Faculty and Staff News
IU School of Medicine recognized as Rare Disease Center of Excellence
Indiana University School of Medicine and its partner Indiana University Health are among 31 national Rare Disease Centers of Excellence designated by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). The inaugural list includes health systems and medical schools from 22 states. IU School of Medicine and IU Health are the only Indiana organizations to receive this designation.
IU School of Medicine was selected by NORD through a competitive application process which required proof of expert staffing across multiple specialties able to meet the needs of rare disease patients and make significant contributions to rare disease patient education, physician training and research.
“We are honored to be designated as a Rare Disease Center of Excellence by the National Organization for Rare Disorders,” said Tatiana Foroud, PhD, executive associate dean for research affairs. “It’s recognition like this that continues to elevate our school’s reputation and our commitment to research for rare diseases."
According to a news release, NORD hopes the Centers of Excellence will improve health equity and create critical new connections to resources and specialists across the nation.
“This recognition is a direct result of our dedication to research and to finding answers that matter for patients,” said Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine. “We look forward to continuing to innovate to improve access, care, therapy and research for patients with rare diseases.”
As part of the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative, IU School of Medicine and IU Health launched the Undiagnosed and Rare Disease Clinic (URDC) in January 2020. The URDC program combines the strengths of IU School of Medicine researchers with IU Health clinical care specialists.
In NEJM: Study shows low-cost medicine effective in treating high blood pressure in advanced kidney disease
An all-IU School of Medicine team of researchers led by Rajiv Agarwal, MD, professor of medicine and staff physician at the Roudebush VA Medical Center, and including Arjun Sinha, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine and renal section chief at the Roudebush VA, and Wanzhu Tu, PhD, professor of biostatistics and health data sciences and research scientist at Regenstrief Institute, found that chlorthalidone was effective in lowering blood pressure in individuals with advanced kidney disease.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, titled Chlorthalidone in Chronic Kidney Disease (CLICK) was presented as part of a news conference and High Impact Clinical Trials session at the recent international meeting of the American Society of Nephrology and simultaneously published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
“Kidneys are key regulators of blood pressure. When an individual has chronic kidney disease, the kidneys are unable to control blood pressure,” said Agarwal. “If a person suffers from chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure, it is more likely their kidney disease will advance even further and lead to other health issues such as heart failure.”
The CLICK study randomly assigned patients with stage 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) to either a placebo or chlorthalidone group, with dosing at 12.5 mg daily. The dose was increased every four weeks, if needed, to a maximum of 50 mg per day for patients in the chlorthalidone group. The study was designed to see if blood pressure decreased in the patients treated with chlorthalidone from baseline to 12 weeks, when monitored using a state-of-the-art device called a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
Results from the CLICK study showed chlorthalidone lowered blood pressure by a significant 11 mmHg at 12 weeks as compared to 0.5 mmHg reduction with placebo. There was a 50 percent reduction in albuminuria, a protein that appears in the urine of those suffering from kidney disease, which Agarwal says is remarkable and suggests that chlorthalidone has the potential to reduce kidney failure progression and hospitalizations for heart failure in these patients.
For more on the research, visit the Newsroom.
Save the date: LGBTQ+ Health Care Conference is March 24-26
The LGBTQ+ Health Care Conference is a three-day event designed to increase understanding of the unique health considerations and barriers to health care in the LGBTQ+ population. The 2022 conference will be held on March 24-26 and is open to health care professionals, learners, researchers, patients and community members who have an interest in this issue.
The event will include poster presentations on a variety of topics which influence best practices for LGBTQ+ patient experiences. The deadline to submit an application for a poster presentation is December 3.
On the blog: Meet Kun Huang, biostatistics and health data science leader
Since joining IU School of Medicine in 2017, Kun Huang, PhD, MS, FAIMBE, has held a number of leadership roles, including leader of the Precision Health Initiative Data Science and Informatics group and associate director of data science at the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. In October, Huang became chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Health Data Science at IU School of Medicine. In this Science Careers blog post, Huang answers some questions about his career interest in health data science, what led him to IU and his plans for the department in the coming years.
Look for the next INScope on December 2
INScope will not be distributed next week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Check your inbox for the next issue on Thursday, December 2. The final issue of 2021 will be published on Thursday, December 16, with weekly publication resuming in the new year on January 6.
Still have news to share in 2021? Submit news items for the December issues as soon as possible to email@example.com.
KL2 Early Career Investigator Award winners deliver impactful results
Ten individuals have been named 2021 KL2 Early Career Investigator award winners by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). One of the recipients is Lauren Magee, PhD, who spent six years working at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as a crime analyst before earning her PhD in criminal justice. During her studies, Magee became interested in disparities among victims and communities who experience gun violence and specifically how a public health approach may improve prevention efforts outside law enforcement.
“I study nonfatal shootings because we have a limited understanding of the determinants and effect they have on victims and communities, largely due to a lack of federal funding in the last 30 years,” said Magee, who is an assistant professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI.
Magee’s KL2 study is called, “A Mixed-Methods Approach to Improving Behavioral Health Outcomes of Nonfatal Firearm Injury Victims.” Through her research, she wants to identify disparities and barriers to care for victims, as well as look at long-term health outcomes. This can include the people who were shot, as well as their family members and friends. Magee has a combined background in criminal justice and medicine. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship at IU School of Medicine, focusing on children’s health services research.
The KL2 Early Career Investigator awards are designed to provide promising junior faculty investigators with the opportunity to be mentored in research-intensive, multidisciplinary settings toward the goal of developing careers in translational research.
For the full list of this year’s winners, as well as information about applying for the 2022 KL2 awards, visit indianactsi.org.
NIH leader joins first offsite Diabetic Foot Consortium meeting at IU
The Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering recently hosted the first offsite meeting for the Diabetic Foot Consortium at the IU Health Neuroscience Center. Teresa Jones, MD, a program director for the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), was present to hear updates from university members from across the country.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health NIDDK, the NIDDK Diabetic Foot Consortium, which began in 2018, is the first multicenter network to study diabetic foot ulcers, a complication of diabetes and the leading cause of lower limb amputation in the United States. Members across six research institutions, including IU School of Medicine, are developing clinical trials to test how to improve diabetic wound healing and prevent amputations.
“I want to thank Dr. Jones from the NIDDK for being here for the consortium,” said Tatiana Foroud, PhD, executive associate dean for Research Affairs at IU School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, in her opening remarks. “I also want to recognize the IU School of Medicine and IU Health for seeing the importance of the Diabetic Foot Consortium. We recognize the importance of the care of patients and the need to reduce complications.”
Read the Regenerative Medicine blog post for more on the meeting.
Faculty and Staff News
Celebration of life for Gordon Watson, MD, PhD, scheduled for December 4
A celebration of life honoring Gordon Watson, MD, PhD, is planned for 4 pm, Saturday, December 4, at the Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Avenue, in Indianapolis. Dr. Watson, vice chair for clinical affairs, Department of Radiation Oncology, passed away last week. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pink Ribbon Connection.
Yamamoto to retire as pharmacology and toxicology chair
Bryan Yamamoto, PhD, has announced his intention to retire as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology on May 31, 2022, after seven years in the role.
Yamamoto was appointed chair and the Robert B. Forney Professor of Toxicology in 2015, having previously served as chair and professor in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of Toledo College of Medicine. His research has focused on how drugs of abuse affect the neurochemistry of the brain.
Under Yamamoto’s leadership, the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology has expanded its faculty by more than 30 percent, increased faculty diversity and nearly doubled its federal grant funding in 2020. As a collaborative leader, Yamamoto has directed a statewide pharmacology curriculum expansion and implemented new initiatives in graduate education and interdisciplinary pharmacology research, which position the department to be at the forefront of neuropharmacology, cancer biology and pathogen biology research and education in the coming years.
William Sullivan, PhD, Showalter Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, will serve as interim chair as the school launches a competitive national search for the next chair.
Gilroy named chief of medicine service at Roudebush VA Medical Center
Grant Gilroy, DO, assistant professor of clinical medicine, has been named chief of medicine service at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. Gilroy is a 2016 graduate of the IU School of Medicine Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship.
Traveling for the holidays? IU offers airport parking discount
FastPark & Relax is a preferred parking partner for Indiana University. For IU employees parking at Indianapolis International Airport, the program offers a negotiated rate of $7.50 per day and other perks. Find out more and sign up.
DEI resource series: Talking about culturally sensitive issues
Discussions about cultural differences can be challenging. This LinkedIn Learning course, “Communicating About Culturally Sensitive Issues,” shares principles and strategies that can help you have more productive, meaningful conversations on topics related to diversity. LinkedIn Learning is offered to IU faculty, staff and learners free of charge through One.IU (search “LinkedIn”).
Monday is deadline to apply for ACS 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.
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. Application deadline is November 22.
AMPATH palliative care team gains national recognition in competition
The AMPATH palliative care team is a Gold Winner in the Tipping Point Challenge, a national competition focused on the submission of innovative initiatives that have made—or will make—positive, breakthrough change in the care of serious illness. Kenneth Cornetta, MD, professor of clinical medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine, leads the palliative care effort with Kenyan and North American colleagues.
The Tipping Point Challenge is sponsored by the Center to Advance Palliative Care and The John A. Hartford Foundation. It was open to all health care organizations, settings, disciplines and specialties across the United States, and over 100 initiatives were submitted. Each was evaluated by an expert panel based on five criteria: impact, evidence-base, feasibility, scalability and sustainability.
Read more about the challenge and the AMPATH Kenya initiative.