Faculty and Staff News
Cancer center researchers part of a collaborative $12.4 million SPORE grant from National Cancer Institute
Two Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers are now part of a prestigious Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute.
The SPORE grant was awarded to The Coriell Institute for Medical Research (Camden, NJ) and Van Andel Institute (Grand Rapids, MI) and includes three research projects focusing on epigenetic therapy, which aims to treat cancer by correcting abnormal gene expression.
The project at IU will investigate the impact of epigenetic therapy on cancers driven by BRCAness, a major cancer-related vulnerability. Nephew and Miller, both researchers at the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, will collaborate with project co-investigator Feyruz Rassool, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Patients who inherit mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancers. While approved therapies exist for those patient populations, those therapies won’t work for women diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer or ovarian cancer with BRCAness—a defect in the DNA repair process that imitates BRCA mutations, even though the gene is intact. This research could offer a treatment approach for both BRCA mutant and intact cancers.
“We are pioneering an epigenetic therapy-PARP inhibitor combination that will generate a vulnerability in cancer cells. Our strategy represents a potentially important treatment advance and therapeutic option for women diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer who lack BRCA mutations and address an urgent clinical need,” Nephew said.
For more on the research and the grant funding, visit the Newsroom.
Carroll answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12
Progress is being made toward authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Although this is welcome news for many and will help push the world further toward the end of the pandemic, questions remain among caregivers about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for younger children.
Aaron Carroll, MD, chief health officer for Indiana University, addresses some of the issues in this Q&A, including when the vaccine will be available for kids, clinical trials of the vaccine in children and overall safety of the vaccine for kids.
Save the date: IU School of Medicine Education Day is April 28
“Building Bridges in Medical Education” is the theme of IU School of Medicine’s third annual Education Day, which will be held on Thursday, April 28. Proposals for the event are now being accepted and may be submitted by faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students from all departments and campuses. Submissions related to the following topics are encouraged:
- Assessment and evaluation
- COVID-related educational initiatives
- Cultural competence
- Critical thinking and clinical reasoning
- Curriculum development
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Effective feedback
- Instructional techniques, including online tools
- Innovation in education
- Point of care ultrasound
- Preclinical instruction
- Procedural competence
- Professional identity formation
- Teaching development for residents and faculty
Session formats will include oral platform presentations, small group discussions and workshops. The deadline to submit proposals is 5 pm, Friday, January 14. Questions? Contact Komal Kochhar, MD, MHA. Event registration information will be announced in the coming weeks.
On the blog: Compassion-fueled excellence drives brain injury expert
To understand what motivates Flora Hammond, MD, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at IU School of Medicine, pay attention to her email signature: “In work, life & play: Care for others & always do your best.”
It’s a tribute to the values modeled by her late parents, C. Fenner McConnell, MD, a dermatopathologist and medical examiner, and Shirley McConnell, a dietician and caterer. Their example compels Hammond to strive for excellence and serve her community through her work every day.
“Both of my parents were goal-oriented, had high expectations for themselves and encouraged others to achieve their best,” Hammond said. “They were generous of their time and resources and engaged in extensive community service to meaningfully contribute to society. They stepped up to lead when they saw leadership was needed.”
Seeing them in action was inspiring: “You didn’t want to be sitting down when they were around.”
Read the Women in Medicine blog post to learn how Hammond’s industrious nature guided her career in medicine as a physiatrist who is extensively published for her work in rehabilitation and recovery after brain injury, concussion and spinal cord injury.
Nominations open for Watanabe prize
IU School of Medicine is accepting nominations for the 2022 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 will receive $100,000 to fund their research. The recipient will also spend time in Indianapolis in September 2022 as a visiting dignitary to share knowledge with audiences at IU School of Medicine and its partner institutions.
The Watanabe prize is named in honor of the late August M. Watanabe, a pioneer in the field of translational research in both academia and industry who impacted the health of people around the world as a leader at IU School of Medicine and Eli Lilly and Company. The Watanabe Prize in Translational Research was created to memorialize Watanabe’s exceptional dedication to scientific inquiry and his determined advocacy of translational research.
Research misconduct webinar series begins October 6
In a new webinar series, IU Research Integrity Office staff will join faculty members who adjudicate research misconduct cases to discuss the causes and consequences of research misconduct and share lessons learned from real cases at IU. Learn what falsification, fabrication and plagiarism look like in real life, how research misconduct allegations can affect you and your research, and approaches for preventing research misconduct and allegations in your own labs and research teams.
The first session, “Small mistakes, big consequences,” will be held from noon-1 pm, on Wednesday, October 6. Register for the event and get details on future sessions in the series.
Faculty and Staff News
DEI resource series: Skills for Inclusive Conversations; view the webinar
Develop the skills to conduct meaningful conversations about race, religion and gender with the LinkedIn Learning resource, “Skills for Inclusive Conversations.” LinkedIn Learning is offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).
Need to schedule your flu shot? Here’s how
With rates of COVID-19 infection high across the country, it’s especially important to get a flu vaccine this year to help keep everyone healthy and reduce the strain on the health care system.
IU is strongly encouraging all staff, faculty and students to get a flu vaccine. Flu shot clinics are being held on the IUPUI and Bloomington campuses in October:
Faculty, staff and students on regional campuses should check their local campus news sources for flu shot information. If you can’t attend an on-campus flu shot clinic, check with your local retail pharmacy for flu shot availability. Many primary care providers also administer flu vaccines.
Apply for postdoctoral training focused on community-public health tracks
The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is requesting applications from postdoctoral fellows who have an interest in directed training in traditional basic translational science research (T1-T2) or community and public health-focused translational science research (T3-T4). These awards are designed to provide promising postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to be mentored in research-intensive, multidisciplinary settings toward the goal of developing careers in translational research.
Letters of intent are due November 8, and the application deadline is December 9. Find out more about the program and apply.
MedSTAR accepting applications for medical student research fellowships
MedSTAR provides supported clinical and translational research opportunities for IU School of Medicine medical students. Targeted to MS2, MS3 and MS4 students, the program is a collaboration between IU School of Medicine and Indiana CTSI that seeks to strengthen and increase the cohort of physician-scientists in the workforce. The one-year fellowship allows medical students to be immersed in research support for one year of full-time mentored training. The fellowship aims to accept up to four students each year from IU School of Medicine who are enrolled and in good standing, and who have a proven interest in and commitment to biomedical research as evidenced by previous laboratory, translational or clinical research experience such as the IMPRS Summer Program.
Applications will be accepted from October 1 through December 31.
October 27 Grand Rounds for medical educators to address ‘fostering well-being in the learning environment’
IU School of Medicine Medical Student Education, the Department of Mental Health Services and the Department of Pediatrics are sponsoring the Grand Rounds presentation, “Fostering Well-Being in the Learning Environment: The Imperative for Medical Educators” at 8 am on Wednesday, October 27. The virtual event will feature Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD, professor of integrative physiology and co-director of the CAM Graduate Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. Access the event on Zoom.
Apply by November 22 for ACS institutional research grants
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 (i.e., NIH, NSF, ACS) national competitive research grant, 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.
Get more program information, including a PDF of the application. With questions or to receive an application in Microsoft Word to complete electronically, contact Crystal Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Application deadline is November 22.
Wanted: Health care workers to share COVID-19 experiences
If you are a health care worker with a chronic illness or disability, consider completing a short survey about your COVID-19 pandemic experience. Survey results will be used as part of a related research project on this subject. IU School of Medicine student Hannah Dempsey is co-principal investigator of the IU Institutional Review Board-approved study. Email Dempsey at email@example.com with questions.