IU Online Conference

The fourth annual statewide IU Online Conference will be held October 30, 2019, at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing.

Your conference hosts from the Office of Online Education, the Office of Collaborative Academic Programs, and eLearning Design and Services are seeking proposals from IU faculty, administrators, advisors, success coaches, and staff across the state who are innovators and collaborators in the online space.

We will consider proposals that address empirical research, showcase best practices, and/or describe lessons learned related to one or more of the following areas:

  • Program development and administration
  • Coaching, advising, student engagement, and co-curricular programming
  • Marketing, admissions, and recruitment
  • Teaching and learning innovation
  • Technology that advances digital learning

Of special interest are presentations describing intercampus and/or interdisciplinary collaborations and proposals that have application to multiple disciplines. Sessions will last for 30 to 45 minutes.

Proposals are due at 11:59pm on Friday, June 7th. Presenters will be notified in August.

Submit your proposals now! 

5 Tips For Getting Into Grad School

For some of us, graduation means no more grades or homework. For those who can’t get enough of the college experience, it means the cycle is about to start all over again with graduate school.

If you’re going to graduate school and you know it, clap your hands — and give these tips a try.

Students who have questions about graduate school are encouraged to reach out to others for guidance. Indiana University

Research the program
Whether or not you know what you want to study in graduate school, it’s always a good idea to research any program you’re interested in. Find out what the program offers and what’s required to get in. You should also look up the faculty and their interests and strengths. This will help you create your personal statement and cater it specifically to the program you want to enter.

Take the GRE early
Similarly to taking the SAT when you were looking past high school, it’s a good idea to take the GRE your sophomore or junior year in college. That way, if your score is lower than you want, you have time to retake the test. Also, some of your general education classes, such as math and English, help prepare you for the GRE questions, so it’s good to take it when the information is still fresh in your mind. If you missed this mark and are taking the test later, it’s not the end of the world. It only means you have a little less time than people who started earlier.

Write, revise and tailor your personal statement
Your personal statement is not something you should write overnight. You might have several drafts throughout the process, and that’s OK. The more revisiting and revising you do, the more satisfied with the final product you’ll be. This is your chance to showcase your accomplishments and goals and explain why you’re a perfect fit for the program.

Ask for strong letters of recommendation
Making sure to ask the right people for “strong” letters of recommendation is key. Ask people who will promote you and your abilities in an effective way. It’s important to choose people who know how you work, what your accomplishments are and what your future goals are. Specifically requesting a “strong” recommendation letter shows that you’re serious about this program, and it encourages the recommender to put real thought and effort into what they write for you.

Ask for help and pay attention to deadlines
Getting all your materials turned in on time is extremely important. Make sure you know when the deadline is and have everything done a little early. That way, if you have questions about the application process, you’ll have time to ask people who know. Reach out to the admissions staff in your program, and they’ll help you create a successful application. The IUPUI Graduate Office offers workshops on getting into graduate school; see the website for details.

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Ashlynn Neumeyer 

Can I Talk to My Patients About Their Spirituality? Isn’t That Taboo?

Practitioners are often reluctant to ask about a patient’s spirituality for a variety of reasons. We will explore the reasons many say you should not inquire, then we will take a dive into why it is okay (and important) to inquire. We will look at the ways it can impact patient care, time in the hospital, and patient satisfaction. Finally, we will look at boundaries that do need to be respected when addressing spiritual issues.

Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the Different between spirituality and religion 2. Identify 3 benefits of inquiring into a patient’s spirituality
3. Identify 2 boundaries to be respected when addressing spirituality

Presented by Robyn M. Axel-Adams, M.Div, BCC
Manager and Faculty, Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics

Come see the event Thursday, January 17th from 12-1pm in Campus Center CE409!

5,000 Hoosier Volunteers Needed for Study to Find New Treatments for Bone and Muscle Disorders

INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers at IUPUI need 5,000 Hoosiers of all ages to take part in a study that will help advance the diagnosis and treatment of bone and muscle disorders, the leading cause of disability in the United States.

It takes about an hour to participate in the study, which includes performing physical tests, providing a blood sample and undergoing bone mineral density scans — known as DEXA scans — to determine body composition and bone health. The physical tests include walking for six minutes and having walking speed, balance and grip strength measured.

Volunteers in the study use a device to measure grip strength. Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

More than 900 Hoosiers have already participated. Researchers hope to recruit the balance over the next four years.

The blood samples are stored within the Indiana Biobank. They are connected to the results of the physical performance tests and scans, as well as the volunteer’s electronic medical record, to create a database. That database will be a treasure trove for researchers seeking to develop new treatments and cures for bone and muscle disorders.

Volunteers between the ages of 5 and 100, regardless of their health condition, are eligible to participate. A broad range of people of various races, ages and levels of wellness are needed, said Dr. Stuart Warden, professor and associate dean for research in the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI.

“We’ve tested people from patients coming out of the intensive care unit to college athletes, and everybody in between,” Warden said.

The testing occurs at the Function, Imaging and Tissue Resource Core at IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis. The FIT Resource Core is part of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, created in 2017 to address a significant need to prevent and treat musculoskeletal disease.

A DEXA scan is part of the information being gathered in the study. Scan results will be given to volunteers in return for their time.

With the database, researchers will be able to quickly access data they need rather than go through the time-consuming process of collecting it themselves, Warden said. “Researchers will be able to use the database to rapidly and efficiently answer questions — like, for example, what sort of markers are in the blood that are related to physical performance or leg power or balance.”

The information will help researchers as they seek to develop compounds and molecules that can target and treat muscle and bone loss stemming from aging or disease, Warden said.

In return for volunteering, study participants are given the results of their DEXA scans. DEXA scans are commonly used to assess the risk of osteoporosis and determine body composition, including lean or muscle mass, bone mass, and fat mass.

People who would like more information or want to participate should email icmhcrc@iupui.edu or call 317-278-3333.

Read the original article from IUPUI News 

Surgical Silences: Civil War Surgeons and Narrative Space

“Surgical Silences: Civil War Surgeons and Narrative Space” considers the linguistic registers and narrative patterns visible in wartime surgeons’ written accounts. By surveying a range of rhetorical situations from the clinical (medical), the bureaucratic (military), and the intimate (personal), we can see how and why surgeons shifted registers in the face of medial exigency. Though disease and battle injuries demanded endurance and obedience to surgical routine, writing about traumatic labor often amounted to meaningful silences.
— Presented by Dr. Jane E. Schultz IUPUI Professor of English

Co-sponsored by the John Shaw Billings History of Medicine Society, the IUSM History of Medicine Student Interest Group and the Ruth Lilly Medical Library

Wednesday, December5, 2018 12:00—1:00 PM
Ruth Lilly Medical Library

IU Researchers Awarded $2.3 million to Continue Studies on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Drs. Kelley and Fehrenbacher have been awarded a five-year, $2.3 million grant from the NCI to continue their studies on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN. Tim Yates photo.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University School of Medicine cancer researchers who have been working to lessen the debilitating side effects caused by chemotherapy have been awarded $2.3 million to continue their studies.

Jill Fehrenbacher, PhD, and Mark Kelley, PhD, are recipients of the five-year grant (1R01CA231267) from the National Cancer Institute, which will enable them to continue their studies on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, or CIPN.

The duo and their colleagues will test the effectiveness of a small, targeted molecule called APX3330 to prevent or reverse CIPN caused by cancer drugs in tumor-bearing mice.

“For patients with CIPN, this might be an option for pain relief or neuropathic symptom relief in the future,” said Fehrenbacher, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at IU School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center. “Alternatively, for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments, it might be something we can administer alongside the chemotherapy drugs so they never develop CIPN.”

Fehrenbacher added: “The critical element of this grant is that we also are validating our preliminary results that the drug does not compromise the ability of the chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells.”

Although cancer treatments are becoming more effective and people are consequently surviving cancer in increasing rates, many patients report neuropathy — a nerve problem that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet and muscle pain and weakness. As many as 30 to 60 percent of cancer patients say they experience neuropathy.

Neuropathy can become severe enough for some patients that their treatment needs to be reduced or stopped. The effects also can linger well beyond the course of the treatment.

Currently, there are no effective treatments or preventive treatments against neuropathy because researchers don’t yet understand all of the mechanisms that lead to it. It is believed that neuropathy develops over time as a cumulative effect of chemotherapy that alters the function of sensory neurons, which are responsible for detecting pain and touch.

In 2017, Kelley, associate director of basic science research at the IU Simon Cancer Center, was first awarded a $2.9 million grant (1R01CA205166) from the National Cancer Institute to study CIPN. Fehrenbacher is also a co-principal investigator of that initial grant. That grant was awarded because Kelley, Fehrenbacher, and colleagues had previously demonstrated in the lab that increasing the repair activity of a protein called APE1/Ref-1 decreased neurotoxicity. The aims of the 2017 grant are to study, in detail, the mechanisms by which APE1 alters the function of the sensory neurons. Interestingly, they also found that APX3330 was effective in reducing APE1’s ability to facilitate the growth and spread of tumors in mice models, therefore this new drug has the potential to block the advancement of cancer and CIPN.

“It’s very rewarding to receive funding for these studies from the NCI in continued support of our efforts to further advance APX3330 for anti-CIPN studies, both in the lab as well as in the clinic,” Kelley said.

Kelley pointed out that APX3330 is currently in phase I trials, supported by Apexian Pharmaceuticals, to test its safety for people. Kelley is a co-founder and chief scientific officer at Apexian, which plans to advance APX3330 for phase II trials for anti-tumor and anti-CIPN studies. Kelley called those studies a “potential win-win for patients.”

APX3330 was developed based on Kelley’s nearly three decades of cancer research.

The National Cancer Institute awarded both grants as part of its Provocative Questionsinitiative, a program aimed at promoting cancer-related research on important yet understudied areas or research questions that have proven difficult to address.

Melissa Fishel, PhD, and Karen Pollok, PhD, scientists from the cancer center’s Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis research program, are collaborators on this study as is Theodore Cummins, PhD, an electrophysiologist in the School of Science at IUPUI.

Read the original article from IUPUI News‘ Michael Schug

What’s in Your Bag, Dentistry Student Maria Contreras?

 

Dentistry student Maria Contreras sits with some of her essential gear, from left: laptop computer, loops, resin light and blood pressure cuff. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Third-year School of Dentistry student Maria Contreras’ hands-on clinical experience is being sharpened daily in the new IUPUI Fritts Dental Care Center.

The San Cristóbal, Venezuela, native now living in Indianapolis uses an array of tools to make the city’s smiles shine. Most of the tools synonymous with a visit to the dentist are checked out each day from the clinic and returned — scaling tools for removing plaque, resin guns for filling cavities, impression materials and plates for mouth X-rays.

Still, Contreras carries other vital pieces of equipment that have helped her become a regent for the Student Professionalism and Ethics Association in Dentistry.

“I only have one-and-a-half more years to go here in the clinic,” Contreras said, “and then I’ll be able to graduate and hopefully go into a general practice residency and then start practicing.”

Laptop computer

Contreras and her fellow students utilize Axium software for patients’ charts. She calls up the data in the clinic, and she uses the machine for studying outside of clinical work, too.

Loops

These high-tech glasses are used for magnification and additional light. An orange screen that can go over the small light on the glasses gives her another view for detecting cavities.

Handheld light

The high-powered light is used to cure resin when filling a cavity.

Blood pressure cuff

Contreras checks her patients’ vitals — blood pressure and pulse — before working on their teeth.

 

Dentistry students like Maria Contreras must master tools and other equipment during their clinical studies before they graduate. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk

IUPUI Biologists Are Growing ‘mini retinas’ to Better Understand Connection Between Eye and Brain

INDIANAPOLIS — IUPUI biologists are growing ‘mini retinas’ in the lab from stem cells to mimic the growth of the human retina. The researchers hope to use the research to restore sight when critical connections between the eye and the brain are damaged. These models also allow the researchers to better understand how cells in the retina develop and are organized. These results are published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal.

The lab-created mini retinas, called retinal organoids, are collections of cells that grow in a manner similar to how the retina develops in the body. The retinal organoids are created in an IUPUI biology department research lab using human pluripotent stem cells, or hPSCs, which can be derived from adult skin cells.

Axons of retinal ganglion cells, shown in red, derived from human pluripotent stem cells bundle together and navigate their environment using growth cones, shown in green, similar to human development of the optic nerve. Photo courtesy of the School of Science

Jason Meyer, an associate professor of biology in the School of Science at IUPUI, is using the retinal organoids to better understand retinal ganglion cells, or RGCs, which provide the connection between the eye and the brain. These cells project long axons to transmit visual information. When that connection is disturbed, a person loses sight.

“In the past couple of years, retinal organoids have become a focus in the research community,” Meyer said. “However, there hasn’t really been any emphasis on those retinal ganglion cells within these mini retinas, the retinal organoids, so this study is not only looking at how the retinal organoids develop and organize but also exploring the long axons they need in order to connect with the brain.”

RGCs are the cells primarily damaged by glaucoma, a disease that affects about 70 million people worldwide and is the second leading cause of blindness.

“There’s a lot we have to understand about these cells outside of the body before we can put them into humans for transplants and treating those diseases,” said Clarisse Fligor, a biology graduate researcher and first author on the paper. “This research is looking at ways that we can encourage growth of these cells for possible cell-replacement therapies to treat these different injuries or diseases.”

Fligor looked through different growth factors involved in RGC development and found that a protein called Netrin-1 significantly increased the outgrowth of axons from these cells.

“This protein is not expressed long term; it is most prominently during early human development,” Meyer said. “Once the retina is established, it’s not as available, which is why retinal ganglion cells usually can’t fix themselves. Strategies so far to replace retinal ganglion cells by transplanting new cells have not been able to restore those connections because the body itself doesn’t produce these signals.”

The researchers hope this study is an important step toward using lab-grown cells for cell-replacement purposes.

“If we want to be able to use these cells for therapies and encourage the proper wiring of these cells within the rest of the nervous system, perhaps we need to take a page out of the playbook of human development and try to re-create some of those features ordinarily found during early human development,” Meyer said.

“Three-Dimensional Retinal Organoids Facilitate the Investigation of Retinal Ganglion Cell Development, Organization and Neurite Outgrowth from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells”is published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research journal.

In addition to Fligor and Meyer, IUPUI and Indiana University authors on the study are Kirstin B. Langer, Akshayalakshmi Sridhar, Priya K. Shields, Michael C. Edler, Sarah K. Ohlemacher and Chi Zhang. Other authors are Daniel M. Suter and Yuan Ren of Purdue University and Valentin M. Sluch and Donald J. Zack of Johns Hopkins University.

The study was supported in part by the National Eye Institute, the National Science Foundation, and the Indiana Department of Health Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Fund.

About the School of Science at IUPUI

The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, computational, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The school is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana’s effort to expand and diversify its economy.

Read the original article from IUPUI News

NIH Awards $1.75 million to IUPUI to Further Explore a Promising Brain-Obesity Link

INDIANAPOLIS — IUPUI biologist Nick Berbari has received a $1.75 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the connection between obesity and tiny hairlike projections on brain cells called cilia. Cilia are thought to function like a cell’s antennae and help in communication between cells.

Berbari’s research team is working to determine how altered signaling processes impact appetite regulation.

The knowledge Berbari and his research team acquire could potentially open new therapeutic approaches to obesity, which impacts the health and longevity of over 93 million Americans.

“With hunger, there is an initial urge to eat and to continue eating until feeling full,” Berbari said. “Cilia dysfunction is known to be associated with certain types of obesity, but it is unclear why their dysfunction leads to people overeating and results in obesity.”

“Put simply, we will be looking at how a little cellular antenna in the brain is important for appetite. When we study rare syndromes that are associated with obesity, we might learn important information and gain potentially therapeutically advantageous ideas about how to treat obesity in the general population.”

The goal of Berbari’s research, which will be conducted in mice, is to determine how altered signaling processes impact appetite regulation, feeding behavior and obesity. The research team includes a School of Science at IUPUI postdoctoral fellow, doctoral and masters’ degree students, and several undergraduate research assistants.

Nick Berbari