Dominique Jones Receives Two National Awards

We are very proud to announce that Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD candidate Dominique Jones recently has received two major national scientific awards.

  • Underrepresented Graduate Student Travel Award to attend the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics meetings at the Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology April 2016 in San Diego, CA.
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award to attend the AACR Annual Meeting  April 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dominique is pursuing her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. La Creis Kidd, Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Our Highest Potential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

UofL residents complete another successful fellowship match

Trend of near perfection in fellowship matches continues with the Class of 2016.
UofL residents complete another successful fellowship match

Many members of the of the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program seeking fellowship appointments were matched successfully for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Several members of the University of Louisville Internal Medicine Residency Program seeking fellowship appointments following their graduation in 2016 were recently matched successfully, including three who will continue their training at UofL.

"I am extremely proud of our residents," Dr. Jennifer Koch, director of the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program said. "I know the hard work and dedication – hours and hours of research, scholarship, and clinical effort – it takes for them to be successful in this endeavor. I have no doubt that they will represent our residency program extremely well in their roles as fellows."

Over the past four years, nearly all of the program's internal medicine residents have successfully matched into their choice of fellowship.

"Our trainees are pursuing further training at great programs all over the country," Dr. Jesse Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine said. "This speaks to the high quality of the education provided by our faculty and the top notch experiences they participate in during their residency training. The training provided at UofL to our up-and-coming physicians is second to none."

Those from The University of Louisville who matched for 2016-2017 include:


Robert Burkes

Dmitry Familtsev

Zeeshan Hussain

Andrew Lally

Kimberly Leake

Amanda Lewis

Chirag Patel

Alison Smith

Gregg Wendorf

Pulmonary/Critical Care



Palliative Medicine

Palliative Medicine





University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

University of Arizona

Loyola University Chicago

University of Louisville

University of Louisville

University of Iowa

University of Texas-San Antonio

East Tennessee State University

University of Louisville

Norton Healthcare, UofL reach agreements, end litigation

Long term deal ensures stability and growth for Children’s Hospital

Norton Healthcare and the University of Louisville today announced they have reached agreements which end more than five years of negotiations and more than two years of litigation. The University of Louisville Physicians group and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are also parties to the agreements.

“This is great news for the Louisville community and the Commonwealth,” said Donald H. Robinson, chair of the Norton Healthcare board of trustees. “The agreements clear up critical land lease and ownership issues as well as bringing operational security to Norton while assuring stable financial support to the UofL School of Medicine in pediatrics. The real winners here are the families who depend on our children’s hospital for their child’s care.”

“We reached fair and mutually beneficial agreements that extend our long-time relationship for providing the highest level of pediatric care to the children of the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Larry Benz, chair of the UofL board of trustees. “Both organizations are passionate about fulfilling their missions in this regard. We are now focused on how our organizations will combine our strengths to make Kosair Children’s Hospital a top tier pediatric hospital in the United States.”

The agreements include an amendment to the 1981 land lease between Norton and the Commonwealth for the children’s hospital property which results in a permanent solution, one that secures Norton’s ownership and control of the hospital, confirmed by the Commonwealth and UofL. It also makes it possible for Norton to continue plans for more than $35 million in additional capital improvements to its children’s hospital over the next five years. Those plans had been held up due to the litigation.

Read the full article...

Douglas Saforo receives prestigious travel award to present research at Keystone Symposia

Douglas Saforo, former University of Louisville Cancer Education Program participant and current MD/PhD student pursuing his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology has received a $1200 Future of Science Fund Scholarship to present his research entitled: “In-vitro 3-Dimensional modeling of the tumor microenvironment in non-small cell lung carcinoma” at the March 28 to April 1, 2016 Keystone Symposia on "Cancer Pathophysiology: Integrating the Host and Tumor Environments” in Breckenridge, Colorado.  His dissertation mentors are Drs. Levi Beverly and Leah Siskind.

PhD candidate Nicole Jackson receives prestigious travel award

Former University of Louisville Cancer Education Program participant and current Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology PhD candidate Nicole Jackson received a $1200 travel award from the American Society of Cell Biology to present her research entitled Cyclic GMP Dependent Protein Kinase (PKG) as a Mediator of EGFR- Induced Apoptosis in Breast Cancer at their annual meetings December 12-16 in San Diego, CA.   Nicole is carrying out her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Ceresa.

Door to Global Health

Door to Global Health

The administration of DIGH is out of the newly formed Global Education Office. GEO has become the information hub and portal for all students involved in global health here and abroad as well as visiting international students.

Professor Myers is Keynote Speaker at 2015 Conference on Chemistry, Toxicology, and Environmental Health

Professor Steve Myers was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Second Conference on Chemistry, Toxicology, and Environmental Health held November 12-16, 2015 in Cairo and Hurghada, Egypt.  Emeritus Professor Harrell Hurst and Adjunct Professor Osama El-Tawil also spoke at the Conference.

During his visit to Egypt, Professor Myers also gave invited talks at Cairo University, AinShams University, and 6th of October University.  Professor Myers also met with administrators at AinShams University and 6th of October University regarding PhD partnerships and other educational agreements.

Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate students honored at annual meeting of the Ohio Valley Society of Toxicology

Pharmacology and Toxicology graduate students were honored at the annual meetings of the Ohio Valley Society of Toxicology held in Highland Heights, Kentucky in November

Laila Al-Eryani received the first place award for her research poster in the PhD graduate student category.  Her mentor is Professor Chris States.

J. Mason Hoffman received the first place award for his research poster in the MS graduate student category.  His mentor is Professor Chris States.

Marcus W. Stepp was selected for oral presentation of his research in the PhD graduate student category.  His mentor is Professor David Hein.

UofL Department of Pediatrics in Tamale, Ghana

The beginning of the International Pediatrics Program in the Tamale Teaching Hospital was understandably grim. Almost 70 percent of the residents in Northern Ghana live below the poverty line. Almost 50 percent of its children – especially girls – have little or no education.

One of the visiting doctors with the program, Dr. Tania Condurache, director of global health education for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville, first became acquainted with the international program when it was focused on her native Romania more than 20 years ago.

Read the full Courier Journal article.

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology graduate students receive prestigious presidential poster of distinction awards

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology graduate students receive prestigious Presidential Poster of Distinction Awards at the annual meetings of the American Association for Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco, November 2015.

Diana Avila (mentor Dr. Shirish Barve)

Wei-yang Chen (mentor Dr. Swati Joshi-Barve)

Tuo Shao (mentor Dr. Wenke Feng)

Department members do well at 2015 Research!Louisville

Annual event highlights, promotes excellence and public awareness of health sciences research at the Louisville Medical Center.
Department members do well at 2015 Research!Louisville

Dr. Chirag Patel accepts his School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award at the 2015 Research!Louisville event. His UofL faculty mentor is Thomas Abell, M.D., of the UofL Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 Research!Louisville award winners

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine had good showings in the recent 2015 Research!Louisville competitions, held in conjunction with the event's 20th annual showcase of health/life sciences research conducted at UofL.

A panel of university faculty judges selected the winners of this year's contest from hundreds of entries in the categories of professional/clinical students, basic science grad students, postgraduates and faculty.

Here's a look at finished at or near the top in their respective categories:

Master's Basic Science Graduate Student Award


Doctoral Basic Science Graduate Student Award


Norton Healthcare Medical Student Award


Research Staff Award


School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award


NCI Cancer Education Program Norbert J. Burzynski Award Undergraduate Student Category


Ruth Greenberg Award for Excellence in Medical Education Research


Louisville Chapter-Women in Medicine and Science

DIBL student presents research in Chicago

Single Mastectomy a More Cost-Effective Treatment for Nonhereditary Cancer in One Breast than Removing Both Breasts

New study in younger women with sporadic breast cancer also finds a somewhat better quality of life in patients who undergo unilateral mastectomy compared with contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.


CHICAGO: For younger women with early-stage, noninherited breast cancer on one side, a unilateral, or single, mastectomy leads to a slightly higher quality of life and lower costs over the next 20 years compared with contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), according to new study results presented at the 2015 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.  The quality of life and cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted in women under age 50 who had the most common type of breast cancer—sporadic, meaning no family history of the disease.

U.S. women with unilateral breast cancer are increasingly choosing CPM, which is the surgical removal of the healthy breast along with the cancerous one to prevent the  risk of breast cancer occurring in the healthy breast.  One national study reported that the CPM rate increased from 1.9 percent in 1998 to 10.2 percent in 2011.1 However, there is no strong evidence that prophylactic mastectomy improves survival for women with sporadic breast cancer,2 and a double mastectomy poses nearly double the risk of postoperative complications.3 On the other hand, most women who have both breasts removed do not need annual screening mammograms.4

Researchers, led by Nicolas Ajkay, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Ky., conducted this study to help patients and their surgeons in the decision-making process about which operation to choose.

Using a decision tree/probabilities model,5 the researchers compared the estimated long-term costs of each operation, follow-up care, and the patient’s health-related quality of life after the operation, assuming both ideal and poor outcomes.

“Even under worst-case scenarios, we found that costs and quality of life were superior with unilateral mastectomy,” Dr. Ajkay said.  “With our study results, I can counsel patients that they may incur a higher cost over their lifetime with a lower quality of life for several months if they choose CPM.’”

Single mastectomy plus 20 years of routine mammograms on the remaining breast costs, on average, $5,052 less than CPM ($13,525 versus $18,577), the research team reported.  In estimating costs, the investigators took into account physician and imaging fees, hospitaliza-tion, other cancer treatments, and cost-of-living expenses, with all data from 2014 or adjusted to 2014 costs.

From the recent medical literature, the researchers derived the probabilities of ideal outcomes and poor outcomes over 10 years, both with and without breast reconstruction.  Poor outcomes included wound complications requiring another operation and, in cases of single mastectomy, the development of breast cancer in the opposite breast five and 10 years later.

To estimate patients’ quality of life, Dr. Ajkay and colleagues used the health-related quality of life measure of a quality-adjusted life year (QALY),6 in which a year in perfect health has a rating of 1.0 QALY.  After 20 years of follow-up care, women who underwent unilateral mastectomy had a net gain of 0.21 QALYs (14.75 versus 14.54 QALYs), which Dr. Ajkay said equates to approximately three months of improved health and quality of life.

For a woman who chooses CPM, a QALY loss of 0.21, according to Dr. Ajkay, could mean “about three months of struggling with surgical complications of reconstruction, lost work productivity, and significant emotional hardship.”

Because women who undergo unilateral mastectomy have a much lower rate of breast reconstruction than those who opt for CPM, the researchers also calculated probabilities assuming that all women undergoing single mastectomy also had reconstruction.  In that scenario, the cost and QALY were still better than for CPM, according to the study abstract.

For an ideal outcome with reconstruction, unilateral mastectomy and screening mammograms reportedly cost $19,158, or $1,234 less than the $20,392 cost of CPM, and the QALY was 0.20 better than that with CPM.

Dr. Ajkay cautioned however that their study results do not apply to women with a familial or genetic risk of breast cancer, who were excluded from participating in this study.

He said, “In most clinicians’ view, these patients do benefit from CPM.”

Robert C. Keskey, a fourth-year medical student from the University of Louisville

School of Medicine, presented the study results.  Other research colleagues for the study were: Amanda Roberts, MD, MPH, University of Toronto; Kevin D. Frick, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; and Andrew S. LaJoie, PhD; In K. Kim, MD, MBA; Brad S. Sutton, MD, MBA; and William G. Cheadle, MD, FACS, all from University of Louisville School of Medicine.

“FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.


1Grimmer L, Liederbach E, Velasco J, Pesce C, Wang CH, Yao K.  Variation in Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Rates According to Racial Groups in Young Women with Breast Cancer, 1998 to 2011: A Report from the National Cancer Data Base.  J Am Coll Surg. 2015;221(1):187-196.

2 National Comprehensive Cancer Network.  Updated NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer Discourages Prophylactic Mastectomy in Women Other Than Those at High Risk.  Press release.  October 28, 2009.  Available at:  Accessed August 17, 2015.

3 Osman F, Saleh F, Jackson TD, Corrigan MA, Cil T.  Increased Postoperative Complications in Bilateral Mastectomy Patients Compared to Unilateral Mastectomy: An Analysis of the NSQIP Database.  Ann Surg Oncol. 2013;20(10):3212-3217.

4 American Cancer Society.  Mammograms After Breast Cancer.  Revised April 9, 2015.  Available at  Accessed August 7, 2015.

5 Roberts A, Habibi M, Frick KD.  Cost-Effectiveness of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy for Prevention of Contralateral Breast Cancer.  Ann Surg Oncol. 2014;21(7):2209-2217.


6 Peasgood T, Ward S, Brazier J.  A Review and Meta-Analysis of Health State Utility Values in Breast Cancer. Scheffield, UK: University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research; 2010 (unpublished).  Updated June 12, 2014.  Health Economics and Decision Science (HEDS) Discussion Paper 10/15.  Available at  Accessed August 17, 2015.


About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients.  The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery.  Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.  The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  For more information, visit (.)

Department faculty honored at 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Members of the Department of Medicine recognized for teaching excellence, endowed chairs, and patent and license awards
Department faculty honored at 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were recognized at the 2015 UofL Celebration of Faculty Excellence

As part of 2015 State of the University Week, the University of Louisville administration recently honored many faculty members at the Celebration of Faculty Excellence held in the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The awards were conferred by Interim Provost Dr. Neville Pinto and Dr. William Pierce, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation.

"All of you have one thing in common, you have set high standards of excellence," UofL President Dr. James Ramsey said. "Your work enhances the prestige and respect of our university. You make us premier. You have distinguished yourselves among your colleagues, and your personal dedication to excellence is an inspiration to us."

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were among those recognized.

Distinguished Faculty Awards

(Distinguished Faculty Award winners receive a medallion and a check for $1,000, and will also be featured on banners around campus.)

Jesse RomanJesse Roman, M.D.

Distinguished Faculty Awards in Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity - Career Achievement

Dr. Roman has devoted over 25 years to education, research, patient care, administration and leadership in academic medicine. He has over 200 primary papers, review articles and chapters in the areas of respiratory disease.

Dr. Roman’s research has been supported by over  $20 million from the federal government and other organizations over his career. He is known internationally for his work in the area of lung fibrosis and fibroblast and matrix biology.


Juan GuardiolaJuan Guardiola, M.D.

Distinguished Faculty Awards in Service - Service to the Profession

Dr. Guardiola has been one of the drivers of the development of standard of care for critical care patients. He has been instrumental in the development of the sleep disorders program.

Dr. Guardiola is currently PI on a multi-center VA cooperative study, and a Co-PI on two other projects.

New Endowed Faculty

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

Dr. Chesney is a Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and has served as the deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center since 2012.

He holds the Brinkley Chair in Lung Cancer Research.


William TseWilliam Tse, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Tse is a Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

He holds the Marion F. Beard Chair of Hematology.

Dr. Tse serves as principle investigator of numerous national and international therapeutic clinical trials.

Earlier this year, Newsweek magazine named him one of the "Top Cancer Doctors" in the United States.

Patents & Licenses

Faculty members whose work has resulted in U.S. patents and licenses were also honored at the 2014 Celebration of Faculty Excellence.

Farrukh AqilFarrukh Aqil, Ph.D., Ramesh Gupta, Ph.D., and Manicka Vadhanam, Ph.D.

Their technology is a novel approach for delivering steady, low doses of therapeutic agents to a target site in a patient over a long period of time. The therapeutic drug is delivered by use of an implanted, biodegradable, cylindrical device.

The current key application for the implantable device has been the delivery of chemo-preventative and chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.

Michael Merchant and Michael BrierMichael Brier, Ph.D., Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Merchant, Ph.D.

Their work in collaboration with Adam Gaweda, Ph.D., has resulted in a U.S. patent.

Their technology determines a patient’s response potential to Erythpoetin by measuring specific peptides present in a biological sample from the patient, thus allowing for more accurate dosing of erythopoetic agents in anemic patients.

John TrentJohn Trent, Ph.D.

His work has resulted in two patents this past year. The first is for discovery of inhibitor compounds against the chemokine receptor type 4, CXCR4, which is found on the surface of cells.

Also described are methods for the use of these inhibitor compounds for the treatment of disease – like several types of cancers and HIV infection – characterized by increased levels of CXCR4.

The second patent, done in collaboration with Robert Mitchell, Ph.D., is a class of potent inhibitors of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory factor (MIF)-dependent disease processes. The new inhibitors target the active site of MIF and covalently attach in an irreversible manner.

These inhibitor compounds can be used for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease, and they represent a new generation of less toxic and more potent anti-MIF disease therapeutics than those currently in use.

Jian Cai, Ph.D.

His technology allows for the cost-effective, large-scale expression and production of lunasin from plants, which can then be used for pre-clinical and clinical trials to demonstrate lunasin’s potential cancer-chemopreventive, anti-cancer and nutraceutical activities.

Jun Yan, M.D., Ph.D.

His work has resulted in a license with Biothera. The licensed technology is a therapeutic composition including an antagonist of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEfG) and a beta-glucan, which in combination enhance anti-proliferative immunotherapy.

New study offers hope for Huntington’s Disease patients

UofL is study site for Phase 2 trial with novel treatment that may slow disease progression
New study offers hope for Huntington’s Disease patients

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.

Individuals in the early stages of Huntington’s Disease (HD) or who are at risk of developing it may be able to play a part in efforts to conquer the disease. Patients are invited to apply for participation in SIGNAL, a Phase 2 research trial that will assess the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of VX15, a novel monoclonal antibody that may delay onset or slow the progression of HD.

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., Raymond Lee Lebby Chair for Parkinson’s Disease Research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Louisville, will lead the study in Louisville, one of 23 sites around the United States participating in SIGNAL. LaFaver also is the director of the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians.

Animal models have shown that monoclonal antibodies bind to and block a molecule that may cause inflammation in the brain of individuals who develop HD. In addition, VX15 may protect against the inflammation that has been shown to affect the thinking, movement and behaviors that affect HD patients.

Huntington’s Disease is a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It is characterized by personality changes, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness and impaired judgment. Patients experience unsteady gait and involuntary movements (chorea), slurred speech, difficulty in thinking and mood disturbances. HD affects approximately 30,000 Americans and more than 200,000 have the gene that causes the disease. HD is autosomal dominant, meaning that a parent with Huntington’s Disease has a 50/50 chance of passing the gene trait that causes the disease on to his or her children.

The SIGNAL trial is the first time a monoclonal antibody will be investigated for potential treatment of HD. Participants in the trial will receive monthly intravenous infusion of the drug and be monitored with advanced brain scan techniques and analyses utilizing MRI and PET.

“This is a great opportunity for patients in early stages of Huntington’s to be involved in a study that may slow the progression of the disease,” LaFaver said. “The drug was already tested for safety in patients with multiple sclerosis and was well tolerated.”

Trial participants should be individuals who:

  • Are at risk for developing HD
  • Have undergone genetic testing
  • Are thought to be in the early stage of HD
  • Are able to undergo brain scans (MRI and PET)
  • Are at least 21 years of age

SIGNAL will enroll study participants through the second part of 2016. Participants in the study will receive monthly infusions for 12 months and follow up for an additional three months. Participants will receive study related medical care, tests and drugs used in the study, along with reimbursement for time spent during in-person visits and reasonable travel and lodging costs.

For information on participating in SIGNAL, contact Annette Robinson, RN, BSN, CCRC at 502-540-3585,

Individuals also may contact the Huntington Study Group at 1-800-487-7671, email or

September 21, 2015

Community has a great resource in UofL Department of Pediatrics

Community has a great resource in UofL Department of Pediatrics

Gerard P. Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A.

Click to hear the interview.

Dr. Gerard P. Rabalais, Chairman of the UofL Department of Pediatrics recently sat down to talk with 93.9 TheVille's host, Mark Hebert. He described the type of care that the Department of Pediatrics provides locally at Kosair Children's Hospital and regionally from Ashland to Paducah.

Miller, Tse honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015'

Duo from UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center recognized by Newsweek
Miller, Tse honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015'

Drs. Donald Miller (left) and William Tse (right) of the University of Louisville were honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015' by Newsweek.

Newsweek, in conjunction with Castle Connolly Medical LTD, recently published its list of the "Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015" and two members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were part of that list.

That honored pair includes Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology and is Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

The other is William Tse, M.D., FACP, Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation and the Marion F. Beard Chair of Hematology.

The list is compiled through peer nominations and extensive research that Castle Connolly Medical LTD. has conducted for more than two decades.

The Castle Connolly physician-led research team makes tens of thousands of phone calls each year, talking with leading specialists, chairs of clinical departments and vice presidents of medical affairs, seeking to gather further information regarding the top specialists for most diseases and procedures.

Each year, Castle Connolly receives nearly 100,000 nominations via this process.