Faculty and Staff News
All School Meeting: Hess shares highlights, successes and impact of COVID-19
On Wednesday, April 29, the spring All-School Meeting was held in an entirely virtual setting—just one more example of the adjustments being made every day by the IU School of Medicine community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, spoke of how the coronavirus crisis has impacted school operations, while also highlighting bright spots from the past year and exciting opportunities for the months ahead.
Key takeaways from the meeting include:
- Three new institutes focused on cardiovascular diseases, neuroscience and cancer were formed.
- IU School of Medicine achieved record NIH funding growth with a single-year increase of $40 million to a total of $189 million (ranking IU School of Medicine 28 th in the country and 14 th among public medical schools).
- Four of the five research studies receiving the most NIH funding were for Alzheimer’s disease, an area in which IU School of Medicine is a leader.
- U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD—a graduate of IU School of Medicine and former faculty member—will address the Class of 2020 during a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 15.
- Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD received the IU President’s Medal from Michael A. McRobbie, university president.
A recording of the meeting is available.
Nearly 60 IU School of Medicine faculty honored with Trustees’ Teaching Award
To recognize outstanding teaching, each year the Indiana University Board of Trustees presents the Trustees’ Teaching Award to deserving IU faculty. This year, 59 IU School of Medicine faculty members earned the prestigious award for their teaching excellence and contributions to medical education. Congratulations to these faculty members for their impact on student success:
Samer Abu-Sultaneh, MD
Atul Agarwal, MD
Akram Al Makki, MD
Robert B. Arthur, MD
Richelle M. Baker, MD
Ambar Banerjee, MD
Daniel J. Beckman, MD
David L. Boone, PhD
Jeffrey S. Browne, MD
Erika R. Cheng, PhD
Daniel R. Corson-Knowles, MD
Linda A. Cox, MS
Larry D. Cripe, MD
Tyler L. Davis, MD
Paula R. Delk, MS
Linda A. DiMeglio, MD
Molly Duman Scheel, PhD
Thomas H. Everett IV, PhD
Jill C. Fehrenbacher, PhD
Meghan Geraghty, MD
Julianne M. Giust, MD
Nupur Gupta, MD
Michael J. Guzman, MD
Amir Habib, MD
Takashi Hato, MD
Audrey G. Herbert, MD
Klaus A. Hilgarth, MD
Kristin E. Hoffmann, MD
Matthew Holley, PhD
Jordan C. Huskins, MD
Brian G. Kennedy, PhD
Abhishek Khemka, MD
Jeffery A. Kline, MD
Heidi M.L. Lakanen, MD
Benjamin J. Landis, MD
James J. Laughlin, MD
Yun Liang, PhD
Amelia K. Linnemann, PhD
Brock D. McMillen, MD
Emily L. Mueller, MD
David C. Murphy, DO
Jeffrey J. Nace, MD
David E. Nelson, PhD
Megan M. Palmer, PhD
Dina M. Peterson, MSEd
Maria C. Poor, MD
Hongxia Ren, PhD
Theresa M. Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD
Zeynep N. Salih, MD
Titus K. Schleyer, DMD, PhD
Margaret A. Schwarz, MD
Scott A. Shapiro, MD
S. Jawad Sher, MD
Taha Z. Shipchandler, MD
Khurram S. Siddiqui, MD
Sternlate Tshililiwa, MD
Nash P. Whitaker, MD
Tracey A. Wilkinson, MD
Deanna R. Willis, MD
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, to address Class of 2020
The Surgeon General of the United States, Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, will give the keynote address at the IU School of Medicine graduate recognition event, which will be held virtually at 10 am, Friday, May 15. Adams, a graduate of IU School of Medicine and a former faculty member, is the nation’s leading public health authority and has provided exceptional leadership in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The graduate recognition ceremony will be live streamed, and all are welcome to attend. Live stream access details will be provided in an upcoming issue of INScope.
IU researchers partner with IU Health to donate PPE
When Greg Grecco looked around the laboratory where he trains at Indiana University School of Medicine, the MD-PhD student noticed a surplus of some personal protective equipment (PPE)—items in short supply internationally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gloves. Disposable gowns. Respirators. Face shields. Goggles.
There’s a shortage of these essential medical protective gear among health care workers across the globe as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.
With all in-person research activities at IU School of Medicine—and at all IU campuses—limited to essential research, many laboratories don’t need as many materials as usual, presenting an opportunity for researchers to assist frontline health care workers.
“I thought it was crazy that I could still walk into our animal housing facility anytime and throw on N95s, gloves or gowns without restriction; yet, 100 yards away in IU Health Methodist Hospital, PPE was slowly becoming a commodity,” Grecco said. “So, it seemed like this was a time to come together as a community and put the safety of our health care providers and patients first, especially if we had the resources to do so.”
Learn more in this Spirit of Medicine blog post about how Grecco and other IU employees have collected masks and other PPE supplies in recent weeks for hospitals and first responders across Indiana.
Medical librarians respond to pandemic
While IU libraries, including the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, are physically closed, librarians are working to support the university and taking on additional responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Librarians are providing quick evidence-based information to health care workers, sharing information on 3D printing models, supporting the move to online education, filling article requests and more.
In addition, IUPUI librarians are collaborating with the COVID-19 Evidence Based Rapid Response Team, a partnership of the Indiana CTSI’s Monon Collaborative and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The librarians are working with the team to help answer COVID-19-related questions from state leaders and health care providers involved in Indiana’s frontline response to the pandemic.
"What we're really trying to do is make sure that we're finding and synthesizing the best evidence that is available," said Amy Blevins, associate director for public services at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library. "This evidence provides answers to questions that support decisions being made by state leadership."
On the blog: Life in the lab during COVID-19
Katrina Co should be packing her bags for a trip to Uganda. As a research analyst and the manager of a laboratory that studies malaria, her duties include routine travel to clinical sites in Africa. Her canceled trip is one of many examples of how the global pandemic has interrupted the work of scientists at IU School Medicine, including Chandy John, MD, whose laboratory Co manages.
It’s OK, she said. All of their studies in Kenya and Uganda have been shut down by the local government anyway. While local physicians and medical officers continue to ensure that patients receive treatment and—for those in a clinical trial—study drugs, other operations have been halted. And since laboratories at IU transitioned to hibernation in mid-March, local research operations are limited to essential business and personnel only.
That transition leaves just Co and two others to protect their lab’s data and maintain its resources for when things return to normal.
“Essential work in our lab includes the maintenance of parasite cultures and thousands of clinical samples spanning 20 years of research in Kenya and Uganda,” Co said. “If anything happens to those samples, our work would be over. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true!”
Co shares more about life in the lab during COVID-19 in this Pediatrics blog post.
Team develops publication with collaborator quarantined in China
Putting together research for publication can be a challenging and time-consuming process, heightened even further because of the current COVID-19 situation, during which non-essential labs at IU School of Medicine have been hibernated and many researchers are now working separately and remotely, instead of collaborating within the same space. Despite those obstacles, Jie Zhang, PhD, Jun Cheng PhD, and Kun Huang, PhD, had their research published in Nature Communications on April 14, which is an even more significant feat considering one of their leading authors has been quarantined in Wuhan, China, for the last two months of their work.
The study was led by Zhang, who is an assistant professor of medical and molecular genetics. It focuses on the application of machine learning and image analysis to help researchers distinguish a rare subtype of kidney cancer (translocational renal cell carcinoma, or tRCC) from other subtypes by examining the features of cells and tissues on a microscopic level. Zhang said the structural similarities have caused a high rate of misdiagnosis. Within this publication, the researchers studied 74 tRCC samples, which constitutes the largest tRCC collection in the world.
“The phenotype of this tRCC looks very much like clear cell renal cell carcinoma, or ccRCC, the most common type of renal cell carcinoma, so it’s kind of difficult for pathologists to distinguish between the two,” said Zhang. “To improve that, we tried to use the machine-learning technique, feeding in the digitized pathological image data to the analysis pipeline to train the computer to extract the features related to tRCC. This will help pathologists confirm the case, instead of just relying on their eyes.”
For more details on the findings, visit the Newsroom.
Types of vitamin E consumed by children linked to lung function
What we feed our young children—including certain baby formulas—could be interfering with the healthy development of their lungs.
A collaborative study led by IU School of Medicine Professor of Pediatrics Joan Cook-Mills, PhD, and Rajesh Kumar MD, MS, from the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, examined the effects of different forms of vitamin E on lung development during early childhood. They found that too much of one form could be detrimental to growing children.
“There are many different forms of vitamin E and these different forms can have different functions, with different effects on the developing lung,” said Cook-Mills.
The group analyzed plasma samples from more than 600 pregnant mothers and their children to measure levels of two forms of vitamin E, called alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, and lung function from early to mid-childhood.
Both forms of the vitamin are highly prevalent in food—from breast milk and baby formula to cooking oils and vitamin supplements. Naturally, children are exposed to both forms well before they are born and throughout their lives.
“Our previous collaborative study found opposing effects of alpha-tocopherol, which associated with better lung function, and gamma-tocopherol, which associated with lower lung function in young adults,” said Kumar. “The goal of this study was to see if these opposing functions of vitamin E sub-types held true for young children as they grow.”
All IN for Health aids in successful recruitment for recent COVID-19 study
The TACTIC study (Tracking Asymptomatic COVID-19 Through Indianapolis Communities), recently launched by IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, used the All IN for Health research volunteer database to recruit study participants.
When TACTIC was announced on Thursday, April 23, All IN for Health volunteers received the first invitations to participate. The recruitment queue filled quickly—in just 20 minutes—with a lengthy waitlist, and the first round of enrollment completed within 24 hours of the study announcement. The study, which tracks non-symptomatic prevalence of COVID-19 in Marion County, will also utilize All IN for Health as one of the channels for sharing outcomes once the study is complete.
All IN for Health, a program of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, is designed to promote good health through the sharing of health resources and participation in health research. If you are interested in having All IN for Health as part of your study team, email email@example.com.
Faculty and Staff News
School now accepting applications for EAD for research affairs
IU School of Medicine is accepting applications and nominations for the position of executive associate dean (EAD) for research affairs and IU Health executive vice president of academic affairs for clinical research.
The candidate filling this position must be a collaborative leader and coalition builder to advance research across the enterprise, including the IU Health statewide system, Eskenazi Health and The Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center. The EAD will cultivate relationships and promote an appropriate culture of entrepreneurism by partnering with other university units, external academic, industry and community partners, and various funding, philanthropic, regulatory, and accrediting bodies. The EAD will foster resources, mentoring and research-related faculty development opportunities to propel the research mission forward, and will chart a course for the future of IU School of Medicine research that maximizes multidisciplinary thematic research areas, grows basic and translational research, expands clinical trials, and facilitates novel public-private partnerships.
Among the many areas of responsibility, the EAD for research affairs has oversight of the Graduate Division, Laboratory Animal Resource Center, Research Administration, research space, and multiple school-level research centers and institutes. The EAD for research affairs also assists the dean and EVP with the management of the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and the NIH-funded statewide Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. In addition, the EAD provides leadership and direction for several key programs such as the Precision Health Initiative, Strategic Research Initiative, Physician-Scientist Initiative, Industry Collaborations Portal, Indiana Collaborative Initiative for Talent Enrichment (INCITE), and the August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research.
Full position description and application details are available. Priority application deadline is Friday, May 15. Questions? Contact Senem Guler, assistant director of faculty recruiting, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty Steering Committee announces election results
The IU School of Medicine Faculty Steering Committee has announced this year’s election results. Elected faculty will serve from July 2020 through June 2022. The committee president for 2020-2021 is Marc Mendonca, PhD, and the secretary is Ashley Inman, MD, (elected in 2019).
President-elect: Yar (Sam) Yeap, MD
Secretary-elect: Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD
Department representatives to the Faculty Steering Committee:
Anatomy, Cell Biology, & Physiology: William Truitt, PhD
Anesthesia: Kevin Blackfish-White, MD
Biochemistry: Yuichiro Takagi, PhD
Biostatistics: Yong Zang, PhD
Dermatology: Matthew Turner, MD, PhD
Emergency Medicine: Katherine Pollard, MD
Family Medicine: Brock McMillen, MD
Medical & Molecular Genetics: Erica Clinkenbeard, PhD
Medicine: Rachel Peterson, MD; Erik Imel, MD; Chadi Hage, MD; Brian Leon, MD; Katherine Kelly, MD; and Simit Doshi, MD
Microbiology & Immunology: Stacey Gilk, PhD
Neurological Surgery: James Miller, MD
Neurology: Christopher Jackman, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology: John Stutsman, MD
Ophthalmology: Ashay Bhatwadekar, PhD
Orthopaedic Surgery: Emily Cha, MD
Otolaryngology: Benjamin Anthony, MD
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: Matthew Kuhar, MD
Pediatrics: Linda DiMeglio, MD; Lei Yang, PhD; and Lindsay Mayo, PhD
Pharmacology & Toxicology: Jill Fehrenbacher, PhD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: Nathan Prahlow, MD
Psychiatry: David Diaz, MD
Radiation Oncology: Joseph Dynlacht, PhD
Radiology & Imaging Sciences: Valerie Echeverria, MS
Surgery: William Wooden, MD
Urology: Timothy Masterson, MD
Regional campus representative on the Faculty Steering Committee: Gregory Taylor, DO, IU School of Medicine–Muncie (East) and Kara Garcia, PhD, IU School of Medicine–Evansville (South)
IUPUI Faculty Council: Sarah Delima, MD; Emilee Delbridge, PhD; Weiming Mao, MD, PhD; Muhammad Idrees, MD; Karan Shah, MD; Shelia Segura, MD; and Rupa Radhakrishnan, MD
CFAS representative: Gayle Gordillo, MD
Academic standards: Michelle Zimmerman, MD, and Christine Eckel, PhD
Admissions: Noelle Sinex, MD, and Thomas Gardner, MD
Awards: Sara Quinney, PhD, PharmD, and Teresa Zimmers, PhD
Biomedical research: Alexander Obukhov, PhD, Tiebing Liang, PhD
Curriculum council: Megan Christman, DO, and Atul Agarwal, MD
Faculty community relations: Joseph O’Neil, MD, and Andrea Bonetto, PhD
Faculty development coordinating: Thomas Everett, IV, PhD, and Geoffrey Hays, MD
Promotion and tenure committee: Jeffrey Kline, MD, and Leonidas Koniaris, MD
Lecturers and clinical rank faculty promotion: Joseph Croffie, MD, and Jeffrey Breall, MD, PhD
Student promotions: Joseph Turner, MD, and Heather O’Leary, PhD
Nabhan named new assistant dean of graduate medical education
Zeina M. Nabhan, MD, has been appointed assistant dean of graduate medical education (GME). In her new role, Nabhan, who is also associate professor of clinical pediatrics, will work closely with GME leadership to oversee schoolwide GME diversity, wellness and teaching initiatives.
Nabhan is a pediatric endocrinologist/diabetologist at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. In addition to her roles as a clinician and educator, she mentors a diverse group of residents, fellows and faculty. She chairs the Department of Pediatrics Faculty Development Committee and serves as a Pediatric Residency associate program director. Nabhan has maintained oversight of several diversity and wellness initiatives among residents and faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and serves as a member of the Pediatrics Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Her personal experiences as an international medical graduate provide her with a great understanding of the importance of both diversity and acceptance of individuals with diverse backgrounds.
Junior faculty: Apply to join Learning Health System Center of Excellence
Do you want to be a part of changing the medical landscape? Do you have an eye for data-driven workflows? Join the Regenstrief Institute’s Learning Health System and help end the lengthy game of telephone that has defined health systems for decades. Implement data-driven change alongside a team of world-class leaders in informatics, geriatrics, implementation science and health services research.
These Young Investigator Awards aim to train faculty to improve patient care and health system operations through the systematic generation, adoption and application of evidence. This program will produce the next generation of Learning Health System researchers to conduct patient-centered outcomes research and implement the results to improve quality of care and patient outcomes. Trainees will receive:
- Up to 75 percent salary support
- $25,000 research funding per year
- Participation in project development team practicum to enhance protocol development skills
- Workshops/coursework focused on research career development
Interested candidates must email a curriculum vitae to Aaron Carroll, MD, at email@example.com for eligibility determination prior to submitting a full application. Application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 15.
YouTube “refresher courses” help medical professionals providing COVID-19 care
Although he’s been busy treating COVID-19 patients and directing operations as Eskenazi Health’s chief of internal medicine, IU School of Medicine Bicentennial Professor W. Graham Carlos, MD, is also investing considerable energy into educating frontline hospital workers who may need a refresher on critical care and ventilator basics.
His engaging and informative Critical Care Survival Guide YouTube channel offers an efficient way for overwhelmed hospital clinicians to get information fast as they care for COVID-19 patients. Learn more.
Immigrant health is topic of May 7 Culture and Conversation
Indiana has a small but growing immigrant population that makes up almost 5% of the state's population. Join the Zoom discussion on immigrant health needs and health disparities from noon-1 pm, Thursday, May 7. Featured presenter will be Javier Sevilla-Martir, MD, assistant dean for diversity affairs and professor of clinical family medicine. Registration is available.
Support the IU Student Outreach Clinic food and supplies drive
Neighborhood Fellowship Church, the location of the IU Student Outreach Clinic, has organized a food and supplies drive for neighbors in need. Donations may be sent through the Amazon wish list or Venmo (@IUSOC).
IU Health plans to resume some elective procedures beginning Monday
Starting Monday, May 4, IU Health is planning to resume up to 25% of regional historic volume for elective procedures in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. While Indiana guidelines allow for reopening this week, IU Health has continued planning to ensure the safety of team members and patients. The actual timing to resume 25% of the elective volume may vary by region.
Faculty, staff, students earn IUPUI women’s leadership awards
Several members of the IU School of Medicine community were recognized with 2020 Women’s Leadership Awards from the IUPUI Office for Women and the Division of Student Affairs.
Inspirational Woman Faculty Award
Poonam Khurana, MD, FAAP, associate professor of clinical pediatrics
Megan Palmer, PhD, MS, senior associate dean, Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity
Kimberly Collins, PhD, BS, assistant scientist in medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Sylk Sotto, EdD, MBA, MS, assistant professor of medicine, vice chair for Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity
Graduate student winners
Nielsen honored for nuclear medicine article published in JNMT
An article authored by Cybil Nielsen, program director, Nuclear Medicine, was selected as the best Educators’ Forum article published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology in 2019. Nielsen was honored for her article, “An Evaluation of Qualities of Nuclear Medicine Technology Programs and Graduates Leading to Employability.”
Frain elected to ASC board of governors
Barbara Frain, cytotechnology program director, has been elected as a member of the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) Board of Certification Board of Governors and the ASC Cytopathology (ASC) Representative.