Faculty and Staff News
Cutting-edge microscope to aid researchers’ understanding of disease, potential therapies
A six-member research consortium, including IU School of Medicine and IU Bloomington, is bringing a new state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy platform to the state of Indiana.
The Titan Krios lets scientists look at how proteins and viruses are built atom by atom. It also produces 3D images of those structures and can even identify new proteins that are currently unrecognizable. The microscope works through a new technology known as micro-electron diffraction.
Most medicines are designed to target proteins in the body that are part of the disease process—for example, tumor cells in cancer or brain proteins in Alzheimer’s disease—and this new cryo-EM allows researchers to actually see these protein structures. A recent scientific breakthrough by IU School of Medicine researchers uncovered that the tau protein structure involved in chronic traumatic encephalopathy is actually different from the tau protein structure involved in Alzheimer’s disease, but only after using cryo-EM capabilities based in Cambridge, England.
Access to this new cryo-EM platform will aid the chemical biology and biotherapeutics scientific pillar of the IU Precision Health Initiative Grand Challenge by speeding up the cycle from basic discovery to clinical benefits.
“Cryo-EM provides an unprecedented ability to visualize the molecular machines that enable our cells to function and communicate,” said Distinguished Professor Michael Weiss, MD, PhD, MBA, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at IU School of Medicine and leader of the chemical biology and biotherapeutics scientific pillar. “This promises to advance fundamental understanding of diverse diseases from cancer and diabetes to viral infections and Alzheimer’s disease. What’s more, these images can inform how to design new drugs to prevent and cure these diseases.”
Indiana University already has one cryo-EM based in Bloomington, but advancements in the technology made this acquisition necessary.
For more on the technology and its potential benefits for the state of Indiana, visit the Newsroom.
Mervin Yoder joins Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering as director emeritus
A stalwart of IU School of Medicine’s rich tradition of innovative excellence will be lending his expertise and experience to a group of scientists and researchers doing groundbreaking work in regenerative medicine.
Mervin Yoder, MA, MD, has assumed the role of director emeritus for the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering. He joined the team, led by Chandan Sen, PhD, in January 2019. For Yoder, the opportunity to work with Sen and the pioneering group of researchers that make up his team at the ICRME is proving to be an exciting closing chapter to a distinguished medical career.
“It’s an unbelievable privilege to serve in this role and work with this team,” Yoder said. “Dr. Sen has amassed an incredible group, and his vision is a great one.”
According to Sen, who was recruited to lead the newly established center in August 2018, Yoder’s decades of experience in Indiana medicine, as well as his expertise in entrepreneurship and development biology, are an invaluable asset to the center. Perhaps just as important, however, is his role as sounding board for Sen.
“Provocative science, disruptive science, is very risky. Which is not a bad thing. But risks must be taken very intelligently. I feel that I needed a voice around me that can tell me when I’m going down the wrong road. Most people may not feel comfortable telling that to me. But Merv does,” Sen said. “There’s never a time in your life when you don’t need a mentor. I needed a peer-to-peer adviser, and Merv is one for me.”
Find out more about Yoder’s appointment in the Newsroom.
New award recognizes contributions of volunteer faculty; nominations due June 1
IU School of Medicine Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity has established a new award to recognize volunteer faculty and their impact on the education and training of the school’s learners. Specifically, the Volunteer Faculty Teaching Award acknowledges volunteer faculty for the time, effort and dedication it takes to be exceptional instructors.
Volunteer faculty members at all IU School of Medicine campuses are eligible for the award, and nominations may be submitted by faculty members, learners or staff. Up to 80 volunteer faculty will be honored with the award each year. Award recipients must have demonstrated teaching excellence and completed at least three years of service as a volunteer faculty member with the school.
Nominations for this year’s awards are due Saturday, June. 1. Eligibility guidelines and a nomination form are available.
Seconds matter: Here’s a list of where to find AEDs on campus
According to the American Heart Association, nine out of 10 victims of cardiac arrest who receive a shock from an Automated External Difibrillators (AED) within the first minute survive. That’s why IU School of Medicine – Indianapolis has joined the growing number of businesses, schools and public buildings installing AEDs onsite. Take a moment to review this list of easily accessible on-campus AED locations:
Biotechnology Research & Training Center: First floor elevator lobby
Daly Center: Basement fitness center
Emerson Hall: Second floor elevator lobby
Fesler Hall: First floor lobby
Gatch Hall: Second, fourth and sixth floor elevator lobbies
Glick: Third floor elevator lobby
Health Information and Translational Sciences (HITS): First, third and fifth floor elevator lobbies
Medical Library: First floor main lobby; third and fifth floor elevator lobbies
Medical Science: First, third and fifth floor South elevator lobbies
Neuroscience: First and fourth floor elevator lobbies
Riley Research: First floor elevator lobby
Rotary: First floor lobby next to main entry
R2: First and third floor elevator lobbies
R3: Second, fourth and sixth floor elevator lobbies
R4: First and third floor elevator lobbies
Innovation Center: First floor across from elevator
Important tips: Based on American Heart Association standards, the optimal time to use an AED is within three to five minutes of the onset of cardiac arrest. Placement of AEDs on the Indianapolis campus is based on time studies using this standard. All AEDs are located in elevator lobbies with the exception of the Daly Center where the AED is located inside the fitness center. If you do not find an AED in an elevator lobby, one will be located on the floor above and below.
Check Emergency Response for steps on using an AED and the full list of campus locations.
Correction: Medical students recognized for community health improvement projects
Editor’s note: Based on information submitted to INScope, last week’s article included an inaccurate list of student winners. The corrected article appears below. INScope apologizes for the error.
Three groups of Phase 2 medical students were recognized for their contributions to the Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP), which was presented this academic year. Students were placed in small virtual groups based on their expressed interest in significant Indiana public health issues that included infant mortality, opioids, obesity, tobacco use and others, as well as the 10 leading causes of death in Indiana.
Students were tasked with identifying data associated with their health problem and determining barriers to improving outcomes for a specific location or county in Indiana where the group’s program would have the most impact. After identifying stakeholders and crafting a possible solution, they developed a mini-grant explaining the problem and their solution.
Out of 40 groups, the following were recognized as first through third place winners:
Virtual Rural Caregiver Support Program (Alzheimer’s Group)
Students: Zain Abedali, Nihanth Damera, Lauren Lynch, Darla Wheeler, Benjamin Bacon, Will DeBrock, Rusty Reed, Elise Briscoe, Alexis Kaiser and Luke Scheel
Implementing Peer Recovery Coaches into the Emergency Department in Scott County (Opioid Group)
Students: Christian Allebach, Sherri Huang, Kenneth Ndife, Patrick Dugan, James Knight, Erich Weidenbener, Dylan Fischer and Brenna McElderry
A Fresh Take on Fresh Bucks Indy: Addressing Cost and Access Barriers to Healthy Food for Marion County SNAP Program Participants
Students: Andrew Bolhassani, David Price, Carlos Vega, Alexander Hayden, Christina Raghunandan, Patrick Wurster, Tom Kotnik and AJ Sood
CHIP was developed to increase awareness among medical students of issues and problems that affect populations within communities where they train, live and work. Physicians must be advocates for individual patients, as well as for local, regional, national and even global issues to reduce healthcare inequities, improve access to health services and improve outcomes.
Study shows plants could hold secret for treating common eye diseases
Chemical compounds found in plants could hold the answer to treating an array of blindness-causing ocular disorders, a collaborative study by IU School of Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom found.
Scientists from the IU School of Medicine Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute and their British counterparts tested chemical compounds from a family of plants—Hyacinthaceae—and found that certain compounds could have the potential to treat abnormal blood vessel growth within the eye.
This blood vessel growth is linked to several types of blindness, including in premature babies (retinopathy of prematurity), diabetics (proliferative diabetic retinopathy) and older adults (wet age-related macular degeneration).
IU School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology researchers and their colleagues made the discovery as part of a partnership that has spanned nearly five years. Their full findings recently appeared in the “Journal of Natural Products,” a publication of the American Chemical Society.
For more, read the Spirit of Medicine blog post.
Faculty and Staff News
Deadline extended to apply for Physician Leadership in Business Acumen program
There’s still time to apply for one of the IU Kelley School of Business partnership programs. The deadline to submit an application for the Physician Leadership in Business Acumen program has been extended to Friday, May 3. A six-month course, the business acumen program is designed for physicians in leadership positions and promising future leaders.
IU School of Medicine has partnered with the Kelley School of Business on a series of leadership development programs aimed at optimizing faculty’s extensive medical expertise with insight into business and leadership, as they relate to healthcare.
Other Kelley School of Business Partnership Programs are available.
Plan to attend April 30 Faculty Meeting
The IU School of Medicine Spring Faculty Meeting will be held from 4:30-6 pm, Tuesday, April 30, in Walther Hall (R3), room C203, on the Indianapolis campus. Agenda items for the spring meeting include:
- Faculty Steering Committee update: Brittney-Shea Herbert, PhD, president of the faculty
- 2019-2020 Faculty election results: Rafat Abonour, MD, president-elect of the faculty
- Trustees Teaching Award recognition: Paul Wallach, MD, executive associate dean for educational affairs and institutional improvement
- Update from the Dean: Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, executive vice president for university clinical affairs, and dean, IU School of Medicine
- Question and answer session
Nominate colleagues for faculty awards by June 1
Honoring outstanding teaching, research and service is an important part of IU School of Medicine’s culture. A number of faculty awards exist to honor individuals for their contributions:
Award descriptions and nomination forms are available at the links above. Nominations are due Saturday, June 1.
Bootcamp to train participants on basics of agile implementation
The IU School of Medicine Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science is hosting an Agile Implementation (AI) Bootcamp from 9 am-4 pm, Tuesday, April 23 through Thursday, April 25.
The bootcamp is a three-day, Continuing Medical Education-accredited course aimed at helping participants identify the right opportunities, assemble effective teams, implement evidence-based solutions and sustain improvement. Attendees will learn how implementation science integrates with quality improvement principles to improve population health outcomes and will leave with the tools to help navigate this complicated process.
Agile Implementation is a proven evidence-based change methodology designed specifically to improve healthcare. Registration and future bootcamp dates are available.
Discounted tickets still available for April 27 Evening of the Arts
An evening of great entertainment is in store at the 28th annual IU School of Medicine Evening of the Arts on Saturday, April 27. The variety show features performances by IU School of Medicine students, faculty and staff, and will be held at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., in downtown Indianapolis. A mixer and silent auction will begin at 7 pm, followed by the variety show at 8 pm. (Doors to the auditorium will open at 7:50 pm.)
Tickets can be purchased in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and paying with PayPal.a
- Students, faculty and staff: $8 until day of the show; $10 at the door
- Non-students and non-staff: $10 until day of the show; $12 at the door
HANDS in Autism art expo is next week
HANDS in Autism will host its ninth annual art expo, “In the Details,” on Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, in the Simon Family Tower at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
This free, public event features artwork created by individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other disabilities—giving them an opportunity to showcase their strengths, build their confidence and educate the community. Community members who work with and support individuals with ASD are also featured artists. For nearly a decade, this event has presented a public forum for artists to share their vision of the world as it relates to disabilities, as well as to reflect their thoughts, interests and experiences using their medium of choice (e.g., 2D, 3D, fine art, mixed media, photography, digital media and more).
Diabetes and metabolic disorders symposium honors researchers
An upcoming symposium will celebrate the service and contributions of two IU School of Medicine colleagues. The Peter J. Roach and Anna A. DePaoli-Roach Scientific Symposium: Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders will be held from 8:15 am-4 pm, Friday, May 3, in the Van Nuys Medical Science Building, MS 326.
The symposium recognizes 40 years of scientific discovery made possible by Distinguished Professor Peter J. Roach, PhD, and Anna A. DePaoli-Roach, PhD, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology. A reception will follow the symposium.
TeleECHO clinic focusing on treating OUD begins April 25
A new series focusing on treating opioid use disorder (OUD) in the emergency department setting begins Thursday, April 25. This TeleECHO clinic provides case-based education and mentorship regarding the intervention, diagnosis and treatment of those suffering from OUD.
Conducted through Zoom videoconference, the series will be held from noon-1:30 pm, every Thursday from April 25-June 13. Dates and topics include:
April 25: Overview of OUD in Emergency Departments
May 2: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Overview and Data Waiver/Legal Concerns
May 9: Prescribing MAT in ER setting: What are Best Practices?
May 16: Peer Recovery Coaching in the ED
May 23: Stigma Reduction
May 30: Buprenorphine prescribing in the ED Pilots
June 6: Behavioral Interventions in ED setting
June 13: Pregnancy and Adolescents with OUD in the ED
Through a contract with the Indiana Family and Social Services Agency, Indiana University School of Medicine is providing the clinic free of charge to healthcare providers, behavioral health specialists and community health workers/peer support. Registration is available. Learn more about the opioid ECHO model.
Healthcare Thinkathon is July 23
Are you an innovator? Passionate about improving healthcare? Join the IU School of Medicine Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Science (CHIIS) and Malaz Boustani, MD, on Tuesday, July 23, at the Regions Tower Event Space in downtown Indianapolis for the second annual Healthcare Thinkathon.
Work toward the goal of achieving the “Quadruple Aim: Better Care, Improved Outcomes, Lower Costs and Enhanced Experiences.” Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with other attendees to generate solutions through networking, innovation forums and an engaging series of talks by influential industry leaders.
Register at Healthcare Thinkathon.
IU Health appoints vice president of community health
Karen Amstutz, MD, has been named vice president of community health for Indiana University Health. Joining the health system earlier this month, Amstutz is responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating IU Health’s community health programs, with an emphasis on achieving the goals of reducing infant mortality, smoking and obesity in Indiana and increasing behavioral health services.
Amstutz previously served as chief medical officer for Magellan Health, a Fortune 500 company specializing in medical and behavioral health services for complex and special populations.
First-year medical students selected for health care experience in Kenya
Hands-on global health opportunities await four first-year IU School of Medicine students selected to travel to the AMPATH program in western Kenya this summer. Students Sean Buehler, Michael Harding, Bilal Jawed and Grace Rushton, this year’s class of student ambassadors, referred to as Slemenda Scholars, will learn about every facet of AMPATH’s programs during their 8-10 week journey.
For more on the students’ upcoming experience, read the Global Health blog post.