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

Educational Art Exhibit About Menopausal Hot Flashes to Travel Around North America

“Hot Flashes? Cool!” to be shown at events in San Diego, Vancouver and Indianapolis.

Janet S. Carpenter

An educational art exhibit about menopausal hot flashes created by a researcher-entrepreneur at the Indiana University School of Nursing will travel to the West Coast, Canada and around the Midwest in late 2018 and early 2019.

Janet S. Carpenter, associate dean for research, created “Hot Flashes? Cool!” to refute myths, provide accurate and culturally appropriate information, prevent use of unproven treatments, and spur dialogue about menopausal hot flashes. The exhibit comprises multiple pieces of two- and three-dimensional art, music and film.

IUPUI Kinesiology Professor a Powerful Force in Highland Games

Zach Riley’s kinesiology studies have helped his form when he competes in strength-based Highland games. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

When he’s not teaching kinesiology classes for the School of Health and Human Sciences, Zach Riley can be found at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in Columbus.

He’s not showcasing cattle, and he’s not getting an early spot for next year’s county fair funnel cakes. Riley is throwing heavy objects on a field in preparation for the 2018 Celtic Classic Highland Games in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was practicing throws with a 16-pound stone and weights measuring in at 28 pounds for distance and 56 pounds for height, respectively. These are part of a grueling nine-event gauntlet he and his fellow competitors will take part in this weekend.

A collegiate and professional career in track and field honed Riley’s muscular frame. His long beard, shaved head and burly limbs covered in tattoos give him the perfect look to compete in kilted Highland game events. And his bright blue-painted thumbnails help hi– Wait, what? Cue record scratch.

IUPUI associate professor of kinesiology Zach Riley will compete in the 2018 Celtic Classic Highland Games in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

“I have a 10-year-old daughter, and it’s a bonding time,” said Riley with a laugh about his colorful manicure. “My toes are far more decorated, but my thumbs get really mashed up gripping and throwing things. My nails are actually black underneath, all bruised. We try to keep them fresh.”

A kinesiology associate professor at IUPUI since 2009, Riley said the competitions are just for fun — they’re a way to stay in shape and clear his mind. Additionally, years of teaching and researching the mechanics of body movement have only strengthened Riley’s performance in the Highlands.

Question: What were you working on today to get ready for this weekend’s Highland Games?
Zach Riley: It’s a steel weight on a ring handle. It’s most similar to a discus throw in track and field, but a lot heavier. Almost all of our implements are.

Q: What goes on during these throws before you release the weight?
ZR: Drop the hips, sprint and hold on for dear life, and pray you’re in the right position to throw it and not yourself.

Q: How far were you throwing today?
ZR: A little over 80 feet. My best is 89 feet 11 inches, which is the second-farthest throw in the world this year.

Q: How did you get involved in competing in Highland games?
ZR: I was primarily a hammer thrower in track and field, and then I graduated from college and signed with Nike to throw professionally for two years while I was doing my master’s degree at Ball State University. In the pursuit of education, I quit track and field in 2004 after the Olympic trials to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado.

But when I became a professor and got some stability, I wanted to get into something similar to compete in, and the Highland games and Scottish athletics were a perfect fit for me.

Q: What goes on at Highland games?
ZR: We are purely entertainment. Especially at the professional level that I’m at, we’re paid to come in and, yes, throw things far and throw things high, but we are paid to entertain. If the crowd around the field aren’t entertained, they aren’t coming back. I always say we’re 50 percent throwers in the track and field sense and 50 percent entertainers. It’s a fun world to be in.

It’s nine events: You throw heavy and light weights, a heavy and lighter stone that’s a lot like shotput. We throw Scottish hammers, a heavy and a light hammer, and we’ll throw a caber, which is the crowd’s favorite, flipping the tree end over end.

Q: How often are you out here training?
ZR: Three to four days a week, usually. I try to do it year-round. Even in the winter, I’ll be out here at least two days a week — if the weather is permitting — with a lot of layers on.

It’s my serenity place. I love the actual art of throwing heavy objects and seeing it in flight and chasing that perfect throw that you may never hit in your career. There’s definitely something romantic to me about it, so that’s why I do it.

Q: What does your department at IUPUI think of your Highland gamesmanship?
ZR: They know I do this. All of the faculty know I do this, and I get a ton of support from them. It’s relatable to our students. They see me coming up on 39 years old, and I’m still out being active and pursuing competition and training and doing everything I need to do as I get older. I think it’s very motivating to a lot of the students, and it think it earns a different level of respect from the students when I teach them.

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Research Fellowships 2019-2020

The Huntington Library awards over 150 research fellowships annually. The application deadline for fellowships in the 2019-2020 academic year is November 15, 2019. Recipients of all fellowships are expected to be in continuous residence at the Huntington and to participate in and make contributions to its intellectual life.

Traditional Japanese gardens and red moon-shaped bridge Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens San Marino California

The Huntington is an independent research library with significant holdings in British and American history; British and American literature; art history; the history of science and medicine; and the history of the book. The Library collections range chronologically from the eleventh century to the present. 

Long-Term fellowships are for nine to twelve months in residence with a stipend of $50,000. Three long-term fellowships are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities ($4,200/ month from the NEH; the balance of the stipend from the Huntington funds).

Short term fellowships are for one to five months in residence and carry stipends of $3,500.

The Dibner Program in the History of Science offers historians of science and technology the opportunity to study in the Burndy Library, a remarkable collection in the history of science and technology. Both long and short term fellowships are available.

Travel grants and exchange fellowships for study in the United Kingdom and Ireland are for study in any of the fields in which The Huntington’s own collections are strong and where the research will be carried out in the libraries or archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland. We also offer exchange fellowships with Corpus Christi, Linacre, Lincoln, and New Colleges, Oxford; Trinity Hall, Cambridge; Durham University; and Trinity College Dublin.

To learn more about these opportunities and applications, click here  to visit the Huntington Library website!

IUPUI professor lands NIH grant to research methods to strengthen bones, resist fractures

INDIANAPOLIS — There may be a new way to treat degenerative bone conditions in osteoporosis and diabetes sufferers, among others, thanks to a researcher in the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI.

IUPUI associate professor of biomedical engineering Joseph Wallace. Photo courtesy of John Gentry

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a five-year grant of nearly $2 million to Joseph Wallace, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, in support of research that is expected to identify ways to build bone mass and improve bone quality.

Wallace’s research involves both mechanical properties of bone and bone mass, attempting to keep bones from fracturing by increasing the amount of bone through mechanical stimulation and improving the quality of the bone with pharmaceutical treatment. Collagen is targeted as an interventional approach to improving the bone material properties.

“We’re trying to use combination therapies, where we can both increase the amount of material that’s present but at the same time modify the quality of that tissue to enhance its ability to bear load without fracture,” Wallace said. “That’s the focus of this grant, to understand those quality-based effects that can enhance bone fracture resistance.”

The research project, “Targeting Collagen as an Interventional Approach to Improve Bone Material Properties,” is being funded through the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Wallace likens collagen to rebar, the metal reinforcement put in place before concrete is poured. Collagen helps support loads on the bones, such as the impact of one’s weight while walking. While most research today is focused on the mineral portion of bone, Wallace is looking at ways to modify the collagen component so that bones can better resist fractures. He is working with the FDA-approved drug raloxifene to determine if certain components of the drug can increase bone’s mechanical properties by improving tissue quality.

“With this grant, we will continue research to provide new ways of approaching the treatment of fragility-related diseases,” Wallace said. “From osteoporosis to diabetes’ effects on bone mass to genetic childhood diseases, this research could have a far-reaching positive impact for those suffering from many diseases with musculoskeletal complications.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News