AAIM grant aids novel 'Code Blue' training program

Unique curriculum aims to educate medical trainees in an inter-professional setting to improve their response to cardiac arrest
AAIM grant aids novel 'Code Blue' training program

University of Louisville medical trainees run through a simulated Code Blue event in the Paris Simulation Center at the UofL School of Medicine.


Thanks to a $2,500 Innovation Grant from the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, a new program at the University of Louisville aims to use simulation and a team approach to saving lives when seconds count.

Led by Lorrel Brown, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program in the UofL Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, a multi-disciplinary group of educators in the UofL Department of Medicine have implemented a unique curriculum teaching teams of providers how to successfully function during a cardiac arrest in the hospital, known as "Code Blue."

In recognition of the novel nature of this curriculum, Brown was recently awarded the grant from the AAIM for her "Improving 'Code Blue' Resuscitation in the Medical ICU: An Inter-Professional Approach Utilizing Team-Based Simulation and Interactive Group Training" program.

The grant will support not only the curriculum, but scholarly research into its effectiveness at improving team performance during the low-frequency, high-stakes Code Blue events.

"Dr. Brown should be commended for her leadership in resident education and for spearheading this innovative approach to training Residents to manage cardiac arrest," Robert Bolli, M.D., FAHA, Chief the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine said. "Her energy, dedication, and vision have been invaluable to our educational mission. The program funded by this grant will definitely improve residents’ ability to handle a cardiac arrest, and is particularly important to those who are not exposed to a sufficiently large number of arrests."

Brown's team includes Drs. Jennifer Koch (Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program), Rodrigo Cavallazi (Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Disorders Medicine), Ishan Mehta (Chief Resident), Wendy Bottinor (Cardiology fellow), Nate Peyton (medical student) and Mandi Walker, RN (Director of ACLS training at University of Louisville Hospital).

This curriculum attempts to bridge the gap between knowledge and practical skill, by using simulation technology to simulate the uncertainty, stress, and practical considerations during a "Code Blue" situation.

Using a novel team-teaching approach instead of training providers in their individual silos - nurses with nurses, physicians with physicians - this curriculum brings together an inter-professional group of providers including Internal Medicine resident physicians, ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, and Pharmacy residents.

In addition, these teams are assembled based upon real-world working teams, i.e. all participants in the curriculum work together in the Medical ICU at University of Louisville Hospital.

Trainees have an opportunity to run through a simulated cardiac arrest, then review their own performance including video footage of the scenario, and finally reinforce their learning through a second simulation exercise.

UofL pulmonary division takes part in ALA Fight For Air Climb

Race to the top of one of Louisville's tallest building helps raise funds for lung disease research and outreach.
UofL pulmonary division takes part in ALA Fight For Air Climb

Garret Mulkins, Crissie DeSpirito, Dena Shofner, Karen Beatty, Bryan Beatty of the UofL pulmonary divsion served as medical staff for the 2015 ALA Fight For Air Climb.


On February 7, members of the University of Louisville Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine played several key roles in the 2015 Fight For Air Climb presented by the American Lung Association.

Over 220 participants took part in the event at National City Tower in downtown Louisville where they climbed 38 flights of steps to raise the funds necessary to provide lifesaving education, research and advocacy in the battle against lung disease.

The Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine has had a long association with the American Lung Association, having won the groups inaugural Fight For Air Award in 2011, and having Dr. Jesse Roman, Chair of the UofL Department of Medicine serve on the Board of Directors of the American Lung Association of the Midland States.

Clinical staff from the UofL pulmonary division volunteered to serve as the medical staff for the event, including Garret Mulkins, Crissie DeSpirito, Dena Shofner, Karen Beatty, Bryan Beatty, Brian Mattingly and Ken Mullins.

Also taking part as a climber was Dr. Tanya Wiese, assistant professor of medicine and director of UofL's Interventional Pulmonary Program.

Skill levels for the climbers ranged from beginner to elite, and also included a firefighters and first responders challenge.

The event raised approximately $38,000 for the ALA.

Roman, Hatter honored with UofL Oustanding Performance Awards

Duo recognized for contributions to university, medical communities.

Being recognized by your peers is quite an accomplishment, and an honor that two members of the Department of Medicine were recently garnered.

Jesse Roman, M.D., FACP, FACCP, and Lisa Hatter, RN, were recognized by University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey at the university's annual Outstanding Performance Awards held at the University Club.

Jesse Roman, MD

Jesse Roman, M.D.

Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine, was awarded the first-ever Supervisor of the Year award given by the university.

"It is great that you have created this award because it gives me the opportunity to show my appreciation for people like Dr. Roman," Ramsey said."

Ramsey also noted that since arriving at UofL in 2009, Dr. Roman has established a thriving mentor program, advanced women and minorities and recruited faculty who have established new initiatives in lung health, congestive heart failure and gastrointestinal motility.

His department totals the largest amount of research dollars at UofL ($33 million) and his own laboratory is one of the most well-funded.

He frequently refers to the department as "family," and makes it a point to get to know everyone as an individual. His door is always open for students, visitors, faculty and others despite a chaotic schedule that includes overseeing 10 division chiefs and up to 30 direct reports.

He also makes time to provide health care to patients with lung disease at the Health Care Outpatient center and at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Dr. Roman encourages his employees to support their families first and work second. He never promises what he cannot deliver, said one nominator, who added, "I always feel that we are headed in the right direction."

Lisa Hatter

Lisa Hatter, RN

Hatter, a senior nurse coordinator for liver research, was honored with an Outstanding Performance Award.

In recognizing Hatter, Ramsey noted she has worked for more than 10 years in the office Liver Research Center/Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

She helps launch studies and performs the necessary follow-up with sponsors, contractors, regulatory personnel and the UofL institutional review board.

Hatter also founded an annual community event for the public on treatments for hepatitis C and other liver diseases.

Lisa's outstanding patient care has endeared her to patients, who inquire about her years after a trial has concluded.

“What Your Doctor Won’t Disclose” by Leana Wen, M.D.

It’s time for transparency and the federal government Sunshine Act and this thought-provoking TEDMED talk will rattle the medical establishment.  CLICK HERE to take a listen.

DIBL Student Presents at National Pediatrics Meeting

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.
DIBL Student Presents at National Pediatrics Meeting

Alexander Thai at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference

UofL med student to present at national pediatrics meeting

by Jill Scoggins, HSC communications and marketing — last modified Oct 09, 2014 09:48 AM

A third-year medical student at the University of Louisville has 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 its 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, MD, Keith Cross, MD, Fred Warkentine, MD, 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, MD, Columbia University; Russ Horowitz, MD, Northwestern University; Alyssa Abo, MD, and Joanna Cohen, MD, both of George Washington University; and Cheung Kim, MD, of Jefferson Medical College.

Fellowship match a success again for UofL residents

Continues trend of near perfection in fellowship matches.
Fellowship match a success again for UofL residents

Many members of the of the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program seeking fellowship appointments were matched successfully.

Several members of the University of Louisville Internal Medicine Residency Program seeking fellowship appointments following their graduation in 2015 were recently matched successfully, including three at UofL.

"I couldn't be more proud of our residents!," Dr. Jennifer Koch, director of the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program said. "They will be wonderful ambassadors for our residency program and for the University of Louisville as they move on to these challenging fellowship programs in July. They are truly an amazing group of doctors and I can't wait to see what they will continue to contribute to the field of medicine."

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

"The residents' great performance in the fellowship match is due to the high caliber of our faculty and the terrific training experiences provided at UofL," Dr. Jesse Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine said. "But mostly, it is due to a wonderful team of residents who have worked very hard to reach their goals. We are extremely proud of our residents."

Those from The University of Louisville who matched for 2015-2016 include:


Geetika Bhatt

Udit Chaddha

LaTasha Henry

Anub John

Jon Mares

Melissa Makar

Vivek Master

Ishan Mehta

Olga Pinkston

Wasiq Rawasia

Amrik Ray

Erik Schneibel

Sanjeev Singh

Rahul Sinha

Blair Spence


Pulmonary/Critical Care






Pulmonary/Critical Care



Pulmonary/Critical Care




Infectious Diseases

The Ohio State University

University of Southern California

University of Louisville

University of Louisville

The Johns Hopkins University

Duke University

Virginia Commonwealth University


Mayo Clinic-Florida

University of Louisville

Yale University

University of Florida

University of Cincinnati

Allegheny College

Georgetown University

UofL Surgeon J. David Richardson is American College of Surgeons President-Elect

UofL Surgeon J. David Richardson is American College of Surgeons President-Elect

J. David Richardson, M.D.

J. David Richardson, M.D., FACS, professor and vice chair of surgery, Hiram C. Polk, Jr., M.D., Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, was elected President-Elect of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) last month during the college’s Annual Business Meeting that was held during its 2014 Clinical Congress in San Francisco.

A general, thoracic and trauma surgeon, and surgical educator, Richardson became an ACS Fellow in 1980. Since then, he has served the ACS in various leadership capacities, most recently as chair of the Board of Regents (2011–2012). In that role, he also chaired the Regents’ Finance and Executive Committees.

Richardson was a member of the ACS Board of Regents from 2003 to 2010. He also played a leadership role on several other ACS committees. He was the ACS Governor from Kentucky (1989–1995) and served on the Governors’ Committee on Surgical Infections (1992–1995). He was chair of the Research and Optimal Patient Care Committee (2004–2011) and vice-chair of the Health Policy and Advocacy Group (2010–2011). He has been an active member of the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT), including serving as the chair of the Emergency Services-Prehospital Subcommittee (1992–1999) and as a member of the COT’s Executive Committee (1992), Membership Committee (1993), and Verification/Consultation Committee (1993).

In addition, Richardson has served on the ACS Advisory Council for General Surgery (1997–2002), the Advisory Council for Vascular Surgery as a Regent (2003–2006), and the Advisory Council for Rural Surgery as an ex officio member (2011–2012). He also has been a member of the ACS Committee on Video-Based Education (1991–1997). Currently, Richardson is chair of the ACS Transition to Practice Program in General Surgery Steering Committee.

At the state level, he has served ACS as chair (1985–1987) and vice-chair (1981–1985) of the Kentucky Committee on Trauma; secretary-treasurer (1983–1986) and president (1987) of the Kentucky Chapter;   and as a member of the Kentucky Committee on Applicants (1997–2002) as well.

A prolific author, Richardson has published more than 345 articles in peer-reviewed publications, 50 book chapters, and currently has 10 publications in press. In addition to his leadership roles within the ACS, he has served as former director and chair of the American Board of Surgery, director of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, president of the American Association for Surgery of Trauma, president of the Southeastern Surgical Congress, and secretary and president of the Western Surgical Association.

Richardson is a 1970 graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. He completed a surgery internship and worked as a junior assistant resident at the University of Kentucky before moving to the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to complete a general surgery and a thoracic surgery residency.

After completing his surgical training in 1976, he returned to Kentucky to teach and practice at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He rose through the academic ranks at the institution, starting as an assistant professor of surgery and becoming associate professor of surgery in 1979. He has served in his current positions as professor and vice chair of surgery since 1983 and 1985, respectively. He has served as chief of surgery service and director of emergency surgical services at the University of Louisville Hospital since 2005.

Richardson will be installed as the 96th President of the American College of Surgeons in October 2015, during the Convocation ceremony that precedes the opening of the ACS 2015 Clinical Congress in Chicago.

# # #

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 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

WELCOME Hayes Thomas Booth

Callie & Russell, and their daughter McKinley, welcomed new addition Hayes Thomas Booth.  He was born on November 3, 2014; he weighed 7lbs., 9oz and he was 19 inches long.

WELCOME Evan Fisher Pendleton

Drs. Amber & Eli, and their son Sam Pendleton, welcomed new addition Evan Fisher Pendleton.  Evan was born on October 30, 2014.  He weighed 7lbs., 8oz and he was 19.5 inches long.

Wagner honored with Outstanding Educator Award

Accolade recognizes excellence in educational leadership and scholarship, faculty development in teaching and learning and Interdisciplinary teaching.
Wagner honored with Outstanding Educator Award

Lori W. Wagner, M.D., M.A., FACP

The University of Louisville School of Medicine recently honored Lori W. Wagner, M.D., M.A., FACP, with the Outstanding Educator Award.

Dr. Wagner is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the UofL Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine & Medical Education.

She currently serves as Director of the Primary Care Education Program and is Section Chief of Outpatient General Internal Medicine at the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"I am thrilled to be recognized for my teaching accomplishments," Wagner said. "My experience in the Certificate for Health Professional Education program and the Masters of Arts in Higher Education program at the University of Louisville has been invaluable, and has been paramount to my success."

Recognizing innovative, short-term accomplishments in education, the Outstanding Educator Award promotes excellence in educational leadership and scholarship, faculty development in teaching and learning and Interdisciplinary teaching.

In addition, the award honors basic science teaching of medical students, clinical teaching of medical students, graduate teaching, and interdisciplinary or interdepartmental teaching.

"Dr. Wagner is an example of the stellar educators housed in the department," Dr. Jesse Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine said. "We are proud of her accomplishments and pleased to have her serve as a role model for our trainees and faculty alike."

Wagner was recognized for a number of her attributes as an educator; additionally her incorporation of a Reflective Narrative exercise for the enhancement of interpersonal communication skills and emotional empathy is an example of a significant innovation in a previously well-established program.

This learning activity was also selected for presentation at the Gold Humanism Honor Society Biennial Conference in October in Atlanta, and as an innovation presentation at the AAMC Medical Education Meeting in November in Chicago.

Dr. Wagner was initially nominated for the award by her division chief, Dr. Barbara Casper, and received further support from Dr. Roman.

Her credentials were then reviewed by a selection committee, appointed by the Office of Medical Education. One educator was chosen out of the pool of candidates.

Bolli, Ouseph honored at 2014 Doctors' Ball

Event honors regional providers for medical breakthroughs, leading-edge research and outstanding patient care.
Bolli, Ouseph honored at 2014 Doctors' Ball

Drs. Roberto Bolli (left) and Rosemary Ouseph (right) of the UofL Department of Medicine were honored at the 2014 Doctors' Ball in Louisville.

A pair of doctors from the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were honored at the recent Doctors' Ball held October 18 at the Marriott Louisville Downtown.

Roberto Bolli, M.D., FAHA, Chief of the UofL Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Rosemary Ouseph, M.D., MSPH, of the UofL Division of Nephrology & Hypertension earned accolades at the 19th annual event.

Bolli earned the Excellence in Research Award, citing his groundbreaking SCIPIO trial exploring the use of adult stem cells to repair heart muscle damaged by a heart attack.

SCIPIO has been termed "groundbreaking." With 600,000 patients each year in need of heart transplants and only about 3,000 transplantable hearts a year available, Bolli and colleagues sought a way to repair the heart and restore its function more efficiently than expensive and potentially problematic mechanical cardiac assist devices.

Ouseph garnered the Compassionate Physician Award for her work in caring for patients who have received kidney transplants, and the physical an emotional care they need as they recover.

She is so skilled at handling the effects of any sort of transplantation on the lives of patients that she also works with UofL's hand transplant program. Fellow doctors call her an "indefatigable advocate" for patients who face the potentially deadly risk of organ rejection.

Presented by KentuckyOne Health, The Doctors' Ball bestows prestigious awards for excellence in leadership, innovation and service. Nearly 750 of the most prominent individuals in Louisville gathered for this elegant dinner, dance and silent auction, which is now in its 19th year.

Proceeds benefit the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Foundation which invests in outstanding patient care facilities and services, the education of health caregivers, advanced clinical research and improved access to quality medical care.

Department earns several awards at 2014 Research!Louisville

Annual event highlights, promotes excellence and public awareness of health sciences research at the Louisville Medical Center.
Department earns several awards at 2014 Research!Louisville

Dillon Pender accepts his first-place award in the NCI Cancer Education Program Norbert J. Burzynski Award Professional Student Category at the 2014 Research!Louisville event. His UofL faculty mentor was Lacey McNally, Ph.D. of the Brown Cancer Center.

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine had good showings in the recent Research!Louisville competitions, held in conjunction with the event's 19th 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

Public Health & Information Sciences

Master's Student Award (TIE)

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

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

Postdoctoral Fellow Award

Research Associate Award

Department faculty honored at 2014 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Members recognized for teaching excellence in addition to patent and license awards.
Department faculty honored at 2014 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were recognized at the 2014 UofL Celebrations of Faculty Excellence.

The University of Louisville administration recently held the 2014 Celebration of Faculty Excellence. The awards were conferred by Provost Shirley Willihnganz and William Pierce, executive vice president for research and innovation.

"Great universities have great faculty," UofL President James Ramsey said. "We have a great faculty – a truly amazing faculty – at the University of Louisville. We have a faculty who excel in teaching, service, scholarship, research and creative activity. A faculty who care. A faculty who raise the bar for all of us as a university."

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

President's Distinguished Faculty Awards
(Award winners receive a medallion and a check for $1,000. They will be featured on campus banners later this year.)

Kelly McCantsKelly McCants

Distinguished Faculty Awards in Teaching - Distinguished Teaching Professor Award for Full-time Teaching

McCants served as director of cardiac transplantation and was the primary transplant physician at Jewish Hospital.

He was actively involved in the mentorship and training of clinical fellows and started the very first Advanced Heart Failure Fellowship Program in Kentucky.

McCants is experienced in right heart catheterizations, myocardial biopsies, management of Left Ventricular Assist Devices, and other therapies for advanced heart failure.

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

"These faculty members have a passion for knowledge and discovery, and a commitment to the university to ensure that their work is transferred to the private sector for commercial development and to the public sector for the common good," UofL President James Ramsey said during the award ceremony. "They wish their inventions to be available to the world for the benefit of humankind."

Department of Medicine honorees include:

Paula J. Bates

Paula BatesBates is an associate professor of medicine, with joint appointments in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and as an associate scientist of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

One of her major research interests is a class of anticancer agents known as "G-rich oligonucleotides" or "GROs," which she discovered in collaboration with Drs. John Trent and Donald Miller.

These inhibit the growth of many different types of cancer cells, but have no effect on normal cells, and are also being widely used throughout the world as tumor-targeting ligands.

Bates co-founded (with Drs. Trent and Miller) a Louisville-based biotechnology company named Aptamera to develop GROs, which culminated in one of the GROs (AGRO100, later renamed AS1411 and then ACT-GRO-777) becoming the first in its class to enter human clinical trials.

Bates' current research focuses on mechanistic aspects of GRO activities and — in collaboration with Drs. M. Tariq Malik and Martin O'Toole — she is developing GRO-linked nanoparticles for use in cancer therapy, imaging and drug delivery.

In collaboration with Dr. G. B. Hammond from the Department of Chemistry, Bates is also studying anticancer compounds derived from Amazonian plants and a novel synthetic agent that selectively kills cancer cells.

Jonathan "Brad" Chaires

Chaires is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He holds the James Graham Brown Chair of Cancer Biophysics and is also a senior scientist in the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

His current research interests are in the physical biochemistry of nucleic acids and their interactions, with particular emphasis on the integration of thermodynamics into the rational drug design process. In addition, he has pioneered the use of differential scanning calorimetry as a diagnostic tool.

Chaires is a founder of Louisville Biosciences Inc.

Jason Chesney

Jason ChesneyChesney joined the faculty of the University of Louisville and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in 2002. Since then, he has developed several clinical and translational research programs and assumed multiple administrative roles at the Brown Cancer Center, and is the director of the clinical trials program.

His laboratory recently discovered a drug that inhibits 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase and an optimized derivative of this drug entered phase I clinical trial testing in Spring 2014.

Chesney also has an active immunotherapeutics program that is focused on testing novel approaches to cause durable remissions through induction of tumor immunity in advanced solid malignancies.

His group was the first to demonstrate that Denileukin Diftitox can deplete the T regulatory cells that suppress immunity against cancers, causing objective tumor regressions in cancer patients.

Brian F. Clem

Clem works with a highly collaborative and synergistic group of investigators that include a computational biologist, biophysicist and cancer biologist in order to identify novel approaches to the treatment of cancer.

His lab studies the role of genetic alterations on metabolism during the transformation of normal, healthy cells to cancer cells and identifies novel molecular targets for chemotherapy development.

Previously, he was the lead investigator of the identification of the first small molecule inhibitor of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase, 3PO, as well as a novel inhibitor of choline kinase, CK37. Both compounds have been commercially licensed and a more potent derivative of 3PO is currently undergoing phase I clinical trials in cancer patients.

Although his studies have implications for multiple tumor types, Dr. Clem seeks to identify novel agents with activity against breast and lung cancer, as well as leukemias.

Nichola C. Garbett

Nichola GarbettGarbett is an assistant professor of medicine and assistant director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Biophysical Core Facility.

She was part of a Brown Cancer Center research team, with Drs. Jonathan B. Chaires and A. Bennett Jenson, which made a key discovery that the melting pattern of blood plasma, called a plasma thermogram, can be used as a diagnostic method for early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of disease.

She has continued to develop this technology as part of her independent research program centered on the development of biophysical approaches for medical diagnostics. Her recent PLOS ONE publication received international attention for the potential role of plasma thermograms in cervical cancer diagnosis.

Her current focus is on the development of plasma thermograms for monitoring of recurrence and therapeutic response in melanoma patients, in collaboration with Drs. Jason A. Chesney and Donald M. Miller.

She is a co-inventor on patent applications describing the plasma thermogram technology and a co-founder of a start-up company, Louisville Bioscience, Inc., formed to develop and commercialize plasma thermograms as a new diagnostic technology.

Jon Klein

Klein is the founder of the University of Louisville Core Proteomics Laboratory, one of the first university-based core proteomics laboratories in the United States. The Clinical Proteomics Program is focused solely on clinical biomarker discovery.

His own proteomics research has focused on biomarkers of kidney disease. Most recently the Core Proteomics Laboratory collaborated with investigators at Boston University Medical School to identify the target antigen responsible for idiopathic membranous nephropathy, work that was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In collaboration with others, the Core Proteomics Laboratory has performed proteomics research in the fields of cancer biology, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and sleep apnea.

Klein is a co-founder and president of Pharos Medicine, Inc., a UofL spin-off company, that develops clinical decision tools that incorporate proteomics-discovered biomarkers and computer methods to guide drug dosing.

Kenneth McLeish

McLeish is professor of medicine and director of the research laboratories for the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at UofL. He also serves as chief of the renal section at the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

McLeish's research focuses on the mechanisms of inflammation, most recently the control of granule release from neutrophils.

This research led to the development of peptides that inhibit granule release from human neutrophils and thereby diminish acute inflammation.

Michael Merchant

Michael MerchantMerchant is an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, as well as the co-director of the University of Louisville Core and Clinical Proteomics Laboratories.

Merchant's research focuses on the application of mass spectrometry-based proteomic methods to study human health and disease.

His personal research focuses on the identification and confirmation of biomarkers associated with renal disease, or complications associated with renal disease such anemia or cardiovascular disease.

Merchant is a co-founder and chief technical officer for Biomarker Discovery of Pharos Medicine, Inc., a UofL spin-off company that develops clinical decision tools that incorporate proteomics-discovered biomarkers with computer methods to guide drug dosing.

Donald Miller

Miller is director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center and associate vice president of health affairs.

Since his arrival in Louisville, the Brown Cancer Center has recruited more than 100 new cancer-related faculty and its research funding has grown by more than 200-fold. The Brown Cancer Center has developed a nationally recognized research program in cancer drug development with more than a dozen novel treatments being studied in their labs.

The unique strengths of BCC scientists have led to formation of the Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT), a university/private investor partnership to develop novel therapeutics from the Brown Cancer Center labs.

Miller is a medical oncologist with a specific interest in the treatment of malignant melanoma.

In collaboration with Drs. Paula Bates and John Trent, also at the Brown Cancer Center, his laboratory discovered and developed AS1411, an oligonucleotide aptamer which binds to the protein, nucleolin, and inhibits the growth of a variety of tumor cell types.

Drs. Miller, Bates and Trent founded Aptamera, a successful biotech company to commercialize this discovery. His laboratory is currently studying short DNA sequences which cause cancer cells to "commit suicide."

Madhavi Rane

Madhavi RaneRane is an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The focus of her research is the regulation of signal transduction pathways that control neutrophil activation and apoptosis in various models of inflammation.

As neutrophils are short lived cells that do not differentiate, her laboratory has developed antibody and protein transduction methodologies to over-express or sequester proteins of interest.

Her work identified a new role for heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) as a scaffolding protein for Akt in the promotion of neutrophil survival.

Rane's current work has identified Nuclear Factor Erythroid-derived 2 (NF-E2), a novel Hsp27 binding protein that is also an Akt substrate, as a modulator of neutrophil apoptosis and inflammation.

Sucheta Telang

Telang practices neonatal medicine at Kosair Children's Hospital and conducts research in the Molecular Targets Program at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Her research currently focuses on the examination of a regulatory enzyme, PFKFB4, in the glycolytic metabolism of cancer cells with the goal of validating this enzyme as a target for the development of small molecule inhibitors.

Telang also has developed multiple mouse models of cancer for the examination of PFKFB4 and other enzymes involved in tumor metabolism in vivo.

John Trent

John TrentTrent is a professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology and chemistry. He is leading the drug discovery efforts at the Brown Cancer Center with collaborators and three anticancer candidates have been licensed to Biotech for future development.

He has established a state of the art computational biology facility at the Brown Cancer Center. The Trent Laboratory, in partnership with the Kentucky Dataseam Initiative, is also using Kentucky School District computers in GRID computing for accelerating cancer drug discovery in over 50 K-12 school districts.

Trent is the director of the Brown Cancer Center Molecular Modeling Facility, and the director of the Brown Cancer Center Kosair Charities Pediatric Oncology Research Program.

He co-founded Aptamera along with Don Miller and Paula Bates in 2001 after they discovered AGRO100, the first anticancer DNA aptamer to enter clinical trials. A successful Phase I clinical trial of Aptamera's lead drug, AGRO100 (now designated AS1411) led to the acquisition by Antisoma, which AS1411 performed successfully in two Phase II cancer clinical trials.

Another first in class drug (PFK-158) based on a molecule he discovered, in collaboration with Jason Chesney, and developed by Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, started human cancer Phase I clinical trials in 2014.

Silvia M. Uriarte

Uriarte is an assistant professor of medicine, with an associate appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

In 2005, she joined Dr. Kenneth R. McLeish group as a senior post-doctoral fellow and starting working in the role of neutrophil degranulation in the inflammatory response.

In collaboration with Drs. Kenneth R. McLeish and Madhavi Rane, the design of novel TAT-SNARE proteins that can selectively block neutrophil degranulation without compromising the antibacterial properties of the innate immune cells were developed and recently approved by the United States Patent Trademark Office.

Coram recognized as 'Top Surgeon'

Earned accolade through peer survey of Louisville area physicians.
Coram recognized as 'Top Surgeon'

Rita Coram, M.D., FACC

Nothing beats positive recognition from your peers.

Rita Coram, M.D., FACC, was recently named a "Top Surgeon" by Louisville Magazine in polling conducted by the Greater Louisville Medical Society.

Coram, an assistant professor of medicine in the University of Louisville Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, was noted in the category of "Cardiac Catheterization" in the magazine's August 2014 issue.

"Top Surgeons" were selected through a survey that was mailed in April 2014 to all active physicians who are members of the GLMS. Through a points system based on the responses, a physician had to receive a score that placed him or her in the top one-fifth of the total number of surgeons who received mention in a given category.

"To be chosen by my own peers to care for their loved ones is the ultimate praise," Coram said. "I am honored and I thank them for their trust."

Coram was the only member of the UofL Department of Medicine to receive the "Top Surgeon" recognition.

Pediatrics Faculty and UofL Medical Students Treat Patients in the Rainforest

Pediatrics Faculty and UofL Medical Students Treat Patients in the Rainforest

Group photo on the first day of clinics in Ecuador.

Is it possible to go thirsty in a rainforest?

This summer, a team of medical students working in rural Ecuador learned the answer to this question. For two weeks in June, 17 rising second year medical students and teaching faculty traveled with Timmy Global Health (TGH) to Tena, Ecuador, as part of a service brigade. Students performed clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, triaging patients and shadowing American and Ecuadorean physicians, including University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics faculty members Dr. Claudia Espinosa and Dr. Bethany Hodge. More than 1, 000 patients were seen in eight pop-up clinics in villages in the Amazon basin. Through the work of TGH, the team was able to distribute needed medications and make referrals for higher levels of care at no cost to the patients.

One of the most common diagnoses made was headache due to dehydration. In a lush, green landscape where laundry never dries despite days on the line, getting to clinic often meant negotiating small rivers in pickup trucks and plastic rain boots. There is water everywhere, but it is often contaminated with infectious parasites. Many people work long hours farming by hand in the equatorial sun but they drink only a single cup of water per day. The process to transform the abundant river water into usable liquid means harvesting wood, making a fire and boiling every drop used to cook, drink and wash eating utensils. The tedious burden of purifying water means that most people in the rainforest either go thirsty or suffer with a belly full of worms from drinking contaminated water.

As important as it is to learn the basics of medical knowledge, students also learn important principles of being a culturally competent physician through international experiences such as the summer trip to Ecuador. Students learn that patients should be seen as whole individuals and not focus solely on curing pathologies. Patients’ environments, cultures and beliefs influence the physical manifestations of health and disease, and it is not until providers place all those elements together that they can deliver good care.

In the post-trip reflective essays written by the medical students, almost every person confirmed that they had greater understanding of the fundamental need for access to reliable, clean water for patients to be healthy and roles of the physical environment and culture in patients’ health. These are valuable lessons for these young docs, learned in one of the wettest places on earth.

Ecuador Photo Album

Rabalais sabbatical

Dear Colleagues:

I am planning a six-month sabbatical, scheduled to begin January 2015. This sabbatical will allow me time to focus on medical education.

During the past decade, our department has invested heavily to bring innovative medical education programs to all levels of medical learners.  Our efforts have been recognized—most recently by the 2014 UofL Paul Weber Award for Teaching—but our work is far from done.

Because of the overall increased understanding of how people learn, the study of cognitive neuroscience, and the explosion of medical knowledge required of physicians, virtually every organization in the medical profession is re-evaluating how we educate physicians.

It is critical for us to continue the significant momentum we have created within the Department of Pediatrics. To this end, I spent the past year learning about model medical education programs’ use of technology and new insights in cognitive science. I’ve conferred with educators at Stanford, the University of California at San Francisco, The Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University.

Now, I want to immerse myself deeper. My plan is to spend the first half of 2015 engaged in a focused, intense experience, learning firsthand how these recognized leaders are transforming medical education. This is an opportunity for me to grow as an educator and the department to continue the trajectory of excellence established by Drs.  John Roberts  and Kim Boland and their outstanding team.

In my absence, Dr. Charles Woods will serve as Acting Chair for the department.  A very respected educator and administrator in his own right, Dr. Woods has my complete confidence to take on this role and to perform admirably. He and I will work together closely during the next five months to insure a smooth transition.

The process of transforming a 22-year-old lay person into a fully capable physician is one of my great passions, as well as an important part of my job as chairman of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. I am very thankful to Drs. Ganzel, Dunn and Willihnganz for this great opportunity to focus exclusively on this important work.


Gerard P. Rabalais, MD, MHA
Professor and Chairman
Billy F. Andrews Endowed Chair of Pediatrics

Bhatnagar leads e-cigarette policy group

AHA, others seek more regulation, study of cigarette alternative
Bhatnagar leads e-cigarette policy group

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

A University of Louisville professor chaired a 10-member American Heart Association panel of experts in formulating the association's first-ever policy statement on e-cigarettes.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., the Smith and Lucille Gibson Chair in Medicine and director of the UofL Diabetes and Obesity Center, is lead author of the statement as published in the journal Circulation Aug. 24.

While much is still unknown about the rapidly growing electronic cigarette industry, e-cigarettes are dangerous because they target young people, can keep people hooked on nicotine, and threaten to "re-normalize" tobacco use, according to the policy statement.

The battery-powered e-cigarettes that contain nicotine are tobacco products and should be subject to all laws that apply to these products, according to recommendations in the policy statement. The association also calls for strong new regulations to prevent access, sales and marketing of e-cigarettes to youth, and for more research into the product’s health impact.

"People need to know that e-cigarettes are unregulated and there are many variables that we don’t know about them," Bhatnagar said. "Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation’s youth, and could re-normalize smoking in our society."

Manufacturers present e-cigarettes as "cool and sexy and acceptable, which is a problem because you're increasing addiction," Bhatnagar said. Companies also use terms like "vaping" rather than smoking to gain public acceptance and try to break the connection between e-cigarettes and traditional, "combustible" cigarettes, he added.

In April the Food and Drug Administration proposed rules banning the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 and subjecting the $2 billion industry to federal regulation for the first time. Such rules had been long sought by the AHA and other organizations.

The FDA's proposal fell short of what was hoped for by the AHA and other public health advocates, however, because it did not go far enough in limiting online sales, advertising and flavored products, all tactics used to make e-cigarettes appealing to young people.

Liquid nicotine used by e-cigarettes comes in many flavors like bubble gum, caramel, chocolate, fruit and mint, all attractive to young people, and many brands use colorful, candy-like packaging.

"That's an unfortunate trend, to make them palatable and attractive to children," Bhatnagar said.

Family Medicine Residency 3rd Year take the ALS Ice Bucket CHALLENGE!

Dr. Katie Pohlgeers tries to drown out ALS by taking the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Dr. Katie Pohlgeers, UofL Family Medicine Residency 3rd year, tries to drown out ALS by taking the Ice Bucket Challenge!