Faculty and Staff News
Celebrating the Class of 2020; virtual commencement is tomorrow
COVID-19 may have changed the way IU School of Medicine is honoring this year’s graduates, but it doesn’t diminish the excitement and pride in celebrating the Class of 2020. Plan to tune in for a special virtual commencement at 10 am EDT, Friday, May 15. The event will be streamed on the school’s Facebook page and also may be viewed at the same time on the IU School of Medicine YouTube channel. (Note: You do not need a Facebook account to access the ceremony on Facebook.)
The ceremony will include a keynote address presented by Surgeon General of the United States Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. A graduate of IU School of Medicine and a former faculty member, Adams is the nation’s public health authority and has been instrumental in leading the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about the commencement ceremony, check out the digital event program accessible from this events page.
Join IU School of Medicine to celebrate and acknowledge the outstanding achievements of this year’s graduating class—a group of committed students who have thrived in the face of unprecedented circumstances. Congratulations, Class of 2020.
Indiana University still determining date to restart research
While no date has been set to resume research at IU and IU School of Medicine, Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs, outlined in an email message sent to researchers today the current status of decision-making, addressing rumors that a research restart is imminent.
“Several in leadership roles have been hearing rumors of a research restart beginning as soon as May 18, 2020. I want to communicate that is not the case,” Shekhar wrote. “I know all of you are eager to return to the labs, but the safety and security of all of us is our number one priority. This pandemic requires thoughtful, carefully planned approaches to return to research which is driven by data, science and medicine, for all of our protection. These are not decisions we are taking lightly, and they cannot be rushed.”
The IU Restart Committee, formed by IU President Michael A. McRobbie and chaired by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, is evaluating the conditions under which researchers and other IU staff can return to work. Fred Cate, IU vice president for research, is leading the committee charged with operationalizing a restart for research, including providing guidance on necessary PPE and more.
Shekhar also noted that official communications about a research restart would be forthcoming from the IU School of Medicine Office of Research Affairs.
Don’t take the bait: Beware of new “schedule change” phishing scam
Several IU School of Medicine faculty and staff have been targeted by a “schedule change” phishing scam that appears to be an email coming from “IU Payroll Department.” If you receive a suspicious email, do not respond, and report it to your campus IT Support Center immediately.
Clicking on the link in the email leads to a page that looks like the Indiana University login page, but it is not legitimate. When a username and passphrase are keyed in, phishers attempt to use the stolen account credentials to access the IU system. In most cases, the university’s two-factor authentication system, Duo, has blocked their attempts to access payroll and human resources. However, there have been occasions when employees have approved unexpected login notices on Duo, leading to paychecks being diverted.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim of phishing:
- Phishers always have a bait word to attempt to evoke a click—something about payroll, policy, COVID-19, tax refunds, etc.—a rapid action is what they want. Slow down to assess the email and check with another trusted source before clicking.
- Never approve a login request on Duo unless you initiated the login.
- Get educated about phishing by searching “phish” on one.iu.edu to find the Phishing Education & Training website which includes a video on phishing prevention.
Recognize, Rethink and Report:
- Recognize – Verify who the sender is by double-clicking, tapping or hovering over the sender’s name to view the real email address.
- Rethink – If you can’t verify the sender, do not click at all. If the email refers to a known website, type that website address into a new browser window instead of clicking a link in the email.
- Report – Suspect a phish? Use the PhishMe Reporter tool installed on all university-managed devices or contact your campus UITS Support Center for help on how to report.
Box cloud storage to be phased out beginning next month
Indiana University will begin to phase out Box cloud storage—Box usage—in June. The first phase of the migration will only affect personal Box accounts—the account that is associated with your individual IU username. This does not affect Box Health folders, which will be migrated at a later date.
All Box accounts will move by default to Microsoft OneDrive—the preferred platform recommended for all users. If you prefer to use Google Drive instead of OneDrive, you may choose this option by completing the Find your drive survey before Friday, May 22. If you have a Box Health folder, it’s recommended that you choose OneDrive as Box Health folders will be moving to Microsoft Secure Storage, and files on OneDrive and Microsoft Secure Storage will be conveniently accessible through the same interface.
You will receive email notification approximately one week before your Box files are migrated to the new platform. Once files have been migrated, begin using OneDrive. Your Box files will continue to be accessible as “read-only” files until Box access is retired in May 2021.
On the blog: Students spearhead, support statewide COVID-19 efforts
When medical licensing exams were postponed and medical students were shut out of hospitals due to risks of COVID-19 and the need for all available PPE to go to frontline workers, students could have complained. Instead, they started collaborating on ways to help.
Volunteer efforts led by students from IU School of Medicine are making an impact in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Students from the school’s nine statewide campuses have stepped up as leaders. They may not be able to serve on the front lines, but they are strong supporters of those who do.
Some are aiding healthcare workers by collecting PPE or providing meal delivery and childcare services. Others are involved with community efforts to support essential workers or help marginalized populations affected by COVID-19.
“The amount of leadership that’s been shown during this crazy time is truly incredible,” said Megan Chiu, president of the IU School of Medicine Medical Student Council. “People have been channeling their energy into helping others, and it’s really brought the community of medical students together at this time.”
For more on the student-led volunteer efforts, read the Spirit of Medicine blog post.
Indiana CTSI, IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative join forces to facilitate COVID-19 research
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) and the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative are establishing COVID-19 as a special disease state within precision health.
Treating COVID-19 as a disease, along with the five other diseases that are already included within the initiative, will allow utilization of the precision health scientific pillars to help answer some of the many unanswered questions surrounding COVID-19. Specifically, the genomic medicine pillar will provide whole exome sequencing and RNA transcriptomics of certain COVID-19 research samples. The data and informatics pillar will store data utilizing the precision health cloud. Indiana CTSI cores, such as the access technology core, will also be used to help generate data on cytokine/chemokines. The goal of this special disease state will be the same as the overall goals of the IU Precision Health Initiative—to find treatments, cures and even preventions for COVID-19, along with multiple myeloma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, triple negative breast cancer and pediatric sarcomas.
As a first step in launching COVID-19 as a precision health disease state, all researchers interested in, or already conducting COVID-19 research, should complete the following brief RedCap survey. This will allow a streamlined and prioritized approach to COVID-19 research, while also encouraging strategic collaborations that may further enhance the ability to secure external research funding.
IU researcher earns $1.6 million NCI grant for multiple myeloma bone disease therapies
An IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study ways to build bone and decrease tumor growth in multiple myeloma bone disease.
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that begins in plasma cells within the bone marrow. As the multiple myeloma cells build up, they form tumors and can damage and weaken bones.
G. David Roodman, MD, PhD, distinguished professor at IU School of Medicine, is leading the research to investigate a molecule developed with collaborators at the University of Pittsburgh that could repair bone, decrease tumors and improve outcomes for multiple myeloma patients on specific targeted therapies.
“We've been very interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the horrific bone disease associated with multiple myeloma, which occurs in up to about 85 percent of patients and causes devastating pathologic fractures, bone pain and impacts survival,” Roodman said.
For more on Roodman’s studies and the grant, visit the Newsroom.
Researchers identify checkpoint target for colorectal cancer immunotherapy
Researchers at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a target for colorectal cancer immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. Considered the future of cancer treatment, immunotherapy is less toxic than chemotherapy. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women, yet chemotherapy remains the standard of care as limited numbers of patients respond to current immunotherapy treatment options.
The findings published earlier this month in JCI Insight could provide additional treatments for a larger number of colorectal cancer patients via a new immunotherapy pathway. Researchers identified ST2 as a novel checkpoint molecule that could help T cells become more effective.
The research is a collaboration between IU School of Medicine cancer researchers Xiongbin Lu, PhD, Vera Bradley Foundation Professor of Breast Cancer Innovation and of Medical and Molecular Genetics, and Sophie Paczesny, MD, PhD, Nora Letzter Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology.
Visit the Newsroom for study details.
PHI leaders cite “team science” as a reason for success
Team science is a collaborative effort that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different areas to address a scientific challenge. While team science may seem intuitive, it’s a relatively new approach to conducting research, given that historically, single investigator-driven approaches are ideal for many scientific endeavors. As diseases have become more and more complicated, and oftentimes many different diseases manifest as one, coordinated teams of investigators with diverse skills and knowledge are becoming the norm, especially when facing grand challenges, like trying to find a cure for triple negative breast cancer or ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Visit Precision Health for insights from three IU School of Medicine Precision Health Initiative (PHI) leaders on how team science is helping them achieve their goals.
Faculty and Staff News
I-70 closures on west side start next week
As the Indiana Department of Transportation continues to take advantage of the traffic slowdown due to COVID -19, Interstate 70 in both directions on the west side of Indianapolis will close between the south-split interchange and Ronald Reagan Parkway for about 30 days each starting later this month.
- Eastbound I-70 lanes will close starting Friday, May 22, with reopening scheduled for Sunday, June 28.
- Westbound lanes will close Friday, June 26, with a planned reopening on Thursday, July 30.
New residents join Global Health Track
IU’s Interdepartmental Global Health Residency Track began in 2011 and is unique in welcoming residents from a variety of specialties to join together to better understand the social, economic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to health and disease throughout the world. The program equips residents to address health disparities and encourages long-term commitment to global health issues domestically and internationally.
Selected residents participate in quarterly half-day conferences and receive mentorship by faculty members with extensive global health experience. They complete a scholarly project and either an international field elective or local global health rotation. Many participants complete their field experience at the AMPATH partnership in Eldoret, Kenya. IU School of Medicine has established an expertise in global health and began the partnership in Kenya more than 30 years ago.
Nominate a colleague for the Exemplar of Professionalism Honor Roll
Nominations are now being accepted to recognize faculty, staff and learners who embody IU School of Medicine’s core values of excellence, respect, integrity, diversity and cooperation. Learn more about the honor roll and how to nominate a colleague.
Now accepting nominations: August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research
IU School of Medicine is accepting nominations for the 2021 August M. Watanabe Prize in Translational Research, awarded to an investigator who has made a significant contribution to the field of translational science.
The winner of the 2021 Watanabe Prize in Translational Research will receive a $100,000 award and spend time in Indianapolis from September 15-17, 2021, as a visiting dignitary to share knowledge with audiences at IU School of Medicine and partner institutions.
To nominate someone for the prize, submit a copy of the nominee’s current curriculum vitae (CV) and a letter of nomination, including a detailed description of the nominee’s major translational research accomplishments and the impact of these contributions to the fields of science and/or medicine. Letters should be submitted on official letterhead and signed by the nominator.
Email complete nomination materials with the nominee’s name in the subject line by Wednesday, July 1.