New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Underrepresented undergraduate students gain medical research experience in summer program

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

Kayla Massey and Maura Fordham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William Tse, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organizers encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

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

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



February 7, 2019

Metabolite produced by gut microbiota from pomegranates reduces inflammatory bowel disease

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several authors hold a patent application related to this technology.

Jan. 9, 2019

UofL’s Bolli helps raise profile of major medical journal

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

Roberto Bolli, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knock Out Stroke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henry Kaplan, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT):

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

About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

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


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

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

Ben Schoenbachler, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Improving “code blue” hospital team response

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

Lorrel Brown, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


December 15, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Detecting Alzheimer’s disease earlier using … Greebles?

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

Which Greeble is different?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



 April 11, 2017



Answer:  Greeble No. 4 is different.

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Fourth-year medical students matched with residency training programs

Dexter Weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Video of Match Day is available on Youtube.

Going bald, by choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

The students hope to raise at least $10,000 and are currently taking donations for the event on their website,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets to the family-friendly event are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Live music and food and drink specials also will be featured. Auction items and cash donations are still being accepted, Farag said; to donate items, contact Shannon Hallinan at 937-609-4542 or; to donate cash to the mission trip effort, visit the group’s PayPal link at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiki Barber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Tiki Barber

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:

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

University of Louisville researchers sign global licensing agreement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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