Faculty and Staff News
Pamela Whitten named 19th president of Indiana University
The Indiana University Board of Trustees has named Pamela Whitten as the university’s 19th president. A visionary scholar and accomplished educator and researcher, Whitten has held a variety of leadership roles, beginning at Michigan State University and now as president of Kennesaw State University.
As IU’s first female president, Whitten assumes the helm at one of the nation’s leading research universities at a time of record-level research funding and philanthropic support.
“Pamela has distinguished herself as a passionate and accessible leader,” trustee chair Michael Mirro said. “Her student-centered approach and proven ability to harness diverse talent and secure vital resources will help IU continue on its strong trajectory.”
Whitten holds a PhD in communication studies from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in management from Tulane University. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine. As part of her work in higher education, she additionally held leadership roles at University of Georgia and the University of Kansas Medical Center.
“Indiana University is one of our nation's finest public research universities, with a rich history, wonderful traditions and a worldwide reputation for excellence,” Whitten said. “This is an especially exciting time as IU builds upon its 200 years of success, strengthening its mission of delivering outstanding education and innovative research. I’m deeply honored to be selected to lead this great university, and I look forward to working with the exceptional faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of IU to seize the opportunities and challenges ahead, creating a better future for all of those we serve.”
Whitten will assume the role of university president on July 1. She succeeds Michael A. McRobbie, who has served as president since 2007. His significant accomplishments will be celebrated later this spring, with details forthcoming at president.iu.edu.
For more on Whitten’s appointment, visit News at IU.
Leadership transitions underway in four IU School of Medicine departments
Over the past several months, Elliot Androphy, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology; Gary Dunnington, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery; John Eble, MD, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Science; and Thomas McAllister, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry, have all shared their plans to step down from their roles as chairs.
“Across the nation, the average tenure of a department chair varies across specialty—for many, it is less than five years,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, in an email announcing the upcoming leadership changes. “Fortunately for IU School of Medicine, Drs. Androphy, Dunnington, Eble and McAllister have all served in their posts for longer: 11, 9, 23 and 8 years, respectively.”
Hess said he is extremely grateful for the strong leadership and dedication shown by all these leaders, particularly as each delayed retiring as chair in order to guide their departments through the pandemic.
Androphy was appointed chair of the Department of Dermatology in 2010 and has overseen significant growth of the department, with the number of faculty growing from fewer than 10 to more than 30, including adjunct faculty. He will remain with the school to continue his research in development of therapies for human papilloma virus (HPV) and HPV-associated cancers, which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1987.
Dunnington began his career at IU as a medical student, graduating in 1980. He was appointed chair of the Department of Surgery in 2012 after 15 years at the University of Southern Illinois, where he served as both professor and chair of surgery. As a surgical oncologist, Dunnington's clinical focus is breast disease, and he has more than 130 peer-reviewed publications. Under his collaborative leadership, the Department of Surgery has flourished in education, research and clinical care.
Eble came to IU School of Medicine as a student on the Bloomington campus 50 years ago and was appointed chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 1998. The department has seen tremendous growth in the size and statewide reach of the clinical laboratories along with major accomplishments in dementia research. Most recently, the department has played a central role in the battle against COVID-19.
McAllister took the helm as chair of the Department of Psychiatry in 2013. One of his first accomplishments was spearheading the clinical practice transition to IU Health Physicians. The educational mission of the department has seen significant advancement as evidenced by medical student education evaluation metrics. The development of subspecialty clinics is another notable strength of the department alongside continuing efforts to address the state’s psychiatrist shortage. McAllister was instrumental in securing IU School of Medicine’s leadership in the groundbreaking Concussion Assessment and Research Education Consortium (CARE)—a $30 million study of sport-related head injuries active at 30 universities and military service academies across the country.
The school will launch national searches to find collaborative leaders who will continue to promote excellence in education, research and clinical care, while advancing IU School of Medicine’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusiveness across all mission areas.
Diversity, equity and inclusion task forces issue quarterly updates
The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) task forces—made up of a wide range of participants including faculty, learners and staff—continued their work in early 2021 and have shared the latest quarterly updates of the initiative. Highlights of the full report include:
Honor Code Task Force
In February, the task force presented the revised honor code to existing committees (including the Faculty Steering Committee and Basic Science and Clinical Chair Councils) for initial review. The honor code and future companion policy will be shared broadly throughout the community for additional vetting and input.
Faculty, Staff and Learner Training Task Force
In addition to creating a webpage listing all diversity events across IU School of Medicine, the task force worked with IU Health to add a specific competency focused on DEI to the IU Health physician leadership competency model.
Data and Climate Task Force
The task force updated the IU School of Medicine Fact Sheet to include a broader range of social identities to move beyond the Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM) dichotomous labeling. The purpose is to lay a foundation for being more inclusive in the reporting and to minimize feelings of othering.
Primary Care Reaffirmation for Indiana Medical Education (PRIME) HRSA Grant
An internal search for the associate director for the Academy of Teaching Scholars has been launched. This role will be tasked with developing an institution-wide strategy for incorporating inclusive teaching and equity in the learning environment throughout the educational spectrum of medical students, residents, fellows and doctoral trainees.
Holistic Student Success & Advocacy (HSSA)
The purpose of HSSA is to integrate DEI expertise and support to continue the creation of an inclusive environment for the diverse student body at IU School of Medicine. HSSA will also provide advocacy expertise for all students who meet with the Student Promotions Committee. In February 2021, the Regional Campus Learning Environment Task Force was created and charged with developing guidelines for improving the learning environment on regional campuses so that URiM students feel more supported in completing multiple phases of training at a regional site. The recommendations will be submitted by the end of April.
All School Meeting is May 4
Hosted by the Faculty Steering Committee, the IU School of Medicine spring All School Meeting provides a forum to hear from leadership and celebrate successes. For the meeting on Tuesday, May 4, the school will welcome IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who is retiring on June 30 after serving a remarkable 14-year tenure as president and 24 years in senior positions at the university.
The meeting also will include research discovery highlights and recognition of this year’s recipients of the Trustees’ Teaching Award.
All faculty, staff and learners are invited to attend the meeting, which begins at 5 pm. Registration is available.
Latest podcast focuses on importance of diversity and equity in research, medicine and higher ed
In a new episode of the Healthcare Triage podcast, Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, MD, MPH, MS, and Sylk Sotto, EDD, MPS, MBA, talk with Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, about the importance of diversity and equity in research, higher education and medicine. They share insights about underlying issues they’ve seen and talk about ways to encourage success for underrepresented minorities. Listen to the podcast.
On the blog: Curiosity drives faculty member’s Alzheimer’s research
No one had to teach Liana Apostolova, MD, to read. At age 4, she wanted to know what the words in books meant, so she sat down and taught herself.
“I’ve always been a very curious student, one that gets inspired by learning,” said Apostolova, Distinguished Professor and the Baekgaard Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research at IU School of Medicine.
Apostolova’s intellectual curiosity has directed her research interests and driven a remarkable career in medicine. She now leads IU School of Medicine’s top-funded research program supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Longitudinal Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study (LEADS). This study will enroll and follow 500 cognitively impaired and 100 cognitively normal participants ages 40 to 64 with the goal of discovering biomarkers that will help physicians better diagnose and care for patients with this form of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We identified a niche in Alzheimer’s which was these young-onset patients,” Apostolova said. “They hold unknown facts and potential hints for cures for Alzheimer’s. They can help us understand how the disease manifests and progresses.”
Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium webinar is April 27
Join IU Federal Research Relations for a conversation with the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) at 1 pm, Tuesday, April 27. Fred Cate, IU vice president for research, will offer opening remarks and introduce MTEC representatives. Participants will learn more about MTEC’s priorities, how to engage with the consortium and upcoming funding opportunities.
MTEC is a Department of Defense (DoD)-backed 501(c)(3) biomedical technology consortium under an Other Transaction Agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. DoD and other government medical research programs set requirements and utilize MTEC as a mechanism for funding extramural research. As a member of MTEC, Indiana University has access to members-only funding solicitations released by the consortium. MTEC also hosts networking events and provides a platform for connecting members with potential collaborators.
“Big data” analysis reveals that androgens could benefit asthma
A group of researchers based at IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health has discovered that people who are clinically lacking androgen effects are three to four times more likely to have asthma than people in the general population. Their “big data” analysis of over 90 million people supports previous work in mice showing that loss of the androgen receptor increases asthma risk. Led by Benjamin Gaston, MD, “Asthma risk among individuals with androgen receptor deficiency” was published in JAMA Pediatrics.
People of all genders produce androgens, a type of hormone that communicates with different cells in the body through a protein called the androgen receptor. The risk of asthma in people with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), who typically have androgen receptor deficiency, has not been previously studied. Gaston said that the question came up while his team was conducting research related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Because of studying COVID-19, we discovered that human airways express androgen receptors, and that increased AR expression, while bad if you have COVID, is good if you have asthma,” said Gaston, who is the Billie Lou Wood Professor of Pediatrics and the Department of Pediatrics vice chair of Translational Research at Riley at IU Health and IU School of Medicine.
For more on the analysis, visit the Newsroom.
Study: B cell activating factor could hold key to immune tolerance for hemophilia
Scientists have just made a key discovery that could prevent and eradicate immune responses that lead to treatment failure in about one-third of people with severe hemophilia A.
Hemophilia is the most common severe inherited bleeding disorder in men. The disease affects 1 in 10,000 males worldwide and results from a deficiency of blood clotting factor VIII (FVIII). Both children and adults with hemophilia A (80 percent of all hemophilia) receive treatment that involves infusing FVIII protein into the bloodstream. However, about 30 percent of them develop an immune response in the form of antibodies to FVIII (inhibitors), rendering treatment ineffective and increasing risk of mortality.
For inhibitor-positive patients, immune tolerance induction (ITI) options are scarce, costly and invasive. Investigators at IU School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania joined efforts to explore immune responses to FVIII under a National Institutes of Health-funded U54 initiative.
The study, led by IU School of Medicine’s Moanaro Biswas, PhD, and Valder R. Arruda, MD, PhD, from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, is titled “B cell activating factor modulates the factor VIII immune response in hemophilia” and was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation earlier this month.
Visit the Newsroom to read about the study and the major findings.
Precision Health Initiative featured in IU Grand Challenges Summit; watch the video
IU recently debuted the 2021 Grand Challenges Summit, hosted by Gerry Dick of “Inside Indiana Business.” In the summit video, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and IU President Michael A. McRobbie talk with IU alumna Sage Steele, reporter and anchor at ESPN, about the Grand Challenges partnerships between IU researchers and stakeholders in state government, business and the nonprofit community across the state. The summit featured community leaders and collaborators from each of IU’s Grand Challenges, including the Precision Health Initiative, the first recipient of funding from the university’s Grand Challenges program.
Faculty and Staff News
Box retires May 10; learn about alternate storage options
Box is now read-only, and all files must be removed before Monday, May 10. Visit the IU Box retirement FAQ for more information.
To ensure institutional data is secure and to give colleagues access to the information even if you leave IU, use the institutional storage request form.
To learn more about IU's individual and institutional storage options, IT Training offers live or recorded webinars on Google at IU My Drive or Microsoft OneDrive at IU.
AAMC Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar: Submit nominations by April 30
The two-day Minority Faculty Leadership Development Seminar, hosted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), brings together junior faculty from across the United States and provides participants with real-world guidance and tools for pursuing career advancement in academic medicine. The virtual seminar—scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, and Thursday, June 24—will help participants develop key professional competencies that build skills in grant writing and communications, while expanding their network of colleagues and role models.
Nominations (including self-nominations) will be accepted until Friday, April 30.
Apply for PLUS by next Friday
PLUS (Program to Launch Underrepresented in Medicine Success) is designed to support the career development of underrepresented faculty in academic medicine. A two-year cohort program, PLUS is structured around the two pillars of leadership and scholarship, and bolstered by networking, advising, career coaching and wellness programming that is tailored to meet the needs of faculty underrepresented in medicine. Application deadline is Friday, April 30. Learn more and apply.
Cancer center town hall is April 27
Join the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center at IU Health for a cancer center town hall at 7 pm, Tuesday, April 27. Learn more about the center’s efforts to improve the lives of cancer patients during a live broadcast from the Indianapolis Colts studios featuring new cancer center director Kelvin Lee, MD, with a special welcome from Colts punter and cancer survivor Rigoberto Sanchez. Registration is available.
Tomorrow: Join vaccine conversation with expert Peter Hotez, MD, PhD
Internationally recognized physician-scientist Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, is the featured speaker for a conversation and Q&A on the COVID-19 vaccine and health inequities at 3 pm EDT, Friday, April 23. Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also the co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics.
ACS institutional research grant applications due May 1
The IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is offering funds through the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) for new pilot projects to assist new investigators who hold the rank of assistant professor, research assistant professor or assistant scientist, but without an active national competitive research grant (i.e., NIH, NSF, ACS), regardless of the topic. This grant provides support for beginning investigators to enable them to initiate their independent research program.
The purpose of the ACS-IRG program is to attract new investigators from IU into cancer research and to provide support for new pilot studies that will produce preliminary data for the investigator to develop into studies that will compete successfully for external, national funds from both federal and private sources. Faculty from IU School of Medicine and its regional campuses and the schools of nursing, dentistry, optometry, public and environmental affairs, health and rehabilitation sciences, liberal arts, law, science and informatics are encouraged to apply.
More information is available, including a PDF of the application. With questions or to receive an application in Microsoft Word to complete electronically, contact Crystal Baker at email@example.com. Application deadline is Saturday, May 1.
IU Health supports communities with nearly $3.5 million in grants
IU Health recently awarded grants to local organizations across Indiana working to address early learning needs and other community issues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are from the $100 million Community Impact Investment Fund established in 2018 to address social and environmental determinants of health in Indiana.
IU School of Medicine students honored at IUPUI chancellor’s convocation
Paul Barta, a student in the IU School of Medicine Health Professions Program, and Nathan Schleinkofer, medical student, were recognized at the IUPUI Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation earlier this month. The convocation is a celebration of the outstanding achievements of IUPUI faculty and students in teaching and learning; excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activity; excellence in civic engagement; and excellence in diversity, collaboration, and best practices.