News

New study offers hope for Huntington’s Disease patients

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

Kathrin LaFaver, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trial participants should be individuals who:

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

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

For information on participating in SIGNAL, contact Annette Robinson, RN, BSN, CCRC at 502-540-3585, annette.robinson@louisville.edu.

Individuals also may contact the Huntington Study Group at 1-800-487-7671, email info@hsglimited.org or http://www.huntington-study-group.org.

September 21, 2015

UofL's Michael Lovelace selected for national family medicine leadership program

UofL's Michael Lovelace selected for national family medicine leadership program

Michael Lovelace

Michael Lovelace, a third-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has been selected as a member of the inaugural class of the Family Medicine Leads (FML) Emerging Leader Institute, sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation. The FML Emerging Leader Institute was created to identify family medicine residents and medical students who display leadership potential and to provide those individuals with training to help equip them for leadership roles in medicine. From 115 applicants, 15 medical students and 15 family medicine residents (30 total participants) were selected for participation in the year-long leadership development program.

“Michael's achievement in being named to the inaugural class of the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute is an outstanding tribute to Michael and to the University of Louisville's commitment to primary care at the national level,” said Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the UofL Family and Geriatric Medicine department.

After obtaining his degree in finance and MBA, Lovelace spent 10 years in business, serving as a project manager and operations manager. Since enrolling in medical school at UofL, Lovelace led the student-run Family Medicine Interest Group and is a student member of the Admissions Committee.

“The FML Emerging Leader Institute intrigued me because it of the opportunity to gain leadership experience in a health-care setting that will complement my business background,” Lovelace said.

Lovelace will work with a mentor to complete an individual project over the next year designed to build his leadership skills. Projects are assigned in one of three tracks:  policy and public health leadership, personal and practice leadership, and philanthropy and mission-driven leadership. Lovelace plans to complete a project in personal and practice leadership based on an idea he proposed to assist medical students, residents and young physicians with personal financial planning.

“Michael is the rare visionary who is at home working on the front lines. He presents and supports family medicine with facts, dedication, humor and a knowledgeable realization of its rightful place in the health-care system,” said Stephen F. Wheeler, M.D., senior faculty member in the UofL Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine.

Selection to the FML Emerging Leader Institute comes with a $1,000 scholarship for attendance at the 2015 AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students in August and the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kan. Each of the 30 projects completed by the FML Emerging Leader Institute Scholars will be evaluated by a special AAFP Foundation committee. Creators of the top two student and top two resident projects in each of the three tracks will earn additional $1,000 scholarships and will present their projects at the 2016 AAFP National Conference. The top project in each track will earn a $3,000 scholarship to participate in a designated major event related to their track.

About the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation

The AAFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance the values of family medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people.

Medical students rank UofL high for career support

The University of Louisville School of Medicine recently was ranked third in the nation for career support for its students. The poll, produced by graduateprograms.com, defines career support as the quality of career planning, resources and support received during and after graduate studies.

“This is a very meaningful ranking for us because it says that our students believe we are preparing them for their futures,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “This is a reflection of the quality work of our Student Affairs leadership and staff and all our faculty as we prepare the next generation of physicians.”

UofL is ranked ahead of schools such as Vanderbilt, Duke, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania. Ohio State topped the rankings, followed by the University of Southern California.

Graduateprograms.com assigns 15 ranking categories to each graduate program at each graduate school. Rankings cover a variety of student topics, such as academic competitiveness, career support, financial aid, and quality of network. For a given graduate program, rankings are determined by calculating the average score for each program based on the 15 ranking categories. These scores are then compared across all ranked schools for that program and are translated into a final ranking for that graduate program, i.e., business and management. A given graduate program is not ranked until a minimum threshold of graduate student surveys is completed for that graduate program.

UofL also ranked in the top 25 of the graduateprograms.com rankings for Financial Aid.

 

UofL experts on aging to guide Kentucky Alzheimer’s efforts

Anna C. Faul, D.Litt., and Betty Shiels, Ph.D.-C, M.S.S.W., L.C.S.W., of the University of Louisville have been appointed to the state’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council by Gov. Steve Beshear.
UofL experts on aging to guide Kentucky Alzheimer’s efforts

Anna C. Faul, D. Litt.

Faul and Shiels will serve terms on the council expiring in May 2019. The council’s 15 representatives help the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living identify ways to help Kentuckians with memory loss and their families. Council members include representatives from state government, local health departments and Alzheimer’s associations, as well as consumers, health-care providers and medical researchers.

Faul is the executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (ISHOA) at the University of Louisville and the associate dean for academic affairs at UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. 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.

“Only one-third of people with Alzheimer’s are properly diagnosed and that has a lot to do with awareness,” Faul said. “There needs to be a better way of delivering the diagnosis in a supportive environment. Once we have the diagnosis, the key is to create Alzheimer’s-friendly communities where these individuals and their families are supported and included.”

Shiels is the director of the Kentucky Person-Centered Care Program for Long-Term Care and the director of the Kentucky Emergency Preparedness for Aging and Long-Term Care Program, both administered through UofL’s Kent School of Social Work. She is the institutional director of the UofL Geriatric Education Center and manages the interprofessional training program in Alzheimer’s in collaboration with the UofL Department for Family and Geriatric Medicine, UofL School of Nursing, UofL’s Kent School of Social Work and Spalding University.

“My work focuses on improving quality of care and quality of life for those living in Kentucky's nursing homes, of which 60 to 70 percent have Alzheimer's or related dementia,” Shiels said. “It is impossible to separate nursing home care and Alzheimer's disease.”

As members of the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council, Faul said she and Shiels can work synergistically to promote the understanding, management and prevention of the disease.

UofL part of first successful study of virus attack on cancer

University of Louisville researcher Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and a team of international scientists found that stage IIIb to IV melanoma patients treated with a modified cold sore (herpes) virus had improved survival. The results of the findings were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
UofL part of first successful study of virus attack on cancer

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

May 28, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It’s a new weapon in the arsenal of cancer fighting treatments: utilizing genetically modified viruses to invade cancer cells and destroy them from the inside.

University of Louisville researcher Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC), and a team of international scientists found that stage IIIb to IV melanoma patients treated with a modified cold sore (herpes) virus had improved survival. The results of the findings were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

UofL was one of the major sites for the phase III clinical trial involving 436 patients who received the viral immunotherapy, Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC). Scientists genetically engineered the herpes simplex I virus to be non-pathogenic, cancer-killing and immune-stimulating. The modified herpes virus does not harm healthy cells, but replicates when injected into lesions or tumors, and then stimulates the body’s immune system to fight the cancer.

“The results from this study are amazing,” Chesney said. “Patients given T-VEC at an early stage survived about 20 months longer than patients given a different type of treatment. For some, the therapy has lengthened their survival by years. ”

Shari Wells from Ashland, Kentucky is one of those patients. She entered the trial in 2010 with stage IV, or metastatic, melanoma. Before entering the T-VEC trial, she had been through numerous procedures and major surgeries. According to Wells, nothing worked and she was facing a death sentence.

“When you hear that you may only have three to six months to live, it is very scary,” Wells said. “I would not be alive today if I had not been accepted into the T-VEC trial. Dr. Chesney and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center saved my life.”

Wells drove to Louisville every two weeks for about two and a half years to receive injections in each of the more than 60 lesions on her leg. The lesions eventually began to fade and finally disappeared. She has been in remission for almost eight years.

“I want everyone to know they should never give up hope. With research there will always be something new tomorrow that wasn’t here today,” she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are considering findings from the trial to make the treatments available to more patients with advanced melanoma.

More Research

The Journal of Clinical Oncology report comes on the heels of Chesney’s findings from another study published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article describes an immunotherapy for melanoma utilizing the checkpoint inhibitors, ipilimumab and nivolumab. In cell biology, their role is to reduce the effectiveness of two immune checkpoint proteins responsible for telling the immune system to turn off and not kill the cancer cells.

The study found that injection of the two inhibitors shrunk tumors in the majority of patients with advanced melanoma. The JGBCC was one of the top centers worldwide to enroll patients and find that ipilimumab combined with nivolumab resulted in the highest anti-cancer efficacy ever observed after treatment with a cancer immunotherapy.

Chesney and his team, working with the pharmaceutical company Amgen, are taking the success of their trials a step further – combining T-VEC with the immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab into a treatment regimen. The clinical trial is underway at the JGBCC and other sites in hopes of accelerating cancer immunity and curing patients.

“We finally understand how to activate the human immune system to clear cancer cells, having developed new classes of immunotherapies that dramatically improve the survival of cancer patients,” Chesney said. “I believe T-VEC combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors will not only reduce cancer-related mortality in melanoma but in all cancer types, and we are moving quickly to develop these methods.”

Learn more about all melanoma and sarcoma related clinical trials at : http://browncancercenter.louisville.edu/pcare-and-clintrials/mel-sarc/melanoma-and-sarcoma or by contacting the Clinical Trials Office, CTOInfo@louisville.edu, 502-562-3429.

DentaQuest selects UofL’s David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., as Health Equity Hero for innovations in care delivery

Dunn one of only seven people nationwide recognized for their work on oral health
DentaQuest selects UofL’s David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., as Health Equity Hero for innovations in care delivery

David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – DentaQuest has selected David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs (EVPHA), University of Louisville, as one of its 2015 Health Equity Heroes, recognizing his distinguished work in making oral health care accessible to underserved populations. The inaugural Oral Health Equity Hero Awards were given to only seven people nationwide, each hero making significant contributions toward removing barriers to oral health.

“Dunn is a health leader who is committed to providing critical care in the Louisville community and beyond,” said Steve Pollock, CEO of DentaQuest. “He is connecting historically underserved populations with this care by employing the skills and traits that continue to mark his career - innovation: strategic outreach and compassion for the people he serves every day. The people of Kentucky are lucky to have him as a health advocate and ally.”

Tooth decay affects 20 percent of Kentucky’s preschoolers, 50 percent of second-graders, and nearly 75 percent of 15 year olds-- statistics that Pollock cites as being part of a national oral health crisis. More than 83 million people in the United States are facing barriers to dental care, barriers related to such factors as race, age, income level, language, health literacy, and geographic isolation.

A highly-recognized and respected transplant surgeon, Dunn has served as UofL’s EVPHA since 2011. He is an advocate for the importance of coupling dental coverage with medical coverage to promote enhanced overall health, noting that this “one-stop-shopping” approach helps eliminate barriers and connects more people with consistent preventive care. Under his leadership, UofL has made it a priority to establish medical-dental homes for children, ensuring access to health care is convenient and collaborative. Additionally, UofL medical and dental staff have partnered with the area’s public schools to advance health information and education programs.

“The University has a very robust community engagement initiative, particularly in Louisville’s West End, where there is unique opportunity to reach some of the most vulnerable populations in the state,” Dunn said. “Oral health is critical to overall health and our outreach programs emphasize that connection.”

 

UofL researchers detail role of silica and lung cancer

UofL researchers detail role of silica and lung cancer

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D.

Researchers at the University of Louisville have detailed a critical connection associated with a major environmental cause of silicosis and a form of lung cancer. Their study is reported in today’s Nature Communications.

Haribabu Bodduluri, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and a researcher in the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, and his team made the crucial connection between exposure to inhaled silica and rapid progression of lung cancers. This study also outlines the critical role of the inflammatory mediator LTB4 and its receptor BLT1 in promoting silica mediated lung tumor growth.

“We believe this is a significant step in our understanding of how environmental exposure alters the way lung cancer progresses,” Bodduluri said. “It is our hope that this new information will allow for the more rapid development of treatments for this currently incurable disease.”

Exposure to crystalline silica (CS) is common to a variety of industrial operations including mining, quarrying, sandblasting, rock drilling, road construction, pottery making, stone masonry, and tunneling operations. Chronic silica exposure causes severe health complications eventually leading to the irreversible, debilitating disease silicosis.

Approximately 2 million U.S. workers potentially are exposed to breathable crystalline silica. Silicosis in the developing part of the world is of an even higher concern as it is spreading like an epidemic with more than 10 million people affected around the world as a result of rapid industrialization, massive expansion of construction industry and possibly less regulated working environments.

“Silicosis continues to be a growing worldwide health issue. Being from Kentucky, where overall lung cancer is a major health issue, it is exciting that we may be able to develop treatments that impact people in our backyards, in addition to around the world,” Bodduluri said.

Silicosis keeps progressing post-exposure because people are unable to cough up the tiny particles, and macrophages that ingest silica particles end up dying, resulting in persistent sterile inflammation and may eventually lead to lung cancer. Though CS has been designated as a human carcinogen it also has been difficult to discern silicosis associated lung cancer because of a number of confounding factors including the fact that cigarette smoking is a common factor with workers likely to be exposed to silica.

Bodduluri and his colleagues report that in mice that develop spontaneous lung tumors, CS exposure accelerates lung tumor progression. Moreover, this result also was replicated in an implantable lung cancer model.

Their results highlight the importance of silica induced leukotriene B4 mediated inflammation in lung tumor promotion. Leukotrienes are involved in regulating inflammation, especially in the lungs. Mice deficient in leukotriene B4 receptor BLT1 are significantly protected from silica induced tumor promotion, suggesting the possibility for novel treatment strategies for both silicosis and associated lung cancers.

Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center said, “This work reflects the strong commitment of the Brown Cancer Center to better understand the important role of environmental factors in causing lung cancer.  Dr. Bodduluri and his team are world leaders in this field and this work may lead to novel therapies for lung cancer.”

Health equity program sets stage for integration of LGBT competency in UofL medical school curriculum

LGBT Health and Wellness Competency certificates presented to 102 students, faculty and staff
Health equity program sets stage for integration of LGBT competency in UofL medical school curriculum

Recipients of 2015 LGBT Health and Wellness Competency certificates

Last year, the first year it was offered, the University of Louisville LGBT Center awarded 26 certificates in LGBT Health and Wellness Competency. This year, that number nearly quadrupled to 102 certificates awarded April 13 to students, faculty and staff members at the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. The year-long program educates health-care workers about treating individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“It really speaks to the interest and the passion of all of those who have attended sessions for making sure they are doing their utmost in caring for a broad swathe of the population,” said Stacie Steinbock, director of the LGBT Center Satellite Office on the Health Sciences Center Campus, who organized the program.

The certificate program consists of monthly lunchtime sessions covering issues facing LGBT patients and their health-care providers. In all, more than 650 people attended this year’s sessions. Individuals who attended at least four of the sessions and completed a post-test were eligible to receive the certificate and lapel pin recognizing their completion of the LGBT Health and Wellness Competency program. Recipients included students in the schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health, as well as faculty and staff members from all parts of the Health Sciences Center campus.

“The speakers were dynamic and I couldn’t ask for a better certificate series,” said Ron Welch, of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, who received a certificate.

“It was really about diversifying and providing a more inclusive environment for our students, for our faculty, for our staff. Beyond that, it was also about improving the health and the care of our LGBT patients,” Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine, said of the program.

"This certificate training further fosters diversity and inclusivity as we work together in the future as interprofessional teams," said Marcia Hern, Ed.D., C.N.S., R.N., dean of the UofL School of Nursing.

The certificate program coincides with the UofL School of Medicine’s incorporation of LGBT training competencies identified by the Association of American Medical Colleges into the formal curriculum beginning with the 2015-2016 academic year. UofL is the national pilot site for this program.

“Having additional training in the equitable, just and affirmative care of LGBT patients is critical. We as a medical school are going to be one of the first in the country to systematically build it into our curriculum and the certificate program was really something that preceded our ability to change the medical curriculum,” said Amy Holthauser, M.D., a member of the UofL School of Medicine faculty and certificate recipient.

To increase the relevance of the program to students and staff in the individual schools, next year’s program will offer four general sessions, with two sessions designed to be specifically relevant to each of the medical, dental, nursing and public health programs.

Paying attention to rising ADHD rates at the next "Beer with a Scientist" program

Find out what’s behind increased diagnoses at “Beer with a Scientist," Wednesday, June 10.
Paying attention to rising ADHD rates at the next "Beer with a Scientist" program

Paul Rosen, Ph.D.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become one of the most common, controversial and important public health issues in the United States. Rates of ADHD have increased by more than 50 percent in the past 10 years, and the CDC reports that Kentucky has the highest rates of ADHD in the nation.

Is ADHD a real disorder or just a drug company scam? Why are the rates of ADHD going up so quickly, and why are they so high in Kentucky?

Paul Rosen, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at UofL, will address these and other questions in the next “Beer with a Scientist” program:  “Paying attention to increased ADHD rates:  increased prevalence, over diagnosis or a better understanding?”

Rosen is the director of UofL’s Research on ADHD and Children's Emotion Regulation (RACER) Lab, where his research focuses on emotion regulation and dysregulation in children with and without ADHD and emotional and behavioral problems in children with ADHD.

The program begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science.

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

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

Schapmire receives national award for leadership in oncology social work

Tara Schapmire, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., of the University of Louisville’s Interdisciplinary Program for Palliative Care and Chronic Illness, today receives the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW)/American Cancer Society Leadership in Oncology Social Work Award for 2015. The national award recognizes an AOSW member for contributions to the field of oncology social work and leadership through administration, education, clinical practice or research.
Schapmire receives national award for leadership in oncology social work

Tara Schapmire, Ph.D., M.S.S.W.

 

Schapmire, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and affiliated faculty member at the Kent School of Social Work, will receive the award and give remarks today at the AOSW Conference in Seattle.

Schapmire is co-investigator on a five-year, $1.5 million National Cancer Institute grant to create and evaluate an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care curriculum known as iCOPE (Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Oncology Palliative Care Education). The program is implemented across schools of social work, medicine, nursing and chaplaincy residency programs.

In addition to her work on iCOPE, Schapmire is a co-investigator on the $7.5 Million Kentucky LEADS Collaborative dedicated to reducing the burden of lung cancer in Kentucky through community-based interventions to educate providers and care for survivors, and the prevention and early detection of lung cancer.

As a practicing oncology social worker, Schapmire was responsible for securing grant funds to provide support for all aspects of psychosocial adjustment in all phases of the cancer experience by providing direct financial support, social support and teaching coping skills to patients and their families. She also created a palliative care program, support groups and provided continuing education for hospital employees in these areas.

“Dr. Schapmire’s work affirms UofL’s emphasis at addressing the comprehensive needs of cancer patients and their families through an interdisciplinary approach in treatment and education,” said Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

“My nominators, and the committee who voted for me are all leaders in this field who equally deserve this award.  To be ‘lifted up’ and celebrated by these amazing people is especially meaningful,” Schapmire said.

Scientists meet in Louisville to share research that could lead to improved treatments for spinal cord and head injury

Scientists meet in Louisville to share research that could lead to improved treatments for spinal cord and head injury

The second participant to receive an epidural stimulator as part of the investigation of standing, stepping and voluntary control in individuals with complete spinal cord injury.

More than a dozen leading basic scientists from around the nation and the world studying neurological function will make presentations to 160 fellow researchers in Louisville Wednesday and Thursday. The goal is to facilitate collaborations that will advance science leading to improved spinal cord and head injury rehabilitation.

Scientists from Sweden, Canada and the United States will share their latest neurotrauma research at the 21st Annual Kentucky Spinal Cord & Head Injury Research Trust Symposium.

The symposium, sponsored by Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, KentuckyOne Health, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and University of Louisville School of Medicine, is organized to advance the study of neurotrauma and ultimately lead to methods of restoring function to those with spinal cord and head injuries.

Among those speaking are Abdel El Manira, Ph.D., and Tatiana Deliagina, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and Paul Kubes, Ph.D. and Christopher Power, M.D., F.R.C.P.C. of Canada. El Manira will discuss his research into locomotor circuits in zebrafish. His research shows that neuron groups are selectively wired for slow, intermediate or fast movement, and the fish’s nervous system selects distinct motoneurons for different swimming speeds.

Deliagina will discuss her work studying feedback mode of postural control in quadrupeds. Loss of postural control is one of the major motor disorders following spinal cord injury. Marc Freeman, Ph.D. of the University of Massachusetts Medical School will present the keynote address on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of nerve degeneration.

This work is similar to basic science research that led to the groundbreaking clinical studies, done at the University of Louisville and Frazier Rehab Institute, in which stimulators were transplanted into spinal cord injured patients who subsequently gained the ability for volitional movement in their legs (see the patient photo below).

The event will be held May 20-21, 2015 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, 280 W. Jefferson St. Hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The UofL Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center is dedicated to developing successful spinal cord repair strategies in the laboratory that can be taken to the clinic in a timely and responsible fashion.

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders created at UofL

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders created at UofL

Dean Toni Ganzel, M.D.

Strengthening the provision of clinical care to patients and education and training to future physicians is an ongoing goal of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The UofL Board of Trustees approved action in furthering that goal on Thursday (May 14) by establishing the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders, elevating the program from two divisions within the Department of Surgery.

Otolaryngology – also sometimes known as otorhinolaryngology – is the oldest medical specialty in the United States, according to the American Association of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT) and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians.

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Communicative Disorders is one of 23 departments – 18 clinical and five basic science – comprising the School of Medicine. At UofL, board-certified otolaryngologists practice with University of Louisville Physicians-Ear, Nose & Throat.

“Elevating the otolaryngology and communicative disorders divisions to departmental status puts UofL on par with other such programs at medical schools throughout the United States and reflects the growth of the UofL program,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “It further demonstrates the value of the program to the School of Medicine and the university.”

“Creation of this department will provide the opportunity for continued growth and expansion of the services provided in Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders,” said Kelly McMasters, M.D., Ph.D., the Ben A. Reid, Sr., M.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery. “By establishing autonomy for this department, UofL will be able to increase the focus on the specific needs of this subspecialty in education, research and clinical care.”

Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., chosen for executive program

UofL department chair and researcher is the 17th member of UofL faculty selected for ELAM
Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., chosen for executive program

Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.

University of Louisville Family and Geriatric Medicine Chair Diane M. Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., has been selected as a member of the 2015-2016 class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program. Harper is one of only 54 women in the nation selected for the program.

ELAM is a year-long fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry and public health. The program develops professional and personal skills required for leadership and management in health care. More than 800 ELAM alumnae hold leadership positions in institutions around the world.

Harper was named the Rowntree Endowed Chair and professor in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the UofL School of Medicine in 2013. She is an award-winning clinician, educator and researcher with a background in family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as chemical engineering.

Harper was the U.S. principal investigator who designed the global trials to understand the efficacy of both of the prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to control cervical cancer. She was a lead author in multiple Lancet publications,New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA, and co-author of more than 140 additional articles on cervical cancer prevention. She also has consulted for and published with the World Health Organization on the use of prophylactic HPV vaccines. Harper is a member of the NIH’s Population Sciences and Epidemiology Integrated Review Group of the Epidemiology of Cancer Study Section, as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Special Emphasis Panel on HPV Vaccine Impact among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Serosorting and Other Seroadaptive Behaviors Among Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) in the US.

In ELAM’s 20-year history, 16 faculty members from UofL have completed the fellowship, including UofL School of Medicine Dean, Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A., who participated in 2003-2004.

For more information on the ELAM program, visit the program’s website. A complete list of UofL’s ELAM alumnae is included below.

 

The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM®) Program

University of Louisville Alumnae

 

Lourdes C. Corman, M.D. (1996-1997)

Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine

Chief, Division of Medical Education

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Laura F. Schweitzer, Ph.D. (1998-1999)

Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs

Associate Dean of Student Affairs

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Linda F. Lucas, M.D. (1999-2000)

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

University of Louisville School of Medicine

Director, One Day Surgery

University of Louisville Hospital

 

Barbara J. McLaughlin, Ph.D. (2000-2001)

Professor of Ophthalmology

Associate Dean for Research

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Connie L. Drisko, DDS (2001-2002)

Professor of Periodontics

Assistant Dean for Research

University of Louisville School of Dentistry

 

Susan Galandiuk, M.D. (2001-2002)

Professor of Surgery

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Mary Thoesen Coleman, M.D., Ph.D. (2002-2003)

Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine

Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs, Department of Family and Community Medicine

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Toni M. Ganzel, M.D., M.B.A. (2003-2004)

Interim Dean, School of Medicine

Professor of Surgery, and Otolaryngology

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H. (2007-2008)

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Professor of Pediatrics

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Kathy B. Baumgartner, Ph.D. (2008-2009)

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health

University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences

 

Melanie R. Peterson, D.M.D., M.B.A. (2008-2009)

Associate Professor of Dentistry

University of Louisville School of Dentistry

 

Anees B. Chagpar, M.D., M.Sc., M.P.H. (2009-2010)

Academic Advisory Dean, School of Medicine

Director, Multidisciplinary Breast Program

Associate Professor of Surgery

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Jill Suttles, Ph.D. (2010-2011)

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Kelli Bullard Dunn, M.D. (2012-2013)

Professor of Surgery

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

Sharmila Makhija, M.D., M.B.A. (2012-2013)

Chair, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health

Donald E. Baxter Endowed Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Professor of Gynecologic Oncology

University of Louisville School of Medicine

 

M. Ann Shaw, M.D. (2013-2014)

Associate Dean for Medical Education

Academic Advisory Dean

Professor of Medicine

University of Louisville School of Medicine

UofL pediatrician part of national study reported in New England Journal of Medicine

Therapeutic hypothermia doesn’t improve results in children who suffer heart attacks
UofL pediatrician part of national study reported in New England Journal of Medicine

Melissa Porter, M.D.

Dropping a child’s body temperature following a heart attack does not appear to improve the child’s chance of surviving or their heart function one year after the heart attack, reports a team of physicians including Melissa B. Porter, M.D., an associate professor in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.

The study is in tomorrow’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Porter was the principal investigator for the Louisville portion of the national clinical trial. The two participants included in the local portion of the study were seen by Porter at Kosair Children’s Hospital, where she serves as a pediatric intensivist.

While therapeutic hypothermia is recommended for comatose adults after such events, there was limited data about this intervention in children. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, compared data for children who were treated with therapeutic hypothermia with those treated with the existing standard of care. The researchers concluded that therapeutic hypothermia did not offer significant benefit for the children’s survival and functional outcome at one year.

“It was a privilege to work with the team of physicians on this study,” Porter said. “It is gratifying to be a part of such wide-ranging research and to contribute to the improved standard of care for children with serious illnesses and speaks highly of the research practices here at UofL.”

This is the second large-scale, multi-center study involving UofL physicians published in the New England Journal of Medicine this spring, attesting to their increasing status among medical research centers nationwide.

In an earlier study, published March 5, 2015 in the journal, Charles R. Woods, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist and acting chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics, participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Valganciclovir therapy in newborns with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease.

CMV is the leading nongenetic cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Woods tested patients at Kosair Children’s Hospital over a three-year period, comparing a six-week period of treatment with the drug to six-month treatment. The researchers concluded that treatment with the drug for six months provided modest long-term improvements in hearing and development over the six-week treatment.

“This study of Valganciclovir showed that the drug improves hearing in infants with symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection,” Woods said. “This also opens the door for more studies to see if this drug can help a broader group of infants with congenital CMV infection.”

University of Louisville physicians have long been at the forefront of pediatric medicine in Kentucky, providing state-of-the-art patient care at Kosair Children’s Hospital in addition to teaching and conducting research. Participation in studies such as these is an indication that their reputation for quality research is increasing among academic centers across the nation.

“Our contribution to these studies represents UofL’s growing connection and impact at the national level in research that improves health care for children,” Woods said. “UofL Pediatrics faculty members are becoming more widely recognized for quality research and contribution to medical knowledge.”

To read the NEJM articles, go to:

Therapeutic Hypothermia after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Children
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411480

Valganciclovir for Symptomatic Congenital Cytomegalovirus Disease
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1404599

Symposium on heart disease in women to showcase healthy lifestyle and stress reduction programs

Symposium on heart disease in women to showcase healthy lifestyle and stress reduction programs

Kendra Grubb, M.D.

Cooking, exercise, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi demos, chair massages and more will help the community learn to reduce stress and improve heart health at the 2015 Louisville Symposium on Heart Disease in Women: Case Studies from the Heart of Louisville on Saturday, May 16.

The symposium is designed to provide the community, physicians, nurses and health professionals up-to-date information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart & Lung Center, part of KentuckyOne Health, in the Hank Wagner Conference Center, located on the top floor. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

In addition to presentations, case studies and panel discussions from leading experts, attendees can participate in a coping skills training session and learn about basic tenants and food prep for a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet used in the Ornish Program for Reducing Heart Disease.

The event is co-directed by Kendra Grubb, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians, director of minimally invasive cardiac surgery for the University of Louisville at Jewish Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Lorrel Brown, M.D., a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, associate director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

“Heart disease can be prevented and, in some cases, even reversed through healthy lifestyle choices focusing on diet, exercise and stress reduction,” said Grubb. “In addition to case studies on treatment, the symposium will have a plethora of opportunities for learning about the latest recommendations and tools for heart disease prevention.”

Many of the wellness demos will be presented by staff from the KentuckyOne Health Healthy Lifestyle Centers, which offer cardiac rehab, medically supervised exercise, nutrition counseling, stress management and more to help individuals get healthy and stay well.

Admission is free to students, residents and fellows and $25 for community members. Continuing medical education credits are available for physicians ($100) and allied health professionals/nurses ($50). Registration is available at: louisvilleheartdiseasewomen.com or call 502.588.7600.


Twisted Pink donates $100,000 to UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Twisted Pink donates $100,000 to UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Twisted Pink presents check to James Graham Brown Cancer Center

Twisted Pink, a charitable foundation dedicated to funding research to prevent and cure metastatic breast cancer, presented a check for $100,000 to the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center on May 7. The funds will be used to seek improved survival for those diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to another part of the body.

The presentation included, left to right, Haval Shirwan, Ph.D., Nicola Garbett, Ph.D. and Paula Bates, Ph.D. of UofL, Constanze Coon, Ph.D., Lara MacGregor and Caroline Johnson of Twisted Pink, and UofL’s Beth Riley, M.D., Yoannis Imbert-Fernandez, Ph.D., Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D. and Brian Clem, Ph.D.

University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health become presenting partners of SOAR

University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health become presenting partners of SOAR

The University of Louisville and KentuckyOne Health are delivering on their promise of working to make Kentucky a healthier place through a new partnership with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR).

UofL and KentuckyOne Health have agreed to become presenting partners of SOAR, providing more than $300,000 in support over the next three years.

SOAR was established in 2013 by Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep.  Hal Rogers and is designed to marshal the collective talents and energies of eastern Kentucky communities and citizens to address the most significant challenges confronting Appalachian Kentucky.

“At the University of Louisville, we have a public mandate to improve the lives of the people of Kentucky,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “Working with SOAR is a significant opportunity for us to partner with others throughout the state to achieve that mandate in a region of the Commonwealth that needs the most assistance.”

“We look forward to working with Gov. Beshear, Rep. Rogers and all who are associated with SOAR as we explore how best to meet the challenges of the region in terms of health, economics and general well-being,” said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “We have worked with leaders in the region on individual projects to alleviate some of the immediate needs, especially in health care. But this is an opportunity to provide lasting solutions.”

“KentuckyOne Health facilities, physicians and care providers have a deep history serving the Appalachian region. Through our hospitals and clinics in Martin, Berea, Mount Sterling and London we are closely tied to the unique health challenges and barriers to care,” said Ruth Brinkley, president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health. “Through our relationship with UofL, now by partnering together with SOAR, we will expand our collaboration with Appalachian communities, utilizing the breadth of our patient services, wellness programs and community resources to truly make a difference.”

UofL and KentuckyOne Health entered into a partnership in 2012 with the mission of creating a healthier population and attacking some of the chronic health problems faced by the citizens of Kentucky. Together they are the largest health system in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“If we are to begin to resolve the health issues that the people of the Commonwealth face, everyone must work together,” Beshear said. “It is gratifying to see that two organizations with the stated purpose of improving the lives of people in Kentucky are taking leadership roles in the development of these critical partnerships.”

UofL and KentuckyOne Health already have significant efforts underway in the region. UofL for years has worked with Dataseam to utilize downtime on computers in schools in the region to create a supercomputer grid to speed the design process of potential anti-cancer drugs, while at the same time bringing those computers to the schools. Additionally, UofL has been very active in Remote Area Medicine programs in the region. These programs bring health care providers to underserved areas for large-scale clinics so people are able to receive care not otherwise available. Through the utilization of telemedicine, UofL neurologists have for years been assisting rural physicians with the diagnosis and treatment of strokes. UofL pediatricians are situated throughout the state, helping to fill the gaps in underserved areas.

For nearly 20 years, KentuckyOne Health facilities in Appalachia and surrounding communities have led a community-based program to provide home visits for patients following hospital discharge. Today, the Appalachian Outreach program covers 15 counties in eastern Kentucky, making contacts with more than 12,000 individuals each year. This regionally focused program provides a range of wellness support to help patients, caregivers and their families better understand their health and better manage their ongoing health and well-being.

Targeting health conditions with greatest prevalence in the region, KentuckyOne Health’s Saint Joseph Martin provides focused programs to fight prominent health conditions, notably cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Community programs include smoking prevention and cessation initiatives with local schools, a diabetes management program with Floyd County Health Department and community health fairs to check for heart disease risk factors.

“For years, both of these organizations have been supporting efforts to improve the lives of people in the region,” Rogers said. “Having them join with us so that we can hopefully multiply their individual efforts will only make the region stronger in the future.”

Get straight talk on climate change at the next Beer with a Scientist program

So, is it real or not?
Get straight talk on climate change at the next Beer with a Scientist program

Keith R. Mountain Ph.D.

The severity of climate change as a global issue and whether humans are causing climate shifts have been hotly debated among individuals and politicians in recent years. At the next Beer with a Scientist event, a UofL scientist will discuss the science behind the issue.

Keith R. Mountain, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of the University of Louisville Department of Geography and Geosciences, will address the question, "Climate change: What's the problem and is it even real?"

Mountain’s research interests and expertise center on climatology and climate change, radiative and surface energy balances, geomorphology – the study of the evolution and configuration of landforms – glaciology and Arctic and Alpine environments.

The program begins at 8 p.m. at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. on Wednesday, May 13. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

The Beer with a Scientist program began in 2014 and is the brainchild of UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises: beer and science.

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

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

Medical students pound the pavement for pediatric patients

Runners presented Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon medals to young buddies
Medical students pound the pavement for pediatric patients

UofL Medical Student David Duncan, left, ran for Sebastian Edelen, center

For the past seven years, University of Louisville medical students have run in the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon or Marathon in honor of patients with cancer and blood disorders in the university’s pediatric hematology/oncology division. This year’s runners presented their race medals to their young buddies in a special ceremony following the races on April 25 in the lobby of the Kosair Charities Clinical & Translational Research Building.

“It’s an opportunity to share yourself and your time. In doing so, you create a bond with a patient and gain a better understanding of what they go through,” said McKenzie Vater, a third-year medical student who has participated in the event for the past three years. “I train with them in mind to get through 13.1 miles of road knowing they are running a much more difficult race of their own.”

Medals4Mettle (M4M) distributes race medals earned by distance athletes to critically ill patients across the nation who are running a race of a different kind – a race for their lives. The UofL School of Medicine program is unique in that the students have the opportunity to meet with their buddies prior to the race and personally present their medals to them after running. The students often run for the same patient year after year, developing a special relationship between the students and the patients and their families.

Evan Hendricks was one of 71 UofL medical students matched with young patients for this year’s race. He ran for a little girl named Katie.

“We met three or four times and it was something I would look forward to and I hoped she would, too,” Hendricks said at the presentation ceremony. “I hope to give her some comfort and let her know that even people who don’t know you want you to do well.”

“I think this is important because it supports many of the children that are diagnosed with cancer,” said Chase Weaver, a young buddy who spoke at the presentation. “Instead of sitting in a hospital bed, they should be out playing. They should have the opportunity to get out and have fun instead of sitting in a hospital bed with IVs stuck in their arms and fingers.”

Gerard Rabalais, M.D., M.H.A., chair of the department of pediatrics at UofL, thanked the parents of the children for allowing them to participate with the medical students.

“There is far more to becoming a physician than learning from a book, studying and looking in a microscope. This is a chance for the students to see illness through a patient’s and family’s eyes. The availability of your children to partner with them, for them to get to know you and your family and to know that child, is such a special thing.”

 

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About Medals4Mettle

Medals4Mettle is an international public charity that arranges for medals donated by athletes completing distance events to be awarded to children and adults who are battling illness in hospitals around the world. Medals4Mettle has over 70 international chapters and has awarded over 40,000 medals since 2005.

Psychiatrist recognized for work on worldview in clinical psychiatry

Allan Josephson, M.D., to receive the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association
Psychiatrist recognized for work on worldview in clinical psychiatry

Allan Josephson, M.D.

In recognition of his work on understanding the importance of both the patient’s and the clinician’s worldview in clinical psychiatry, Allan Josephson, M.D., chief of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology in the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics, will be the 2015 recipient of the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association.

This award recognizes individuals who have made professional contributions to the interfaces of psychiatry, religion and spirituality in research and clinical practice.

"The Department of Pediatrics is honored to have Dr. Josephson leading our Division of Pediatric Psychiatry and Psychology,” said Charles Woods, M.D., interim chair of the UofL Department of Pediatrics. “This award recognizes his longstanding personal efforts and excellence in advancing the quality of mental health services for children and families both in the Louisville area and nationally."

For more than a decade, Josephson coordinated workshops, symposia and lectures on religion, spirituality and psychiatry at the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association. These events resulted in several publications, including the “Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice,” co-edited by Josephson and John Peteet, M.D., of Harvard Medical School. The work is now used in the teaching programs of many psychiatry residencies throughout the country.

“Are there people who come in to a psychiatrist’s office who really have spiritual issues, concerns about life in a broader context? We think there are,” Josephson said. “What we tried to do is bring these ideas in front of the psychiatric community. Some of my work and that of others has been directed toward helping psychiatrists say this may be an important part of your patient’s life.”

Josephson will receive the award at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto May 16-20, and will deliver the 33rd Oskar Pfister Lecture in New York in October at the American Psychiatric Association’s Institute of Psychiatric Services meeting.

 

About the award:

Oskar Pfister was a Protestant minister who regularly corresponded with Sigmund Freud on matters of psychiatry and religion. Award recipients are selected by representatives of the American Psychiatric Association, the Caucus on Religion and Psychiatry and the Association of Professional Chaplains.