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 

IUPUI Professor’s Path to Naturalized Citizenship Took Him from Tiananmen Square to the Circle City

As about 100 men and women become U.S. citizens Nov. 14 at IUPUI’s Hine Hall Auditorium, Edgar Huang was across campus teaching. But he’s no stranger to the emotion and excitement that come with a naturalization ceremony.

The associate professor in the School of Informatics and Computing and past president of the Asian Pacific American Faculty and Staff Council at IUPUI became a U.S. citizen in 2010, ending a years-long odyssey from student visas to permanent residency to waiting for a citizenship application to be approved.

“It means a lot,” Huang said. “It’s a long journey; getting there’s not very easy.”

Edgar Huang, associate professor of media arts and science, remembers his path to naturalization. Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Talk to any naturalized citizen on campus and you’ll glean a story about perseverance and a love for America. For Huang, coming to the United States from China was about freedom at its most basic levels.

Huang, a photographer early in his academic career, documented the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing. “I saw everything except the last day, fortunately and unfortunately,” he said. Five years later, in a first-of-its-kind exhibition in San Diego, California, he showed the world what happened at Tiananmen Square through his photos. Later, he moved the whole exhibition online and attached his name to it; his wife, who was already a U.S. citizen, feared for his safety.

“Nothing really happened at Chinese customs when we visited Beijing in 2002, but we were very nervous,” Huang recalled. “That’s why we thought the naturalization process for me to get citizenship would be a good idea — so the Chinese government could no longer easily detain me as a Chinese citizen.”

Huang, 56, who first arrived in the U.S. in 1993 as a graduate student at the University of California San Diego, got his permanent residency through marriage in 2004. His citizenship application then spent years in process, ending on an unforgettable day in 2010 at the downtown Indianapolis federal courthouse.

“I stood there with other new citizens, and we gave oaths. I was very proud, very happy,” said Huang, a father of three, including one who is serving as a lawyer for the U.S. Air Force. “It’s a very different feeling when you have citizenship.

“Now, I publish with great freedom. I don’t have to worry about saying anything offensive to a government. And I like to live in this country for the very fundamental things. People have basic trust for one another. In the morning you say ‘hello’ to a stranger, and he or she will smile back. People are very kind.”

A new group of soon-to-be Americans will experience those emotions themselves when they go through the naturalization ceremony Nov. 14 at IUPUI.

“Seeing men and women from so many cultures and nationalities coming together as new Americans is an incredibly moving and important moment,” said Hattie Harman, naturalization coordinator for the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Indiana. “Naturalization ceremonies are a crucial symbol of our democracy.”

Huang won’t be there in person, but he understands the spirit.

“I feel so warmhearted for them, they have to go through a whole lot,” he said. “I would congratulate each one of them.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ John Schwarb

Digital Humanities Librarian Open Hours

Caitlin Pollock
Digital Humanities Librarian

Have questions about Digital Humanities? Come to IUPUI Arts and Humanities on Wednesdays from 12 to 1pm to meet with Caitlin Pollock, the Digital Humanities Librarian at the Center for Digital Scholarship at University Library! Caitlin can help you think through your project and develop next steps or workflows, and recommend methodologies, trainings, tools, and platforms. Caitlin can also advise on data visualization, Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI), textual analysis, data management, and project management. Your DH research can just have started or in the middle development. No appointments required, first come first serve.

IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute
University Library RM 4115T

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

Herron Lithography Legend Dies

Garo Antreasian. Photo courtesy of Herron School of Art and Design

Garo Z. Antreasian — Herron alumnus, Indianapolis native and former Herron faculty member — died Nov. 3 at the age of 96. He had an extraordinary artistic career and was a noted painter, lithographer and art educator.

After serving in World War II, Antreasian completed his studies at Herron and began teaching there even before receiving his degree in 1948. In the 1950s, his own creative work began receiving awards and critical regional and national attention. In 1960, he was appointed technical director of the newly formed Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, a pilot project to revive fine art lithography in America.

IUPUI Takes a Different Approach to Racial Equity Through a Welcoming Campus Innovation Project

The university setting is supposed to be the ideal place to explore all ideas and have all types of conversations, even the difficult ones. Difficult conversations, specifically about racial injustice, are just one element of the White Racial Literacy Project. As one of 46 projects funded by the Welcoming Campus Initiative, the project aims to take a radically different approach to racial equity.

The White Racial Literacy Project is one of 46 projects funded by the Welcoming Campus Initiative. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The Welcoming Campus Initiative aims to make IUPUI a more welcoming campus for students, faculty, staff and the community. Diversity and inclusion are central to the success of the initiative and of the university’s strategic plan. But White Racial Literacy Project lead researcher Lori Patton Davis said that more often than not, conversations about diversity and inclusion, especially in terms of race, typically center around, are focused toward and are led by people of color.

“If we are a campus that says it’s committed to racial diversity, it has to be about more than just people of color,” said Patton Davis, director of the Center for Race, Urban and Intersectionality Studies at IUPUI. “The goal of this project is to bring conversations regarding racial equity to those who don’t usually have them.”

At first glance, the name of the project can be off-putting and misinterpreted. But it does define the scope and intention of the project, which is to give white people associated with IUPUI the resources and opportunities to talk about race without judgment, with the hope of developing a better understanding of racial equity. The researchers are studying the impact on campus race relations when white people educate other white people about race and racism.

Patton Davis said isolating the conversations to just white people sounds uncomfortable but is important. Racial injustice affects everyone, but often white people don’t see or understand how they too are affected. For many white people, it may be easier to be colorblind or to deny the racial inequities on our campus and in society. Patton Davis said white people need to be able to unpack how they are affected by racism just as much as people of color — maybe even more, if true change to systemic racism is to occur.

“Racial injustice has a different connotation for white people than for people of color. They respond differently, listen differently, react differently. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t affected,” Patton Davis said.

The White Racial Literacy Project includes workshops with nationally respected scholars on race, racism, equity and race relations with IUPUI administration, faculty, staff and students including facilitated dialogues; faculty workshops for teaching racial justice; a social media campaign, #jagsexplorewhiteness; and surveys designed to gather information for the study and evaluate its effectiveness in heightening awareness.

Patton Davis said she recognizes that people are apt to be more honest and open when discussing difficult and uncomfortable topics when conversing with people who look like them or whom they perceive to have similar experiences, which is why she has trained a specific group of white people from the campus community to lead the dialogue sessions.

If we are a campus that says it’s committed to racial diversity, it has to be about more than just people of color.
Lori Patton Davis

Kathy Johnson, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, plans to train as a discussion facilitator. She is deeply committed to the project because of what she views as a need to shift the approach to racial equity at IUPUI.

“We’ve invested heavily in staff, programs and institutional aid aimed at eliminating achievement gaps for our students as well as recruiting and retaining faculty of color, yet our outcomes have plateaued. What I find most exciting about this work is that it shifts the focus to people like me — white administrators, faculty and staff — who possess most of the power to create and sustain real, systemic change,” Johnson said.

More information about this project and others in the Welcoming Campus Initiative can be found on the Initiatives and Celebrations page of the Office of the Chancellor website at welcoming.iupui.edu. The campus can also learn more about the project and the speakers, and sign up for participation in the dialogues, online or by sending an email to wrlp@iupui.edu.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsAmber Denney 

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.


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

Hearing Things

During the Fall 2018 semester, graduate students in Herron’s MFA program in Visual Arts have worked in collaboration with students in Music Technology to plan “HEARING THINGS” – a project that explores the use of elements of sound and movement in visual art and music. The project unpacks its title in a multitude of forms and formats, Hearing Things implies the use of sounds from the uncanny (he was “hearing things”), to the mundane (e.g., rumors), to music and musical instruments (hearing “things”). The project references contemporary issues, such as how the natural environment as well as the social media environment in which we live are impacted by rising and changing levels of sounds. Last but not least, the project explores how the domains of contemporary visual art and music now overlap in the experimental use of new technologies and in the creation of unique sonic and visual spaces.

HEARING THINGS is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving 6 graduate students from Herron School of Art + Design and 6 graduate/undergraduate students from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Music Technology. The project culminates in two innovative public events:

Thursday, November 15, 6 – 8 pm, Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, ECHO GALLERY
There will be a public presentation for the exhibition HEARING THINGS, featuring sonic and kinetic collaborative artworks, plus live music/sonic performances, & (light) refreshments.

Friday, November 30, 7:30 pm, Auditorium (room 152) in IUPUI Informatics and Technology Building

There will be a live multi-media performance, HEARING THINGS, featuring students and faculty from the Department of Music Technology, led by Professor Scott Deal, along with visual effects and video created as a collaboration of students from Herron and Music Technology.

Arun Berty, Music Technology
Harry Chaubey, Music Technology Kennedy Conner, Fine Arts, Herron
Chris Higgins, Music Technology
Frank Mullen, Fine Arts, Herron
Hailey Potts, Fine Arts, Herron
Adam Rathbun, Fine Arts, Herron
Will Simms, Music Technology
Krishna Sridharan, Music Technology
Sarah Strong, Fine Arts, Herron
Denise Troyer, Fine Arts, Herron
Xiaochang (Kerry) Wang, Music Technology

Faculty leaders:
Scott Deal, Prof. of Music Technology
Ben Martinkus, teaching faculty and technician, Photo and Intermedia Craig McDaniel, Prof. of Fine Art

Hope to see you there!

Correction: the poster should read department of music and arts technology, not school of music and arts technology

How Do Media and Technology Affect Your Health? Dr. Brian Primack Offers Insight at IUPUI Talk

Brian Primack

INDIANAPOLIS — Internationally recognized physician-researcher Dr. Brian Primack will break down media influences on youth and adult health outcomes during a presentation Oct. 12 at IUPUI.

His address is part of the Somerset CPAs and Advisors Executive Leadership Speaker Series in the Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis.