Top News

  • IU School of Medicine to begin phased approach to restarting research

    IU School of Medicine is beginning to implement plans to reopen research, guided by the IU Restart Committee Recommendations Report, prepared by a committee chaired by Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, and more specifically based on the Guidelines for the Resumption of Research at Indiana University provided earlier this week by IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate. Consistent with these guidelines, IU School of Medicine will implement a phased approach to activating labs and restarting research, beginning with these Indianapolis-based research service cores.

    In an email to research leaders on Wednesday, May 27, Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs, emphasized that prior to these specified cores reactivating and restarting research, core directors must complete a form, ensuring compliance with the guidance provided and forward it to their respective department chairs for approval. Once approval is received, the specified cores can begin the process of activating their labs and restarting research.

    “This is a dynamic process and could take a week or more to become fully operational,” Shekhar wrote. “As the specified cores reopen, we will be learning and communicating more information on the second phase of restart, which will include principal investigator (PI)-directed labs, with the goal of having restarted the majority of IU School of Medicine research by the middle of June. Individual labs should begin working on their restart plans and seeking approval, as outlined in the form (linked above) (Specifically, PIs should receive approval from their department chairs).”

    Shekhar stressed the critical role of personal protective equipment (PPE) in meeting the guidance for a successful research restart and offered details in the full email message.

    A frequently asked questions document is under development and will be available in the “Researchers” section of In the meantime, questions may be emailed to

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  • Indiana University announces plans for upcoming academic year

    In a message sent yesterday to Indiana University students, faculty and staff, university President Michael A. McRobbie outlined plans for the upcoming academic year. The plan calls for resuming in-person and online instruction in the fall 2020 semester along with a revised academic calendar that provides flexibility for all campuses.

    “As we have said repeatedly, the safety and well-being of all IU students, faculty and staff is our highest priority,” McRobbie said. “We have followed a methodical and deliberate approach in developing our plans for the new academic year, and are relying on the best health and safety guidance available. We will also continue to adapt our plans to new developments as they arise.”

    The plans are based on recommendations submitted by the IU Restart Committee, chaired by IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, and comprised of a wide range of medical and health experts. One of the principal measures is IU’s statewide partnership with Indiana University Health to provide all IU students, faculty and staff with comprehensive COVID-19 symptom checking, virtual visits with a health care professional and testing with continued monitoring when needed.

    In accordance with the university’s plans for restart, IU School of Medicine is beginning to implement plans to reopen research. (See article in this week’s issue of INScope for more detail.) Additionally, clinical rotations for IU School of Medicine learners will restart at the end of June.

    For more on plans for the 2020-2021 academic year, visit

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  • Faculty member has eyes on the sky for Launch America this weekend

    NASA and SpaceX had to scrub their Wednesday, May 27, launch plans due to weather, but the historic first launch of astronauts on an American rocket from American soil since the last space shuttle mission in 2011 is still on track for Saturday. When that happens, Melissa Kacena, PhD, will be excited to watch the action. The IU School of Medicine professor of orthopaedic surgery has collaborated with NASA and SpaceX in the past, as much of her research is about bone healing in space. Because of her interest and connection with the launch, Kacena was featured on WTHR 13.

    Kacena participates in weekly calls with NASA, so she still works closely with those teams. She says she feels fortunate to be able to witness history this week and hopes their work inspires future generations to get involved in medical, science and engineering careers. The mission, which is called “Launch America,” has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 3:22 pm EDT.

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  • Look for the next INScope on June 11

    INScope begins its bi-weekly summer publication schedule following today’s issue. The next issue will be distributed on Thursday, June 11. During June and July, INScope will arrive in inboxes on the following Thursdays:

    June 11
    June 25
    July 9
    July 23

    Weekly publication will resume Thursday, August 6. The schedule is subject to change if issues of importance to faculty and staff are announced. As a reminder, the deadline for news item submissions is Wednesday at noon for each Thursday’s issue. Email submissions to

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  • On the blog: Students run Indiana operations for GetMePPE, Frontline Foods

    Leave it to IU School of Medicine students to take the lead on starting up nationally supported efforts in the fight against COVID-19. In many ways, medical students are uniquely positioned to serve as liaisons for volunteerism, coordinating efforts between IU School of Medicine volunteers and local health care facilities. Not only do they possess knowledge about medical care and delivery, but they also have connections at local hospitals through faculty mentors, shadowing and research.

    “We have the connections and a deeper understanding of how things work,” said Madison Harris, the student leader behind GetMePPE Indiana. “We have students with diverse backgrounds in research, law, bio-engineering and more, and we have an extensive community of people who are willing to help.”

    Thousands of donated N95 masks and other PPE, like surgical masks, face shields and nitrile gloves, have been distributed to frontline workers at hospitals and nursing facilities across the state thanks to the efforts of a small team of IU medical students.

    Harris, a third-year student in Indianapolis, was the driver behind opening a GetMePPE chapter in Indiana. She reached out to organizers in places like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, where the pandemic hit earlier, to study their models. While those groups focused on one metropolitan area, Harris decided to leverage IU School of Medicine’s nine-campus network to help the entire state.

    “I’m always on the phone, emailing people and texting to make sure things are moving,” said Harris, who also is busy working on publications for the Emergency Medicine Department while having to direct online schooling for her two children. “I try to make the greatest use of my time and energy. I want to understand the needs so I can really make a difference and not just tell myself I’m making a difference.”

    Third-year medical student Megana Rao has been the driver behind another nationally backed effort. She heard about Frontline Foods from a friend in Denver and learned from social media that the organization wanted to start chapters in metropolitan regions in every state. The initiative provides meals to healthcare heroes while simultaneously supporting local restaurants. Donors make it possible for restaurants to deliver large orders to hospitals, feeding not only doctors and nurses but also supporting personnel like custodians and administrative staff.

    “We all wanted to help our mentors at the hospitals, and we also saw local restaurants struggling. It’s been amazing to connect those two entities,” said Rao, who serves as city lead for the Indianapolis chapter of Frontline Foods—the only chapter founded and run by medical students. Assisting Rao on the core leadership team is Emily Sampson, who coordinates deliveries with five Indianapolis area hospitals, and Emma Ross and Lauren Bryant, who work with restaurants that want to provide meals. All are third-year medical students.

    For more on the students’ efforts to make a difference during the pandemic, read the Spirit of Medicine blog post.

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Research News

  • Researchers launch statewide study to understand immunity to COVID-19 in children and adults

    IU School of Medicine researchers are launching a new study today to find out how immunity to COVID-19 can develop and change over time in children and adults who live in Indiana.

    The study is called DISCOVER, which stands for “Development of Immunity after SARS-CoV2 Exposure and Recovery.” Led by Chandy John, MD, and Alka Khaitan, MD, the study will look at four different groups of individuals.

    • People who have had symptoms of COVID-19, and tested positive for the disease
    • People who have had symptoms of COVID-19, but tested negative or were not tested
    • People who did not have symptoms of COVID-19, but have been exposed to the disease
    • People who did not have symptoms of COVID-19, and have not been exposed to the disease

    “By comparing people who have varying levels of symptoms and exposure to COVID-19, we’ll be able to get a better understanding of how immunity originates and how long it can last,” said John, Ryan White Professor of Pediatrics at IU School of Medicine. “We want to look at immune responses in both children and adults, because understanding the development of immunity in both groups is important to guiding vaccine development and to understanding how the virus spreads in the community, even in those without symptoms.”

    People who participate in the study will be asked to provide four blood samples over the next two years, giving the study team multiple opportunities to see how immunity changes with time. They will also be asked to give a brief medical history, including any chronic medical conditions, as well as to disclose whether they work as a health care worker or first responder.

    The participants will find out the results of each of their antibody tests and will be paid $25 for each blood draw. Blood samples and data will be collected via the Indiana Biobank study to test for antibodies and other immunity markers.

    For more on the study, visit the Newsroom.

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Faculty and Staff News

  • Amendments approved enabling non-tenure track faculty representation on UFC

    Proposed amendments to the Constitution of the IU Faculty enabling non-tenure track faculty representation on the University Faculty Council (UFC) were recently approved in the ratification vote. The changes to the constitution will take effect at the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year. Read the updated constitution.

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  • Search underway for anatomy, cell biology and physiology department chair

    IU School of Medicine is accepting applications for the position of chair of the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Physiology.

    The department is a recent merger of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology to align the complementary educational missions and research activities of the previously separated departments. Education-related goals are to integrate anatomy and physiology in medical school education and broaden the scope of the anatomical sciences education-track PhD program to include physiological sciences.

    Research expertise includes neuroscience, renal biology, skeletal and bone biology, and cardiovascular biology and disease. Expansion in neuromusculoskeletal research is a major goal for the new department. The merger also strengthens department ties with the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, Stark Neuroscience Research Institute, Cardiovascular Institute and the Neuromusculoskeletal Biology Research Program at the Roudebush VA Hospital.

    Full position description is available. Priority application review deadline is Friday, July 10. Questions? Email Senem Guler at

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  • Apply for Leadership in Academic Medicine Program; initial deadline is June 5

    IU School of Medicine Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity is now accepting nominations for the 2020-2021 Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (LAMP). LAMP is a yearlong, cohort-based faculty development and orientation program designed for faculty in the second or third years of their appointment.

    To be nominated, a brief statement of support is needed from your chair or division director no later than Friday, June 5. After the nomination, you will need to submit a one-page document describing your career goals, including what you most want to accomplish in the next three years. Final applications are due Friday, June 26.

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Partner News

  • Normal parking operations return at IU Health AHC beginning Monday

    Beginning Monday, June 1, parking garages across the IU Health academic health center will return to normal operations. The AOC/University and ROC garage gates will be lowered on Monday, June 1, and will return to normal use. In addition, Parking Garage 3 at IU Health Methodist Hospital will return to normal use on June 1; gates will be lowered and monthly permits will be reinstalled. 

    The week of Monday, June 8, all IUPUI garage gates will be lowered, and garages will return to normal use. There are no plans to re-open valet parking at this time. The service will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. 

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  • Four students selected for Slemenda Scholars program

    Faculty members from the IU Center for Global Health have selected first-year medical students Mary Ann Etling, Matt Hodges, Melanie Scheive and Dean Springer to serve as this year’s class of Slemenda Scholars. Selected students typically spend the summer living and working with Kenyan medical students, training at Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and completing community projects as part of the 30-year AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare) partnership in Eldoret, Kenya. Due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, this year’s class will participate in alternative global health learning experiences this summer and will have priority to participate in the AMPATH program in the future.

    The Slemenda Scholars program began in 1998 and honors late IU faculty member Charles Slemenda, DrPH, who had a passion for international medical education.

    For more, check out this Global Health blog post.

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