Posts Tagged ‘University of Pittsburgh’

Video: Global Health Research and Development and the Hidden Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Texas

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

If you missed our June 7 global health R&D event from Texas, the videos are below!

First, the opening remarks by Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

One of the event’s two plenaries, with Joseph McCormick, MD, regional dean at the University of Texas, Brownsville.

The second plenary, this one with Jon Andrus, MD, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization.

The first panel discussion, focusing on neglected parasitic diseases, with Peter Melby, MD, director of the Center for Tropical Diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston; Sue Montgomery, MPH, DVM, epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Jesus Valenzuela, PhD, chief of the Vector Molecular Biology Section at the National Institutes of Health. Karen Goraleski, executive director of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, served as moderator for all of the panels.

The second panel discussion, focusing on neglected viral and bacterial diseases, with Susan Fisher-Hoch, MD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas Houston School of Public Health at Brownsville; Harold Margolis, MD, chief of the Dengue Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Kristy Murray, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the National School of Tropical Medicine.

The final panel discussion, on developing new tools to combat health threats, included Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD, director of product development for the Sabin vaccine development program at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine; Bruce Lee, MD, professor of medicine, epidemiology and biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh; and Rebecca Rico Hesse, PhD, MPH, scientist at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio.

Closing remarks were made by Hotez.

A Big Day for Biomedical Research

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Earlier today, President Barack Obama signed the America Invents Act into law. That act has big implications for the pharmaceutical industry, which commits a considerable amount toward medical research.

LillyPad, the blog of Research!America member Eli Lilly and Company, summarizes the new law this way:

Among other things, a new “first-inventor-to-file” system will replace the old “first-to-invent” process — meaning much more clarity and certainty will be added to the process (and presumably will cut down on unconvincing challenges). By ending the diversion of patent fees to other parts of government, the Patent and Trademark Office will be able to dig into the 700,000 applications that are backlogging the system (those are 700,000 potential inventions leading to potential jobs, by the way). And a new post-grant review process will allow potential investors to understand more about a patent before making huge financial commitments.

While this is great news for the companies that research and develop new medicines, the news got even better for researchers generally.

The Obama administration also announced seven other initiatives which it says are designed to more quickly move ideas into the market. Among them:

  • The National Institutes of Health’s newest apparatus, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, will team up with the Food and Drug Administration and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a chip that better screens new drugs for safety and efficacy – all before they’re tested in humans. This is expected to reduce costs and shorten the time of drug development costs.
  • The administration will undertake the development of what it calls the National Bioeconomy Blueprint. The Blueprint will tackle issues such as commercialization, strategic R&D investments, regulation reform, workforce training and development of public-private partnerships. The administration says it will complete the Blueprint by January.
  • Speaking of commercialization, the White House announced that leaders from 135 universities committed to working more closely with industry and other stakeholders to encourage partnerships, bolster entrepreneurship and enhance economic development.
  • The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Association for the Advancement of Science (a Research!America member) will offer a prize centered around best practices of university commercialization efforts.
  • The administration also announced that the Coulter Foundation has selected four universities to participate in its Translational Research Partnership program: Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, the University of Missouri and the University of Pittsburgh. Each school will create a $20 million endowment meant to foster research collaboration between biomedical engineers and clinicians. That research could lead to better technology for patients and prevention efforts. (Louisville and several individual schools at Hopkins and Pitt are Research!America members.)
  • NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer will introduce new policies for small startup companies. Companies less than 5 years old and with fewer than 50 employees will be able to take advantage of ideas “sitting on the shelf” at NIH and FDA.

Obama signed the law and made remarks at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA, generally considered to be one of the top high schools in the country.

“To help this country compete for new jobs and businesses, we also need to invest in basic research and technology, so the great ideas of the future will be born in our labs and in classrooms like these,” Obama said. “You guys have such an unbelievable head start already, but as you go to MIT and Cal Tech and U.Va., and wherever else you guys are going to go, what you’re going to find is, is that the further you get along in your pursuits the more you’re going to be relying on research grants. And government has always played a critical role in financing the basic research that, then, leads to all sorts of inventions.

“So we’re going to have to make sure that we’re continuing to invest in basic research so you can do the work that you’re capable of.”

The AP’s Top 25 and the Research at Those Schools

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

We’re two weeks away from the beginning of the college football season. And this weekend, the Associated Press released its preseason poll of the top 25 teams, headlined by defending national champion Alabama.

(The Research!America office includes fans of Northwestern, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Ohio State, Boston College, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State, so you can be sure that we’ll all have something to rib each other about as the season goes on – good-naturedly, of course.)

With the release of the AP poll, we thought we’d take a look at the research each school performs. Of course, not every school has a major focus on medical and health research; in instances such as those, we’ll detail what research work is done there. And the asterisks indicate that the school itself or some part of that school is a Research!America member; links to the relevant areas are included as well.

Without further ado, the preseason AP Top 25:

1. Alabama. The school’s Institute for Social Science Research is currently working on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded project called “Behavioral Study to Investigate Youth DUI and Risky Driving.” The study, led by Nancy Rhodes, PhD, is trying to understand social and other factors that makes teens riskier drivers.

2. Ohio State* (and one additional link). Ohio State includes 27 major interdisciplinary research centers, which include areas such as robotic surgery, critical care, IT innovations in health care, molecular neurobiology, behavioral medicine and sports medicine.

3. Boise State. Shawn Benner, PhD, an associate professor in the department of geosciences, served as the lead hydrogeologist on the research described in this Nature article. The study, produced in collaboration with researchers at Stanford, looked at the causes of elevated arsenic levels in groundwater in Asia, a problem that adversely affects 100 million people.

4. Florida*. While the story of Florida’s development of Gatorade (named after its mascot) is well known, the university’s more recent developments include a bacteria-resistant bandage, a termite prevention system and hurricane-resistant housing.

5. Texas (links here, here, here, here and here). If you’re stressed at your job, the University of Texas is looking out for you. Its multidisciplinary Occupational Health Psychology Laboratory aims to take psychology’s lessons and apply them to life at the workplace.

6. TCU. Researcher Nancy Meadows, EdD, studied kids from TCU’s Starpoint School and KinderFrogs – another TCU school that serves young children with Down’s syndrome – who then made the jump to public middle schools. Her research led to a greater understanding of social and academic transitions.

7. Oklahoma*. The University of Oklahoma houses a National Institutes of Health-funded center on clinical research, which provides investigators with the facilities and resources to conduct clinical research.

8. Nebraska* (and an additional link). One of the major programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is regenerative medicine, and the center is conducting research in four areas: stem cells, growth factors, tissue engineering and guided tissue regeneration.

9. Iowa* (additional links here and here). The University of Iowa’s Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing was the first center of its kind in the world, and it remains the largest. “Our goal,” the center’s website states, “is to reshape the agricultural, chemical nutritional, and pharmaceutical industries by combining the intellectual talents of top scientific faculty with the practical delivery of new technologies.”

10. Virginia Tech. Of Tech’s 10 university-level research centers, the Virginia Water Resources Research Center is the oldest; it was founded in 1964. It was part of congressional legislation that established 54 water resource programs at land-grand schools across the country.

11. Oregon. The Pacific Northwest takes its natural resources very seriously. At Oregon, two of its major initiatives are trying to make that state a go-to center for green product research; it also hosts the Sustainable Cities Initiative, which serves to research and educate the design and development of sustainable cities.

12. Wisconsin*. In 1974, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health developed sun protection factor ratings. You know them today as the SPF number on your favorite sunscreen.

13. Miami*. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami gave math problems to study participants before and after an aromatherapy session. Those who were subjected to lavender (a relaxing odor) were sleepier, less depressed and did the math problems correctly. Those who were subjected to rosemary (a stimulating odor) were more alert, more relaxed and did the math problems faster – though not always correctly.

14. USC* (additional links here and here). An initiative between the Keck School of Medicine and the school’s Viterbi School of Engineering seeks to solve human problems through a combination of science, medicine and engineering.

15. Pittsburgh* (additional links here, here and here). Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health recently announced that it had been awarded a NIH grant to establish a Center of Excellence in Modeling of Infectious Diseases. The center will develop and implement computer models that will help evaluate prevention strategies to contain infectious disease outbreaks.

16. Georgia Tech. Researchers at Georgia Tech have found that video-game practice and technology can be transferred to applications in the defense, education and health care industries.

17. Arkansas*. The University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Center for Addiction Research recently published guidelines for adolescents alcohol users. Although interventions for adolescents who use marijuana had been developed, the school could not find any guidelines relating to alcohol abuse – even though a 2003-04 national study had found 6.1% of children aged 12 to 17 needed treatment for alcohol abuse.

18. North Carolina* (additional links here and here). UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health hosts a monthly Lunch with the Dean series. Four faculty members of varying levels of seniority and from through the school present updates on their current work to the dean, Barbara Rimer, DrPH, and several other faculty members.

19. Penn State*. Penn State’s med school isn’t located on its main campus in State College; it’s a few hours south in Hershey. In 1963, the M.S. Hershey Foundation offered the school $50 million to establish a medical school in Hershey; that grant and $21.3 million from the U.S. Public Health Service helped to establish the school, a research center and a teaching hospital. (The M.S. Hershey Foundation, of course, was established by Milton S. Hershey, the chocolate magnate.)

20. Florida State. FSU’s Office of Research includes the Council on Research & Creativity, which is a university-wide committee of faculty from various academic backgrounds. The council, founded in 1968, is appointed by the vice president for research and helps stimulate growth and innovative thinking in FSU’s research community.

21. LSU*. The LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans maintains a PDF of its technologies that are available for licensing.

22. Auburn. Auburn University is one of 105 member institutions in the Universities Space Research Association. It hosts its own Space Research Institute, which develops energy, transportation and security technologies for space-based and terrestrial applications.

23. Georgia. Under the umbrella of the vice president of research is the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, which aims to promote “scholarly inquiry and creative activity.”

24. Oregon State. Researchers at Oregon State have found that Mt. Hood – the tallest mountain in Oregon and within sight of Portland, the state’s biggest city – gives different clues about when it will erupt than other Cascade Range mountains. Their research could help predict when an eruption is imminent.

25. West Virginia* (and an additional link). The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center includes the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, which seeks answers to health problems for the state’s the country’s rural populations.

NIAID Renews Radiological, Nuclear Countermeasures Research Program

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced Thursday that it will continue funding research as part of its Center for Countermeasures Against Radiation (CMCR) program.

NIAID had dedicated $105 million into the program for the next five years, beginning in FY10. The money will be used to fund research and pilot programs at seven academic institutions around the country. Those institutions, along with the principal investigators, are:

    Albert Einstein College of Medicine, with Chandan Guha, MD, PhD
    Columbia University, with David Brenner, PhD
    Dartmouth College, with Harold Swartz, MD, PhD
    Duke University, with Nelson Chao, MD
    UCLA, with William McBride, PhD
    The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, with Joel Greenberger, MD
    The University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center, with Jacqueline Williams, PhD

Einstein, Columbia, Duke’s Medical School and School of Nursing, UCLA’s School of Medicine and School of Dentistry, and Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Dental Medicine are all Research!America members.

Each center will conduct its own research and also support pilot programs from beyond the CMCR core.

In the past, CMCR supported eight centers and 130 pilot programs. Those centers and programs developed tools to measure radiation exposure and evaluated potential drugs to treat exposure in various parts of the body. In the coming years, Dartmouth is expected to research what physical and chemical changes occur in the teeth, hair and fingernails as a result of exposure. That could lead to non-invasive tests to determine exposure levels.

“Medical countermeasures are vital to protecting the public and caring for patients in the event of a deliberate or accidental exposure to radiation,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said. “Such treatments also might help diminish the organ and tissue damage that occurs after radiation exposure in other settings, such as in cancer therapy.”