CTSI Seminar Series: Nanoparticle-mediated gene silencing confers radio protection to salivary glands in vivo

gene silencingThe CTSI Seminar Series for Spring 2014 continues on Tuesday, February 4th with a presentation by Stephen Dewhurst, PhD; Danielle Benoit, PhD; and Catherine Ovitt, PhD. Drs. Dewhurst, Benoit and Ovitt will be presenting their research in a seminar entitled “Nanoparticle-mediated gene silencing confers radio protection to salivary glands in vivo.” Nanoparticles were formulated to provide siRNA delivery to salivary glands. Introduction of siRNA against proapoptotic genes was demonstrated in vitro and in vivo to protect glands against radiation damage. This is a collaboration between the Benoit and Ovitt labs. They will also discuss some new and different directions of our collaboration that involves tissue engineering approaches.

The theme of the Spring 2014 series is “Crossing Elmwood: River Campus-Medical Center Research Collaborations” and will showcase ongoing research collaborations between the University research community and the Medical Center. The series also aims to stimulate new research teams and areas of investigation capitalizing on the existing strength of faculty and programs. The Organizing Committee for the series includes Robert Holloway, MD, MPH, Peter Lennie, PhD, Rob Clark, PhD, Stephen Dewhurst, PhD, Karl Kieburtz, MD, MPH, David Williams, PhD, Richard Waugh, PhD,  and Joanna Olmsted, PhD.

The series takes place on Tuesdays from 12:15-1:15 pm in the Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. You can access the full schedule here. Lunch is provided. Please provide your own beverage. The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CTSI Education Spotlight: Melissa Squires, ART Student

SquiresMy story starts five years ago when, as an undergraduate student at the University of Rochester majoring in Health and Society (now called Public Health), I began pursuing the course work for my Masters of Public Health. As I heard senior colleagues discuss their thesis proposals I found myself directionless: I had a lot of interests but hadn’t found my true passion. I decided to defer completing this degree for a few years and instead started medical school. During my third year of medical school I discovered that my true interest is children with neurological and developmental disabilities. I was connected with supportive faculty in the Developmental Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology departments here at URMC, particularly my mentor Steve Sulkes, MD. Dr. Sulkes and I identified a lack of knowledge surrounding the difference in length of stay of patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) at Strong Memorial Hospital and the degree to which inpatient interventions impact their length of stay. The CTSI here at URMC shared our vision and provided funding through the year-out Academic Research Track (ART).

The first half of the academic year has been spent obtaining and cleaning data. CTSI’s Clinical Research Informaticist Adam Tatro has been invaluable! Not only has he helped facilitate conversations with the eRecord programmer Garth Arnold who pulled the information I needed, Adam’s clinical experience helped me to effectively utilize all the features of eRecord and get the most data possible. Dr. Camille Martina works with a few of the CTSI trainees to ensure that we constantly keep our career and educational goals in our prevue and gives great advice about leveraging our educational experience to maximize our potential- she is currently overseeing my preparations of an abstract of my research to be submitted for the CTSI conference in Washington, DC. In October my project was discussed on WXXI when the founder of the Special Olympics, Steve Perlman, visited Rochester!

In addition to my research, I have also been completing my MPH during this academic year. I am so grateful that the CTSI has provided funding for the coursework and the supplies I need. My thesis will be the research I am using for the ART fellowship; I successfully proposed my thesis in December with the help of my amazing committee of Dr. Sulkes, Dr. Veazie, and Dr. Li. The CTSI also provides funding for ten hours of biostatistics consultation to provide assistance in the data analysis component of this project.

During the process of applying for CTSI funding I was encouraged to apply for the public health administration position of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Related Disorders (LEND) Program. Every week a seminar brings together students and professionals from over 12 disciplines that provide services to the pediatric IDD population and we learn about community supports for this group and how we can advocate for our patients. A component of this program involves being paired with a family who has a child with IDD and learning how they navigate the healthcare and community services systems. I am very excited for our trip to Washington in April for the Disability Policy Seminar during which we will learn more about the relevant legislative, financial, and advocacy issues. I am certain that the information and perspectives I have learned from my colleagues and the family I am working with will be a strong foundation for my role as a healthcare provider and advocate for my patients in the future!

CTSI Seminar Series: Neuroimaging Biomarkers in HIV-Associated CNS Injury

neuroimagingThe CTSI Seminar Series for Spring 2014 continues on Tuesday, January 28th with a presentation by Giovanni Schifitto, MD, MS and Jianhui Zhong, PhD. Drs. Schifitto and Zhong will be presenting their research in a seminar entitled “Neuroimaging Biomarkers in HIV-Associated CNS Injury.” Neuroimaging biomarkers provide a non-invasive approach to study the central nervous system (CNS). In this presentation, Dr. Schifitto and Dr. Zhong will focus on magnetic resonance imaging and its application in investigating HIV-associated CNS injury. The presentation will be divided in three parts: 1. Introduction to HIV infection and HIV-associated neurological disorders; 2. Description of MRI techniques used to investigate the CNS; 3. Application of different MRI modalities to investigate HIV-associated CNS injury.

The theme of the Spring 2014 series is “Crossing Elmwood: River Campus-Medical Center Research Collaborations” and will showcase ongoing research collaborations between the University research community and the Medical Center. The series also aims to stimulate new research teams and areas of investigation capitalizing on the existing strength of faculty and programs. The Organizing Committee for the series includes Robert Holloway, MD, MPH, Peter Lennie, PhD, Rob Clark, PhD, Stephen Dewhurst, PhD, Karl Kieburtz, MD, MPH, David Williams, PhD, Richard Waugh, PhD,  and Joanna Olmsted, PhD.

The series takes place on Tuesdays from 12:15-1:15 pm in the Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. You can access the full schedule here. Lunch is provided. Please provide your own beverage. The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CTSI Seminar Series: Seeing eye to eye: connecting artificial intelligence with automated surgery grading via digital videos

The CTSI Seminar Series for Spring 2014 kicks off on Tuesday, January 14th with a presentation by Yousef Khalifa, MD and Jiebo Luo, PhDOphthalmology. Drs. Khalifa and Luo will be presenting their research in a seminar titled “Seeing eye to eye: connecting artificial intelligence with automated surgery grading via digital videos.” The theme of the Spring 2014 series is “Crossing Elmwood: River Campus-Medical Center Research Collaborations” and will showcase ongoing research collaborations between the University research community and the Medical Center. The series also aims to stimulate new research teams and areas of investigation capitalizing on the existing strength of faculty and programs. The Organizing Committee for the series includes Robert Holloway, MD, MPH, Peter Lennie, PhD, Rob Clark, PhD, Stephen Dewhurst, PhD, Karl Kieburtz, MD, MPH, David Williams, PhD, Richard Waugh, PhD,  and Joanna Olmsted, PhD.

Dr. Khalifa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at URMC and Dr. Luo is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science on River Campus. Dr. Khalifa’s research focuses on the surgical treatment of cataracts, cornea, and refractive surgery. Dr. Luo’s research spans image processing, computer vision, machine learning, data mining, medical imaging, and ubiquitous computing. Dr. Luo describes the seminar below:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software, and the branch of computer science that develops machines and software with intelligence. To increase the timeliness, objectivity, and efficiency in evaluating a resident’s learning of the cataract surgery, researchers in the Flaum Eye Institute and Computer Science Department at the University of Rochester see the opportunity and synergy and have been developing automatic analysis systems for cataract surgery videos. Comparisons of expert graders with the computer vision based system have demonstrated the consistency of the computerized evaluation technique.

The theme of the Spring 2014 CTSI Seminar Series is “Crossing Elmwood: River Campus – Medical Center Research Collaborations.” The series takes place on Tuesdays from 12:15-1:15 pm in the Helen Wood Hall Auditorium. You can access the full schedule here. Lunch is provided. Please provide your own beverage. The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CTSI Welcomes New Informatics Director

Tim DyeAs of January 1, Timothy D. Dye, PhD has been appointed the new Director of Biomedical Informatics for the CTSI and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Tim has returned to URMC where he previously served as Chief of the Division of Public Health in the former Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (now Public Health Sciences), after serving in research and informatics leadership posts at SUNY Upstate Medical University and at the University of Hawaii.

As both an anthropologist and an epidemiologist, much of Tim’s previous work focuses on creating and managing integrated social and medical information from public health research around the world, with a particular focus on maternal and child health. Tim’s interest in combining anthropological and epidemiological research has previously led to the development and dissemination of large-scale informatics resources such as the Central New York Perinatal Data System (a population-based obstetrical surveillance system), the Central New York Regional Immunization Registry, and the Hawaii Biospecimen Repository, which integrates clinical information with tissue-based resources. Tim’s research has taken him to more than 20 countries around the world, predominantly in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. While at URMC previously, Tim established and directed an NIH-funded informatics fellowship for Costa Rican physicians (called InfoComm) that created a cadre of public health informatics specialists in Costa Rica and elsewhere in Latin America, many of whom remain affiliated with URMC research and educational activities.

In his new roles at UR, Tim will lead the CTSI’s biomedical informatics program, coordinating services and overseeing expansion and dissemination of research information resources to support clinical and translational research activities for the CTSI and its partners. Tim’s academic appointment as Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology will also facilitate his ongoing research in social and medical determinants of maternal and child health and in outcomes among high-risk pregnant women. Tim also serves as Chair of the Medical Advisory Board for OneHEART World-Wide, an international NGO serving maternal and child health populations around the world, and as Editor in Chief of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, a global journal of MCH research and practice.