Department members do well at 2015 Research!Louisville

Annual event highlights, promotes excellence and public awareness of health sciences research at the Louisville Medical Center.
Department members do well at 2015 Research!Louisville

Dr. Chirag Patel accepts his School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award at the 2015 Research!Louisville event. His UofL faculty mentor is Thomas Abell, M.D., of the UofL Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 Research!Louisville award winners

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine had good showings in the recent 2015 Research!Louisville competitions, held in conjunction with the event's 20th annual showcase of health/life sciences research conducted at UofL.

A panel of university faculty judges selected the winners of this year's contest from hundreds of entries in the categories of professional/clinical students, basic science grad students, postgraduates and faculty.

Here's a look at finished at or near the top in their respective categories:

Master's Basic Science Graduate Student Award


Doctoral Basic Science Graduate Student Award


Norton Healthcare Medical Student Award


Research Staff Award


School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award


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


Ruth Greenberg Award for Excellence in Medical Education Research


Louisville Chapter-Women in Medicine and Science

DIBL student presents research in Chicago

Single Mastectomy a More Cost-Effective Treatment for Nonhereditary Cancer in One Breast than Removing Both Breasts

New study in younger women with sporadic breast cancer also finds a somewhat better quality of life in patients who undergo unilateral mastectomy compared with contralateral prophylactic mastectomy.


CHICAGO: For younger women with early-stage, noninherited breast cancer on one side, a unilateral, or single, mastectomy leads to a slightly higher quality of life and lower costs over the next 20 years compared with contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), according to new study results presented at the 2015 Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.  The quality of life and cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted in women under age 50 who had the most common type of breast cancer—sporadic, meaning no family history of the disease.

U.S. women with unilateral breast cancer are increasingly choosing CPM, which is the surgical removal of the healthy breast along with the cancerous one to prevent the  risk of breast cancer occurring in the healthy breast.  One national study reported that the CPM rate increased from 1.9 percent in 1998 to 10.2 percent in 2011.1 However, there is no strong evidence that prophylactic mastectomy improves survival for women with sporadic breast cancer,2 and a double mastectomy poses nearly double the risk of postoperative complications.3 On the other hand, most women who have both breasts removed do not need annual screening mammograms.4

Researchers, led by Nicolas Ajkay, MD, FACS, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Ky., conducted this study to help patients and their surgeons in the decision-making process about which operation to choose.

Using a decision tree/probabilities model,5 the researchers compared the estimated long-term costs of each operation, follow-up care, and the patient’s health-related quality of life after the operation, assuming both ideal and poor outcomes.

“Even under worst-case scenarios, we found that costs and quality of life were superior with unilateral mastectomy,” Dr. Ajkay said.  “With our study results, I can counsel patients that they may incur a higher cost over their lifetime with a lower quality of life for several months if they choose CPM.’”

Single mastectomy plus 20 years of routine mammograms on the remaining breast costs, on average, $5,052 less than CPM ($13,525 versus $18,577), the research team reported.  In estimating costs, the investigators took into account physician and imaging fees, hospitaliza-tion, other cancer treatments, and cost-of-living expenses, with all data from 2014 or adjusted to 2014 costs.

From the recent medical literature, the researchers derived the probabilities of ideal outcomes and poor outcomes over 10 years, both with and without breast reconstruction.  Poor outcomes included wound complications requiring another operation and, in cases of single mastectomy, the development of breast cancer in the opposite breast five and 10 years later.

To estimate patients’ quality of life, Dr. Ajkay and colleagues used the health-related quality of life measure of a quality-adjusted life year (QALY),6 in which a year in perfect health has a rating of 1.0 QALY.  After 20 years of follow-up care, women who underwent unilateral mastectomy had a net gain of 0.21 QALYs (14.75 versus 14.54 QALYs), which Dr. Ajkay said equates to approximately three months of improved health and quality of life.

For a woman who chooses CPM, a QALY loss of 0.21, according to Dr. Ajkay, could mean “about three months of struggling with surgical complications of reconstruction, lost work productivity, and significant emotional hardship.”

Because women who undergo unilateral mastectomy have a much lower rate of breast reconstruction than those who opt for CPM, the researchers also calculated probabilities assuming that all women undergoing single mastectomy also had reconstruction.  In that scenario, the cost and QALY were still better than for CPM, according to the study abstract.

For an ideal outcome with reconstruction, unilateral mastectomy and screening mammograms reportedly cost $19,158, or $1,234 less than the $20,392 cost of CPM, and the QALY was 0.20 better than that with CPM.

Dr. Ajkay cautioned however that their study results do not apply to women with a familial or genetic risk of breast cancer, who were excluded from participating in this study.

He said, “In most clinicians’ view, these patients do benefit from CPM.”

Robert C. Keskey, a fourth-year medical student from the University of Louisville

School of Medicine, presented the study results.  Other research colleagues for the study were: Amanda Roberts, MD, MPH, University of Toronto; Kevin D. Frick, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; and Andrew S. LaJoie, PhD; In K. Kim, MD, MBA; Brad S. Sutton, MD, MBA; and William G. Cheadle, MD, FACS, all from University of Louisville School of Medicine.

“FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.


1Grimmer L, Liederbach E, Velasco J, Pesce C, Wang CH, Yao K.  Variation in Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Rates According to Racial Groups in Young Women with Breast Cancer, 1998 to 2011: A Report from the National Cancer Data Base.  J Am Coll Surg. 2015;221(1):187-196.

2 National Comprehensive Cancer Network.  Updated NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer Discourages Prophylactic Mastectomy in Women Other Than Those at High Risk.  Press release.  October 28, 2009.  Available at:  Accessed August 17, 2015.

3 Osman F, Saleh F, Jackson TD, Corrigan MA, Cil T.  Increased Postoperative Complications in Bilateral Mastectomy Patients Compared to Unilateral Mastectomy: An Analysis of the NSQIP Database.  Ann Surg Oncol. 2013;20(10):3212-3217.

4 American Cancer Society.  Mammograms After Breast Cancer.  Revised April 9, 2015.  Available at  Accessed August 7, 2015.

5 Roberts A, Habibi M, Frick KD.  Cost-Effectiveness of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy for Prevention of Contralateral Breast Cancer.  Ann Surg Oncol. 2014;21(7):2209-2217.


6 Peasgood T, Ward S, Brazier J.  A Review and Meta-Analysis of Health State Utility Values in Breast Cancer. Scheffield, UK: University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research; 2010 (unpublished).  Updated June 12, 2014.  Health Economics and Decision Science (HEDS) Discussion Paper 10/15.  Available at  Accessed August 17, 2015.


About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients.  The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery.  Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.  The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.  For more information, visit (.)

Department faculty honored at 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Members of the Department of Medicine recognized for teaching excellence, endowed chairs, and patent and license awards
Department faculty honored at 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence

Several members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were recognized at the 2015 UofL Celebration of Faculty Excellence

As part of 2015 State of the University Week, the University of Louisville administration recently honored many faculty members at the Celebration of Faculty Excellence held in the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The awards were conferred by Interim Provost Dr. Neville Pinto and Dr. William Pierce, Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation.

"All of you have one thing in common, you have set high standards of excellence," UofL President Dr. James Ramsey said. "Your work enhances the prestige and respect of our university. You make us premier. You have distinguished yourselves among your colleagues, and your personal dedication to excellence is an inspiration to us."

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

Distinguished Faculty Awards

(Distinguished Faculty Award winners receive a medallion and a check for $1,000, and will also be featured on banners around campus.)

Jesse RomanJesse Roman, M.D.

Distinguished Faculty Awards in Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity - Career Achievement

Dr. Roman has devoted over 25 years to education, research, patient care, administration and leadership in academic medicine. He has over 200 primary papers, review articles and chapters in the areas of respiratory disease.

Dr. Roman’s research has been supported by over  $20 million from the federal government and other organizations over his career. He is known internationally for his work in the area of lung fibrosis and fibroblast and matrix biology.


Juan GuardiolaJuan Guardiola, M.D.

Distinguished Faculty Awards in Service - Service to the Profession

Dr. Guardiola has been one of the drivers of the development of standard of care for critical care patients. He has been instrumental in the development of the sleep disorders program.

Dr. Guardiola is currently PI on a multi-center VA cooperative study, and a Co-PI on two other projects.

New Endowed Faculty

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

Dr. Chesney is a Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and has served as the deputy director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center since 2012.

He holds the Brinkley Chair in Lung Cancer Research.


William TseWilliam Tse, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Tse is a Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation.

He holds the Marion F. Beard Chair of Hematology.

Dr. Tse serves as principle investigator of numerous national and international therapeutic clinical trials.

Earlier this year, Newsweek magazine named him one of the "Top Cancer Doctors" in the United States.

Patents & Licenses

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

Farrukh AqilFarrukh Aqil, Ph.D., Ramesh Gupta, Ph.D., and Manicka Vadhanam, Ph.D.

Their technology is a novel approach for delivering steady, low doses of therapeutic agents to a target site in a patient over a long period of time. The therapeutic drug is delivered by use of an implanted, biodegradable, cylindrical device.

The current key application for the implantable device has been the delivery of chemo-preventative and chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer.

Michael Merchant and Michael BrierMichael Brier, Ph.D., Jon Klein, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael Merchant, Ph.D.

Their work in collaboration with Adam Gaweda, Ph.D., has resulted in a U.S. patent.

Their technology determines a patient’s response potential to Erythpoetin by measuring specific peptides present in a biological sample from the patient, thus allowing for more accurate dosing of erythopoetic agents in anemic patients.

John TrentJohn Trent, Ph.D.

His work has resulted in two patents this past year. The first is for discovery of inhibitor compounds against the chemokine receptor type 4, CXCR4, which is found on the surface of cells.

Also described are methods for the use of these inhibitor compounds for the treatment of disease – like several types of cancers and HIV infection – characterized by increased levels of CXCR4.

The second patent, done in collaboration with Robert Mitchell, Ph.D., is a class of potent inhibitors of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory factor (MIF)-dependent disease processes. The new inhibitors target the active site of MIF and covalently attach in an irreversible manner.

These inhibitor compounds can be used for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease, and they represent a new generation of less toxic and more potent anti-MIF disease therapeutics than those currently in use.

Jian Cai, Ph.D.

His technology allows for the cost-effective, large-scale expression and production of lunasin from plants, which can then be used for pre-clinical and clinical trials to demonstrate lunasin’s potential cancer-chemopreventive, anti-cancer and nutraceutical activities.

Jun Yan, M.D., Ph.D.

His work has resulted in a license with Biothera. The licensed technology is a therapeutic composition including an antagonist of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEfG) and a beta-glucan, which in combination enhance anti-proliferative immunotherapy.

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,

Individuals also may contact the Huntington Study Group at 1-800-487-7671, email or

September 21, 2015

Miller, Tse honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015'

Duo from UofL's James Graham Brown Cancer Center recognized by Newsweek
Miller, Tse honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015'

Drs. Donald Miller (left) and William Tse (right) of the University of Louisville were honored as 'Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015' by Newsweek.

Newsweek, in conjunction with Castle Connolly Medical LTD, recently published its list of the "Top Cancer Doctors in the United States for 2015" and two members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were part of that list.

That honored pair includes Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology and is Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

The other is William Tse, M.D., FACP, Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation and the Marion F. Beard Chair of Hematology.

The list is compiled through peer nominations and extensive research that Castle Connolly Medical LTD. has conducted for more than two decades.

The Castle Connolly physician-led research team makes tens of thousands of phone calls each year, talking with leading specialists, chairs of clinical departments and vice presidents of medical affairs, seeking to gather further information regarding the top specialists for most diseases and procedures.

Each year, Castle Connolly receives nearly 100,000 nominations via this process.

Five from Department of Medicine recognized as 'Top Docs'

Accolades earned from annual survey conducted by Louisville Magazine
Five from Department of Medicine recognized as 'Top Docs'

Louisville Magazine honored five faculty members from the UofL Department of Medicine as "Top Docs" for 2015.

In the August 2015 edition of Louisville Magazine, 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.

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'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.

Earnshaw named Section Chief of Palliative Medicine

Helped create current University of Louisville curriculum for palliative care and education while also leading fellowship and clerkship programs
Earnshaw named Section Chief of Palliative Medicine

Dr. Lori Earnshaw

Lori Earnshaw, M.D., has been named Section Chief of Palliative Medicine in the University of Louisville Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine and Medical Education effective July 1, 2015, announced Dr. Jesse Roman, Chairman of the UofL Department of Medicine.

Earnshaw, an Associate Professor of Medicine at UofL, already serves as director of the Palliative Medicine Fellowship and Clerkship programs, and is Medical Director of Palliative Care at University of Louisville Hospital.

Dr. Earnshaw has served as the Director of the Palliative Medicine Fellowship since 2009 and previously as the Associate Program Director. Thanks to her efforts, the program received Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accreditation in 2008, meeting the requirements for a fellowship training program in hospice and palliative medicine, which she has maintained since its inception.

In addition, she has been responsible for the development of educational curricula for residents, fellows and medical students as the University of Louisville was one of the first medical schools to require a formal palliative care clinical experience.

She helped to expand the curriculum as a co-investigator on a NIH grant that resulted in an inter-professional education curriculum for medical, social work, and nursing students and chaplain residents.

Upon Dr. Earnshaw's appointment with the Department of Medicine, she took on the then brand new position of Medical Director of Palliative Care Services at University of Louisville Hospital which later expanded to include the Supportive Care Clinic at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, directed by Dr. Mary Hubert, a graduate of the UofL Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program.

"I am delighted to continue my service to the University of Louisville School of Medicine, KentuckyOne Health, and the greater Louisville community," Earnshaw said. "With a legacy of collaboration in this community, we have achieved a great deal in furthering access to quality palliative care for our patients and establishing educational opportunities for our learners.

"I hope to continue my efforts to improve quality of life for patients and our families through education of practicing health care professionals, inter-professional students, and the broader community."

She is currently serving, or has previously been, a member of the Palliative Care Steering Committee, Hosparus Medical Advisory Committee, Palliative Medicine Fellowship Committee, Multidisciplinary Pain Committee, Professional Standards Committee, Ethics Committee, Interdisciplinary Curriculum for Oncology Palliative Care Education (iCope), Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and is Chairman for the Supportive Care Clinic Task Force.

Earnshaw is also a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine where she was recognized as one of the AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Inspirational Leaders Under 40 at the February 2015 Annual Assembly.

Prior to joining the faculty at UofL, Earnshaw received her Medical Degree in 2002 from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. She completed both her Internal Medicine Residency and Palliative Medicine Fellowships at the University of Louisville.

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, 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. 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 rankings for Financial Aid.


UofL GI well represented at 2015 Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting

Louisville contingent displayed several presentations at annual session in San Antonio
UofL GI well represented at 2015 Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting

Research Society on Alcoholism

Members of the University of Louisville Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and their collaborators presented the following abstracts at the 38th annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting held June 20-24, 2015:

  • PDE4B Inhibition Significantly Attenuates Alcohol-Induced Hepatic Lipid Peroxidation and Prevent Inactivation of AmpK - Diana Avila

  • Oral Administration of Tributyrin Targets The "Gut-Liver" Axis and Attenuates Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) - Shirish Barve, Hridgandh Donde

  • Embryonic Exposure to Ethanol Increases The Susceptibility of Larval Zebrafish to Chemically Induced Seizures - Shao-Yu Chen, Keling Wang

  • Sulforaphane Protects Against Ethanol-Induced Apoptosis in Neural Crest Cells by Epigenetic Modulation of BCL2 Gene Expression - Shao-Yu Chen, Xiaopan Chen

  • Up-Regulation of Siah1 by Ethanol Triggers Apoptosis in Neural Crest Cells Through P38 MapK-Mediated Activation of P53 Signaling Pathway - Shao-Yu Chen, Fuqiang Yuan

  • Lipid-Derived Aldehyde, Acrolein, is a Critical Mediator of Alcohol-Induced Gut-Liver Injury in Alcoholic Liver Disease - Wei-Yang Chen, Swati Joshi-Barve

  • FGF21 Mediates Alcohol-Induced Adipose Tissue Lipolysis by Activation of Systemic Release of Catecholamine in Mice - Wenke Feng

  • Ethanol Inhibits Transcriptionally Permissive Promoter Histone Modifications and Decreases Il-2 Expression in Activated Human CD4+ T Lymphocytes

  • Alcohol-Induced Neuro-Inflammation is Critically Regulated by Phosphodiesterase 4B (PDE4B) - Leila Gobejishvili

  • Lipoxygenase Inhibition Ameliorates Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury and Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Alcoholic Liver Disease - Huillin Liu, Irina A Kirpich

  • Improvement of Inflammatory Biomarkers, Liver Fibrosis & Clinical Parameters With 3 Months Zinc Sulfate For Alcoholic Cirrhosis-Zac Clinical Trial - Mohammad Mohammad

  • Role of Drinking History and Sex-Differences in Metabolites Involved in Inflammation in Alcohol Dependents - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Role of Family History of Alcoholism and Recent Drinking on Subjective & Objective Responses to Acute IV Alcohol: Clamp and Biphasic Exposure Profiles - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Association of Liver Injury Exacerbation and Fatty Acids of W-6 and W-3 Inflammatory Pathways in Early-Stage HIV-Diagnosed Alcoholic Patients - Vatsalya Vatsalya

  • Mixed Lineage Protein Kinase 3 Contributes to Ethanol-Induced Liver Injury - Sanjoy Roychowdhury, Megan R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

  • Specific-Sized Hyaluronan Fragments Differentially Regulate LPS Signal Transduction in Kupffer Cells After Ethanol Feeding to Rats - Paramananda Saikia, Katherine A. Pollard, Megan R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

  • Factor D Contributes to Hepatoprotection from Chronic Ethanol-Induced Liver Injury in Mice - R.L. Smathers McCullough, S. Roychowdhury, M.R. McMullen, Laura E. Nagy

Vasavada wins 2015 Louisville Medicine essay contest

Nephrologist joins two others from the University of Louisville as winners in annual contest
Vasavada wins 2015 Louisville Medicine essay contest

Nina Vasavada, M.D., of the UofL Division of Nephrology & Hypertension

Mary G. Barry, M.D., editor of Louisville Medicine, announced the winners of the eighth annual Richard Spear, M.D., Memorial Essay Contest during the Greater Louisville Medical Society Presidents' Celebration on May 31 at the Muhammad Ali Center.

Among the winners was Nina Vasavada, M.D., assistant clinical professor with the University of Louisville Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in the UofL Department of Medicine who came in first place in the practicing/life category for her essay titles "The Unexpected in Front of Us."

The theme of the physician essay contest was "Medicine and the Unexpected" for the practicing/life category and "Using Technology in Medicine Without Becoming a Robot" for the in-training/medical student category.

Spear was a respected Louisville general surgeon who also served on the faculty of the UofL School of Medicine. When he died in 2007, he left GLMS a bequest to fund the annual essay contest. Spear wished to support high quality writing about the practice of medicine.

The winning essays will be published in Louisville Medicine's July edition.

In the student/trainee portion of the contest, Joseph Bales, M.D., a resident in the UofL Department of Emergency Medicine was the first of two winners for his piece, "The Machine in All of Us" while Sarah Khayat, a third-year medical student at UofL, was the second winner for her piece, "Hold the Phone."

Previous winners from the Department of Medicine include Michael Stillman, M.D., in 2013 for "'Dismaying' Number of Uninsured Kentuckians," and Sohail Ikram, M.D., FACC, in 2012 for "It's Worth It."

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.

The Value of Accredited Continuing Medical Education

The Value of Accredited Continuing Medical Education
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) has prepared a resource to assist continuing medical education (CME) providers, planners, developers and other stakeholders in understanding and communicating the value of accredited CME.  
CLICK HERE to view the PDF report

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 : or by contacting the Clinical Trials Office,, 502-562-3429.

UofL pulmonary group makes its mark at 2015 ATS conference

Faculty, fellows from the University of Louisville make an impact at annual international conference
UofL pulmonary group makes its mark at 2015 ATS conference

Pulmonary specialists from across the globe, including a contingent from the UofL Department of Medicine's Lung Health Initiative, converged in Denver for the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Several members of the University of Louisville Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Disorders Medicine participated in the recent 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, an annual meeting of the largest respiratory society in the world.

This year's conference was held in Denver, and the contingent from the UofL Department of Medicine Lung Health Initiative made many and various contributions.

Among the highlights for the UofL group include:

  • Caleb Greenwell, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Jesse Roman’s laboratory, delivered a well-received oral presentation during a symposium on the Lung Tumor Microenvironment.
  • Dr. Roman delivered a lecture on Lung Fibrosis and Cancer during a symposium on Scarcinomas and chaired a session during an NIH-ATS Workshop on Health Equality and Diversity. He also chaired the Medical Advisory Board Meeting of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation held in conjunction with the ATS Meeting. In addition, Dr. Roman was the Lead Discussion Facilitator for a thematic Poster Session titled "Magical Mysteries of IPF," and also was session chair for a Poster Discussion Session named "Aging: The Common Denominator."
  • Dr. Roman was named Chair of the ATS Health Equality Committee.
  • Dr. Julio Ramirez chaired a two-day NHLBI-sponsored symposium on Clinical & translational research in pneumonia, influenza, and emerging respiratory pathogens (CAPO symposium).

Pulmonary fellows and faculty presented 14 pieces of research work and participated in thematic poster, poster discussion, and symposium sessions.

Their presentation addressed important issues related to a diverse of clinical problems ranging from critical care, pulmonary hypertension and sleep medicine to infectious diseases and lung cancer.

Those presentations include:

Graduate students receive national research awards

Leila El-Aryani received the Sinclair Student Award from the Dermal Toxicology Specialty Section and the second place graduate student award in the Metals Toxicology Specialty Section at the March 2015 national meeting of the Society of Toxicology held in San Diego, California.

Dominique Jones received a national travel award and the first place Delores C. Shockley Best Abstract Award at the April 2015 national meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Samantha Carlisle received a national travel award to attend the June 2015 annual NIGMS-sponsored workshop on metabolomics in Birmingham, Alabama.

Gretchen Holz received an international travel award to present her abstract at the July 2015 annual meetings of the American Society for Virology in London, Ontario, Canada.

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.”


DOM faculty honored for years of service

Three honorees total a nearly collective 100 years of service to UofL
DOM faculty honored for years of service

Drs. Jon Klein (left) and Stephen McClave (right) were honored by UofL President Dr. James Ramsey for their years of service to the university.

Members of the University of Louisville Department of Medicine were among those honored recently for their many years of service to the university.

They were recognized at the Faculty Service Awards ceremony held May 4, 2015, and hosted by UofL President Dr. James Ramsey and Provost Dr. Shirley Willihnganz at the University Club.

The annual Faculty Service Awards honor faculty who have been at UofL 25 or more years, in five-year increments. They received dinner at the University Club and Ramsey and Willihnganz presented each with a certificate.

In all, 45 honorees represented a total of more than 1,300 years of service to the university.

Among those honored from the Department of Medicine:

Marsano part of ACG media tour

UofL hepatology specialist one of six doctors from around the nation to take part in radio programs
Marsano part of ACG media tour

Luis S. Marsano, M.D., FACG

Luis Marsano, M.D., FACG, professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Hepatology at the University of Louisville took part in the recent American College of Gastroenterology 2015 CRC Awareness National Radio Media Tour.

Marsano, who serves as and ACG Regional Councillor and Governor of Kentucky, was joined by five other gastroenterology specialists from around the nation in the series which was targeted to reach the resistant un-screened population with emphasis on Spanish language stations, key African American radio markets and syndicated networks.

The radio tour focused on several customized messages to move the un-screened to action that aim to overcome barriers recently identified by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) in consumer research.