Faculty and Staff News
Mark your calendar for the All-School Meeting on September 5
Plan to attend the IU School of Medicine All-School Meeting on Thursday, September 5, to hear the latest news and progress at the school. All faculty, staff and learners are invited to attend the meeting, which will be held from 4:30-6 pm in Walther Hall (R3), C203. IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, and the executive associate deans will be speaking during the meeting. Award recipients also will be announced, and there will be opportunities to ask questions. A post-meeting reception will be held from 6-7 pm.
While in-person attendance is encouraged, those unable to attend may participate via a live web stream. Instructions to access the live stream are available on the Faculty Steering Committee page.
IU sets new record with $680.2 million in research grants and awards
Indiana University received a record $680.2 million in external funding to support research and other activities in fiscal year 2019. Much of IU's record funding—nearly $434 million—is for medical research at IU School of Medicine.
“IU School of Medicine has emerged as a national leader in research on dementia, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and other diseases that have a devastating impact on patients in Indiana and throughout the world," said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean, IU School of Medicine, and executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “This increase in grant funding reflects the extent to which our researchers are at the cutting edge of developing new prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies that will ultimately lead to better patient care.”
IU President Michael A. McRobbie announced the university-wide funding record on Thursday, August 8, during a presentation to the IU Board of Trustees.
“This is a truly extraordinary accomplishment, one that underscores Indiana University's standing as the state's research powerhouse," McRobbie said. "It reflects the excellence and importance of IU faculty research in a funding environment that continues to grow increasingly more competitive. It also is testament to the thousands of IU faculty, staff and students who form the teams that develop the university's high-quality research proposals and whose ideas and work are being favorably judged by their peers around the nation and world at a time when only the most promising research proposals are securing support.”
The previous funding record was set in FY 2016, when IU received $614.1 million in external funding. IU's record funding amount is the highest total of such funding for any university in Indiana during the last fiscal year, and it has increased nearly 45 percent since FY 2009. This fiscal year's $680.2 million, up from $604.5 the previous fiscal year, comes from both public and private sources that awarded funding to more than 2,800 IU proposals.
For more, visit News at IU.
Multiple myeloma patient believes a cure is around the corner
Myron Gill was 50 years old when he began experiencing excruciating back pain. Doctors ran several tests and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Eventually, after evaluating a 24-hour urine specimen, doctors diagnosed Gill with multiple myeloma.
It’s a disease that is often misdiagnosed and mispronounced.
“It’s not melanoma, it’s myeloma,” said Rafat Abonour, MD, IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative multiple myeloma research team leader. “Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer. About 2 percent of all cancers are made up of these cells that make antibodies to fight infection, they multiply in the bone marrow and they cause the patient to have bone destruction, anemia, high calcium or kidney failure.” The bone disease, brought on by the multiple myeloma, can make the spine fragile, “like a marshmallow,” said Abonour. “It’s the bone destruction that can cause the kind of pain Gill experienced that can be a primary symptom that leads to a multiple myeloma diagnosis.”
When Gill was finally diagnosed with multiple myeloma, doctors gave him a couple of years to live. It’s been 20 years since he was originally diagnosed, and he believes through the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative and the technology and talent it brings along with it, IU will come up with a cure.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very long before they do,” said Gill. “I certainly hope not, because I don’t want to see people suffer like I had to for a while.”
For more on Gill’s journey, including a video testimonial, read the Cancer Research blog post.
Class of 2023 spotlight: Healing herself, others through medicine
Life for Rhea Sharma began in a refugee camp.
A world away from Indiana in every sense of the word, the Nepalese refugee camp that served as Sharma’s birthplace would seem an inauspicious starting point for a future physician. However, for Sharma, a first-year medical student at IU School of Medicine – Fort Wayne, her improbable origin story has provided a foundation of drive and determination.
“I feel like I have always had these inspirations in my life that were leading me to a career in medicine. In Nepal, I witnessed suffering inside and outside of the camps. I could see firsthand the effects of the lack of medicine, and of proper treatment for patients,” Sharma said. “Once in the United States, I knew what it felt like to be an outsider, trying to figure out my identity. All of that made me see how important it was for me to help others.”
A member of the Class of 2023, Sharma is one of the 365 students beginning their first year of medical training at IU School of Medicine this month. Read more about her journey to medical school in this MD Student News blog post.
July research awards total nearly $5.5 million
July 2019 Awards Investigator Sponsor Type Project Title Begin Date End Date Awarded Dollars Alpini, Gianfranco National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism New Role of stem cell derived microvesicles in alcoholic liver injury 6/20/2019 7/31/2019 $187,505 Ballinger, Tarah Jean Obesity Society New Impact of body composition on survival and treatment toxicity in metastatic ER positive breast cancer 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $5,000 Chmiel, James Francis Seattle Children's Research Institute New TEACH Trial: Testing the Effect of Adding CHronic Azithromycin to Inhaled Tobramycin. A Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Double-blinded Trial of Zzithromycin 500mg Thrice Weekly in Combination with Inhaled Tobramycin [TEACH-IP-15] 4/1/2019 3/31/2020 $16,361 Evans-Molina, Carmella University Of Florida Renewal (not prev committed) Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors - nPOD 4/1/2019 3/31/2020 $24,268 Francis, Heather National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney New The Paracrine Regulation of Mast Cells During Biliary/Cholangiocyte Repair and Damage 4/1/2019 3/31/2020 $252,991 Gao, Xiang Indiana State Department Of Health New Improving the functional outcomes by preventing progressive spine loss after repetitive mild traumatic brain injury 7/1/2019 6/30/2021 $160,000 Hundley, Heather Ann National Institute Of General Medical Sciences New Molecular mechanisms that regulate ADAR target recognition and RNA editing in vivo 8/1/2019 7/31/2020 $330,605 Kim, Il-Man National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute New Beta-arrestin signaling and microRNA biogenesis in cardioprotection 6/25/2019 7/31/2020 $54,936 Kim, Il-Man American Heart Association Incorporated New The novel role of microRNA-532-5p/prss23 axis in regulating cardiac vascularization during acute myocardial infarction 4/1/2019 6/30/2021 $261,497 Kim, Il-Man Augusta University New Notch1/miR-322 Axis in Stem Cell Mediated Vascular Repair 5/1/2019 4/30/2020 $16,312 Kim, Il-Man National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute New "Identifying novel pathways targeting endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition during heart failure" 7/15/2019 6/30/2020 $393,750 Kim, Jungsu National Institute On Aging New microRNA-758-3p in cognition and Alzheimer's disease 7/1/2019 7/31/2019 $98,595 Kim, Jungsu Washington University New Modeling Neuronal Aging and Alzheimer's Disease in Human Neurons Directly Converted from Fibroblasts 7/1/2018 6/30/2019 $52,123 Kim, Jungsu National Institute On Aging New Role of LDLR in regulating metabolism of Apolipoprotein E and Amyloid-beta 6/15/2019 4/30/2020 $393,750 Kim, Jungsu National Institute On Aging New Role of microRNA-33 in Alzheimer's disease 7/1/2019 4/30/2020 $395,458 Landis, Benjamin John National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute New Investigating the role of mitochondria in thoracic aortic aneurysm pathogenesis 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $162,000 Liu, Hao Rutgers University New The adaptor protein Crk in immune responses 2/1/2019 1/31/2020 $23,813 Liu, Yan Leukemia And Lymphoma Society New Development of therapeutic strategy for the treatment of MDS 7/1/2019 6/30/2022 $600,000 Markel, Troy A Riley Children's Foundation New Pediatric Surgery Support 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $150,000 McNulty, Margaret A. Morris Animal Foundation New Effect of tiludronate on bone remodeling and regeneration in horses 7/1/2019 7/1/2021 $116,625 Mendonca, Eneida A. University Of Wisconsin New Children¿s Respiratory and Environmental Workgroup (CREW) 4/1/2019 8/31/2019 $83,903 Misseri, Rosalia Riley Children's Foundation Renewal (not prev committed) Pediatric Urology Clinical Research Support 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $150,000 Monje, Paula Craig H Neilsen Foundation New Identity-function definitions for transplantable human Schwann cells 5/31/2019 5/30/2020 $50,097 Mueller, Emily L National Cancer Institute New Utilizing mHealth Technology to Support Caregivers in the Medical Management of their Child with Cancer 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $218,123 Nakshatri, Harikrishna The Breast Cancer Research Foundation New Mapping cell-of-origin of breast cancers in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers through single cell analyses 6/15/2019 6/15/2020 $99,999 Nakshatri, Harikrishna Chan Zuckerberg Foundation New Single cell mapping of the normal breast of ethnically diverse population (Seed Networks) 7/1/2019 6/30/2022 $749,676 Perkins, Susan M Purdue University New An Evaluation of the Spread and Scale of PatientToc from Primary Care to Community Pharmacy Practice for the Collection of Patient-Reported Outcomes 4/1/2019 3/31/2020 $45,415 Rex, Douglas K Veterans Education And Research Association Of Northern New England, Inc. New Cold endoscopic resection of large colorectal polyps: A randomized trial(Cold Snare Trial) 5/1/2019 4/30/2024 $25,000 Saykin, Andrew J University Of Washington Renewal (not prev committed) National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center 7/1/2018 6/30/2020 $31,180 Sims, Emily K National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney New MiR-21 Exacerbates Cytokine Induced Beta Cell Dysfunction Via Inhibition of mRNAs Regulating Beta Cell Identity 7/12/2019 7/11/2020 $29,286 Trautman, Michael S Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation New Trial of the New Transportle/Womba Pod device for Babies under 4.5Kgms that require a transport 7/1/2019 6/30/2020 $7,600 Yang, Lei American Heart Association Incorporated New Dissecting essential roles of ARID1A in controlling cardiac and neural differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells 7/1/2019 6/30/2022 $300,000
Ekser receives prestigious American Society of Transplant Surgeons grant
Burcin Ekser, MD, PhD, recently earned a grant to support groundbreaking research in the development of advanced 3-D bioprinted human liver models. A transplant surgeon and director of the IU School of Medicine Xenotransplantation Lab, Ekser received the 2019 American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) Foundation Faculty Development Grant, awarded to only one researcher each year. Ekser was singled out by the ASTS for his work to create the models using scaffold-free 3D bioprinting technology available through the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. The $100,000 grant will help fund Ekser’s scientific research through 2021.
The ASTS-supported research focuses on human liver model bioprinting, which offers valuable near-term benefits for drug toxicity testing and lays important groundwork for the eventual creation of lifesaving human whole-liver bioprints for transplantation. The research program builds on Ekser’s pioneering efforts to bioprint pig liver tissue from genetically engineered pig liver cells.
Read the Research Updates blog post for more on Ekser’s work funded by the ASTS grant.
Cornetta to lead Precision Health pillar
Ken Cornetta, MD, has been named the leader for the cell, gene and immune therapy pillar of the Indiana University Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative (PHI). Specifically, Cornetta serves as director of Gene and Cell Therapy Resources for IU School of Medicine and the IU Precision Health Initiative. Cornetta is also associate director of the Brown Immunotherapy Center at IU School of Medicine.
“The goal of the cell, gene, and immune therapy pillar of Precision Health is to develop state-of-the-art therapies for patients,” said Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, executive associate dean of research for IU School of Medicine and the principal investigator for the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative. “Ken has the experience and the support of his colleagues to succeed in this important role.”
For more on Cornetta’s appointment, visit Precision Health.
Faculty and Staff News
Learn about promotion and tenure at upcoming events
Want to learn more about promotion and tenure? Need feedback on your P&T materials? Plan now to attend these upcoming events about the promotion and tenure process at IU School of Medicine. Most events are available remotely via Zoom.
- General overview: Tuesday, October 22
- Personal statement: Tuesday, October 29
- Documenting your work: Wednesday, October 30
- Preparing your CV: Thursday, November 7
- Department administration and staff: Tuesday, November 12
- Advancing to full professor: Wednesday, November 13
Pelus named emeritus professor
Louis M. Pelus, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, has been approved for emeritus status, effective September 1, 2019, when he retires from IU School of Medicine.
Pelus joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 1999 as an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and associate director of the Walther Oncology Center. He was promoted to professor in 2004. Most of his contributions to the school have been in the area of research directed toward improving the understanding of the hematopoietic stem cell biology in response to prostaglandins, aging, radiation injury and engraftment. While at IU School of Medicine, he trained 11 postdoctoral fellows and served as the thesis advisor for six graduate students. His scholarly work includes 138 peer-reviewed publications in high-ranking journals, 33 book chapters and reviews, and 150 abstracts.
Emeritus designation may be awarded upon retirement from IUPUI to faculty members and others as recognition of "substantial contributions to the university in the fields of teaching, research and/or service." Pelus’ emeritus status was approved by IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy Johnson. IU School of Medicine congratulates Pelus and appreciates his contributions to the school and university.
Division of Clinical Pharmacology offering new doctoral minor
Beginning this fall, IU School of Medicine will offer a Therapeutic Development & Translation doctoral minor program on the drug discovery and development process, from bench to bedside. The goal of this degree minor is to provide prospective scientists and researchers the opportunity to jumpstart their careers in biomedical science through learning about how new medicines are discovered, developed and approved for human use. The program courses will be delivered by industry experts with many years of combined experience in the field. This minor will serve as a strong supplement to any biomedical program.
The 12-credit program, offered by the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, will be anchored by the newly developed CLPH-D 501 (Discovering Novel Treatments) & 502 (Developing Clinically Approved Medicines) courses, which take learners on a journey through the entire drug discovery and development process. Six other elective credits are required. Andrew Dahlem, DVM (h.c), PhD, chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, will serve as the minor advisor for the program. Dahlem recently joined IU School of Medicine after a distinguished career at Eli Lilly and Company, where he served in several leadership roles in drug discovery and development.
CHPH-D 501 will begin Tuesday, August 27, and will be held on Tuesday and Thursday from 12-1:30 pm in the Medical Sciences Building, MS 122 C/D. More information is available, and registration is now open. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Careers in clinical research: Women Rock Science is September 5
Mark your calendar for an afternoon with Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD, professor of pediatrics and co-author of “Women Rock Science: A Pocket Guide for Success in Clinical Academic Research Careers.” In this seminar, Katzenellenbogen will address the unique challenges of forging a career in clinical research and offer insights from her own successful career and book. The event will be held from 3:30-4:30 pm, Thursday, September 5, in the Medical Science Building Atrium. Registration is highly recommended.
New app tied to All IN for Health offers added health benefits for Hoosiers
Aimed at growing the All IN for Health program, the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, (CTSI) and LifeOmic, the creators of LIFE mobile apps, have launched a partnership to offer All IN for Health participants access to complementary tools to enhance their health journey via the LIFE Extend app. Together, LifeOmic and the Indiana CTSI aim to engage over 100,000 residents in All IN for Health who are striving to take better control of their health and seek prevention-focused care. All IN for Health connects Indiana residents across the state with opportunities to improve their health and participate in research and clinical studies. More information about the new app is available.
Consider a graduate certificate in Innovation and Implementation Science
Interested in improving health care? IU School of Medicine offers a graduate certificate in Innovation and Implementation Science (IIS) for health care professionals who are passionate about making change in the industry. Through IIS coursework, students will build a foundation to improve processes of care, shape patient and clinician behaviors, and lead effective and sustainable change in organizations. Participants will practice the tools of Agile Implementation, such as confirming demand and implementing a termination plan, as well as business skills such as networking and pitching to stakeholders.
Current cohorts include physicians, nurses, consultants, administrators, executives and researchers. They practice and work in academic medical centers, health systems, urban and rural hospitals, and in pharmaceutical, insurance and device companies.
Apply by September 17 for DHART SPORE research and career development programs
DHART SPORE Developmental Research Program
The Developmental Research Program (DRP) is a component of the multi-institutional Developmental and Hyperactive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE. This SPORE program has the goal of improving the diagnosis and management of tumors arising in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and other inherited “Rasopathy” syndromes through basic, translational and clinical research. The DRP supports innovative pilot projects to advance the diagnosis and treatment of early stage tumors and advanced cancers characterized by germline and somatic NF1 mutations. The DRP accomplishes this goal by funding rigorous translational research in the areas of population science, therapeutics and mechanisms of disease and by facilitating collaborative interactions between DRP-funded scientists and other SPORE investigators.
The DRP expects to fund one or two DRP projects at $50,000-$75,000 per year. Proposals are accepted from clinical or basic science investigators at any DHART SPORE institution (Indiana University, UCSF, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, UT Southwestern, UAB, UNC, and Johns Hopkins), as well as from other academic institutions.
DHART SPORE Career Development Program
The Career Enhancement Program (CEP) is a component of the multi-institutional Developmental and Hyperactive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE. This SPORE focuses on improving the diagnosis and management of tumors arising in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and other inherited “Rasopathy” syndromes through basic, translational and clinical research. The goals of the CEP are to attract outstanding young basic scientists and translational/clinical investigators to the field of NF1-associated tumor research; assist in the career development of these junior faculty; and encourage collaborations between investigators that can lead to new ideas and directions in research related to tumors associated with NF1 mutations while also contributing to career development.
The DRP expects to fund two or three CEP projects at $50,000-$75,000 per year. Proposals are accepted from clinical or basic science investigators at any DHART SPORE institution (Indiana University, UCSF, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, UT Southwestern, UAB, UNC, and Johns Hopkins), as well as from other academic institutions.
Application deadline for both programs is Tuesday, September 17. For more information and application materials, contact Karrie Tolbert, Department of Pediatrics, at email@example.com.
Walk on October 19 to raise awareness of mental health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Indianapolis is hosting a walk to raise awareness about mental health and to raise funds for family education and support, peer education, a speaker’s bureau and other services. The walk will be held on Saturday, October 19, in Broad Ripple. Registration is free. With questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-257-7517.
Save the date: IU Health Physicians Social is October 2
The IU Health Physicians Social (formerly the All-Provider Networking Event) will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm, Wednesday, October 2, at the Ritz Charles in Carmel. The social provides an opportunity for physicians, advanced practice providers and system executives to make connections and build relationships. Register by emailing Khristi Autajay at email@example.com or call 317.944.5713.
New IU team leaders join AMPATH partnership in Kenya
Three IU School of Medicine physicians recently joined the AMPATH partnership as team leaders and will work with their Kenyan counterparts at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) and Moi University School of Medicine to lead in the areas of medicine, pediatrics and surgery.
Faculty members from IU and other AMPATH consortium members have served as full-time team leaders in Kenya since the advent of the Kenyan partnership in 1990. JoAnna Hunter-Squires, MD, Caitrin Kelly, MD, and Donita Roettcher, MD, continue this commitment.
For more on the role of the AMPATH team leaders, read the Global Health blog post.