think it’s opened my eyes to more about science and medical research in general.”

Borchman hopes to encourage Massey and other students in the program to pursue graduate study or medicine by engaging them in the research experience.

“The program can lead to them going on to grad school, which is great,” Borchman said. “I enjoy seeing the spark in the students, showing them that research is fun and not tedious. I give them responsibility and a long leash but don’t let them stray too far. They are young and enthusiastic and it is fabulous.”

One of Borchman’s former summer undergraduate mentees, Samiyyah Sledge, is now a Ph.D. student at UofL in physiology and biophysics with a concentration on the eye. Sledge said her experience as a summer undergraduate in 2014 piqued her interest in this area of research and introduced her to opportunities in graduate programs.

“This lab fostered and developed my love for the eye and for research in general,” Sledge said. “The exposure and experiences I gained here influenced my decision to join the physiology Ph.D. program. In addition, Dr. Borchman himself has been a great and supportive mentor to me.”

Maura Fordham, another program participant this summer, will attend UofL this fall as a biology major, after transferring from Jefferson Community and Technical College. Fordham is working in the lab of Utpal Sen, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physiology, whose research focuses on kidney disease.

“We are looking into diabetic nephropathy regulating Micro RNA 194 through the synthetic drug GYY 4137,” Fordham said. “It’s taught me technique and how you handle yourself in a lab. I've gained an incredible amount of knowledge this summer from everyone in Dr. Sen's lab. I know this experience will help me as I continue as an undergrad and eventually as a medical student.”

Sen said the summer students he mentors often are successful in applying to post-graduate programs.

“I want to get summer students in as undergraduates to get them interested in a research career that is both fun and challenging, yet rewarding,” Sen said. “Some go on to do a master’s or PhD program, and many of them are getting into medical school. It is a good basic research experience for them. They get used to the faculty and the programs our university offers and it helps them get into those programs. When these students are successful in their future careers, everyone benefits – the department, the university, the candidate and the mentor. We need more of these young minds to get involved in active biomedical research to advance the field for human well-being.”

Joshua said students typically participate following their sophomore or junior year of college and are paired with investigators working in areas of interest to them. TheprogramatUofLhas been supported by a grant from the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, since 2006 and is open to students attending colleges in and outside of Kentucky. Student selection is based on their grades, an essay describing their interest in scientific and biomedical research, and how well their areas of interest mesh with available mentors at UofL.

To conclude the program, the students will give a five to 10-minute presentation of their research and present posters along with other summer research program participants on Wednesday, August 3, from noon until 3 p.m. in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, 505 S. Hancock St.

UofL leads first research team to identify AF1q protein associated with multiple myeloma, extramedullary disease

UofL leads first research team to identify AF1q protein associated with multiple myeloma, extramedullary disease

William Tse, M.D.

A group of researchers from the University of Louisville, Japan and Austria is the first to identify a protein, AF1q, associated with multiple myeloma and a condition that occurs in approximately one-fourth of very aggressive multiple myeloma, extramedullary disease or EMD.

The group will present their findings at the European Hematology Association’s 21st Congress, June 10-12, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their presentation is entitled “High expression of AF1q is an adverse prognostic factor and a prediction marker of extramedullary disease in multiple myeloma.”

William Tse, M.D., the Marion F. Beard Endowed Chair in Hematology and chief of the Division of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation at UofL, was senior investigator on the project, working with researchers in Tokyo and Vienna.

Multiple myeloma is one of four types of myeloma and the most prevalent. It is a form of blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow. In multiple myeloma, normal plasma cells transform into malignant myeloma cells and produce large quantities of toxic abnormal immunoglobulin called monoclonal protein that can damage multiple organs. The monoclonal protein produced by the myeloma cells interferes with normal blood cell production.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 30,330 new cases of multiple myeloma will occur in the United States in 2016 and about 12,600 people will die from it.

Approximately 25 percent of patients with multiple myeloma also simultaneously develop extramedullary disease. This disease occurs when the myeloma cells form tumors outside of the bone marrow in the soft tissues or organs of the body. The prognosis of myeloma patients with EMD behaves like other metastatic cancers and is extremely poor because its clinical course is veryaggressive, Tse said.

“We know that multiple myeloma with EMD involvement has an extremely poor outcome,” Tse said. “However, not much is known about the mechanism in which EMD progresses.”

The group looked at an oncogene, AF1q discovered in Tse’s lab, which is expressed in hematological cancer cells and is known to be related to multiple myeloma. Its presence indicates a poor prognosis for the patient.

Tse and the team analyzed the degree of expression of AF1q in 117 patients with multiple myeloma. They found that EMD was present in 25 percent of patients with a low AF1q expression and in 44.7 percent of patients with a high AF1q expression.

“We found that the incidence of EMD was significantly higher in patients with high expression of AF1q than those with low expression,” Tse said. “The significance of this finding gives us a tentative approach to target this marker and could lead to new therapies for this subtype of myeloma.”

Tse’s research team included Drs. Shotaro Hagiwara, the lead author and chief of hematology, and Sohtaro Mine of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, Ana-Iris Schiefer of the Medical University of Vienna and Lukas Kenner of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research and Medical University of Vienna. The study patient cohort was organized by Hagiwara.

Tse practices with University of Louisville Physicians-Medical Oncology/Hematology and with UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health.

Is your home a potential pet poison pit? Veterinary pathologist on common pet toxins at Beer with a Scientist, Feb. 13

Is your home a potential pet poison pit? Veterinary pathologist on common pet toxins at Beer with a Scientist, Feb. 13

Kate Baker, D.V.M., M.S. and Roo

A number of potentially life-threatening toxins found in many households can seriously harm your furry best friend. Even things humans safely ingest every day can be fatal to pets.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Kate Baker, D.V.M., M.S., a veterinary clinical pathologist with Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Veterinary Hospital, will explain why some seemingly harmless substances actually are very dangerous for our animals. She also will address what veterinarians do to save pets when they ingest a toxin.

"Many of us share our homes with pets, and sometimes, they eat things they shouldn’t. While some of these things may be harmless, others can seriously harm pets, even things people consume every day with no issues, from common medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, to foods we eat every day like onions and grapes,” Baker said.

Baker’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, Louisville, 40222. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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

Organizers 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.

Upcoming Beer with a Scientist dates:  March 13, April 17, May 15.

 

 

February 7, 2019

Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

UofL researchers share understanding of how Urolithin A and its synthetic reduce inflammation and improve gut barrier
Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

Illustration showing tightening of gut barrier cells and reduced inflammation due to UroA

Scientists at UofL have shown that a microbial metabolite, Urolithin A, derived from a compound found in berries and pomegranates, can reduce and protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Millions of people worldwide suffer from IBD in the form of either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and few effective long-term treatments are available.

The researchers at UofL have determined that Urolithin A (UroA) and its synthetic counterpart, UAS03, mitigate IBD by increasing proteins that tighten epithelial cell junctions in the gut and reducing gut inflammation in animal models. Tight junctions in the gut barrier prevent inappropriate microorganisms and toxins from leaking out, causing inflammation characteristic of IBD. Preclinical research published today in Nature Communications shows the mechanism by which UroA and UAS03 not only reduce inflammation and restore gut barrier integrity, but also protect against colitis.

“The general belief thus far in the field is that urolithins exert beneficial effects through their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative properties. We have for the first time discovered that their mode of function also includes repairing the gut barrier dysfunction and maintaining barrier integrity,” said Rajbir Singh, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at UofL and the paper’s first author.

Venkatakrishna Rao Jala, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at UofL, led the research, conducted by Singh and other collaborators at UofL, the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bangalore, India, the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Jala, Singh and other researchers at UofL have been investigating how metabolites produced by the human microbiota – bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit the human body – affect many areas of health. By understanding the effects of specific metabolites, they hope to use them directly as therapeutic agents in treating disease.

It has been reported that the microbe Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum INIA P815 strain in the gut has the ability to generate UroA from ellagic acid (EA), a compound found in berries and pomegranates. Variations in UroA levels, despite consumption of foods containing EA, may be the result of varied populations of bacteria responsible for the production of UroAfrom one individual to another, and some individuals may not have the bacteria at all. While encouraging natural levels of UroA in the gut by consuming the appropriate foods and protecting populations of beneficial bacteria should have positive health effects, the researchers believe the use of the more stable synthetic UAS03 may prove to be therapeutically effective in cases of acute colitis. Further experiments and clinical testing are needed to test these beliefs.

“Microbes in our gut have evolved to generate beneficial microbial metabolites in the vicinity of the gut barrier,” Jala said. “However, this requires that we protect and harbor the appropriate gut microbiota and consume a healthy diet. This study shows that direct consumption of UroA or its analog can compensate for a lack of the specific bacteria responsible for production of UroA and continuous consumption of pomegranates and berries.”

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at UofL and an author of the article, said another key finding of the research is that UroA and UAS03 show both therapeutic and protective effects. Administration of UroA/UAS03 after the development of colitis reverses the condition and administration prior to development of colitis prevents it from occurring.

This research was facilitated by funding from the National Cancer Institute to Jala and the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE), established at UofL in 2018 with funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


The article, “Enhancement of the gut barrier integrity by a microbial metabolite through the Nrf2 pathway,” is available on the web site, Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07859-7). This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, U of L, Rounsavall Foundation, The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Research Enhancement Grant and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The Department of Biotechnology and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), India, also supported the work.

Several authors hold a patent application related to this technology.

Jan. 9, 2019

UofL’s Bolli helps raise profile of major medical journal

Impact factor of 'Circulation Research' jumps
UofL’s Bolli helps raise profile of major medical journal

Roberto Bolli, M.D.

A University of Louisville physician and researcher has helped raise the profile of a leading medical journal to an all-time high.

The journal Circulation Research, edited by UofL’s Roberto Bolli, M.D., has achieved its highest-ever “impact factor,” a measure of its importance in the medical field. Circulation Research is an official journal of the American Heart Association and is considered the world’s leading journal on basic and translational research in cardiovascular medicine. Its impact factor, calculated yearly and just announced for 2016, places it among the top 2 percent of medical journals.

Bolli, chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine and UofL Physicians, took over as editor of the journal in 2009, and has worked to raise the journal’s profile since. He also serves as director of UofL’s Institute of Molecular Cardiology and scientific director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute.

The impact factor (IF) is a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in other articles and medical literature in a particular year. The more cited a journal is, the more “impact” it has on the community. The impact factor for Circulation Research is 13.96. When Bolli took over as editor-in-chief, it was 9.4. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the impact factor jumped 2 points.

“Just as a major newspaper helps shape public opinion, the journal Circulation Research has an impact on what is considered important,” Bolli said. 

Impact factors are calculated by the Institute for Scientific Information and tracked by the Journal Citation Reports for more than 12,000 journals. Factors range from 0 to more than 10; only 2 percent of journal titles have a 2016 impact factor of 10 or higher.  Approximately two-thirds have a 2016 impact factor equal to or greater than 1. Those with very high impact factors include such notables as The New England Journal of Medicine and Science.

Since becoming editor-in-chief, Bolli and the Circulation Research editorial board have made dozens of changes at the journal to help increase its quality and impact factor.

“That’s a huge jump,” he said. “Four-point-five points in seven years is unprecedented. It’s very hard, as there are an increasing number of medical journals competing for articles.”

Bolli noted that the jump is even more meaningful given that Cardiovascular Research only publishes research into the cardiovascular system, where other journals publish multiple or all areas of medical research. “Our focus is much narrower, yet despite this the impact factor has gone up,” he said.

He said the impact factor of a journal is one of the main elements authors look at when deciding where to submit their best work. A journal’s ability to receive high-quality work for publication depends on how high its impact factor is, he said.

“It is a big deal to have a paper published in Circulation Research, and it is considered a significant achievement,” Bolli said.

The journal is widely read in the field, and its website receives more than 10 million hits per year. It receives approximately 2,000 submissions of articles per year, he said.

Bolli was selected as the journal’s editor-in-chief from more than 40 candidates, all leading scientists from top medical schools around the country. He called his selection an “incredible honor.”

He said that not only was it an honor for him personally, it was notable for the University of Louisville, as having the editor of a leading medical journal housed at the School of Medicine raises its profile internationally.

“I view it as my most important contribution to science, more than anything else I’ve done,” he said. “The journal helps steer the field of cardiovascular research.”

Membership on the journal’s editorial board is also very competitive, and is reserved for the top cardiovascular researchers in the world.  “It is an honor just to be included,” Bolli said.

One of the changes he and the board made was raising the bar for article acceptance. Only 7 percent of articles submitted are now accepted, compared with 16 percent before.

“If we select an article to be published, it is truly novel, methodologically immaculate, and likely to be important for others,” Bolli said.

Another change was an acceleration of the review process, making acceptance of articles more efficient. He said the journal now has the shortest turnaround time in the field. The journal also was opened up to clinical studies involving patients, and has launched more than 20 new article categories.

For Bolli, seeing the journal rise in prominence after years of hard work is meaningful not just for himself, but for the patients that ultimately benefit from research in the field.