MISTRE broadens student's horizons

MISTRE broadens student's horizons

Brittany Mangas- first MISTRE participant

Microbiology and Immunology Summer Transitional Research Experience (MISTRE)

Brittany Mangas- 2016

 When I applied for the Microbiology and Immunology Summer Transitional Research Experience at the University of Louisville several months ago, I had no idea what to expect coming into the program. My knowledge in the sciences was fairly limited in high school, and the opportunity to expand that was overwhelmingly exciting. What I was even less prepared for, however, was how much I would truly end up learning in these eight weeks in more fields than I imagined.

During the summer, I was mentored by Neal Bhutiani, a surgical resident in the process of working towards a Ph.D. Neal was very patient in explaining what it was he was doing specifically in his own experiments, as well as teaching me techniques and necessary lab skills I would need later in life. By the end of the first week, I was able to successfully create a useable gel to run a polymerase chain reaction. At the end of the eight weeks, I am now able to run the reaction from start to finish on my own, as well as analyze the results to pick out which mice show positive and which show negative under the U.V. lamp.

Not only was I able to gain experience in something I will likely be doing later on in my schooling, but Neal allowed me to participate in things I was curious about. I helped grow bacteria, stain slides, and use different microscope techniques, such as confocal, to view them. Many of these things are more advanced than what I will be exposed to during undergraduate school, making them that much more interesting to see.

All my life, I have set a clear path that headed straight towards Neuroscience. Because of this, I never took the time to open my mind to other fields of science that are just as interesting. Immunology was definitely a hard topic to grasp, and that only covers the basics! This field would take several lifetimes to master, but I have loved every second of trying this summer. I began by studying the differences between the innate and adaptive immune system, and then moved on to cell types and functions. I spent a lot of time focusing on several T-cell populations, including TH1, TH2 and TH17 cells, as well as CD8 T-cells. After further explanation from Neal, I began to understand the concept of cytokines and receptors involved in these cells that allow the immune system to work as intended. I spent some time reading different sections in Dr. Eglimez’s Immuno-biology textbook, aiding me as both a source of knowledge and preparation. As I have mentioned, my previous teachings in biology were very limited, and there were several things Neal sat down to review with me that I did not grasp on my own. By the end of every work day, I had learned a new concept in Immunology.

I spent some time at the University outside of this lab and inside another, working with primarily microbiology. Working alongside Ashley Best, I washed bacteria and removed it from various suspensions in order to run it through a PCR, eventually to extract it from the gel. Working with Ashley showed me a much different side to this program, one that I enjoyed just as much. Looking at similar things through different perspectives aided me in grasping wide concepts in science.

Flow was another vital part of my summer in the program. I spent a day with Bob Miller reviewing Flow Cytometry after spending time on my own looking over some material. He opened the machine and explained how the laser functions as well as how the data is processed in the machine and displayed on the computer. Forward scatter and side scatter are measured, determining the type of cell that is found based on complexity and size. After working with Bob, I had a better understanding of the variety of methods that need to be used in the lab to obtain the information you need in order to successfully run an experiment.

Perhaps my favorite part of MISTRE was working with the mice. Although I was not allowed to experiment with them myself, I was able to watch Neal perform the most important part of his project in person. I was able to see the foundation for genotyping from start to finish, and learned how testing as “positive” or “negative” comes into play when it is time for breeding. In addition, having a personal experience with animal testing will help me defend how essential it truly is for humankind throughout my life. Neal taught me many regulations during my time in the turnaround and barrier that will make sure I am safely working with animals when it is time to do research on my own further in my career. These include maintaining the cages, checking for signs of discomfort in the animal, proper weaning, and how perform tail snips to be able to accurately genotype.

Working with Neal for the duration of this program has been an enlightening experience. Not only was I able to learn about the workings of immunology, but I gained knowledge that will help me in all aspects of life. These include proper time management, successful interactions with peers, and even balancing school and work.  Having already completed medical school, he was able to teach me many things that would be beneficial to me to know over the next eight years of my life, as well as equip me with diagrams and websites to navigate successfully in science.

Overall, this summer has been the most eventful one yet. I have learned more in these eight weeks than I have in an entire year of high school. I gained tremendous interest in research, and have a new acceptance for the idea of exploring as many fields of science as possible- Neuroscience may not be for me. Spending a summer in a lab may not seem exciting to the average American teenager, but I would not have wanted to do anything else. I am appreciative for the opportunity to participate this year, and hope the program continues for many years to come.

Important note about Pre-Travel Forms

(Note: Do not make any travel arrangements until all forms have been approved and you have received Provost approval). Once approval has been received, please submit copies of the following to the International Center and GEO office: an e-receipt for airfare signed passport page purchased travel insurance The approved forms and supporting documentation must be received in the International Center and GEO office thirty working days before the start of travel.

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology welcomes 18 new graduate students

The Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology welcomes 18 new graduate students in its 2016 class.  This year's 2016 graduate student class completed undergraduate, masters, medical, and veterinary degrees at Universities throughout the United States, China, England, and Egypt.

Pharmacology & Toxicology PhD candidate Cierra Sharp selected for ASN Kidney Stars Program

Cierra Sharp, a Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology PhD candidate has been selected as a 2016 American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney STARS award recipient. Cierra will receive an $800 travel support stipend and complimentary registration to the Annual Meeting of ASN Kidney Week 2016 in Chicago, IL.

Cierra is pursuing her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Leah Siskind, Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology.

UofL Cancer Education Program Undergraduates to present research Aug 3

Twenty-eight undergraduate students from this year's UofL Cancer Education Program will present their research projects at the University of Louisville Undergraduate Student Research Symposium scheduled for August 3 from 12 to 3 pm in the lobby of the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building.   Other program students also presenting include Engineering IMPACT REU, KBRIN, Physiology Cardiovascular, SROP, James Graham Brown Cancer Center High School Internship Program, and others supported by individual fellowships.

The UofL Cancer Education Program students will present their research posters to faculty judges for awards to be issued in October at Research!Louisville.

The design and objectives of the UofL Cancer Education Program, including presentation of research projects, are described in a paper published in the Journal of Cancer Education.

Six from the Department of Medicine recognized as 'Top Docs' for 2016

Accolades earned from annual survey conducted by Louisville Magazine and Greater Louisville Medical Society
Six from the Department of Medicine recognized as 'Top Docs'  for 2016

Louisville Magazine recently honored six faculty members from the UofL Department of Medicine as "Top Docs" for 2016.

Five members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were recognized as "Top Docs" as voted on by their peers in the Louisville medical community in the August 2016 edition of Louisville Magazine.

Questionnaires were mailed to approximately 2,200 members of the Greater Louisville Medical Society asking the question, "If you or a member of your family were in need of medical care or treatment, who among the Louisville-area doctors would you choose to provide medical care in the following specialties?"

From the Department of Medicine, those recognized include (categories as listed in the publication):

UofL T32 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training program receives $2.31M in new funding from NIEHS

Professor Gavin Arteel

The NIEHS-funded T32 training program in environmental health sciences hosted by the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology was awarded $2.31M in funding for five additional years effective July 1, 2016.  The training program provides cutting edge basic, clinical, computational, and population-based research and incorporates interdisciplinary and integrated approaches to environmental health sciences. The training program supports six pre-doctoral and three post-doctoral trainees and interfaces exceptionally well with the the strategic plans of NIEHS and the University of Louisville. Led by Professor David Hein as Principal Investigator/Program Director and Dr. Russell Prough as Co-Investigator/Co-Director for years 2004-2016, the proposal for renewal funding for 2016-2021 was led by Professor Gavin Arteel as Principal Investigator/Program Director and Professors Aruni Bhatnagar, Matthew Cave, and David Hein as Co-investigators/Co-Directors.

PhTx PhD candidates Laila Al-Eryani and Samantha Carlisle awarded extramural funding

Laila Al-Eryani received Supplemental Training for Education Program (STEP) funding from the Society of Toxicology to attend a NIH/NCI molecular prevention summer course in Rockville, Maryland, Aug 1-5, 2016.  Laila is carrying our her dissertation research in the laboratory of Professor Christopher States.

Samantha Carlisle received NIH funding to attend the Sixth NIGMS-funded Short Course on Statistical Genetics & Genomics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, July 11-15, 2016.Samantha is carrying out her dissertation research in the laboratory of Professor David Hein.

Dr. Joseph Calvin Kouokam awarded NIH faculty diversity supplement grant

Dr. Joseph Calvin Kouokam, Instructor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, has received an NIH faculty diversity supplement grant to carry out research under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Palmer, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Executive Director of the Owensboro Cancer Research Program.  In his NIH grant, Dr. Kouokam will study Griffithsin (GRFT), a sugar binding protein with pronounced antiviral activities against multiple enveloped viruses, including HIV. His project will evaluate whether GRFT is effective and safe for use as microbicide in patients with colorectal pathologies such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer.

IBD are chronic relapsing inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, and mainly include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They affect about four million people worldwide mostly in North America and Europe. As a faculty diversity supplement to the 1U19AI113182 project evaluating “Griffithsin-based rectal microbicides for the prevention of viral entry (PREVENT)”, led by Professor Kenneth Palmer, Dr, Kouokam will assess the safety and efficacy of plant produced Griffithsin (GRFT) in the context of IBD.

One of the primary goals of the proposed study is to assess the inhibitory effects of GRFT on HSV-2 in mice with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. A mouse model of IBD-associated colorectal cancer (using azoxymethane) will be assessed as well. The findings will provide a proof of concept for GRFT efficacy in preventing HIV in the context of colorectal pathologies. In addition, Dr. Kouokam will carry out comprehensive safety studies of GRFT in the context of IBD, both in vitro and in vivo. The findings will provide valuable information regarding the potential use of GRFT in IDB patients and further advocate its development as a microbicide with broad application against enveloped viruses.

PhTx PhD candidates Samantha Carlisle and Marcus Stepp present research findings overseas

Department of Pharmacology &Toxicology PhD candidates presented their research findings at the 7th International Workshop on N-acetyltransferases in Trier Germany, June 18-20, 2016.

Samantha Carlisle and Marcus Stepp are carrying out their dissertation research in the laboratory of Professor David Hein.

Samantha Carlisle                                                                         Marcus Stepp

Nathan Wainscott Awarded ASPET Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Nathan Wainscott, an undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Louisville has been awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  Nathan is testing the ability of several lead compounds targeting the anaphase promoting complex to arrest the cell cycle and induce apoptosis in lung cancer cell lines. He will then determine the cell cycle phase in which this arrest is induced by the presence of specific cycle markers.  Nathan is working in the laboratory of  Professor J. Christopher States in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology.

DIGH and Two Fulbright Fogarty Fellowship Winners

DIGH and Two Fulbright Fogarty Fellowship Winners

Congratulations to Jessica Eaton and Mackenzie Flynn on each receiving a Fulbright Fogarty Fellowship. This is a huge honor and to have two at once from our school is a jaw-dropping accomplishment. We are thrilled that each of these women are members of the Distinction in Global Health and cannot wait to see all the wonderful things they do in their careers.

To read the complete article please click the link below or copy and paste into your browser.

Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology welcomes five new PhD students through partnership with Wenzhou Medical University

Liya Chen (Leah)
Bachelor of Clinical Medicine, Wenzhou Medical University
Postgraduate Student in Pediatrics, Scientific Research Center
The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital
Wenzhou Medical University

Jian Jin (Joseph)
Bachelor of Clinical Medicine, Wenzhou Medical University
Masters in Endocrinology, Wenzhou Medical University
Attending Physician (Endocrinology), The Second Affiliated Hospital
Wenzhou Medical University

Lexiao Jin (Monica)
Bachelor of Clinical Medicine, Wenzhou Medical University
Masters in Anesthesiology, Wenzhou Medical University
Attending Physician (Anesthesiology), The Second Affiliated Hospital
Wenzhou Medical University

Yihong Li (Summer)
B.S., Biological Engineering, Qiqihar University
M.S., Microbiology, Anhui University
M.S., Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Research Associate, Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering
Wenzhou Medical University

Haiyan Lu
Bachelor of Clinical Medicine, Wenzhou Medical University
Masters in Pediatrics, Wenzhou Medical University
Pediatrician, The Second Affiliated Hospital and Yuying Children’s Hospital
Wenzhou Medical University

Lisanne Anders, MD selected for a 2016 AASLD Emerging Liver Scholar Resident Travel Award

Lisanne Anders, MD has been selected for a 2016 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Emerging Liver Scholar Resident Travel Award to attend the annual meeting in Boston, MA.

Dr. Anders carries out her research in the laboratory of Dr. Juliane Arteel, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology.

The Emerging Liver Scholar Award is designed to promote the study of hepatology among residents who have potential for a career in academic medicine and who may be interested in choosing adult or pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, hepatopathology, surgery or GI radiology with an emphasis on hepatobiliary imaging as their career focus.

Diana Avila and Dominique Jones awarded PhD degrees at May 2016 doctoral hooding ceremony

Dr. Diana Avila and Dr. Dominique Jones were awarded their PhD in pharmacology and toxicology at the May 2016 University of Louisville doctoral and hooding ceremony.  Dominique also received the graduate student diversity award in the School of Medicine.

UofL, GI division well represented at DDW 2016

University of Louisville faculty, fellows and residents part of several talks and presentations.
UofL, GI division well represented at DDW 2016

Dr. Thomas Abell and the University of Louisville GI fellows at the 2016 Digestive Disease Week conference in San Diego.

The University of Louisville Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition made a far-reaching impact at the 2016 Digestive Disease Week conference, held May 22-24, 2016 in San Diego.

The Gastroparesis group presented a total of nine posters and two talks, while the Liver group will give seven posters and two talks.

Also, the UofL Gastroparesis group presented the posters and seven talks at the International Gastrointestinal Electrophysiology Society (IGES) satellite meeting, also in San Diego in conjunction with the DDW2016 event.

The talks presented by the UofL group and its associates include:


Gastroparesis Group

  • Dr. Henry Parkman - "Early Satiety and Postprandial Fullness in Gastroparesis. Characteristics using the GpR2 Database"
  • Dr. Pankaj Pasricha - "Clinical Outcomes and Neuropathological Features of Patient with Chronic Nausea and Vomiting are Similar in patients with or Without Delayed Gastric Emptying"

Liver Group

  • Dr. Irina Kirpich - "Dietary fat rich in linoleic acid exacerbates EtOH-induced inflammasome activation and liver injury in mouse models of alcoholic liver disease"
  • Dr. Craig McClain - "Not Written in Stone: Modifying Hepatic Fibrosis"


IGES Symposium Talks

  • Dr. Patrick McKenzie - "The Effect of Gastrointestinal Electrical Stimulation in Patients with The Symptoms of Gastroparesis Combined With Pancreato-Biliary Disorders"
  • Dr. Andy Patel - "Autonomic And Enteric Responses to Temporary Gastric Electrical Stimulation"
  • Dr. Ammar Hassan "Clinical Outcome of Diabetic Versus Idiopathic Gastroparesis Undergoing Gastric Electrical Stimulation"
  • Dr. Nikhil Kadle - "Energy of Gastric Electrical Stimulation Interacts with Cajal, Mast and S100 Cells to Predict GI Symptom Outcome"
  • Dr. Shifat Ahmed - "Comparison of Neurohormonal Changes with Gastroparesis in Response to Temporary Gastric Electrical Stimulation"
  • Dr. Shifat Ahmed - "Is the Electrogastrogram a Clinically Useful Tool?"
  • Dr. Imad Jaafar - "Medium and Long Term Outcome of Symptoms using Gastric Electrical Stimulation with Temporary GES as a Screening Tool"



(links in .pdf format)

UofL and James Graham Brown Cancer Center Receive 33,000 Tissue Samples to further Oncology Research

UofL and James Graham Brown Cancer Center Receive 33,000 Tissue Samples to further Oncology Research


The University of Louisville has expanded its oncology research strength through the addition of approximately 33,000 human tissue samples and specimens. The samples were transferred by Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) to further the shared commitment and collaboration in advancing research and action in the fight against cancer.

Researchers from the University of Louisville and James Graham Brown Cancer Center are partners with CHI through national oncological research between the two organizations, as well as locally as part of KentuckyOne Health. This close collaboration has delivered significant impact in the understanding of a variety of cancers and is supporting physicians and patients in Kentucky and across the country.

“These specimens provide our researchers with opportunities to build on existing research initiatives and open the door for new areas of study in fighting cancer,” said Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville. “We now will be able to extend our efforts to build upon our advances and we continue to work to reduce the human costs of cancer.”

Research teams in Louisville now have access to triple the number of medical specimens to guide cancer research. The more than 47,000 samples in the University of Louisville biorepository cover 111 unique primary tumor sites and include cancer types that are particularly prevalent in Kentucky, including breast, lung, colon and kidney cancers.

“Cancer is one of the most prevalent health issues facing the people of the Commonwealth,” said Ruth Brinkley, CEO of KentuckyOne Health. “The gifting of these specimens reinforces our shared commitment to bring wellness, health and hope to patients in Kentucky and across the country. The innovative treatments, diagnostic tests and other insights our local researchers are developing are critical to helping us reduce the rate and impact of cancer.”

The specimens will arrive at the University of Louisville on May 24, 2016, enabling immediate access for research teams.


About KentuckyOne Health

KentuckyOne Health, the largest and most comprehensive health system in the Commonwealth, has more than 200 locations including, hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies in Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is dedicated to bringing wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved. The system is made up of the former Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System, along with the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. KentuckyOne Health is proud of and strengthened by its Catholic, Jewish and academic heritages.


About University of Louisville/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.

Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource: Report from the American Hospital Association

  • This report, “Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource,” provides an assessment of the value of CME, recommends ways to improve the value of CME and identifies case examples of hospitals that are using CME to improve performance and align the delivery system. CLICK HERE to read the full text.

Doug Saforo receives Outstanding Student Award for Graduate and Professional Students

Doug Saforo, an MD/PhD Student in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology received the “Outstanding Student Award for Graduate and Professional Students” from the University of Louisville at a ceremony held April 19. Doug is a graduate of the University of Louisville Cancer Education Program and is pursuing his PhD dissertation in the laboratory of Dr. Leah Siskind, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Michael Mardis, Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Interim Provost Neville Pinto helped present awards to students.  Further information is available at

Karen Udoh presents cancer research at ACC’s Meeting of the Minds

Outstanding undergraduate students from the Atlantic Coast Conference, including six UofL undergraduates, met April 8-10, 2016 at the annual Meeting of the Minds research conference hosted by Syracuse University in upstate New York. The event highlights undergraduate research and scholarship at the 15 ACC member schools and represents the power and synergy that can exist between athletics and academics.

Karen Udoh, a member of the 2015 University of Louisville Cancer Education Program class presented the cancer research she carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Chris States, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology.