Pathways

Dr. Cushman-Vokoun elected vice president/president-elect of the UNMC Faculty Senate.

Allison Cushman-Vokoun, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Pathology and Microbiology department was newly elected vice president/president-elect of the UNMC Faculty Senate for the 2018-19 academic year.  For a full listing of elected officers go to UNMC Newsroom.  

 Renewed NSRI contract is "proof of great work". 

Dr. Ken Bayles, (pictured right) professor with the department of Pathology and Microbiology stated "The renewal of our NSRI contract is a recognition of the great work being conducted at the University of Nebraska in infectious disease research. It is not only affirmation of the work we have been doing for the past five years, it is a "green light" for more in the next five years. With the unparalleled access to the DoD biodefense research portfolio the NSRI can provide, we are poised to greatly expand our capabilities in bioinformatics, drug development, diagnostics, and biodetection."  Read more about the renewed NSRI contract at UNMC Newsroom.

 Dr. Carson receives R03 grant to conduct research on A-particles in enterovirus infection of a cell.

Enteroviruses, including coxsackievirus, have been shown to decay to non-infectious forms, and the process is both temperature and time dependent. The capsids of these viruses explore multiple conformations (called capsid breathing), including a metastable low energy closed state, a transient open state, and a metastable non-infectious state called the A-particle. The receptor for coxsackieviruses (CAR) that enables viral infection of cells catalyzes the transition to A-particle. CAR binding to the closed conformation is lower affinity than is binding to the open conformation (per studies of related viruses). This difference establishes the conditions for an allosteric (cooperative) mechanism of receptor action on virus. Steven Carson, Ph.D. has proposed kinetic models that describe the interactions of CAR with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3). The research funded by the R03 will interrogate the catalytic effect of soluble CAR on CVB3 strains that differ by single capsid amino acids and have stabilities at 37C ranging from a half-life of 7 hr (wild type) to 17 hr ( a selected stable mutant).

Dr. Kielian receives new 5-year R01 to identify how S. aureus biofilms alter innate immune responses in the brain during craniotomy-asssociated infection. 

Neurosurgery to relieve life-threatening edema following traumatic brain surgery or stroke (decompressive craniectomy) or gain temporary access to the brain for tumor resection or epilepsy (craniotomy) requires removal of a portion of the skull (i.e. bone flap). The incidence of infection after craniotomy/craniectomy ranges from 0.8-12%, with a significant number caused by methicillinresistant S. aureus (MRSA), which forms a biofilm on both surfaces of the bone flap. Dr. Kielian’s laboratory has developed a mouse model of S. aureus craniotomy-associated biofilm infection that shares important ultrastructural and MRI attributes with human disease, which they will utilize to identify mechanisms for infection persistence. Translational research will also be performed in collaboration with UNMC neurosurgeons by immunophenotyping leukocytes from patients with craniotomy infections by RNA-Seq and metabolomics.

Dr. Reid receives R21 grant for research involving chikungunya virus infection. 

St. Patrick Reid, Ph.D. has received a R21 grant for his submission entitled "Modeling Chronic Chikungunya Virus Infection in a vascularized Bone Model".  The research outlined in the grant seeks to explore and elcuidate the mechanisms underlying the bone pathology observed during chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection.  Additionally, Dr. Reid's lab aims to address the contribution of the observed pathology to CHIKV-induced arthritis, a hallmark of infection.

Dr. Sun receives R21 grant for research on how SOCS1 protein exacerbates subsequent baterial infection.

Keer Sun, Ph.D. has received a R21 grant to conduct research on how SOCS1 protein, a feedback inhibitor of cytokine signaling, exacerbates subsequent bacterial infection.  A frequent sequela of influenza infection is secondary bacterial pneumonia. Even with currently available antibiotics, bacterial pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in influenza pandemics and epidemics.  The results of Dr. Sun’s investigation will provide the basis for identifying novel therapeutic targets for prevention of these infectious disease in humans.

Dr. Fey receives Outstanding Graduate Student Educator Award.

Department of Pathology and Microbiology and the Immunology, Pathology & Infectious Disease Graduate Program awarded outstanding graduate students and educators in the annual awards ceremony on May 8, 2018.  Paul Fey, Ph.D. (pictured above with Dr. Rakish K. Singh, Chair of the graduate program) received the Outstanding Graduate Student Educator Award for 2017-2018.   

Dr. Ouellette receives funding from National Science Foundation. 

Scot Ouellette, PhD received $390,000 from the Molecular and Cellular Bioscience Division of the National Science Foundation to study the underlying changes in gene expression of bacterial pathogens in response to starvation conditions. This project will also focus on using several strategies to increase participation by American Indian students in college-level STEM research.

Department's transitioning to virtual microscopy brings opportunity to Nebraska high schools.

“Out with the old, in with the new” is a thought one may ponder when discussing new and exciting things.  However, Nebraska high schools taking part in a Nebraska Department of Education (NDOE) curriculum on exploring laboratory medicine as a career, may not fully be aware of the newest 

opportunity available to them.  Faculty within the Department of Pathology & Microbiology recently saw a prospect to help expand a teaching opportunity while changing another.  Due to transitioning from physical glass slides to virtual microscopy for teaching medical students histology and pathology within the College of Medicine at UNMC,  microscopes, pathology and microbiology slides, and other laboratory supplies were no longer being utilized. 

Dr. Peter Iwen, Director to the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory, heard about these available resources and made sure they were put to good use.  Dr. Iwen met with Department of Pathology and Microbiology’s Chair, Dr. Steven Hinrichs, and Vice Chair of Medical Education, Dr. Geoffrey Talmon.  Together the three brainstormed ideas that soon developed into a wonderful opportunity for high school students in Nebraska. 

With ideas compiled, UNMC staff collaborated with the NDOE Health Sciences Coordinator, Carol Ringenberg Packard, to develop a means to utilize these resources.  According to Packard, the NDOE will be hosting an annual Career and Technical Education conference in June for Nebraska teachers in Kearney which will include a session promoting a new course that explores laboratory medicine as a career, providing schools with new state standards for the Laboratory Medicine program.  The NDOE will be advertising this session to both private and public school teachers around Nebraska.  Seats will be available to teachers who are or plan to teach the coursework in their schools.  It will also provide teachers with a microscope and other tools they can bring back to their schools to help enhance their teaching activities. 

Dr. Geoffery Talmon, Vice Chair for Medical Education and Associate Professor for the Pathology and Microbiology Department states "Although the microscopes are older, the optics for these generally do not change over the years.  We are hopeful visualization of the 'unseen' world will stimulate students in the sciences." 

Dr. Cox named COM resident of the month

Jesse Cox, M.D., Ph.D., is named UNMC College of Medicine resident of the month.  Learn more!  



Jesse Cox, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Cox invents in response to staff needs

Dr. Jesse Cox, current Chief Resident within our department, has developed a 3D-Printed Microscope Smartphone Mount. After hearing staff members were struggling using their iPhones to assist each other with a frozen section off campus, Dr. Cox designed a device to position a smartphone, quickly and easily, to an eyepiece to capture photos and video. While current available devices do exist to perform similar functions, most are cumbersome and/or expensive.  Using 3D printing resources available on campus, multiple prototypes were developed, ultimately landing upon a design both universal and easy to use. As part of his experience, Dr. Cox spoke and worked with area high school students involved in club organizations through their high schools regarding the design, development and prototyping process through DoSpace and the UNMC Makers' Invent-a-thon Contest held in the spring. Dr. Cox launched Yellow Basement Design to sell his devices to a larger market.


 
Tyler Scherr, PhD.

Where Are They Now?
After completing our Graduate Program in 2016, Dr. Tyler Scherr accepted a position in Licensing at UNeMed.  His responsibility is providing feedback to University inventors.  He helps develop and license their technology to be manufactured to benefit either the research community or to help patients in the clinic.  Dr. Scherr calls his work a "logical continuation of his graduate experience".  As a graduate student in our program, Dr. Scherr co-founded the UNMC Makers 3D Printing Organization and helped organize NE3D Health, a consortium of medically-minded 3D printing experts in Omaha.  He is active in the local entrepreneurial community, participates in multiple business 'plan and pitch' competitions at UNO and is involved in the local Maker community.   

As Adjunct Faculty at Metro Community College, Dr. Scherr teaches Intro to Biology.  In 2017, Dr. Scherr was awarded the McNair Alumni Appreciation Award from UNL. 


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Martens' research experience at USAMRIID

Matthew Martens, IPID graduate student, and Chancellor Gold discuss research opportunities at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in this video


 

Dr. Molani creates Path Signout at UNMC

Mariam Molani, D.O., first year resident, has created the department's first Instagram account, Path Signout at UNMC. Dr. Molani hopes to increase exposure to pathology by highlighting interesting cases for residents studying for boards or practicing pathologists.

Rakesh K. Singh, Ph.D. Receives R01 Grant

Current therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer are largely ineffective, and metastatic disease frequently develops even after potentially curative surgery. The specific objective of this project is to investigate whether CXCR2 and its ligands play a critical pro-tumorigenic role in Kras-dependent modulation of tumor cells and microenvironment during pathogenesis. This grant application will decipher the underlying mechanism(s) and will develop innovative cancer therapies targeting CXCR2 signaling in combination with conventional anti-tumor regimens is a very real possibility in pancreatic cancer. 


Joint Effort for Drug Development Pipeline

A contract awarded by the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute seeks assistance from the University of Nebraska to develop medical countermeasures for prevention and/or treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome.  The project, led in a joint effort by Drs. Ken Bayles (UNMC) and Dave Berkowitz (UNL), will activate a University-wide “Drug Development Pipeline”, which will coordinate the activities of a broad range of expertise in drug development across the University system. Initial phases of the project will involve a “concept refinement study” establishing a plan to identify promising lead compounds and then utilizing the Pipeline to carry out the studies needed for advancement to phase I clinical trials.  Learn more at UNMC Today!


Larson receives task order from NSRI

Marilynn Larson, Ph.D., has received a task order from the National Strategic Research Institute to develop and optimize microbial assays and provide training on their use as a diagnostic tool in the field. 


Faculty and lab staff continue to publish

Drs. Kai Fu, Timothy Greiner, Ji Yuan and Chengfeng Bi along with lab staff have just published "Rac1 is a novel therapeutic target in mantle cell lymphoma" in Blood Cancer Journal.    


Wisecarver named New ASCP President
James Wisecarver, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as 2017-2018 President of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.  To read more visit UNMC Today or ASCP.


Welcoming Dr. Cook to department
Learn more about Leah Cook, Ph.D. and her research in bone metastasis and cancer-induced bone disease.  New Faculty Spotlight.  


Welcoming Dr. Reid to department
Learn more about St. Patrick Reid, Ph.D. and his research in molecular virology.  New Faculty Spotlight


Learning gap or generational gap
Geoffrey Talmon, M.D., is co-editor on a novel book that discusses the impact of generational issues on medical education and training. Read more.  


Our faculty participate in new E-Learning projects
Tom McDonald, Ph.D., will be working on a project lead by Dr. Thiele entitled, Immunodefenders. Stan Radio, M.D., and Ana Yuil-Valdes, M.D., will be providing their expertise on two cyto-histo morphologic research projects lead by faculty from the College of Allied Health Professions. Read more


Dr. Campbell creates new lexicon
To improve medical communication, Scott Campbell, Ph.D., is developing a standard vocabulary for all to use. Read more.


Welcoming Dr. Ng to department
Learn more about Caroline Ng, Ph.D., and her malaria research in New Faculty Spotlight