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2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke! May 12 at Muhammad Ali Center

2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke! May 12 at Muhammad Ali Center

Knock Out Stroke

Kentucky residents suffer stroke at rates among the highest in the nation. Factors increasing the risk of stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and African American and Native American ethnicity. Behavioral risks can be reduced with medical care and lifestyle changes, but it is important to begin reducing the risks as early as possible.

At the 2nd Annual Knock Out Stroke, medical experts from the University of Louisville Stroke Program, the state’s first Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, will share tips on how to manage high blood pressure and other risk factors related to heart disease and stroke. Guests will learn how to monitor their blood pressure, the importance of physical activity and how to incorporate it into their daily routine, recognizing the symptoms of stroke and understanding the latest treatment options. Plus, WAVE 3’s Dawne Gee will share her personal experience in suffering a stroke.

Knock out Stroke will be Friday, May 12, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Muhammed Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St., Louisville, Ky.  40202. The event is free and open to the public and includes lunch, door prizes and the opportunity to tour the Muhammad Ali Center museum at your leisure. Attendees are asked to register at UofL.me/kostroke or call 502-852-7522.

Family Health Centers and the UofL Department of Neurology host the program in conjunction with Stroke Awareness Month. Additional partners include the Kentucky Department of Public Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, Louisville Department of Health and Wellness, UofL School of Medicine, and UofL Signature Partnership Health & Quality of Life division.

The UofL Stroke Program is a collaboration of University of Louisville Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health, UofL Physicians and the UofL School of Medicine.

Research to Prevent Blindness awards to UofL reach almost $4 million

Grant of $115,000 in December adds to support of variety of eye research
Research to Prevent Blindness awards to UofL reach almost $4 million

Henry Kaplan, M.D.

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has awarded a grant of $115,000 to the University of Louisville Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, bringing the total of grant funding awarded over the past 50 years from RPB to $3,959,800. The latest grant was awarded Dec. 3.

The funding supports research across a variety of eye diseases and conditions, said Henry J. Kaplan, M.D., department chair, Evans Professor of Ophthalmology and director of UofL’s Kentucky Lions Eye Center.

Among research conducted at UofL that RPB helps fund are studies examining the pharmacologic treatment of age-related macular degeneration, gene therapy in retinal degeneration, stem cell therapy in retinal degeneration, genetic mutations in hereditary night blindness, retinopathy of prematurity, autoimmune uveitis and more.

“We are grateful for the support from Research to Prevent Blindness,” Kaplan said. “With this help, we can continue to carry out groundbreaking research on the development, structure and function of the visual system and discover and develop new treatments for ocular disease.”

RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into all blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to www.rpbusa.org.

MD Anderson, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio added as trial sites for ACT’s PFK-158 licensed from UofL’s Brown Cancer Center

Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT), a privately held company dedicated to bringing new anti-cancer therapies to market, announced today that the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have been added as human clinical trial sites for PFK-158, a first-in-man/first-in-class inhibitor of PFKFB3, an enzyme that controls glycolysis and that is overexpressed in most hematological and solid tumors. The two new clinical trial sites are expected to begin enrolling patients Jan. 1, 2015.

PFK-158 was discovered and developed by ACT and was based on the initial drug discovered at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health. The cancer center began recruiting patients for clinical trials in May 2014. Within weeks of opening the first clinical trial site, ACT was able to open the second clinical trial site, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, also in May 2014.

“We were pleased to partner with MD Anderson and UT Health Science Center at San Antonio to expand the number of clinical trial sites for PFK-158,” said ACT President and CEO Randall B. Riggs. “PFK-158 is a first-in-man, novel anti-cancer drug that prevents tumor cells from using glucose as a fuel source for tumor survival, growth and metastasis and is currently in a Phase 1 clinical study in the United States.”

In November 2014, PFK-158 was chosen by Informa and Kantar Health as one of the “2014 Top 10 Most Interesting Oncology Projects to Watch.”

PFK-158 is a small molecule that inactivates a novel cancer metabolism target never before examined in human clinical trials. Last spring, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a Phase 1 dose escalation study that is evaluating the safety, tolerability and anti-tumor activity of PFK-158 in cancer patients with solid tumors such as prostate, lung, ovarian, melanoma, breast and pancreatic cancer.

PFK-158 is the first 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3) inhibitor to undergo clinical trial testing in cancer patients. The target, PFKFB3, is activated by oncogenes and the low oxygen state in cancers, stimulates glucose metabolism and is required for the growth of cancer cells.

PFK-158, which has been licensed by ACT from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, inhibits the substrate binding domain of PFKFB3 causing a marked reduction in the glucose uptake and growth in multiple preclinical cancer models.

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About Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT):

ACT is a privately held company dedicated to advancing novel therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of cancer. ACT has successfully established a unique and innovative business model with the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center (Brown Cancer Center) whereby ACT is able to obtain exclusive worldwide licenses to novel cancer therapeutics discovered at Brown Cancer Center under preset business terms. ACT then fast-tracks these discoveries, including the selection process for partnership, commercialization and manufacture, to the pharmaceutical industry, and ultimately to the patients who need them. For more information, please visit www.advancedcancertherapeutics.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.

 

‘Memory, Aging and Alzheimer’s Q&A’ offered Jan. 12

‘Memory, Aging and Alzheimer’s Q&A’ offered Jan. 12

Ben Schoenbachler, M.D.

Most of us have experienced it, or have a loved one who has: You enter a room, intending to retrieve something – and cannot remember what it was you wanted. Or you exit the shopping mall, only to discover you have forgotten exactly where you parked your car.

Annoying? Yes. Signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Ben Schoenbachler, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Louisville, will help sort out the differences between temporary forgetfulness and symptoms of age-related memory disorders at a “Building Hope” lecture and question-and-answer session sponsored by the UofL Depression Center.

Schoenbachler’s “Memory, Aging and Alzheimer’s Q&A” will begin at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12, in Room 251 of Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Rd. Admission is free.

Results from a 2015 survey conducted by Trinity College Dublin found that more than 75 percent of people can’t distinguish between signs of Alzheimer’s and the usual forgetfulness that comes with aging. Schoenbachler’s presentation will help participants learn more about those differences.

Schoenbachler is a native of Louisville who earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology and his medical degree from the University of Kentucky and completed combined residency training in neurology and psychiatry at Tulane University. His clinical focus is primarily on cognitive and behavioral complications of brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders.

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

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

Improving “code blue” hospital team response

UofL physician creating more efficient staff procedures for cardiac arrest at UofL Hospital
Improving “code blue” hospital team response

Lorrel Brown, M.D.

Lorrel Brown, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is working to improve the way staff respond when a hospital patient experiences cardiac arrest. Brown has received a grant to develop and evaluate a new protocol to improve communication and fine tune the staff team that responds to these patient emergencies at University of Louisville Hospital (ULH), a part of KentuckyOne Health.

When a patient suffers a cardiac arrest in the hospital, staff members call a “code blue” to summon necessary medical personnel to attend to the patient. Existing procedures for code blue events at ULH may bring 30 to 40 people to the patient’s room, which can create an inefficient situation for responders. Brown’s plan would train a streamlined group of about 15 people who have the most appropriate skill sets for the event to respond to a code blue announcement.

“This will lead to an appropriate use of resources. When 40 people are in the room, it is too crowded and people are not functioning at the height of their effectiveness,” said Brown, a cardiology and critical care specialist with UofL Physicians. “We want people who are highly trained and responding often so they know what they are doing.”

To determine the best team of responders, Brown has collaborated with an inter-professional group that includes physicians in neurology, internal medicine, intensive care, surgery, anesthesia and cardiology, along with respiratory therapists, nurses and pharmacists. She is collecting data on the current system and will evaluate the process before and after the new procedures are implemented.

Brown will introduce the new procedures by conducting unannounced code blue simulations in the hospital and familiarize all hospital personnel in the new system for several months before it is implemented. Under the new procedure, a UofL Hospital Code Team Leader will wear a special lanyard to visually identify the team leader for all staff members. Attached to the lanyard will be a card that lists the individuals who should be involved in the response.

“This will require a culture change,” Brown said. “Whoever is the leader wears the lanyard so everyone can see who’s in charge. It is not a novel approach, but what is novel is that we are studying the impact of this change by collecting data and evaluating the process before and after the new plan is implemented.”

Instructing medical staff on procedures for cardiac arrest is familiar territory for Brown, UofL’s associate director of cardiovascular medicine fellowships. For the past year, she has been training medical residents and other staff members to work together during code blue events by conducting drills in which teams of resident physicians, pharmacists, nurses and respiratory therapists engage in simulated cardiac arrest events. This allows each of the personnel to focus on their specialized training and to reinforce teamwork. [Click for photo gallery of code blue simulation drills]

“When we train people to respond to cardiac arrest, it is usually in silos – nurses train with nurses, residents train with residents, and so on,” Brown said. “In the real world, various people with distinct skills respond to a cardiac arrest who haven’t worked together before. It can be stressful, especially if they don’t know one another. Team training utilizes the skill sets of each individual to the best advantage of the patient.”

Brown received a two-year medical education and research grant from the Southern Group of Educational Affairs, a regional division of the Association of American Medical Colleges, to define, implement and evaluate the new procedures for the hospital staff. The grant extends through August of 2017.

“The goal of this project is to improve communication in the delivery of high-quality care in a low-frequency, high-stakes situation, and to clearly identify the code blue team leader,” Brown said. “This streamlined group of responders will facilitate clear communication, rapid delivery of life-saving care and inter-disciplinary cooperation.”

 

December 15, 2015

UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Data to be presented at national pediatrics meeting Oct. 10
UofL medical student leads multi-university research effort showing cost effectiveness of bedside ultrasound in pediatric ER care

Using a portable or bedside ultrasound machine in the pediatric emergency room has been proven to lessen the length of stay in the ER and to provide images equal in accuracy to x-ray or CT scan without exposing children to potentially harmful radiation.

A third-year medical student at the University of Louisville has now led a group of researchers from five universities in determining that bedside ultrasound is cost-effective as well.

With colleagues from Columbia University, Northwestern University, George Washington University, Jefferson Medical College and UofL, Alexander Thai will present results from the study, “Cost Effectiveness of Implementation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in a Pediatric Emergency Department,” at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.

Thai will make his presentation at the pre-conference Section on Emergency Medicine on Friday, Oct. 10, at 3:45 p.m. PDT.

The clinical value of bedside ultrasound – known as “point-of-care ultrasound” or POCUS – has long been established. What Thai and his colleagues, including In K. Kim, M.D., of UofL’s Department of Pediatrics Emergency Medicine Division, found is that the high-tech equipment does not have to drain resources but can, in fact, generate positive operating revenue.

Analyzing Medicaid data from Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Thai and his colleagues found that annual average costs of obtaining and using POCUS in the emergency setting total $75,240. The annual average revenue realized from the use of POCUS is $115,969, resulting in a net annual operating revenue of $40,729.

The researchers found that this net revenue can be realized using POCUS for four common pediatric procedures for which the device is indicated: examination after trauma injury, known as Focused Assessment for Sonography in Trauma or “FAST” exam; evaluation of abscesses; use of ultrasound for guidance in draining abscesses; and use of ultrasound for guidance in performing a femoral nerve block as a local anesthetic prior to surgery.

The group based their analysis on the perspective of physician fees, not facility reimbursement fees. “Facility reimbursement rates are not always consistent,” Thai said. “This is another area of interest for our team, and we are already working on it in another multi-center study.”

“It's highly unusual for a medical student to be presenting a platform presentation,” Kim said. “Approximately 90 abstracts are submitted to the section of pediatric emergency medicine each year, and only 14 are accepted for platform presentation. It's a great honor for a faculty member or fellow to be accepted at the platform level. I can't remember seeing a medical student on the platform in the past 15 years, and I don't think a medical student has ever presented who is leading a multi-center collaboration.”

Thai – who also is a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force – is enrolled in the UofL School of Medicine’s Distinction Track in Business and Leadership. Directed by Kim and Brad Sutton, M.D., the Distinction Track in Business and Leadership prepares medical students with a vital set of economic and business skills along with their medical education, integrating business instruction with the medical curriculum throughout the four years of medical school.

“Health care is a complex and dynamic field with many stakeholders and much uncertainty. Now, more than ever, health systems and providers are realigning with a renewed focus on cost reduction and improved outcomes,” said Sutton, who is assistant professor of medicine and assistant dean for health strategy and innovation and holds an MBA degree from the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University. “What’s more, health providers are increasingly held accountable for outcomes and processes that are only partly in their control.”
“Historically, formal business training at the medical student level was lacking, leaving new medical school graduates ill-equipped to address the economic challenges of practicing medicine today,” said Kim, who also holds an MBA degree from UofL. “The UofL Distinction Track in Business and Leadership answers this need by providing a fundamental knowledge base that explores the intersection of business and medicine, and arms trainees with a vital skill set to succeed in our health economy.”

Working with Thai in the study from UofL in addition to Sutton and Kim are Dave McLario, M.D., Keith Cross, M.D., Fred Warkentine, M.D., and fellow medical student Nathan Wiedemann, all from the School of Medicine, and Benjamin Foster, Ph.D., professor of accounting from the College of Business.

Also part of the research team are David O. Kessler, M.D., Columbia University; Russ Horowitz, M.D., Northwestern University; Alyssa Abo, M.D., and Joanna Cohen, M.D., both of George Washington University; and Cheung Kim, M.D., of Jefferson Medical College.

Detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier using … Greebles?

Difficulty distinguishing novel objects is associated with family history of Alzheimer’s disease
Detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier using … Greebles?

Which Greeble is different?

Unique graphic characters called Greebles may prove to be valuable tools in detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease decades before symptoms become apparent.

In an article published online last week in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Emily Mason, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville, reported research showing that cognitively normal people who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have more difficulty distinguishing among novel figures called Greebles than individuals without genetic predisposition.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, irreversible neurodegenerative disease characterized by declining memory, cognition and behavior. AD is the most prevalent form of dementia, affecting an estimated 5.5 million individuals in the United States and accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The ability to detect the disease earlier may allow researchers to develop treatments to combat the disease.

“Right now, by the time we can detect the disease, it would be very difficult to restore function because so much damage has been done to the brain,” Mason said. “We want to be able to look at really early, really subtle changes that are going on in the brain. One way we can do that is with cognitive testing that is directed at a very specific area of the brain.”

AD is characterized by the presence of beta amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Tau tangles predictably develop first in the perirhinal and entorhinal cortices of the brain, areas that play a role in visual recognition and memory. Mason and her colleagues developed cognitive tests designed to detect subtle deficiencies in these cognitive functions. They hoped to determine whether changes in these functions would indicate the presence of tau tangles before they could be detected through imaging or general cognitive testing.

Working in her previous position at Vanderbilt University, Mason identified test subjects age 40-60 who were considered at-risk for AD due to having at least one biological parent diagnosed with the disease. She also tested a control group of individuals in the same age range whose immediate family history did not include AD.

The subjects completed a series of “odd-man-out” tasks in which they were shown sets of four images depicting real-world objects, human faces, scenes and Greebles in which one image was slightly different than the other three. The subjects were asked to identify the image that was different.

The at-risk and control groups performed at similar levels for the objects, faces and scenes. For the Greebles, however, the at-risk group scored lower in their ability to identify differences in the images. Individuals in the at-risk group correctly identified the distinct Greeble 78 percent of the time, whereas the control group correctly identified the odd Greeble 87 percent of the time.

“Most people have never seen a Greeble and Greebles are highly similar, so they are by far the toughest objects to differentiate,” Mason said. “What we found is that using this task, we were able to find a significant difference between the at-risk group and the control group. Both groups did get better with practice, but the at-risk group lagged behind the control group throughout the process.”

Mason would like to see further research to determine whether the individuals who performed poorly on the test actually developed AD in the future.

“The best thing we could do is have people take this test in their 40s and 50s, and track them for the next 10 or 20 years to see who eventually develops the disease and who doesn’t,” Mason said.

In recent years, a great deal of research has focused on identifying early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. However, not everyone who has an individual biomarker ultimately develops the disease. Brandon Ally, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery at UofL and senior author of the publication, said the tests with Greebles can provide a cost-effective way to identify individuals who may be in the early stages of AD, as well as a tool for following those individuals over time.

“We are not proposing that the identification of novel objects such as Greebles is a definitive marker of the disease, but when paired with some of the novel biomarkers and a solid clinical history, it may improve our diagnostic acumen in early high-risk individuals,” Ally said. “As prevention methods, vaccines or disease modifying drugs become available, markers like novel object detection may help to identify the high priority candidates.”

Robert P. Friedland, M.D., professor and Mason and Mary Rudd Endowed Chair in Neurology at UofL, has studied clinical and biological issues in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders for 35 years. He believes that early detection will enhance the ability of patients and physicians to employ lifestyle and therapeutic interventions.

“This work shows that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on cognition can be measured decades before the onset of dementia,” Friedland said. “The fact that the disease takes so long to develop provides us with an opportunity to slow its progression through attention to the many factors that are linked to the disease, such as a sedentary lifestyle, a high fat diet, obesity, head injury, smoking, and a lack of mental and social engagement.”

The article, “Family history of Alzheimer’s disease is associated with impaired perceptual discrimination of novel objects,” will appear in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 57, Issue 2.

 

 

 April 11, 2017

 

 

Answer:  Greeble No. 4 is different.

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Dexter Weeks

Fourth-year students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine learned where they will embark on residency training on Match Day, March 17. Students at UofL and medical schools across the nation received envelopes with the information about medical specialty they will pursue, where they will live and who will join them for the next three to seven years of medical training.

“We are really appreciative of our faculty. I think we have an education that is phenomenal and we are ready to go out and serve our patient populations,” said Matt Woeste, president of the UofL medical school class of 2017.

UofL students matched to prestigious programs including Beth Israel Deaconess, Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Tufts, University of Louisville, University of Texas-Galveston and Vanderbilt. While 27 percent will remain in Kentucky, others are heading across the nation to Washington and New Hampshire, to Florida and Hawaii, and many other locations. A record-high 10 couples all matched together.

  • 27 percent will remain in Kentucky
  • 39 percent matched in primary-care specialties
  • 3 will pursue military residency
  • 10 couples matched to programs in the same city

“These students definitely are ambassadors for the University of Louisville,” said Michael Ostapchuk, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs. “Our students go to a residency and the residency directors in those programs see what the University of Louisville is all about and they want our students in the future.”

Fourth-year student MeNore Lake matched to Mount Auburn Hospital, where she will train as a radiologist.

“I can’t be any more excited than I am today,” Lake said. “It’s exactly what I wanted. I am very grateful.”

During her medical education at UofL, Lake pursued her passion for global health in the Distinction in Global Health track, one of the school’s distinction tracks, which allow students in the School of Medicine to explore a specific area of medicine.

“I’ve been in the Global Health Track and it’s meant a lot of growth for me. I’ve had great community and support here as well. I’ve felt well supported here,” she said.

Dexter Weeks believes UofL provided him with the comprehensive education he needed to earn a position in integrated plastic surgery residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.

“I felt like I got a lot of hands-on experience, being able to do things at the level of a resident even though you are a student, getting an idea of what it’s like in your working environment. I felt like it really helped me make a decision about what I wanted to do with my future,” Weeks said. “I’m excited. I’m ready for the next adventure in residency.”

 

 ABOUT MEDICAL TRAINING AND RESIDENCY MATCH

After graduating from medical school, physicians must complete training in residency programs in a medical specialty such as internal medicine, pediatrics or general surgery. The physicians obtain this training at academic medical centers, teaching hospitals and other health-care centers.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) provides a uniform process for matching medical student applicants with residency positions in the United States based on the preferences of both the students and the programs. The students interview with officials at residency programs in the fall of their fourth year of medical school. Students submit their specialty and program preferences to the NRMP and residency programs submit their preferences for applicants. A matching algorithm uses those preferences to match individuals into positions, and students throughout the United States receive their match notices precisely at noon on the third Friday of March – Match Day.

The 2017 match was the largest in the program’s history, matching students in 27,688 PGY-1 positions.              

Photos of UofL students in the match are available on Flickr.

Video of Match Day is available on Youtube.

Going bald, by choice

UofL medical students host Feb. 13th St. Baldrick’s event to raise funds for childhood cancer research
Going bald, by choice

University of Louisville School of Medicine students shaved their heads in 2013 to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. They will do so again on Feb. 13, 2014, at the St. Baldrick’s event.

Primping for a date with that special someone on Valentine’s Day usually doesn’t include choosing to go bald.

Yet that is what 13 University of Louisville School of Medicine students will do the day before, on Feb. 13, to show their support for kids with cancer and raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

The students will hold a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event Thursday, Feb. 13, at noon in the Health Sciences Center Auditorium, located on Preston Street between East Chestnut Street and East Muhammad Ali Boulevard. This is the third year that UofL medical students have hosted a St. Baldrick’s event.

In exchange for donations, the students will have their heads shaved completely or will cut their ponytails to donate hair to make wigs for children who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatment. The foundation has matched each participant with a child battling cancer to honor at the event.

The students hope to raise at least $10,000 and are currently taking donations for the event on their website, http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/ULSOM2014.

Other giveaways are planned as well. The students are raffling off gift cards and other prizes donated by area merchants. Drawings for each prize will be held at the Feb. 13th event and winners do not need to be present to win.

Donating items to the raffle are A Reader's Corner, Bardstown Road Bicycle Co., Baxter's 942 Bar and Grill, Belle of Louisville, Bluegrass Burgers, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carrabba's, Day's Espresso & Coffee, Gordon Biersch, Guestroom Records, Hard Rock Café, Highland Cleaners, Jack Fry's, LIFEbar, Molly Malone's-Baxter Avenue, Molly Malone's-Shelbyville Road, Palermo Viejo, Parkside Bikes, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Salsarita's, Seviche, Sol Azteca's Grill & Cantina, The Sport and Social Club, Tin Roof, Vic's Classic Bikes, Vincenzo's, Wild and Woolly Video and Za's Pizza Pub.

“We are grateful to our raffle sponsors for their support,” said Tony Simms, assistant director for medical student affairs at UofL who is assisting the students in holding the St. Baldrick’s event. “Our students are passionate about the cause and want to make a difference, and with everyone’s help, we will do just that.”

The effort is organized nationally each year by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, founded by three reinsurance industry executives, Tim Kenny, John Bender and Enda McDonnell, in New York. The first St. Baldrick’s event in a Manhattan pub was timed with St. Patrick’s Day 2000 and generated $104,000 in donations.

Today, St. Baldrick’s is believed to be the largest volunteer fundraiser for childhood cancer research and second only to the federal government in the amount of funding provided to pediatric cancer researchers. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s donors and volunteers have enabled the foundation to provide more than $127 million to grant recipients.

Here’s a chance for an autographed ball from your NCAA National Champion Cardinals

Auction on April 19 to benefit medical student mission trips features basketball signed by men’s team among other items

Don’t have enough University of Louisville Cardinal NCAA National Championship memorabilia yet? Here’s your chance for more. A basketball signed by the players of the NCAA National Champion Cardinals will be among the items auctioned this Friday at Bluegrass Brewing Company East in St. Matthews, 3929 Shelbyville Rd.

Proceeds will help fund medical mission trips this summer to Kenya and Ecuador by medical students of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The live and silent auction events get underway at 6 p.m., and first-year medical student Ahmed Farag said a variety of items will be available to bidders. “We’ll auction off tickets for several individual Cardinal football games next season, gift baskets from a number of area vendors, gift cards from companies such as Best Buy and more, and a lot of other items,” Farag said.

“We worked to get as much variety as possible in the auction items so we could appeal to all tastes. “But, speaking as both a current student and UofL alum” – Farag earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from UofL – “I believe the autographed basketball will be the top draw of the auction.” Funds raised by the auction will help pay for medications and supplies that UofL students will need to treat patients while on mission trips to Kenya and Ecuador in the summer.

Each year, UofL medical students volunteer their time – and pay their own way – to medically underserved nations to provide care under the supervision of a volunteer physician and other professionals. No tax dollars are utilized for these trips; all other expenses associated with the trips are covered by the organizations that sponsor them along with donations and gifts. During the trips, the students will see upwards of 1,000 patients, many of whom travel a great distance to receive the care they provide.

Most of the diseases and conditions they encounter are easily preventable in the United States, but because of poverty and lack of access to medical care, many people in these regions die from diarrhea, malaria, untreated wounds, upper respiratory tract infections and more. In many cases, the care provided by the UofL medical student team is the only health care patients receive, making it crucial for those who receive it. In return, students say they get valuable clinical experience and a new perspective on and compassion for patients. “I know I will have a chance to get first-hand experience in treating conditions there that I won’t see here (in Louisville),” Farag said.

Tickets to the family-friendly event are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Live music and food and drink specials also will be featured. Auction items and cash donations are still being accepted, Farag said; to donate items, contact Shannon Hallinan at 937-609-4542 or schall05@louisville.edu; to donate cash to the mission trip effort, visit the group’s PayPal link at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=MPC77Z3SD4DA4.

Oral health fair for adults with diabetes in tri-county region set for March 19

Event for residents of Bullitt, Henry and Shelby Counties with or at-risk for diabetes

Improving oral health literacy is one goal of a University of Louisville health fair aimed at serving residents of Bullitt, Henry and Shelby Counties who are at-risk for diabetes or have been diagnosed with the disease.

The oral health fair will be held Tuesday, March 19, from 10 a.m.-noon at the UofL School of Dentistry, 501 S. Preston St. University of Louisville dental and nursing school faculty and students will provide oral exams, blood pressure screenings, diabetes risk assessments and oral health education.

Dental care is one of the most unmet health needs in the United States. Oral disease can affect general health, and it can be easy to overlook the implications of poor oral health. Diabetes, for example, can increase the incidence and progression of gum disease; likewise gum disease can affect glucose control in people with diabestes.

UofL is a partner of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) Diabetes Coalition, which serves residents of Bullitt, Henry and Shelby Counties who are over age 50 and at-risk for Type 2 diabetes.

The tri-county region has been identified as having high incidence of diabetes. The coalition effort is aimed at reducing diabetes-related inequalities in vulnerable populations such as older adults, minorities and low-income residents.

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded KIPDA and UofL a five-year grant to help reduce the prevalence of the disease within the three counties.

Tiki Barber selected ‘Official Celebrity Emcee of the 2013 Julep Ball’

Derby Eve event benefits James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL
Tiki Barber selected ‘Official Celebrity Emcee of the 2013 Julep Ball’

Tiki Barber

NFL great Tiki Barber has been selected as an Official Celebrity Emcee of the 2013 Julep Ball, set for Derby Eve, May 3, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Barber co-hosts the daily national morning show "TBD In The AM" on the CBS Sports Radio network. He spent a decade with the New York Football Giants and holds almost every Giants' rushing record – first in total yards, rushing yards and rushing attempts and second in rushing touchdowns.

"I am thrilled to be part of The Julep Ball and lend my support to the fight against cancer being waged in Kentucky at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center," Barber said. "I am looking forward to a great ‘party with a purpose' as The Julep Ball is known."

Fulfilling that purpose is carried out every day at the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The mission of the cancer center is to generate new knowledge relating to the nature of cancer, and to create new and more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and therapy, while delivering medical advances with compassion and respect to cancer patients throughout the state and region.

In addition to participating with The Julep Ball, Barber also is scheduled to attend the Kentucky Oaks Pink Friday on Friday, May 3 and the 139th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4.

At The Julep Ball, Barber will join other local and national business leaders, horse industry professionals and celebrities from sports, music, cinema and television. Entertainment will be provided by the World's Greatest Party Band, the B-52s. The celebrity red carpet entrance will return, as will dancing until the wee hours of Saturday morning following the B-52s concert. Special moments of The Julep Ball again will come when the scientists and patients at the forefront of cancer treatment and delivery are honored and saluted for their efforts.

The event is already more than halfway sold out so party-goers should get their tickets now. The full evening's entertainment is $500 per person while dance-only tickets are $150 per person. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website, julepball.org.

The Julep Ball is sponsored in part by Brown-Forman, Republic National Distribution Company of Kentucky, Power Creative, Kroger, LG&E, Ingrid Design, Raymond E. and Eleanor H. Loyd, Hilliard Lyons, KentuckyOne Health, Tafel Motors, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Advanced Electrical Systems, Montgomery Chevrolet, AT&T Kentucky, BKD, Republic Bank, Stites & Harbison, Heuser Clinic and Publishers Printing. Media partners are Louisville Magazine, NFocus, the Voice-Tribune, WHAS11 and 102.3 The Max.

About Tiki Barber

Barber joins Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen as the only players in NFL history with at least 10,000 yards rushing and 5,000 yards receiving in a career. He retired ranking third all-time in yards per carry with 4.7 and 10th all-time in total yards from scrimmage with 15,632.

Prior to being drafted by the Giants in 1997, Barber excelled both academically and athletically at the University of Virginia. He graduated in from UVa's McIntire School of Commerce with a concentration in management information systems and was named to the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. On the football field, Barber left the Cavaliers as their all-time leading rusher. UVa retired his jersey, No. 21, in 2007.

Barber has been active in media and journalism for most of his professional life. In 1999, he began his broadcasting career working for WFAN radio, which led to stints at WCBS-TV, Sirius Satellite Radio, the YES Network, Fox News, NBC News and Sports and MSNBC. In January 2013, he began his latest media endeavor as co-host of CBS Sports Radio's new national morning show, "TBD In The AM," available on more than 250 stations across the country with in excess of 10 million listeners.

Barber is also an entrepreneur, co-founding Thuzio.com, an e-commerce marketplace that facilitates transactions between local athletes, and other public individuals, with consumers looking to book various experiences.

Active in the community, Barber is a board member of the Fresh Air Fund, the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, the Advisory Board for the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Board of Managers of the University of Virginia Alumni Association. He also is a member of the Leadership Council for the Robin Hood Foundation.

Barber has long been an advocate for the underserved and is a staunch supporter of literacy campaigns. He released his memoir, "Tiki: My Life in the Game and Beyond," in September 2007. He also has co-authored, with his twin brother, Ronde, three successful children's books and six young-adult novels.

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 affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program and the University of Louisville Hospital. 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.

University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement

UofL Bucks for Brains researcher delivers for the Commonwealth
University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement

Suzanne Ildstad, M.D., is shown with research coordinator Thomas Miller in her Institute for Cellular Therapeutics lab.

The University of Louisville today announced that researcher Dr. Suzanne Ildstad, representing Regenerex LLC, has entered into a license and research collaboration agreement with Novartis to provide access to stem cell technology that has the potential to help transplant patients avoid taking anti-rejection medicine for life and could serve as a platform for treatment of other diseases.

The University of Louisville and Regenerex LLC announced the research collaboration agreement which will significantly enhance the university’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics’ ability to carry out cutting edge research related to the Facilitating Cell, a novel cell discovered by Ildstad, a professor of surgery and director of the institute at UofL as well as CEO of Regenerex. Underpinning this collaboration is an exclusive global licensing and research collaboration agreement between Regenerex and Novartis.

Ildstad published results in a March 2012 Science Translational Medicine demonstrating the efficacy of this process, known as Facilitating Cell Therapy, or FCRx which is currently undergoing Phase II trials. Five of eight kidney transplant patients were able to stop taking about a dozen pills a day to suppress their immune systems. It was the first study of its kind where the donor and recipient did not have to be biologically related and did not have to be immunologically matched.

In a standard kidney transplant, the donor agrees to donate a kidney. In the approach being studied, the individual is asked to donate part of their immune system as well. The process begins about one month before the kidney transplant, when bone marrow stem cells are collected from the blood of the kidney donor using a process called apheresis. The donor cells are then processed, where they are enriched for developing “facilitating cells” believed to help transplants succeed. During the same time period, the recipient undergoes pre-transplant “conditioning,” which includes radiation and chemotherapy to suppress the bone marrow so the donor’s stem cells have more space to grow in the recipient’s body.

One day after the kidney is transplanted into the recipient, the donor stem cells engraft in the marrow of the recipient and give rise to other specialized blood cells, like immune cells. The goal is to create an environment where two bone marrow systems co-exist and function in one person. Following transplantation, the recipient takes anti-rejection drugs which are decreased over time with the goal to stop a year after the transplant.

In 1998, Ildstad was one of the first recruits to the University of Louisville under the Commonwealth’s Bucks for Brains initiative, advanced by former Gov. Paul Patton. As the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Transplantation Research, Ildstad brought a team of 25 families from Philadelphia to join the University of Louisville. In the following years the team has continued to examine the facilitating cell (FCRx) platform technology for the treatment of kidney transplant recipients as well as considering its potential for the treatment of red blood cell disorders, inherited metabolic storage disorders of childhood, and autoimmune disorders.

“Being a transplant recipient is not easy. In order to prevent rejection, current transplant recipients must take multiple pills a day for the rest of their lives. These immunosuppressive medications come with serious side effects with prolonged use including high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, heart disease and cancer, as well as direct damaging effects to the organ transplant,” Ildstad said. “This new approach would potentially offer a better quality of life and fewer health risks for transplant recipients.”

“In 1997, the University of Louisville was given a mandate to become a premier metropolitan research university that transforms the lives of the people of Kentucky and beyond,” said Dr. James Ramsey, president of UofL. “Dr. Ildstad was among the first faculty members hired utilizing seed funds from the state to help us attract highly talented researchers through the Bucks for Brains program. Regenerex demonstrates the potential for that vision to be realized bringing new jobs to the city, adding to the revenue from the Tax Increment Financing district and providing funding to UofL in support of our academic mission.”

The collaboration provides for investments in research, as well as milestones and royalty payments from Regenerex to the University of Louisville in connection with commercialization of the FCRx technology. The therapeutic potential for the technology is wide ranging. The collaboration also involves a sponsored research agreement to support a multi-year collaboration between Regenerex, UofL and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research to pioneer new applications of the technology.

“The ‘holy grail’ of transplantation is immune tolerance, that is making the body recognize a transplanted organ as ‘self’ and not reject it as foreign tissue, but without the need for immunosuppressive drugs with their numerous serious side effects,” said Dr. David L. Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “Dr. Ildstad and her team may well have solved this puzzle.”

Ramsey noted that in addition to the supreme efforts of the research team, it would not have been possible for the work to move forward without the support of the state, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, Jewish Hospital Foundation, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation and the National Stem Cell Foundation.

“It is immensely rewarding for our donors to know they helped move potentially life-changing therapies closer to being available for people in need worldwide,” said Paula Grisanti, chair of the National Stem Cell Foundation.

‘Spike It to Cancer’ sand volleyball event benefits cancer center at UofL, Oct. 19

‘Spike It to Cancer’ sand volleyball event benefits cancer center at UofL, Oct. 19

<p align="left">Benefactors of a fund to support patients at the <a href="http://browncancercenter.org">James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville</a> are sponsoring a sand volleyball event to raise money for the fund.</p>
<p align="left">Earlier this year, Alex and Tommy Gift established the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund at the cancer center in honor of their late mother to help patients enjoy life while facing a cancer diagnosis. To benefit the fund, the Gifts are sponsoring “Spike It to Cancer,” a sand volleyball event at Baxter Jack’s sand volleyball complex, 427 Baxter Ave, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.</p>
<p align="left">Admission is $20 per person and includes appetizers, snacks and soft drinks. Payment by cash, check or credit card will be accepted at the door.</p>
<p>“All proceeds from this event go to the Mary Jane Gift Quality of Life Fund that pays for extras provided to patients and caregivers, such as theater tickets or a night out on the town,” Michael Neumann, executive director of development, said. “We invite everyone to get a team together, sponsor a team or come watch the fun while they support a worthy cause.”</p>
<p>For additional details, contact Neumann at 502-562-4642.</p>

Do the bugs in our gut affect our brains?

UofL neurologist Robert Friedland, M.D., shares latest research on microbiota along with a prescription for ‘gene therapy’ in the kitchen at Beer with a Scientist, Feb. 15
Do the bugs in our gut affect our brains?

Gut-brain connection

We all are home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and more, referred to as the microbiota. These organisms evolved along with us, inhabiting various ecological locations in and on our bodies, and are important to our health.

Robert Friedland, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Louisville, has conducted research showing that the microorganisms in the intestines can affect the brain, and may be responsible for causing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. He will discuss this research and other valuable insights on microbiota at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“These partner microbes have more than 100 times more genes than our own DNA. Since they are dependent upon our diet for their nutrition and sustenance, we can substantially alter the microbiota through alteration of food intake, performing a type of ‘gene therapy,’” Friedland said. “We will discuss the role of the microbiota in health and disease and review what people can do to lower their risk of cancer, stroke, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's diseases.”

Friedland is a clinical and research neurologist and has researched neurodegenerative diseases and other brain disorders associated with aging for more than 30 years. He is collaborating on research projects with investigators in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Japan.

The event begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Feb. 15, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

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.

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:  March 15. 

UofL health science schools rise in 2018 U.S. News rankings

UofL health science schools rise in 2018 U.S. News rankings

Dean Toni Ganzel: "This ranking is a symbol that shows we continue to be on the right track in meeting the medical needs of our state, nation and world.”

 The University of Louisville School of Medicine and School of Nursing both jumped in U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings for 2018, with the medical school rising to its highest ranking in one category in three years.

The rankings were released March 14 and are available at www.usnews.com/grad.

In the category of “Best Medical Schools-Research,” the UofL medical school ranks 73rd, five points better than 2017 and 10 points better than 2016.

In the category of “Best Medical Schools-Primary Care,” UofL ranks 88th, a four-point drop from last year but still nine points higher than 2016’s ranking of 97th.

The UofL School of Nursing’s “Best Nursing Schools-Master’s” ranking saw a significant increase — 12 points — rising to 76th this year from 88th in 2017. The school ranked 68th in 2016.

Both schools’ leaders attribute the success to hard work by students, faculty and staff, and a shared commitment to improving standards and quality even as the university faces budget cutbacks.

“I am so gratified by this recognition of the effort put forth by everyone at the UofL School of Medicine,” said Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the medical school. “For the past four years, we have made significant investments in upgrading our instructional facilities, enhancing and modernizing our curriculum and strengthening wherever possible our research enterprise. This ranking is a symbol that shows we continue to be on the right track in meeting the medical needs of our state, nation and world.”

“We are thrilled our graduate program is recognized for excellence and rigor,” said School of Nursing Dean Marcia J. Hern, Ed.D., C.N.S., R.N. “Our graduates become nurse leaders who meet evolving health care demands by using evidence-based advanced practice knowledge to improve outcomes of diverse patient populations.”

In addition to medicine and nursing, U.S. News ranks graduate education programs annually in business, education, engineering and law. The magazine also periodically ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, the health arena and other areas as identified by academic experts.

The rankings are based on two types of data, according to the magazine’s statement of methodology: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.

The chart below shows the U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” rankings for UofL HSC schools over the past three years:

Category

College

2018 Ranking

2017 Ranking

2016 Ranking

Best Schools of Nursing - Master's

Nursing

76

88

68

Best Medical Schools - Primary Care

Medicine

88

84

97

Best Medical Schools - Research

Medicine

73

78

83

Prepared by the UofL  Office of Institutional Research & Planning

Rasheda Ali joins the fight to knock out Parkinson’s disease

Ali to be featured speaker at Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, June 9
Rasheda Ali joins the fight to knock out Parkinson’s disease

Rasheda Ali

Rasheda Ali has made it her mission to help people better understand and manage Parkinson’s disease, a condition her father, Muhammad Ali, battled for more than 30 years. Rasheda Ali will be the featured speaker at Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, a special event at the Muhammad Ali Center, Friday, June 9, organized to raise awareness of the disease and the most advanced treatments available.

The event begins at 5 p.m. Following Rasheda Ali’s talk and a buffet dinner, medical experts in Parkinson’s disease from University of Louisville Physicians will discuss the treatment and management of Parkinson’s disease.

“We want to make sure everyone with Parkinson’s disease has access to the best treatments available,” said Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., director of the UofL Physicians Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the UofL School of Medicine. “We are dedicated to helping each Parkinson’s patient achieve the best quality of life regardless of race or socioeconomic status.”

There is no cost to attend Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease, but reservations are required. Register and learn more at http://bit.ly/2oHCvfT or call 502-582-7654.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that causes tremor, slowed movements and other physical and cognitive problems. Parkinson’s affects about 1 million Americans and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease and is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease is a kickoff event for Louisville’s first Moving Day® Walk for Parkinson’s disease, to take place on Saturday, June 10 at Waterfront Park. Moving Dayis sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation to engage the community in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. It will feature a family friendly walk course, a kids’ area, a caregivers’ relaxation tent and a Movement Pavilion featuring yoga, dance, Tai Chi, Pilates, and other activities, all proven to help manage the symptoms of PD.

Knock Out Parkinson’s Disease 2017 also is part of the I Am Ali Festival, a six-week series of events commemorating Muhammad Ali’s six core principles. I Am Ali runs June 3 – July 15, 2017.

To learn more about UofL Physicians Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, visit http://www.uoflphysicians.com/parkinsons-disease-and-movement-disorders or call 502-582-7654.

UofL professor to receive education award from Society of Toxicology

John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D., recognized for efforts to educate students and professionals
UofL professor to receive education award from Society of Toxicology

John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D.

University of Louisville professor of pharmacology and toxicology John Pierce Wise Sr., Ph.D., will be honored by the Society of Toxicology with a 2016 Education Award in March, 2016.

Wise is being recognized for teaching and training the next generation of toxicologists on a variety of educational levels both in the classroom and in the field. He has taught high school students and their teachers, undergraduate students, graduate students and junior faculty members. Wise has participated in K–12 outreach and lifelong learning programs attended by older students. Wise and his wife, Sandra Wise, Ph.D., joined the faculty at the UofL School of Medicine earlier this year.

“The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology was thrilled to recruit Dr. John Wise Sr., his wife and research collaborator Dr. Sandra Wise, and other members of his research team to the University of Louisville,” said David W. Hein, Ph.D., chair of UofL’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. “Professor Wise's research program transforms the excitement of a world class research laboratory experience to graduate, professional, post-graduate and undergraduate students. The very prestigious Education Award from the Society of Toxicology reflects the international impact of his research program and training accomplishments.”

In addition to on-campus instruction and lab work, Wise spends a good deal of time working in the field, testing wildlife for toxic exposures. He, his wife and their adult children spent three summers working aboard a sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico, obtaining tissue samples from whales to test for toxins resulting from the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil well. Most recently, he has been collecting tissue samples from alligators around the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and investigating sea turtle populations on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island. Prior to his arrival at UofL, Wise was a professor of toxicology at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

“Whether it is our work in the tiny, microscopic world of a cell or out in the wild with some of the most amazing creatures on earth, being a scientist is always a thrill and a privilege, and the most important part of being a scientist is to share all of these discoveries with others and to be an educator,” Wise said. “We all thirst to know more, to understand more. We seek to be amazed and inspired by the world. For me, engaging others in my scientific quests, teaching them and learning from them, is a central part of being a scientist.”

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of more than 7,800 scientists from academic institutions, government and industry. The SOT Education Award recognizes an individual who teaches and trains toxicologists and who has made significant contributions to education in the field of toxicology. The award will be presented to Wise at the 2016 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in New Orleans, March 13–17, in the form of a plaque and stipend. Wise is one of more than two dozen scientists from across the United States and abroad who will be honored at the event.

 

December 15, 2015

UofL scientists identify a critical pathway to improve muscle repair

TRAF6 ensures health of stem cells and may lead to improved stem cell therapies for DMD and other muscle wasting diseases
UofL scientists identify a critical pathway to improve muscle repair

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D. and Sajedah Hindi, Ph.D.

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered a mechanism involved in skeletal muscle repair that may enable clinicians to boost the effectiveness of adult stem cell therapies for diseases such as muscular dystrophy. The research, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, describes the role of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6), an adaptor protein and E3 ubiquitin ligase, in ensuring the vitality of stem cells that regenerate muscle tissue.

Specialized stem cells known as satellite cells reside in skeletal muscle in an inactive state. When muscle injury occurs, a complex chain of signals prompts the satellite cells to awaken and generate new muscle cells to repair the injury. Previous research had shown that Pax7 (a paired-box transcription factor) is essential to this regeneration. When Pax7 is missing or reduced, the satellite cells undergo premature differentiation, or lose their stem properties and their ability to regenerate injured muscles.

In their research, authors Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., and Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., discovered that removing TRAF6 depletes Pax7, resulting in reduced muscle regeneration in both normal and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) mouse models. Hindi, a post-doctoral fellow, and Kumar, professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, believe this is because TRAF6 is upstream from Pax7 in the signaling process involved in muscle repair and orchestrates multiple signals controlling the muscle regeneration process.

“We have discovered a pathway by which the Pax7 and myogenic potential of satellite cells is regulated. The protein TRAF6 is a very important adaptor protein that is involved in multiple signaling pathways and its functions are important to maintain the stemness of satellite cells in adults,” Kumar said.

“In normal conditions, skeletal muscle is a self-healing tissue and can recover promptly from most trauma because of the satellite cells. But in disease conditions like muscular dystrophies, satellite cells can’t keep up with repeated cycles of injury and are ultimately exhausted or functionally impaired,” Hindi said. “Our next step is to see if this functional impairment is partially due to lack of TRAF6 signaling in satellite cells. If so, we are thinking we can take a patient’s stem cells, restore the TRAF6 activity, put them back and boost their regenerative potential.”

Kumar and Hindi believe their research ultimately will lead to improved treatments for muscle wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophy, ALS, cancer cachexia, diabetes, heart disease and others.

“Right now the problem in donor stem cell therapy is that we inject the stem cells into the patient but most of the stem cells don’t proliferate very well, so they repair very little part of the muscle,” Kumar said. “But if you have stem cells that are over expressing this protein TRAF6, they may proliferate longer and they may repair the muscle much more effectively.”

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01AR059810, R01AR068313, R01AG029623 and F31AG046950.

IMAGES: TRAF6 fl/fl (top) are control injured muscle whereas TRAF6scko (bottom) are from satellite cell-specific TRAF6- knockout mice which show drastic deficit in muscle regeneration due to lack of TRAF6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 30, 2015

Diane Harper named ‘Thought Leader-Plus’ by MedPageToday.com

Diane Harper named ‘Thought Leader-Plus’ by MedPageToday.com

Diane Harper, M.D.

Diane Harper, M.D., the Rowntree Professor and Endowed Chair of Family and Geriatric Medicine of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine, has been named a “Thought Leader-Plus” by MedPageToday.com.

Considered a trusted and reliable source for clinical and policy news coverage that directly affects the lives and practices of health care professionals, MedPageToday.com has 1,076,142 unique visitors per month, according to its Cision media database profile.

As a Thought Leader-Plus, Harper is called upon to provide expert commentary on topics in her field -- primarily health care for women -- as well as topics that do not have a strict medical focus. Most recently, Harper was asked to comment on physicians making diagnoses of famous people without seeing them face-to-face.

“(Physicians) have trained powers of observation to aid us in diagnosing illnesses. But powers of observation alone can be inaccurate or inaccurately interpreted. Without having the person be a part of the shared person-doctor relationship, harmful misdiagnoses will occur. Speculation about someone's health, in the parlance of physicians, often causes more harm than benefit," she said in the article posted Sept. 13 in the wake of news reports about the pneumonia and dehydration diagnoses of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In addition to holding an endowed professorship and chair, Harper also serves as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health; a professor of bioengineering at the Speed School of Engineering; and a professor of epidemiology and population health and of health promotion and behavioral health sciences in the School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Her expertise and primary research focus is prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to human papillomavirus. She joined the UofL faculty in 2013.

Harper was one of the United States clinician scientists leading the global research effort for prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to control cervical cancer.  She has been a lead author in the multiple Lancet publications and co-author of more than 100 additional articles on cervical cancer prevention.  She has helped establish U.S. national guidelines for the nomenclature of cervical cytology and the screening and management strategies for women with abnormal cytology and histology. She also has consulted for and published with the World Health Organization on the use of prophylactic HPV vaccines. 

She is currently a member of the NIH’s Population Sciences and Epidemiology Integrated Review Group of the Epidemiology of Cancer Study Section and an active grant reviewer for many national organizations. In February, she was appointed to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an appointed panel that issues evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications.