Can evaporated drops of bourbon be used to identify counterfeits?

Learn about whiskey webs at Beer with a Scientist, Dec. 5
Can evaporated drops of bourbon be used to identify counterfeits?

Stuart J. Williams, Ph.D.

Every snowflake has a unique crystal shape. Every human possesses unique fingerprints.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Stuart J. Williams, Ph.D., will explain that every brand of bourbon has a unique signature as well. Like fingerprints, these patterns, called whiskey webs, can be used to verify a bourbon’s authenticity.

“We have discovered that if you evaporate a small, diluted drop of bourbon on a surface, it leaves behind a pattern unique to bourbon,” Williams said. “Moreover, each pattern is unique to a specific brand of bourbon. We are using these findings to detect counterfeit bourbons, as well as to investigate fundamental mechanisms of self-assembly and to introduce colloid science to bourbon enthusiasts.”

Williams, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Louisville, researches fluid dynamics with an emphasis on flow visualization, microfluidics and colloid science. Colloids are a combination of tiny particles of one substance that are suspended in a liquid, solid or gas, but do not join with that substance.

Bourbon enthusiasts – and anyone else – can learn more about colloid science and see images of the unique and beautiful whiskey webs at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Ln., Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer or other items is not required but is encouraged. (Bourbon is not available.)

Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. At these events, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.


November 27, 2018

Horses and Hope ambassador uses world cup qualifying events to spread breast cancer awareness

Horses and Hope ambassador uses world cup qualifying events to spread breast cancer awareness

Horses and Hope Pink Stable Member Misdee Wrigley Miller

Kentucky’s Horses and Hope is going international. Champion equestrian and Horses and Hope Pink Stable member Misdee Wrigley Miller will spread the message of breast cancer awareness as she competes next week in two European Equestrian World Cup qualifying events.

In 2008, the office of Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Program to create Horses and Hope. The program’s mission is to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral among Kentucky’s horse industry workers and their families.


The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky operate the Kentucky Cancer Program and staff Horses and Hope programs and events. UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a part of KentuckyOne Health, manages the Kentucky Cancer Program for the western half of the Commonwealth.

On Thursday, July 3, Miller will compete in CAI3* horse driving competitions in Lähden and Riesenbeck, Germany, in the four-in-hand combined driving competition. Both competitions are FEI World Equestrian Game qualifying events. While there, she will spread awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening, early detection and education through the Horses and Hope program—sharing the program’s best practices and encouraging international participation.


Since 2009, she has served as a member of the Pink Stable, a committee of Kentucky horse owners, riders, trainers, farm owners and jockeys that support the Horses and Hope initiative.

“I have been grateful to serve as member of First Lady Jane Beshear's Horses and Hope Pink Stable committee, and even more honored to serve as an ambassador for this important initiative as I compete in Europe,” Miller said. “Women are traditionally care givers, especially so in the horse business; often they take care of their horses before they think of themselves. I have friends and family who have been touched by breast cancer, so I am aware of the importance of early detection. If I accomplish anything here, I want every woman, especially those with high risk, who hear my message to practice self-examination and get screened.”


Miller is a fourth-generation horsewoman and has been involved in the horse business her entire life. She is an accomplished rider and has competed as a United States team member twice in the FEI Pair Horse World Championships, was the 2013 USEF National Champion in Pairs and the 2014 USEF Reserve National Champion in 4-In Hands.


Horses and Hopehas hosted several breast cancer race days at Kentucky racetracks in the past six years, reaching nearly 1 million race track and horse show fans and educating nearly 16,000 equine employees. The program has screened close to 700 workers and detected breast cancer in two individuals, both of whom have received treatment.

The next Horses and Hope Race Day will be at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., on Aug. 2. For more information about Horses and Hope and all upcoming events, please visit

For more information on breast cancer, please contact the Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL at


Instructors trained in Koru Mindfulness at UofL School of Medicine

Meditation program proven to reduce stress among students
Instructors trained in Koru Mindfulness at UofL School of Medicine

Trainees in the Koru Mindfulness instructor workshop at UofL

As young adults leave high school and become more independent, they may experience stress, difficulty sleeping and anxiety related to life choices, academics and new responsibilities. Koru Mindfulness is a meditation method specifically designed to help these emerging adults cope with these stresses.

At the University of Louisville, Koru Mindfulness classes have been available to students, staff and faculty for more than a year through Health Promotion Wellbeing Central and Get Healthy Now. To expand the opportunities for students, as well as staff and faculty, 15 individuals from UofL and more than 30 around the nation received Koru Mindfulness instructor training at the UofL School of Medicine. Over three days, the trainees advanced their understanding of Koru and practiced teaching it to others.

The course was led by Holly Rogers, M.D., founder of the Center for Koru Mindfulness and a psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services at Duke University. Rogers and her colleague, Margaret Maytan, developed Koru Mindfulness to help the students she encountered in the counseling center at Duke. Rogers defines mindfulness as paying attention without judgment to the present experience, and she said it is a very important skill for emerging adults – anyone age 18-29.

“Mindfulness helps them get in touch with what is authentically true and meaningful so they can make these decisions not based on what their peers say, what the media says or what their parents say, but they can figure out what is meaningful to them,” Rogers said. “They are at a time of life where self-knowledge is really useful and mindfulness is most important for self-knowledge. I’ve been teaching Koru for 10 or 11 years. I have so many stories of students who come back and say, ‘This really changed my life.’”

Rogers and a researcher formerly at Duke, Jeffrey Greeson, Ph.D., conducted a randomized trial of 90 university students in 2012 and 2013 to determine Koru’s effectiveness in improving the students’ stress levels, sleep and self-compassion. Students who took the course reported less stress, better sleep, and improved self-compassion compared with those who had not yet attended the classes.

Rogers believes Koru appeals to individuals in this age group thanks to a relatively short program of four weekly classes of just 75 minutes. Although meditation has its origins in Buddhism, Rogers said Koru is a secular approach to mindfulness, and does not include a spiritual component. However, she said many students incorporate the techniques into their own spiritual practice.

The UofL School of Medicine hosted the training program in conjunction with “Being Well,” amultifaceted initiative for members of the UofL School of Medicine community that includes resources and programs to promote health, resiliency and compassion for oneself and others. Trainees included 15 faculty, staff and students from both campuses of UofL, as well as individuals from the University of Kentucky, Berea College and Bellarmine University in Kentucky, and from 13 other states and Canada.

Susan Sawning, M.S.S.W., director of Undergraduate Medical Education Research at the UofL School of Medicine, attended the instructor training after she found mindfulness personally helpful for fostering resilience and decreasing stress.

“Self-care is an essential part of leadership development and is important in each of our various roles. When we are not in tune with our wellbeing, it is very challenging to lead, to teach, to be fully present in our care for others,” Sawning said.

She hopes to teach mindfulness courses for faculty and staff as well as students in the school of medicine to help them cope with the stresses of varied obligations and the demands of medicine.

“A culture change is needed in medicine. We must cultivate an environment that promotes wellness and community. I am grateful to our leadership for making Being Well a top priority for our faculty, staff and students and am pleased to see Koru Mindfulness offered at our school of medicine,” Sawning said.

Students register for Koru classes at

Faculty and staff members register at


October 4, 2016

Urologist Kellen Choi, D.O., delivers specialized expertise at UofL Physicians

Kellen Choi, D.O., has joined UofL Physicians - Urology specializing in pelvic reconstructive surgery, neurourology and voiding dysfunction for both men and women. Choi, who is fellowship trained in reconstructive surgery, also has been named assistant professor, director of female urology, urodynamics and voiding dysfunction in the Department of Urology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Urologist Kellen Choi, D.O., delivers specialized expertise at UofL Physicians

Kellen Choi, D.O.

In addition to general urology, Choi has special interest in pelvic reconstructive surgery, including vaginal repair of prolapse and robotic surgery for female prolapse conditions. She offers treatments for voiding dysfunction using botox injections to the bladder and sacral neuromodulation.

“I practice a multidisciplinary approach in treating various urinary complaints, and use minimally invasive techniques to achieve maximum results,” Choi said. “I work closely with pelvic floor physical therapists for conservative treatment options. When medication and other more conservative therapies do not achieve desired results, we can consider a bladder pacemaker or other more novel approaches.”

For survivors of prostate and other cancers or severe urinary trauma, Choi performs specialized reconstructive procedures including urethroplasty, in which she uses tissue from inside the patient’s cheek to reconstruct the urethra. She also implants artificial urinary sphincters (AUS) for the treatment of urinary incontinence, male bladder slings and penile prosthesis, and provides other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

“Dr. Choi’s expertise is a great asset for patients throughout Kentuckiana,” said Murali Ankem, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the UofL Department of Urology. “She already has gained the attention and respect of the entire department and patients she has served.”

Choi graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Following her urology residency at Charleston Area Medical Center in W.Va., she completed a fellowship in female urology, neurology and pelvic floor reconstruction at Metropolitan Urologic Specialists in Minneapolis.

Choi is a member of the American Urology Association, Society of Urodynamics Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction, and American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.



May 8, 2018

Walk the Line

UofL School of Medicine creates Medical Mile walking path to promote wellness
Walk the Line

Students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors to facilities within the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center now have a marked one-mile path to foster wellness through walking.

The HSC Medical Mile walking path will be dedicated at a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, April 24, at 11:30 A.M. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will join UofL School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D., to open the new path.

The event will be held at the Medical Mile’s starting point, on the sidewalk next to the Health Sciences Center Plaza near Kornhauser Library, 500 S. Preston St.

The Medical Mile follows a 1-mile path from the HSC Plaza north to East Muhammad Ali Boulevard, east to South Hancock Street, south to East Chestnut Street, west to South Floyd Street, north to East Muhammad Ali again, and finishing up by going south on South Preston back to the starting point.

The mile is marked along the way with the Medical Mile graphic image and with one-fourth, one-half and three-quarter mile markers as well.

The creation of the Medical Mile was part of the School of Medicine’s SMART Wellness Task Force and the Being Well Initiative, said Chief of Staff Karan Chavis, and is the product of the work of the committee under the leadership of former co-chair Miranda Sloan and current co-chair Tamara Iacono.

“We know that walking is great physical activity that virtually anyone can do, and with the sidewalks we have surrounding our buildings, we have a ready-made way to create a dedicated walking space for people,” Chavis said. “Through the spring and summer, we are encouraging people to create ‘walking trains,’ picking up people along the way and walking together.”

The path of the HSC Medical Mile is shown on the map below:

Motor Retraining therapy provides hope for functional movement disorders

Patients find answers through unique, specialized program at UofL Physicians
Motor Retraining therapy provides hope for functional movement disorders

Julia Semple in therapy for functional movement disorders

Julia Semple spent 10 years trying to figure out what was wrong.

“It started with my head sort of twitching back and forth, like when you shake your head ‘no.’ It was completely involuntary,” Semple explained. “It progressed to other areas of my body over time. You know when you relax and you have a little twitch? Imagine that except a hundred times bigger and over and over again so you could never fall asleep. It was horrible.”

The symptoms interfered with Semple’s sleep as well as her work as a massage therapist and dancer. Unable to detect a physical cause for the symptoms, numerous physicians and other health providers in her home state of Delaware told her they likely were caused by stress. Finally, in 2016, a neurologist gave her condition a name:  functional movement disorder.

Internet research led Semple to Kathrin LaFaver, M.D. a neurologist at the University of Louisville and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic at UofL Physicians. LaFaver developed the Motor Retraining program (MoRe), one of only a few such programs in existence for the treatment of FMD. MoRe was modeled after a program at Mayo Clinic and combines neurological treatment, psychological counseling, and physical and occupational therapy during a week-long inpatient therapy at Frazier Rehab Institute, a part of KentuckyOne Health. The program aims to improve patients’ motor symptoms, help them regain control over abnormal movements and develop better coping skills.

Functional Movement Disorders (FMD) are common conditions involving abnormal movements – jerking, tremor or issues with gait or speech. The problems are due to miscommunications in the central nervous system. Patients often complain of fatigue and difficulties with concentration and thinking.

“Functional disorders are in the borderland between neurology and psychiatry, and there is a lack of treatment programs for the conditions. Diagnostic tests do not reveal a cause for the FMD, so patients experiencing symptoms often are told by neurologists that ‘nothing is wrong,’ and may be referred to a psychiatrist,” LaFaver said.

FMD can be triggered by psychological or physical stress or trauma, or may have no obvious trigger. Although it is not revealed in traditional imaging or other diagnostics, the condition is potentially reversible through multidisciplinary therapy. Patients from 25 states have undergone week-long inpatient therapy for FMD in the MoRe program at UofL. More than 85 percent of patients undergoing the MoRe program have shown improvement in their symptoms after one week of treatment, and 69 percent report the improvement of symptoms was maintained after six months.

Semple experienced significant improvement during her week of intensive therapy tailored to her individual needs and symptoms.

“After a decade of people telling me ‘take a vacation,’ or ‘there is nothing wrong with you,’ the care at UofL and Frazier was the best ever. Everyone – whatever their part was – they really cared,” Semple said.

“All of my life was wrapped up in trying to manage these symptoms. The treatment literally gave me my life back.”


International FND Awareness Day, April 13, 2018

FNDHOPE.ORG provides information on functional neurological disorders (including FMD), along with links to resources such as the UofL Physicians MoRe program. Patients, providers and family members are invited to support International FND Awareness Day on April 13 by taking the #LetsTalkFND pledge and share information to increase awareness of the conditions.

To recognize International FND Awareness Day in Louisville, Kathrin LaFaver, M.D., neurologist with UofL Physicians, will host a Lunch & Learn on Friday, April 13, to share some of the latest research on functional movement disorders. The free event is open to patients affected by functional movement disorders and their care partners.

To attend the luncheon, held at Frazier Rehab Institute in the Bill Collins Resource Center, 220 Abraham Flexner Way, call 502-852-7654 or email by April 11.



April 9, 2018

Psychiatry residents place 4th in national MindGames competition

Psychiatry residents place 4th in national MindGames competition

Psychiatry resident physicians (from left) Svetlana Famina, Laura Romer and Melissa Sullivan placed fourth in the American Psychiatric Association’s MindGames National Residency Team Competition.

For the first time, resident physicians from the University of Louisville earned a top-10 finish in the American Psychiatric Association’s MindGames National Residency Team Competition.

UofL residents Laura Romer, M.D., Svetlana Famina, M.D., and Melissa Sullivan, M.D., finished fourth out of more than 100 psychiatry programs across the United States that took the hour-long online exam testing knowledge of patient care, medicine and psychiatric history.

The physicians took a no-anxiety, no-expectation approach to the competition, a test similar to the Psychiatry Resident-In-Training Examination (PRITE) that residents take annually, said Romer, a fourth-year resident. They reviewed old PRITE questions, but couldn’t find time in their hectic schedules to prepare as a group.

The strategy worked.

“This is our passion,” Famina said. “All the knowledge we’ve accumulated from daily clinical practice and working with our attending physicians stays with us.”

This was the best finish in the competition of any UofL-sponsored team, said Robert Campbell, M.D., the team's coach and assistant professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the UofL School of Medicine.

“With more than 200 programs in the country, our residents showed themselves to be true scholars in the field of psychiatry,” Campbell said.

Sullivan, a third-year resident, said the team’s finish is a testament to the quality of the residency program.

“We have so many clinical sites that we go to. We see so many different types of patients. We learn from many researchers. UofL has a lot to offer its residents,” Sullivan said.

UofL Center for Women & Infants earns Baby-Friendly Designation

Award recognizes birthing centers for advocacy of breastfeeding for mother/baby health
UofL Center for Women & Infants earns Baby-Friendly Designation

The Center for Women & Infants has been recognized for its advocacy in breastfeeding for mother/baby bonding and health.

Center for Women & Infants CWI logoThe University of Louisville Center for Women & Infants (CWI) at UofL Hospital has been named a Baby-Friendly Designated birthing facility by Baby-Friendly USA. The designation is awarded to birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.

Baby-Friendly USA implements the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in the United States. BFHI is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The UofL Center for Women & Infants is the only Downtown Louisville facility and the fourth facility in Kentucky to earn the designation. Currently there are 405 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birthing centers in the United States and more than 20,000 worldwide.

The designation is awarded to birthing centers that follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, offering breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. The Baby-Friendly designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed and is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps.

“The process to earn Baby-Friendly Designation truly involved a team effort,” Libby Smith, R.N., nursing director of the CWI, said. “The staff, providers and leaders throughout the CWI work together for the common goal. Providers support breastfeeding from the beginning of the patient’s prenatal care through delivery, and then while mom and baby are in the hospital. The pediatric providers support mom and baby throughout their care, also.

“The greatest congratulations are for the nurses and the lactation team who provide the support for the family. There is a lot of education that takes place in the CWI, and a lot of support when mom is tired and just wants to give up; everyone encourages her to keep going. The Baby-Friendly Designation has been awarded because our staff works hard to make mothers and babies their priority.”

“This Baby-Friendly Designation is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work by leadership and staff at CWI. We knew in our hearts we were ‘baby friendly,’ but the designation is a very exciting confirmation for us,” said Therese Spurling, R.N., who is board certified in lactation consulting by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

The CWI is home to Labor & Delivery, High-risk Antepartum Units, Mother/Baby Unit and the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Units. It was created by leaders in the field of maternal-fetal medicine and neonatology and high-risk obstetrics and gynecology to achieve the best results possible for newborns and their mothers. In addition to the highest quality physician-provided obstetrical, newborn and neonatal care for mother and baby, the CWI has implemented innovative services including care provided by Certified Nurse Midwives, family centered Cesarean sections, tub labor and centering pregnancy. The CWI also has been a long-time leader in the field of Kangaroo Care. For information, visit or call 502-562-3094.


UofL appoints social work faculty member to lead Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

UofL appoints social work faculty member to lead Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

Anna Faul, D.Litt., has been named the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging

The associate dean of the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work has been named executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging at UofL.

Anna C. Faul, D.Litt., was named executive director by the UofL Board of Trustees at their meeting on Feb. 5.  Her appointment became effective Feb. 10. She will continue to serve as associate dean of the Kent School.

The Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (ISHOA) was established by the Board in September 2014 to examine the needs of the growing population over age 65. The institute is interdisciplinary, including faculty, staff and students from nearly every school and college comprising the University of Louisville, including arts and sciences, dentistry, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, public health and social work.

“Through this institute, the University of Louisville will grow the knowledge base related to the aging process, not just biologically, but also in terms of function, environment, culture and socio-economic aspects,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs at UofL. “The need for multi-disciplinary approaches to examine issues that our aging population faces is significant because no issue stands on its own; all are inter-related from a health, social science, legal and policy perspective. Dr. Faul has the background and insight to lead this effort.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging and believe it will become a transformative national leader in improving the aging experience,” Faul said.

“Our goal is to change current environments into livable aging communities where the science of aging is understood and where adults who are aging can lead quality lives. As a transdisciplinary scientist I believe that this Institute is poised to create synergy in the currently fragmented system of aging initiatives.”

Faul is a tenured full professor who came to UofL in 2000 as assistant professor of social work. She became associate dean of academic affairs at the Kent School of Social Work in 2003. She also is a Hartford Faculty Scholar of the Gerontological Social Work Initiative, a national effort of the John A. Hartford Foundation to address gaps in social work education and research around the health and well-being of older adults. Faul has held a joint appointment as research associate and distinguished professor in the Department of Social Work of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, since 2012.

Faul has won numerous grants throughout her career from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, Kentucky Department of Aging and Independent Living, Passport Health Care, New York Academy of Medicine, Kentucky Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and other sources. Her research focuses on five areas in the field of aging and management of chronic disease:

  • The high prevalence and disproportionate impact of chronic health conditions on marginalized people in society
  • The lack of health self-management and prevention programs that address cultural and complex community influences on people’s health
  • The need for sophisticated effective health behavior and health care utilization
  • The need for trans-disciplinary researchers and practitioners to help fill the workforce gap for an aging society
  • The need for reforming long-term care and the promotion of “aging in place,” the concept of living out later years in the home with sufficient care provided rather than in a retirement home or health care facility

Faul serves as co-chair of the Educational Outcomes Assessment Track of the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting agency of social work education. She also serves on the CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education. At UofL, she serves on the Delphi Center Advisory Board, Graduate Deans Advisory Council, Provost Budget Task Force and Academic Program Review Committee, among others.

Prior to joining UofL, Faul was on the faculty of the Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa. She also has past experience as a researcher with the Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, and as a social work clinician in private practice. She earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Rand Afrikaans University.

Alumnus comes back to Louisville to discuss organ transplantation

Alumnus comes back to Louisville to discuss organ transplantation

Sander Florman, M.D.

Kentucky to the World, a Louisville-based series of lectures showcasing individuals with strong Kentucky connections who are well-known in their fields, will present a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine who today is director of the Recanti/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Sander S. Florman, M.D., will discuss the ins and outs of organ transplantation as well as highlights of his growing-up years in Louisville and his career at 6:30 p.m., March 12. The event will be held at the Henry Clay Building, 604 S. Third St.

Tickets are $25 per person and include a pre-lecture reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring appetizers by Wiltshire Pantry and a cash bar. Tickets are not available at the door but can be purchased in advance at

Following graduation from St. Francis School, Florman received a bachelor degree from Brandeis University before returning to earn his medical degree at UofL in 1994. His career has taken him to New Orleans where he was director of liver transplantation at Tulane University Hospital. After severe damage from Hurricane Katrina caused the hospital to shut down in 2005, he oversaw rebuilding the transplant program from the ground up. Less than six months after the storm, the hospital and its transplant program reopened, with patient volume returning to pre-hurricane levels a few months later.

He joined Mount Sinai in 2009. Florman is a member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, the American Society of Transplantation and the American College of Surgeons. He has authored nine book chapters and more than 75 publications.

Two from Brown Cancer Center to be honored as Cure Champions

Two from Brown Cancer Center to be honored as Cure Champions

Beth Riley, M.D., oncologist and deputy director for clinical affairs, and Liz Wilson, nurse navigator, at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, will be among 10 Cure Champions honored Sept. 22 by the American Cancer Society at the 2018 Hope Gala.

The society annually selects Cure Champions for their contributions to the Louisville community, 2018 Hope Gala Chair Kevin Wardell said. “Our Cure Champions are truly the stars of the evening. They shine a light on the good works going on the community.”

“The Hope Gala not only raises funds for the American Cancer Society’s vital mission; it also elevates the community as a whole,” Jan Walther, American Cancer Society executive director, said. “The Cure Champions remind us all how we can do our part to be activists in the cause.”

The event will be held from 6 to 11:30 p.m. in the Omni Hotel Commonwealth Ballroom, 400 S. Second St. Festivities begin with a VIP Rooftop Cocktail Hour, a celebration of the Cure Champion honorees, a live auction and a live performance from Louisville’s own Linkin’ Bridge.

Tickets are $150 per person, $1,500 for a table of 10 or $2,500 for a table of 10 and recognition as a Bronze Sponsor. To purchase and for more information, go to the 2018 Hope Gala website.

Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Program helps Kentuckians take control of health and manage disease

Microclinic Facilitators

A new initiative seeks to empower individuals to take control of their own health and positively influence the health of others.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging  at the University of Louisville has launched a health education effort in Kentucky called the Microclinic Program, created by Microclinic International.

The microclinics are designed to empower individuals to lead healthier lives and manage chronic disease. Participants learn how to decipher nutrition labels, cook healthy meals, take part in group fitness activities and reach health goals.    

The institute recently held a facilitator training for community and health care industry workers. They will lead small group microclinics with patients, friends and family at community centers, workplaces, churches, senior seniors, hospitals, health clinics, extension offices and schools. 

The facilitators are members of the Kentucky Coalition for Healthy Communities, a community coalition supported by the institute’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant and other community organizations. The first cohort of trainees includes representatives of UofL, Aetna, Area Agencies on Aging, Care Source and Anthem, along with Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Trimble, and Franklin counties in Kentucky.

The institute plans to offer additional trainings for individuals in counties surrounding Jefferson County and those near the Barren River area.

To schedule a microclinic or facilitator class, and to learn more about the program, contact Mona Huff at 503-845-6849 or . Learn more about the Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at


Two UofL medical students receive Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships for research in sub-Saharan Africa

UofL is first medical school with two awardees in the same year
Two UofL medical students receive Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships for research in sub-Saharan Africa

Mackenzie Flynn and Jessica Eaton

Jessica Eaton and Mackenzie Flynn, students in the University of Louisville School of Medicine, will delay their fourth year of medical school to spend nine months conducting medical research in Malawi and Kenya. Thanks to Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships in Public Health for 2016-2017, Eaton plans to research the causes and assess the outcomes of brain and spinal cord injuries in Lilongwe, Malawi, and Flynn will work with pregnant HIV-positive women in Nairobi, Kenya to determine whether text messaging can increase compliance with treatments to prevent HIV transmission to their infants.

Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships are offered for students enrolled in medical school or a graduate program in public health through a partnership between the U.S. government’s Fulbright international study program and the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. This is the first time two students in the same medical school have received Fulbright-Fogarty fellowships in a single year.

Eaton and Flynn have cultivated their interest in global health through participation in the Distinction in Global Health track (DIGH) at UofL, a supplemental curriculum for students in the school of medicine that introduces students to aspects of global health through clinical, social, political and epidemiological study.

“The Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship is a great opportunity to participate in real-world experience in global health research,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., director of the DIGH track and the UofL School of Medicine’s Global Education Office. “These experiences will take their academic skills to a higher level and prepare them for careers in global health.”

As part of her research, Eaton will conduct a retrospective review of trauma records to determine the causes of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries (TBI/SCI) as well as their treatment outcomes. In addition, she will conduct research to identify the best predictors of surgical outcomes in TBI/SCI patients using the patient’s signs and symptoms to determine a surgical plan since the hospital lacks advanced imaging facilities such as CT or MRI. Eaton will conduct her research at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe, Malawi under the guidance of Anthony Charles, M.D., M.P.H., and other faculty with the UNC Malawi Surgical Initiative. She will use the surgical initiative’s trauma and surgical registry, one of the largest such registries in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As a medical student planning to pursue neurosurgery and dreaming of practicing overseas in the places where I am most needed, I couldn't have crafted a better learning opportunity for myself,” Eaton said.

As an undergraduate at UofL, Eaton was one of the inaugural James Graham Brown Fellows. That fellowship provided her with opportunities to travel, which sparked her interest in global health. She plans to enter neurosurgery and incorporate global health into her practice. [Hear Jessica Eaton's interview on UofL Today with Mark Hebert]

Flynn’s research will focus on preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) helps increase lifespan and delay progression to AIDS in patients with HIV and is considered key to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Flynn’s project will investigate whether text messages sent to pregnant HIV-positive women will increase ART adherence and prenatal health care visits. She will conduct her research under primary investigator Alison Drake, Ph.D., M.P.H., in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi and the Kenya Research Program at the University of Washington.

“This is an excellent opportunity to really understand how medical research can differ from benchwork,” Flynn said. “Epidemiology, clinical trials conducted in an international setting, IRB approval and ethical considerations are all things I want to incorporate into my career in academia and in global health.”

This year’s fellowship will be the second Fulbright experience for Flynn. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at UofL in 2012, Flynn received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Sivas, Turkey, where she taught university-level English-speaking courses to college freshmen at Cumhuriet University. Flynn’s work in Kenya will build on experience she had during a medical service trip to Tanzania where she worked in an area with a high prevalence of HIV infections. She hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine and work in international health and research as an ob/gyn. [Hear Mackenzie Flynn's interview on UofL Today with Mark Hebert]

Hodge said the experience and research training Eaton and Flynn will receive will benefit not only their academic careers, but the other students in the DIGH track once they return to UofL to complete their M.D. program in August of 2017.

“We talk about global health as an academic discipline and think critically about the gaps in knowledge in this field. We spend a lot of time looking at the literature and thinking about the roles of physicians as researchers, policy-makers and social advocates in global health, in addition to being clinicians,” Hodge said. “I look forward to these students returning after their fellowships because their boots-on-the-ground experience will enrich the discussions we have as a group. Hopefully they will inspire other students to pursue academic work in global health.”


About the Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship in Public Health

The Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, has partnered with Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health to offer Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships in Public Health. These fellowships grant medical students and graduate students interested in global health the opportunity to conduct research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. Fellows spend nine months in one of nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia or South America. The Fulbright-Fogarty program began in 2011.

Bertolone receives Marc Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for patient care in pediatric oncology & hematology

Bertolone receives Marc Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for patient care in pediatric oncology & hematology

Salvatore J. Bertolone, Jr., M.D.

Salvatore J. Bertolone, Jr., M.D., professor and previous chief of pediatric oncology and hematology at the University of Louisville, will receive the third annual Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award for physicians on Oct. 30. The award recognizes Louisville-area physicians in hematology & oncology and is presented in memory of Marc A. Lehmann, a Louisville native and UofL student who succumbed to acute myeloid leukemia in 2012.

The Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award Foundation endeavors to seek out and identify physicians and support staff in the field of blood cancers and hematology to honor long-standing service to patients and their families that encompasses exceptional proficiency, empathy and understanding. Each year the foundation presents an award to one physician and to three support staff members from the Greater Louisville area.

“I am humbled  by this award – humbled because all I have tried to do is simply what every physician has pledged to do in the Hippocratic Oath:  Remember that there is art to medicine as well as science and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drugs,” Bertolone said.

Marc Lehmann was stricken with acute myeloid leukemia at age 18, while a student at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Marc endured an eight-year battle with AML, graft vs. host disease and numerous immunosuppressed blood‐borne infections. Following his death in 2012, his family and friends created the Marc A. Lehmann Spirit of Service Award Foundation to honor his memory and the many compassionate health-care workers Marc encountered during his journey.

George J. Lehmann, III, Marc’s father and president and director of the foundation, said previous award recipients nominated Bertolone for the 2015 award. Committee members and directors then conferred with associates, fellow physicians and affected patients concerning Bertolone’s history of patient care.

“Dr. Bertolone was found, by both the nominating committee and by the Foundation directors, to be a more than suitable nominee,” Lehmann said. “The more telling quality that this process reveals lies in the nearly countless stories and accolades provided by affected members of our community, both lay and physician, who enthusiastically endorse Dr. Bertolone's qualifications.”

Along with one physician, awards are presented each year to one support staff member from each Baptist Health System, KentuckyOne Health and Norton Healthcare. The 2015 support staff recipients are Katherine Mitchell, A.P.R.N., A.O.C.N.P. (Baptist), Melissa Pritchett, B.S.N./O.C.N. (KentuckyOne) and Rebecca Champion, Pharm.D., B.C.O.P. (Norton). The 2015 awards will be presented at a dinner on Friday, Oct. 30 at Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant.


October 29, 2015

UofL cancer program goes blue to help save lives

Texas Roadhouse will host ‘Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness,’ March 11

Once a year, the University of Louisville replaces its red with blue to drive home the need for colon cancer screening.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL will team up with Texas Roadhouse, 6460 Dutchmans Parkway, and former Louisville First Lady Madeline Abramson for “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness,” 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday, March 11, as part of the observance of March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Attendees are invited to wear blue and visit the new Horses and Hope Screening Van, managed by KentuckyOne Health, that will be on site to provide colon cancer information and colon cancer “FIT” kits for patrons to self-screen in the privacy of their own homes. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit tests for hidden blood in the stool which can be an early sign of cancer. FIT kits only detect human blood from the lower intestine. Medicines and food do not interfere with the test, so it tends to be more accurate and have fewer false positive results than other tests.

Giveaways will be provided to attendees who wear blue and visit the screening van. Anyone bringing a “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness” flyer during the event will get a free appetizer with purchase of a meal at Texas Roadhouse. To obtain a flyer, visit the Kentucky Cancer Program website at or Facebook page.

The Kentucky Cancer Program also is sponsoring a Facebook photo contest with the theme, “How Will YOU Do Blue?” Participants can post their dress-in-blue photos for the chance to win $250. For information, visit the contest website. Photos must be received by March 28 and the winner will be announced April 5.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 136,830 people will be diagnosed and 50,310 will die from this disease.

With regular screening, however, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. If cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life.

For more details, contact the Kentucky Cancer Program at 502-852-6318.

Posted March 3, 2016

More evidence found on potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes

UofL researcher will present findings at AAAS meeting Friday
More evidence found on potential harmful effects of e-cigarettes

Daniel J. Conklin, Ph.D.

While e-cigarette use is increasing worldwide, little is known about the health effects e-cigarettes pose for users. A University of Louisville researcher is working to change that status.

Daniel J. Conklin, Ph.D., professor of medicine in UofL’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will discuss his early research identifying potentially harmful effects of e-cigarettes at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting.

Conklin will be among a three-member panel discussing “New and Emerging Tobacco Products: Biomarkers of Exposure and Injury,” Friday, Feb. 12, from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Marshall Ballroom East of the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. Northwest, Washington.

Conklin will share new data showing that e-cigarettes have been shown to speed up atherosclerosis – the plaque-causing disease that leads to heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries of the heart, it is known as coronary artery disease, a condition that affects more than 15 million Americans and causes 500,000 deaths annually.

“Currently, we do not know whether e-cigarettes are harmful,” Conklin said. “They do not generate smoke as do conventional cigarettes but they do generate an aerosol – the vapor – that alters indoor air quality and contains toxic aldehydes. We investigated the direct effects of these toxins on cardiovascular disease in the laboratory.”

Conklin and his team exposed one set of mice to varying levels of e-cigarette aerosol, tobacco smoke, smokeless tobacco or to an aldehyde produced by tobacco, acrolein, which is thought to pose 80-85 percent of the non-cancer health risk of tobacco smoke. Another set of mice was exposed to nicotine alone to understand whether nicotine by itself had any effect.

Not surprisingly and consistent with previous studies, exposure to tobacco smoke increased the amount of atherosclerosis in mice. At the same time, the research team found that either e-cigarette aerosol or smokeless tobacco exposure alone also increased atherosclerosis.

Conklin was particularly intrigued by the results seen with exposure to acrolein or nicotine alone. “Somewhat surprising was the finding that either nicotine alone or acrolein alone at levels equivalent to those present in smokeless tobacco or mainstream smoke also increased atherosclerosis in mice.

“These findings indicate that multiple tobacco-derived constituents have cardiovascular disease-causing potential."

UofL School of Medicine professor to deliver talk as ACC Distinguished Lecturer

UofL School of Medicine professor to deliver talk as ACC Distinguished Lecturer

Maureen McCall, Ph.D.

As the Louisville Cardinals and the Florida State Seminoles prepare to face off on the football field Saturday, the two universities will come together in a different type of exchange in the lecture hall.

As part of the ACC Distinguished Lecture Series, University of Louisville School of Medicine Professor Maureen A. McCall, Ph.D., will give a public lecture at the FSU College of Medicine on the impact of eye disease, the search for therapies and the challenges in curing blindness.

The lecture will take place Friday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Durell Peaden Auditorium & Atrium, 1115 W. Call St. in Tallahassee, Fla. The FSU graduate program in neuroscience is hosting the event. A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

McCall holds joint appointments as professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology and Psychological and Brain Sciences. She came to UofL in 1997.

In August, McCall was named chair of the 20-member Neurotransporters, Receptors and Calcium Signaling Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. The panel reviews research grant applications, helping determine which are worthy of NIH support. She is the only Kentuckian on the panel, which has representatives from universities in 14 states

The author of approximately 60 journal articles, McCall uses electrophysiological techniques in her research to evaluate normal retinal function, dysfunction caused by blinding retinal diseases, and the restoration of function using a variety of therapeutic strategies. Particular areas of emphasis are in the study of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and congenital stationary night blindness.

Each year, outstanding faculty members from ACC schools are chosen to be ACC Distinguished Lecturers. These scholars are invited to make special presentations by other ACC universities.

Honored as current ACC Distinguished Lecturers are Anthony Atala, Wake Forest University; Gregory Boebinger, Florida State University; Rory Cooper, University of Pittsburgh; Stefan Duma, Virginia Tech;  Rob Dunn, North Carolina State; Robin Fleming, Boston College; Peter Holland, Notre Dame; Eric Johnson, Clemson University; Neil Johnson, University of Miami, and McCall.

Each has been identified as an excellent speaker with a strong capacity for catalyzing creative thinking and collaboration. In addition to an award stipend, the ACC Academic Consortium provides financial support to enable each of our 15 universities to sponsor a “distinguished lecture event” involving one of the lecturers on their campuses.  Lectures are to be scheduled during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years.  More information can be obtained from

Alzheimer’s disease focus of UofL lecture Oct. 14

Alzheimer’s disease focus of UofL lecture Oct. 14

Benjamin Mast, Ph.D.

The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging at the University of Louisville continues its Optimal Aging Lecture Series with “Understanding the Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Person-Centered Perspectives on Dementia Care,” Wednesday, Oct. 14. The lecture will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club, 200 E. Brandeis Ave.

Benjamin Mast, Ph.D., associate professor in the UofL Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, will debunk stereotypical thinking about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and discuss ways in which “person-centered care” can help improve the quality of life of people with these conditions.

Person-centered care aims to see the person with dementia as an individual, rather than focusing on the illness or abilities lost due to disease. This lecture explores the principles of person-centered assessment and care and how these apply to the individual and their unique experiences of living with dementia.

Admission is $17 per person and includes lunch. Reservations are required online. For information, call 502-852-8953 or email

Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provides support for the effort
Kentucky offers specialty license plate supporting Alzheimer’s Association

End Alzheimer's license plate

License plates supporting the Alzheimer’s Association are available for purchase in Kentucky, making the Bluegrass the first in the United States to offer a specialty plate for Alzheimer’s.

In 2016, the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging provided underwriting for the final applicants to help move the plates into production and raise awareness of the disease that affects nearly 70,000 Kentuckians.

“Our institute is honored to support the Alzheimer’s Association and all Kentuckians who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. This license is a powerful symbol of our enduring love for those affected by Alzheimer’s, our unwavering support for their family members, and our commitment to working with our communities and the Alzheimer’s Association to end Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Anna Faul, Ph.D., executive director of the institute. 

“The Alzheimer’s specialty plate has been a dream of ours for years,” said DeeAnna Esslinger, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter. “Not only will the plates be a very visible reminder of those suffering with Alzheimer’s, but their sale will also help raise funds for local education initiatives.”

The license plate features a forget-me-not flower on a purple background with the words: ‘Honor. Remember. Care. End Alzheimer’s.’ Drivers may purchase the plate when renewing their tags at any county clerk office. Specialty plate purchasers also can give an additional $10 donation to help fund Alzheimer’s awareness and education activities in Kentucky.

For information visit:

About the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter:

The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides service and education to 125 counties across greater Kentucky and southern Indiana. Over 5 million Americans are living with the disease and more than 90,000 of them reside in our service territory. Services provided include education programs for persons with dementia, caregivers, professionals and the general community as well as support groups and a 24/7 Helpline. Further, the Chapter advocates at the state and national level of government for research and support services on behalf of the people of Kentucky who suffer from Alzheimer's disease.


UofL researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

MyD88 protein controls fusion of myoblasts during muscle formation, may enhance therapies for cancer, muscular dystrophy

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., professor and distinguished university scholar in UofL’s Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, led a team of researchers who have described the protein’s critical role in the growth and repair of skeletal muscles, both in post-natal development and in the regeneration of injured adult muscles.

UofL post-doctoral fellows Sajedah M. Hindi, Ph.D., and Yann S. Gallot, Ph.D., along with Jonghyun Shin, Ph.D., formerly of UofL and now with Yonsei University in South Korea, conducted the research in Kumar’s lab. It is published today in Nature Communications.

In the formation of muscle, specialized progenitor or stem cells multiply. They then differentiate into preliminary muscle cells called myoblasts. The myoblasts fuse together and subsequently form muscle fiber. Using animal models, the UofL researchers worked with both neonatal cells and adult cells to determine that MyD88, a key signaling protein in the human body, is required in sufficient quantity for myoblasts to fuse.

Hindi believes that MyD88 eventually may be used to improve the effectiveness of therapies using donor cells for the treatment of degenerative muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophies.

“Since MyD88 promotes only the fusion of myoblasts without affecting their proliferation or differentiation, enhancing the levels of MyD88 levels could be a means to enhance engraftment of exogenous myoblasts in cellular therapies,” Hindi said.

Kumar adds that increasing the expression of MyD88 could be used in the treatment of rhabdomyosarcomas, cancerous tumors that develop in skeletal muscles and often affect children.

“We are investigating whether augmenting the levels of MyD88 inhibits growth of rhabdomyosarcoma in animal models,” Kumar said. “Finally, we are investigating whether the loss of MyD88 is responsible for the diminished muscle regeneration capacity in the elderly.”

Research in Kumar’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular and signaling mechanisms that regulate the acquisition and maintenance of skeletal muscle mass. For the past eight years, they have been investigating the proximal signaling mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle atrophy, regeneration and muscle hypertrophy, in addition to the signaling mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of satellite cells in myogenic lineage.

In 2015, research from Kumar and Hindi published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation described the role of TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) in maintaining satellite cells and their ability to regenerate injured muscles. Just ten days later, research from the lab published in Nature Communicationsrevealed how the protein transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is vital in the self-renewal of satellite stem cells.

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of Health grants AR068313, AR059810, and AG029623 to Ashok Kumar and AR069985 to Sajedah M. Hindi.

Kumar, Hindi, Gallot and Shin



November 20, 2017