IU School of Medicine 2014 Year in Review

December 18, 2014

This year has been a year of growth at the IU School of Medicine. A look over the past year in InScope reveals the completion of several major construction and renovation projects at the School, including the dedication of the IU School of Medicine Neurosciences Research Center, the construction of the Lyles-Porter Hall at the IU School of Medicine-Lafayette and the renovation of the historical Rotary Building, as well as the launch of new building projects, including the expansion of the regional medical education campus in Evansville and the construction of the Regenstrief Building on the old Wishard campus, an area marked for continued development in the coming years. In addition, IUSM students opened two new student outreach clinics in Terre Haute and South Bend, building on the success of the flagship clinic on the near Eastside in Indianapolis.

The school also achieved a number of research milestones, including more than $109 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2014 -- an increase of nearly $12 million over the last fiscal year -- as well as a rise from 41st to 37th in NIH rankings. Major grants included $30 million from the NCAA and Department of Defense to fund concussion research at the university.

Ronald Williams, M.D., spent four months with NASA participating in a simulation of the Martian environment in Hawaii. | Photo By HI-SEAS.ORG

For more on these stories, and many other milestones, InScope presents the 2014 Year in Review:

January: IUSM kicked off the year with a major gift, as the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer pledged $15 million to the IU Simon Cancer Center, raising its total giving to $35 million. In research, an IUSM scientists earned support from the NFL's Head Health Challenge to study how concussions affect blood flow in the brain, a visit from Chinese hospital officials helped boost the school's reputation as a model in the field of biobanking and IU scientists discovered that a parasite gene could help fight toxoplasmosis and malaria. Also, Rudolph M. Navari, associate dean and director of the IU School of Medicine-South Bend, announced plans to depart IU to join the World Health Organization.

February: IUSM officially launched the Transforming Research Initiative, a plan to make its research enterprise more competitive, as well as the Industry Collaboration Portal, a new tool to improve communication between academic and industry scientists. In research, IUSM scientists discovered a highly accurate, noninvasive test to identify benign pancreatic cysts, and Ronald Williams, a volunteer clinical professor of neurology at IU School of Medicine-Fort Wayne, began preparing to spend four months in a domed facility in Hawaii as part of a team experiment designed to simulate a space mission on Mars. IUSM students celebrated the 10th annual IUSM-Terre Haute Health Fair and met with Sen. Joe Donnelly and retired Sen. Richard Lugar during a legislative trip to Washington, D.C. The month also marked the passage of Ronald S. Filo, a remarkable emeritus faculty member who died Feb. 1.

Joel Franco chose Match Day to "pop the question" to his fellow medical student, Tanya Devnani. The couple, who met during their first year at IUSM, are serving residencies in St. Louis. | Photo By LIZ KAYE

March: This month brought honors to the school and its faculty as U.S. News and World Report gave the school high marks on the education of primary care physicians, and the Indianapolis Business Journal named several faculty members IBJ Healthcare Heroes.  In research, IU and Regenstrief scientists reported a DNA test could deliver a new non-invasive colorectal cancer screening and IUSM faculty worked to impart a love of science in local high school students at the 15th annual Molecular Medicine in Action. In faculty news, $2 million from the Efroymson Family Fund brought an internationally known cancer researcher to IU; Carl Marfurt, Ph.D., was named interim director of IUSM-South Bend; Kathleen "Kiki" Boyd was appointed to lead efforts to prepare faculty to teach curriculum supported by IUSM's $1 million AMA grant; and IU health policy expert Aaron Carroll was named a regular contributor to The New York Times. Plus, the IUSM Class of 2014 celebrated their residency appointments at Match Day 2014, including a surprise marriage proposal.

The new multidisciplinary academic medical education and research center will be adjacent to the main Deaconess Clinic in downtown Evansville, and a short drive to several other hospitals where IUSM students serve residencies. | Photo By IU School of Medicine

April: In April, IU trustees moved forward on a $69.5 million, 170,000-square-foot academic medical education and research center in Evansville and IUSM-Northwest received $100,000 from the Lake County Medical Society to support the school's growing student body. In student news, IUSM students helped out local residents at "Spring House Calls"; raised funds for the Annique Wilson-Weeks Scholarship of Excellence; and traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for federal support for graduate medical education in Washington. Plus, Megan Song McHenry, a pediatric resident, was named the inaugural Joyce Victoria McRobbie Pediatric Fellow, a new endowment named in honor of the mother of IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

May: IUSM closed out a strong academic year with the landmark graduation of 399 new physicians, researchers and scientists at the school's 45th commencement ceremony, and another milestone was met as AMPATH's home-based counseling and HIV/AIDS testing program reached its 1 millionth person in western Kenya. In research, IU and Paradigm teamed up for a new clinical trial to genetically test women who have an aggressive form of breast cancer and IU's chair of orthopaedic surgery led the first study to analyze trampoline fracture patterns in a large population. Also, the Navari Student Outreach Clinic at IUSM-South Bend welcomed its first patients and the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala marked its second year, with $632,000 funds raised for the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Indianapolis Colts Coach Pagano, center, with, to the right, Jay Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine; Patrick Loehrer, M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center; Pete Ward, COO of the Indianapolis Colts; and Colts players Andrew Luck and Pat McAfee at the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala. | Photo By BANAYOTE PHOTOGRAPHY, INC.

June: The start of the new academic year marked the first in which all four years of medical education officially reached all nine IUSM medical education centers as clerkship rotations began at IUSM-Muncie.  In research, the U.S. Department of Defense and the NCAA announced $30 million to support concussion research at IU, Michigan and Wisconsin and IUSM researchers joined an international team to report their discovery of 11 genes that can successfully predict an increased risk of alcoholism. Also, David W. Crabb, M.D., announced plans to step down as chair of the department of medicine in the summer of 2015 and the school remembered its history as Harvey Feigenbaum, M.D., a pioneer in the use of ultrasound technology in cardiology, was honored with the IU President’s Medal for Excellence.

July: This month marked progress on the IU Center for Interprofessional Health Education and Practice with the appointment of Andrea L. Pfeifle, Ed.D., as the program's first assistant dean and director, and the IUSM Office of Diversity Affairs with the appointment of new assistant deans, Mary Guerriero Austrom, Ph.D., Antoine Leflore, M.D., and Alvaro Tori, M.D. New programs included the establishment of a student outreach clinic at IUSM-Terre Haute and a new summer internship program from IUSM Biomedical Gateway Program and the IUPUI Women in Science Program. Also, IUSM community members were recognized for their service as faculty member Elaine Cox, M.D., was invited to testify before the House of Representatives on hospital-acquired infections and student Charles B. Goodwin III received the U.S. Public Health Service’s 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award for his service to underserved communities in Indianapolis.

Sheryl E. Allen, M.D., associate dean for medical student affairs, places a white coat on the shoulders of an incoming medical student at the 2014 White Coat Ceremony. | Photo By LIZ KAYE

August: The school welcomed 352 new medical students and 24 new Ph.D. students at the 2014 White Coat Ceremony and IUSM Biomedical Gateway Program Welcome Reception, respectively. Also, the Regenstrief Institute broke ground on a new facility and the IUSM Outreach Clinic celebrated its fifth year. In research, IU School of IUSM and Rutgers scientists developed a new quantitative screening method for diagnosing and tracking autism in children; a biotechnology company founded by an IUSM faculty member received investment from the NIH and BioCrossroads; and Lang Li, Ph.D., professor of medical and molecular genetics, was selected as the new director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. August also saw the passage of longtime Pediatrics Chair and Riley Physician-in-Chief Morris Green, M.D., and the IU Health Proton Therapy Center and Cyclotron in Bloomington announced plans to close on Jan. 1, 2015.

Rafat Abonour, M.D., and his fellow riders catch their breath after the 2013 Miles for Myloma cycling event and fundraiser. | Photo By IU SIMON CANCER CENTER

September: September marked several achievements in cancer research at the school, with the IU Simon Cancer Center's selection as one of only 30 sites in the U.S. to lead cancer clinical trials in the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network; IU researcher Rafat Abonour's marking the 10th year of his annual bike ride fundraiser, Miles for Myeloma; and a celebration of 40 years since Dr. Lawrence H. Einhorn's discovery of a cure for testicular cancer. Also, IU's National Center for Excellence in Women’s Health was awarded its fourth grant in three years from the Indiana State Department of Health and IU researchers found combining epilepsy drug with morphine can result in less pain and lower opioid doses for patients. In transition news, Gerry Oxford announced plans to step down as director of the Stark Neurosciences Research Center on July 1, 2015, and Steve Bogdewic, Ph.D., Mary Dankoski, Ph.D., and Diane Iseminger, were named the school's first executive vice dean, an executive associate dean, and chief of staff, respectively. IUSM students also celebrated the end of summer with work -- a scientific poster session -- and play -- a third-place win at the IUPUI Regatta.

IUSM Dean Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., right, joined past IUSM deans D. Craig Brater, M.D., center, and Steven C. Beering, M.D., left, at the dedication of Lyles-Porter Hall at IUSM-Lafayette. Dr. Beering is also past president of Purdue. | Photo By VINCENT WALTER

October: Two major construction projects came to completion in October with the dedication of the $45 million IU Neurosciences Research Building and the opening of Lyles-Porter Hall at IUSM-Lafayette on the campus of Purdue University. In addition, IUSM and its faculty received $8.5 million from the estate of Suzanne Buckner Knoebel, M.D., to benefit research and education in cardiology; $7.8 million from the National Cancer Institute as part of IU Simon Cancer Center's NCI designation renewal; and $2.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to advance diabetes research. In appointments, Richard C. Zellars, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was named professor and chair of radiation oncology. In research, a company founded by an IUSM faculty member received investment from the NIH and BioCrossroads. Plus, 35 students, six residents and two faculty were inducted into Gold Humanism Honor Society.

November: November saw rising ranks and research dollars at the IU School of Medicine, with more than $109 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2014 -- an increase of nearly $12 million over the last fiscal year -- as well as a rise from 41st to 37th in NIH rankings. And locally, over 350 IUSM physicians were named "Top Docs" by Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. In research, IUSM scientists received $2.5 million to improve the mental function in senior citizens and identified two proteins that appear crucial to the development and destruction of acute myeloid leukemia. Leadership changes included Derron Bishop, Ph.D., as director and associate dean of the IUSM-Muncie, Rachel Vreeman, M.D., as director of research for the IU Center for Global Health; and Gordon L. Coppoc, DVM, Ph.D., who announced plans to retire as associate dean and director at IUSM-Lafayette effective Dec. 31, 2014. Plus, IUSM students performed service projects with Indy Parks and donated 450 pounds of canned and boxed food to Paws Pantry for the Thanksgiving season.

The seventh annual IU School of Medicine Art Exhibition, "Scientific Inquiry, Artistic Expression," was held Nov. 21 in the Van Nuys Medical Science building atrium. | Photo By BENJAMIN ULRICH

December: The year capped with major awards for IUSM alum Kent Brantly, M.D., who was named a "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine for his work as a medical aid worker in the fight against the West African Ebola virus outbreak, and two IUSM professors, Gordon L. Coppoc, DVM, Ph.D., and Michael Kraus, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and chief medical officer for dialysis at IU Health, who received the state's highest civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash. In research, an IU-led team received $3.3 million to study HPV and cervical cancer in Kenyan women, and in school news, Regina A. Kreisle, Ph.D., was named the interim associate dean and director of IUSM-Lafayette. Plus, IUSM hosted its seventh annual art exhibit "Scientific Inquiry, Artistic Expression" and the IUSM orchestra celebrated its fourth year at the school with a fall concert at the Indiana History Center and holiday performance at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

InScope encourages faculty, staff and students to share their news in the new year at scopemed@iu.edu. InScope encourages the submission of news tips, events, student activities, grant opportunities, award announcements, article-length stories and more from the IUSM community, including news from the eight regional medical education centers. The deadline for submissions is 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.