Faculty and Staff News
Alzheimer’s disease research programs collaborate on disease models, drug discovery of gene
Investigators from two of Indiana University School of Medicine’s largest funded research programs are collaborating on a study investigating the biology behind a gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease, with the hopes of developing a drug to treat the disease.
The three-year grant from the National Institute on Aging, worth $2.3 million in 2021, will fund a research study for the Model Organism Development and Evaluation for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (MODEL-AD) and the IU School of Medicine-Purdue TaRget Enablement to Accelerate Therapy Development for Alzheimer’s Disease (TREAT-AD) drug discovery center.
The team, led by Bruce Lamb, PhD, executive director of Stark Neurosciences Research Institute; Stephanie Bissel, PhD, assistant research professor in medical and molecular genetics; and Gary Landreth, PhD, Martin Professor of Alzheimer’s Research, are investigating a gene encoded protein found in microglia—the brain’s immune cells—called phospholipase C gamma 2 (PLCG2). The gene has two genetic risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the rare variants (M28L) appears to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease while another (P522R) lessens the risk of disease. MODEL-AD—a consortium of experts at IU School of Medicine, Jackson Laboratory, Sage Bionetworks and University of California, Irvine—identified the gene variant that increases the risk of disease, said Lamb, MODEL-AD program director.
“This grant helps us understand how this gene works in disease models and how it impacts the risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” Lamb said. “It really takes advantage of the models and phenotyping we have in MODEL-AD and all the data we’ve been collecting from TREAT-AD.”
For more on the research, visit the Newsroom.
Whitten inauguration includes IU School of Medicine highlights
Indiana University inaugurated Pamela Whitten as its 19th president during a ceremony November 4 at IU Auditorium in Bloomington.
IU School of Medicine PhD candidate Alyson Essex was one of the featured speakers at the Bloomington ceremony. Before the event, Essex, who is also president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government at IUPUI, shared some observations about IU’s new president
“We are a generation of students who don’t have an option to just maintain. We have to innovate; we have to adapt; we need to meet the challenges of the changing world and environment. For IU to keep being a leader in higher education, we must have someone at the helm who is ready and willing to do that, and President Whitten has demonstrated just that.”
In her inauguration address, Whitten lauded IU’s reputation as “one of the leading research universities in the world,” and recognized the work of IU School of Medicine faculty member Liana Apostolova, MD, MS, FAAN.
“IU faculty have had great success in competing for sponsored awards, which speaks to the quality of our faculty and their work. This funding directly and indirectly helps to support thousands of jobs in the state of Indiana. Distinguished Professor Liana Apostolova of the IU School of Medicine, for example, is conducting groundbreaking research that focuses on the early symptomatic and pre-symptomatic stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her reputation as a world leader in Alzheimer's disease clinical investigation led to her becoming the principal investigator of the largest single National Institutes of Health grant ever received by a scientist at IU. This project established a national consortium focused on early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”
End Lung Cancer Now: Q&A with the new initiative’s founder
End Lung Cancer Now brings together advocates to tackle the No. 1 cause of cancer-related deaths—lung cancer. The new initiative is the brainchild of physician-scientist Nasser Hanna, MD, the Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation Professor of Lung Cancer Clinical Research at IU School of Medicine.
End Lung Cancer Now’s mission is to educate and empower patient advocates to eliminate tobacco use in Indiana, screen all eligible patients with chest CT and dramatically increase participation in lung cancer research. In this Q&A, Nasser answers some questions about the new program.
Watch: November Diversity Town Hall recording is available
Did you miss the Diversity Town Hall on November 2? Register to receive a recording of the presentation, which included updates and discussion from Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, MD, MPH, Antwione Haywood, PhD, MEd, and Chemen Neal, MD.
October research awards and grants total over $23 million
Investigator Sponsor Type Project Title Begin Date End Date Awarded Dollars Andreia Beth Alexander Society Of Family Planning New Developing an Emergency Department intervention to Increase Access to Contraception 10/1/2021 4/30/2023 $60,000 Scott T Aoki National Institute Of General Medical Sciences New Biochemistry in situ to determine inheritance of RNA-protein complexes 9/24/2021 7/31/2022 $389,879 Tarek Maurice Ashkar Augusta University New In-situ characterization of cell injury in Diabetes using tissue cytometry and machine learning 7/1/2021 6/30/2022 $100,000 Malaz A Boustani University Of Tennessee Health Science Center New Tennessee Heart Health Network: Implementing Patient-Centered Practices in Primary Care to Improve Cardiovascular Health 3/1/2021 2/28/2022 $21,219 Hal E Broxmeyer National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Renewal (not prev committed) Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell regulation for enhanced clinical efficacy 9/1/2021 7/31/2022 $772,128 Li Chen University Of Miami New Cell fate determination in the early development of the otic lineage in human inner ear organoids 7/5/2021 6/30/2022 $10,429 D Wade Clapp National Cancer Institute Renewal (not prev committed) Developmental and Hyperactive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE 9/24/2021 8/31/2022 $2,198,683 Simon J Conway Riley Children's Foundation New Barth Syndrome Research Fund 9/1/2021 8/31/2022 $45,356 Molly Duman Scheel U.s. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity New Yeast Interfering RNA Pesticide-based Attractive Toxic Sugar Baits for Biorational Mosquito Control 9/30/2021 9/29/2023 $1,424,914 Michael J. Econs National Institute Arthritis Musculoskeletal Skin New Mechanistic Ancillary Study to the Natural History Study of ADO2 to Determine Clinical Severity 9/24/2021 8/31/2023 $231,220 Peter J Embi Vanderbilt University Medical Center Renewal (not prev committed) Improving Clinical trial Education, Recruitment, and Enrollment at CTSA Hubs (ICERCH) 7/5/2021 6/30/2022 $57,223 Carmella Evans-Molina National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney New Control of beta cell function and survival by RYR2-mediated calcium signals 9/20/2021 8/31/2022 $479,557 Tatiana M Foroud Lumind Foundation Renewal (not prev committed) Down Syndrome Biorepository 2/7/2019 12/31/2025 $108,695 Nicole R Fowler National Institute On Aging New Training the Next Generation of Social and Behavioral Physician-Scientists in ADRD: The Indiana ADRD Medical Scientist Training Program 9/30/2021 9/29/2022 $107,958 Sandeep K. Gupta Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center New Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CT1) 9/1/2020 8/31/2021 $31,123 Sandeep K. Gupta Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center New Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEC) 8/31/2020 8/31/2021 $20,903 Seethal A Jacob Indiana Department Of Health Renewal (not prev committed) Sickle Bright: Transitioning to a Bright Future-a Continuation 7/1/2021 6/30/2023 $247,168 David A. Kareken National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism New Limbic-Executive Network Transitions in Alcohol Use Disorder 9/25/2021 8/31/2022 $239,933 Jungsu Kim National Institute On Aging New The role of ABI3 in Alzheimers disease 9/30/2021 5/31/2022 $731,915 Kok Lim Kua March Of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation New The role of Reg3g-mediated heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan polymerization as a mechanism underlying sex-specific ß cell dysfunction in offspring of obese mothers 10/1/2021 9/30/2023 $150,000 Debomoy K. Lahiri National Institute On Aging New Role of microRNA in regulating Fe, Amyloid, and Tau (FeAT) in Alzheimer's disease 9/30/2021 8/31/2022 $630,169 Jacquelyn D Lajiness Weill Cornell Medical College New Maternal lipids regulate neonatal dendritic cells during development of allergic disease 7/1/2021 6/30/2022 $119,880 Bruce Timothy Lamb National Institute On Aging New Impact of PLCG2 Alzheimer's Disease Risk Variants on Microglia Biology and Disease Pathogenesis 9/30/2021 8/31/2024 $2,333,674 Bruce Timothy Lamb National Institute On Aging Renewal (not prev committed) The IU/JAX Alzheimer's Disease Precision Models Center 9/30/2021 8/31/2022 $5,000,000 Debra K Litzelman Indiana Department Of Health Renewal (not prev committed) WeCare Plus: An Innovative, Community-Based Collaborative Initiative to Decrease Infant Mortality 10/1/2021 9/30/2022 $131,324 Megan Song McHenry National Institute Of Mental Health New Advancing the science of neurocognitive physiology in adolescents living with HIV 8/1/2021 7/31/2022 $169,373 Kathy D. Miller Coriell Institute For Medical Research New Linking epigenetic-therapy induction of inflammasome signaling to generation of a BRCAness phenotype: a novel therapy approach combining HMAs with PARP inhibitors. 8/16/2021 6/30/2022 $217,529 Jean P Molleston Ann & Robert H Lurie Children Hospital Of Chi New Pediatric Acute Liver Failure Immune Response Network (PALF IRN): Treatment for Immune Mediated Pathophysiology (TRIUMPH) 6/15/2021 5/31/2022 $53,707 Dawn M Neumann Indiana Department Of Health New
"Substance Use and Pain after Brain Injury: Preliminary Examination of the Role of
7/1/2021 6/30/2023 $199,869 Sara Kay Quinney National Institute Of Child Health, Human Devl. New The Indiana University-Ohio State University Maternal and Pediatric Precision in Therapeutics Data, Model, Knowledge, and Research Coordination Center (IU-OSU MPRINT DMKRCC) 9/10/2021 7/31/2022 $2,499,998 Don B Sanders Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Renewal (not prev committed) IN-182/182 - Riley Hospital for Children Indiana University Medical Center (Sanders, Don B.) 7/1/2021 6/30/2022 $267,600 Andrew J Saykin University Of Washington Renewal (not prev committed) National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center 7/1/2021 5/31/2022 $26,780 Andrew J Saykin National Institute On Aging New Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Research Center 9/1/2021 6/30/2022 $2,943,445 Pratibha Singh National Institute On Aging New Bone marrow NPY deficiency triggers HSC aging 9/30/2021 5/31/2022 $198,125 Gregory M. Sokol University Of Iowa Renewal (not prev committed) Transfusion of Prematurity Early School Age Follow-up (TOP 5) CCC 9/20/2018 8/31/2022 $20,192 Balaji K Tamarappoo Cedars-sinai Medical Center New Effect of Intensive Medical Treatment on Quantified Coronary Artery Plaque Components with Serial Coronary CTA in Women with Non-Obstructive CAD 6/1/2021 8/31/2021 $13,745 Tuan M Tran Harvard University New Exploring the roles of acquired immunity and functional constraint in sculpting malaria antigenic diversity in a longitudinal cohort 9/1/2021 8/31/2022 $56,432 Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds Agency For Healthcare Research And Quality New Promoting Shared Decision Making in Periviable Care: A randomized controlled trial of the Periviable GOALS Decision Support Tool 9/30/2021 8/31/2022 $399,798 Ying Wang National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health New Integrative Medicine for Pain Management in Sickle Cell Disease 9/28/2021 8/31/2022 $249,000 Ronald C. Wek Rutgers University Renewal (not prev committed) Homeostatic Responses to Amino Acid Insufficiency 7/1/2021 6/30/2022 $203,383 Francesca Arielle Williamson American Educational Research Association New Negotiating Educational Change in Health Professions Education: A Discursive Study of Journal Club Meetings 9/1/2021 12/31/2022 $4,283 Yi Xuan National Institute Of General Medical Sciences New Nanofabricated Devices and Nanomedicine Approaches for Wound Healing 7/1/2021 6/30/2022 $155,880 Andy Qigui Yu University Of Pittsburgh New Molecular Mechanisms of HBV cccDNA Formation 7/1/2021 12/31/2021 $25,770 Yong Zang National Cancer Institute New Curve-free phase I/II clinical trial designs for molecularly targeted agents and immunotherapy 9/17/2021 8/31/2022 $140,044 S. Elizabeth Zauber Parkinson's Disease Foundation New Parkinson¿s Foundation PD GENEration Genetic Registry 9/16/2021 9/15/2022 $5,000 S. Elizabeth Zauber Purdue University New Neuroimaging of Manganese Toxicity 4/7/2021 1/31/2022 $10,797
School reiterates research data ownership and retention policy
IU School of Medicine has a research data ownership and retention policy that outlines the school’s ownership of data, the principal investigator’s (PI) obligations regarding storage and protection of data, data retention requirements for original data, and a process for transfer of data to another institution if a PI leaves the school.
“It’s important to have this policy which reiterates IU’s ownership of research data for all projects it conducts,” said Tatiana Foroud, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs. “Appropriate retention of research data is imperative to demonstrate the credibility, reproducibility and validity of our research.”
The policy applies to anyone conducting research for IU School of Medicine, whether funded or not, including principal investigators, staff and learners.
- Original data used in a publication must be retained for seven years past the publication’s date. Certain cases may require a longer retention period, but a shorter time period is not permitted.
- The PI is responsible for security of the data and for proper management of data.
- Requests may be made for the transfer of a copy of data to other institutions in certain situations. If granted, a data transfer agreement will be put in place.
- Original data will generally always stay with IU unless specific criteria are met, the executive associate dean for research approves the transfer of original data, and a data transfer agreement with the receiving institution is in place.
This policy is different than the school’s mandatory data management plans, required for investigators who are federally funded, excluding the VA.
“Data management plans outline for federal funders where and how data is stored,” said Foroud. “This policy extends beyond investigators to staff and learners, funded or not, letting them know how long they need to store data they are collecting or using.”
The following instances may result in the need to store research data longer than the seven-year retention period required by IU School of Medicine.
- Research data must be kept for as long as is necessary to protect any intellectual property resulting from the work.
- If any charge, audit, claim or litigation regarding the research arises, such as allegations of misconduct or conflict of interest, research data must be retained until such charge, audit, claim or litigation is fully resolved.
- If a learner is involved in collecting the research data, it must be retained at least until the learner’s degree is awarded or it is clear that the learner has abandoned the work.
Appropriate retention of research data is so important that violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. With questions concerning the policy, email email@example.com.
Research team investigates role of gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease in brain’s immune cells
When immune cells move throughout the brain, they act as the first line of defense against viruses, toxic materials and damaged neurons, rushing over to clear out them.
Researchers at IU School of Medicine have been investigating how these immune cells in the brain—microglia—relate to a gene mutation recently found in Alzheimer’s disease patients. They published their findings in Science Advances.
The study, led by Hande Karahan, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in medical and molecular genetics, and Jungsu Kim, PhD, the P. Michael Conneally Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics, found that deleting the gene—called ABI3—significantly increased amyloid-beta plaque accumulation in the brain and decreased the amount of microglia around the plaques.
“This study can provide further insight into understanding the key functions of microglia contributing to the disease and help identify new therapeutic targets,” Karahan said.
Visit the Newsroom for more on the findings.
Researchers at Eskenazi Health need to reset passwords, verify identities
All researchers with an Eskenazi Health account must change their network password and enroll in Duo, a multi-factor authentication service. Many providers and employees have already done so and now research collaborators with active Eskenazi Health network or Epic accounts need to do the same. All remote access (including VPN) will require a new password and Duo authentication because of a change in information security. This must be done on-site to verify each researcher’s identity and device for Duo enrollment.
Who: Researchers with an active Eskenazi Health account (e.g., current Epic, VPN, email or network access) will need to go to Eskenazi Health to change their Eskenazi Health password and enroll in Duo.
When: Monday through Friday, 6 am-5 pm.
Where: IT Help Desk on the lower-level of the Fifth Third Bank Building, Room FL-400 (720 Eskenazi Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46202). Enter the double glass doors on the south side of the lower level. (Entry requires badge access. If you do not have an Eskenazi Health badge, call 317-880-5589 or 317-880-7800 to be let in from the lower-level south entrance only.) After arrival on the second floor, turn left. The second internal door on the left is room FL-400.
What to bring: Bring a photo ID (e.g., Eskenazi Health badge, IU badge or driver’s license) and the device you will use for Duo authentication. This must be a device that can use the Duo app or receive texts or phone calls.
Note: If you already use Duo through other accounts, such as an IU account, you must still follow the process above for an Eskenazi Health account.
If you no longer need an Eskenazi Health account, notify the Eskenazi Health Help Desk at 317-880-7800. Contact the help desk with any technical questions. With other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New publication means improved outcomes for children with Kawasaki disease
A new publication with contributions from an IU School of Medicine researcher could change the way doctors treat children diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. James Wood, MD, was the local lead investigator and one of the authors of a paper recently published in The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health.
Even though Kawasaki disease is relatively rare, it is among the most common causes of acquired heart disease in children. Kawasaki disease is typically treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which is made up of antibodies. When IVIG is given to a patient with Kawasaki disease, it can stabilize them within a few hours, as well as help suppress inflammation, but not all children respond to the treatment.
In a randomized clinical trial known as KIDCARE, researchers divided children who did not respond to the first dose of IVIG into two groups, giving one group a second dose of IVIG (which has been the standard of care for patients who do not respond to the initial treatment) and giving the other group a drug called infliximab, a monoclonal antibody which is typically used to treat autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The researchers found that patients who received infliximab didn’t have a fever for as long, had less severe anemia, didn’t need as much additional therapy, and could leave the hospital sooner than those who received a second dose of IVIG. This nationwide study included 103 children who received treatment at 30 clinical sites, including Riley Children’s Health, which was the second highest recruiting site.
Read the Research Updates blog post for more details on the study.
Single-cell Graph Convolutional Network allows for rapid knowledge transfer
An IU School of Medicine researcher developed a graph artificial intelligence model for single-cell omics data analysis. Jing Su, PhD, is one of the authors of a Nature Communications publication about the single-cell Graph Convolutional Network (scGCN), which can help researchers transfer knowledge across different datasets. scGCN software is currently available for researchers to download and use.
“Single-cell omics is the fastest-growing type of genomics data in the literature and public genomics repositories,” said Su, assistant professor of biostatistics and data health sciences at IU School of Medicine. “Leveraging the growing repository of labeled datasets and transferring labels from existing datasets to newly generated datasets will empower the exploration of single-cell omics data.”
For more details, read the Precision Health blog post.
Faculty and Staff News
Remembering Gordon Watson, MD, PhD
The IU School of Medicine community is deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected death of one of its most valued physicians, Gordon A. Watson, MD, PhD, vice chair for clinical affairs, Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Watson was among the most popular and busiest physicians in the department and at IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In a message to colleagues, Himanshu Shah, MD, executive associate dean for clinical affairs, and Rich C. Zellars, MD, chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, shared the following about Dr. Watson:
“His loss will deeply impact patients, colleagues and team members alike. Dr. Watson was an outstanding physician who helped to lead the department in the most professional, sympathetic and eased way imaginable, and taught us much in the process. We will remember him for his wisdom, excellent patient care, and sometimes lacerating quick wit. The department benefitted much from the graciousness with which he shared his knowledge and streamlined processes.”
Information about services will be shared with colleagues when it becomes available.
IU and IU School of Medicine offer support for the school community. IU Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides 24/7/365 access to licensed mental health counselors via SupportLinc or 888-881-LINC (5462). The IU School of Medicine Department of Mental Health Services provides emergency help 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 317-278-HELP (4357).
Graduate Medical Education opens search for associate dean
The Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) is accepting letters of interest and curriculum vitae (CV) for the position of associate dean for graduate medical education. The associate dean will work closely with and report to the senior associate dean for graduate medical education. This is a part-time position and anticipated to be a .50 FTE. Anticipated start date is July 1, 2022.
Funding opportunity available for early career physician-scientists
The Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists grant program, funded through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, will provide financial support to help early career physician-scientists who have experienced disruptions in their research programs due to the need for enhanced caregiving activities during the pandemic.
Individual awards will be for one year with expected budgets between $35,000 and $50,000. The program will exist for two years with funds to support seven to 10 awards each year. Deadline to apply is December 16.
DEI resource series: Understanding we’re all biased; view the webinar
In this webinar, a diversity expert helps you recognize and acknowledge your own biases so that you can identify them and prevent yourself from making decisions based on a biased viewpoint. Check out “Unconscious Bias: Understanding we’re all biased” through LinkedIn Learning, offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).
November 17: ‘Simon Says’ to focus on new lung cancer initiative
This month’s virtual Simon Says Expert Series, presented by the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, is “End Lung Cancer Now: Advocacy for Awareness, Research and Prevention.” Nasser Hanna, MD, director of the cancer center’s lung cancer research program, will lead a discussion with Elyse Turula. Turula lost her husband to lung cancer in 2017 and is now an integral part of IU’s End Lung Cancer Now initiative. Hanna and Turula will discuss strategies for preventing lung cancer, as well as increasing screenings to find the disease in its earliest stages. The event will be held at noon on Wednesday, November 17. Learn more and register.
AMPATH Fireside Chat reflects on early days of surgery program
Join AMPATH Surgery leaders as they look back on the early days of AMPATH and the formation of the surgery program and look ahead to new innovations and partnerships. The AMPATH Fireside Chat on Wednesday, November 17, at noon features Barasa Otsyula Khwa-Otsyula, EBS, MBChB, MMed, professor and consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and former dean of Moi University School of Medicine (Kenya); David E. Matthews, MD, clinical associate professor of surgery at IU School of Medicine, former AMPATH surgery team leader and staff surgeon at Indianapolis Roudebush VA Medical Center; and JoAnna Hunter-Squires, MD, assistant professor of clinical surgery at IU School of Medicine and current AMPATH surgery team leader. Register for the event.
Save the date: December event to explore pain management disparities in communities of color
The history of pain management in health care in the United States is a complex web of personal experience, structural racism and provider bias that has not only led to differential management of pain, but also mistrust in the patient-provider relationship. Save the date for an important discussion about this topic at noon on Wednesday, December 15. Presenters will include Seethal A. Jacob, MD, MS, FAAP, Julia E. LaMotte, PhD, and Amy E. Williams, PhD. Learn more and register.
Looking ahead: Kelley webinar to address 2022 economic outlook
The COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and inflation all lead to uncertainty about what’s to come in 2022. The Kelley Graduate Certificate in Medical Management explores economic outlook questions during a free webinar—Business, Healthcare, and the Economy: Outlook for 2022.
Plan to attend on Thursday, December 9, at 12:15 pm when Kelley economist Kyle Anderson discusses the numerous factors contributing to economic uncertainty. Specifically, he’ll address jobs and unemployment, the recession and recovery, and how the state of the economy will affect health care and health care-related businesses. Sign up for the webinar.