Fifth Cohort Selected For IUPUI Next Generation 2.0 Leadership Program

A 21-member cohort has been selected for the fifth round of the IUPUI Next Generation 2.0 leadership development program. Seven faculty and 14 staff members were selected in April by the program’s advisory board.

The latest cohort in the IUPUI Next Generation 2.0 leadership development program will focus on the development of leadership skills and understanding contemporary issues in higher education. Courtesy photo

The cohort members will begin with an orientation in May and then start a nine-month curriculum in September, focusing on the development of leadership skills and understanding contemporary issues in higher education. Participants will also have the opportunity to identify, plan and implement a capstone project, either individually or in a group, that responds to an identified need of their department, the IUPUI campus or the Indianapolis community.

The Next Generation 2.0 program, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs, encourages faculty and professional staff at IUPUI who are women and/or members of underrepresented populations interested in seeking leadership opportunities at IUPUI or professional development to enhance their current roles. This program directly addresses the IUPUI Strategic Plan goals to “develop our faculty and staff” and “promote an inclusive campus climate.”

“We continue to be pleased with the success of this program and the community it has fostered among emerging faculty and staff leaders at IUPUI,” Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy Johnson said. “It provides participants with a unique opportunity to reflect upon their personal strengths, to cultivate new areas of growth and to more deeply understand the IUPUI campus as well as the broader context of higher education.”

Members of the 2019-20 cohort are as follows:

  • Javier Barrera Cervantes, webmaster and marketing coordinator, School of Education.
  • Laura Bergdoll, associate director of financial management, School of Medicine.
  • Sharice Booker, director of graduate programs, School of Education.
  • Chandra D. Dyson, assistant dean of student services, School of Nursing.
  • Mark Jaime, assistant professor of psychology, IUPUC.
  • Sally Krause, director of marketing and strategic communications, School of Nursing.
  • Ina McBean, assistant dean of diversity and student success, School of Dentistry.
  • Laura Masterson, director of student success, School of Health and Human Sciences.
  • Kenzie Mintus, assistant professor of sociology, School of Liberal Arts.
  • Niki Munk, assistant professor of health sciences, School of Health and Human Sciences.
  • Thu Suong Thi Nguyen, interim chair and associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies, School of Education.
  • Nicole Oglesby, director of strategic neighborhood alliances for P-20 education, Office of Community Engagement.
  • Ukamaka M. Oruche, associate professor of community and health systems, School of Nursing.
  • Loukisha Porter, assistant director of student development, School of Science.
  • Eugene Pride III, associate director of enrollment management and diversity initiatives, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
  • Anusha Rao, assistant director, Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Becky Schlomann, assistant director of recruiting and admissions, Evening MBA program, Kelley School of Business.
  • Tonya L. Shelton, program director of diversity undergraduate research programs, Division of Undergraduate Education.
  • Diana Sims-Harris, director of student affairs, School of Science.
  • Valerie A. Strunk, director of clinical education and clinical associate professor of physical therapy, School of Health and Human Services.
  • Rachel Wheeler, associate professor of religious studies, School of Liberal Arts.

For more information about the Next Generation 2.0 program, including a list of past cohorts and their capstone projects, visit the program’s website.

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Kristi Palmer Named Dean of University Library at IUPUI

INDIANAPOLIS — Kristi Palmer has been named the founding Herbert Simon Family Dean of University Library at IUPUI, subject to formal approval by the Indiana University Board of Trustees. Palmer, who has served as interim dean since April 2018, will assume her permanent role July 1.

“Kristi Palmer brings a great deal of expertise to this important role as founding Herbert Simon Family Dean of University Library, having served in multiple roles on our campus over many years,” IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar said. “Under her leadership, University Library will continue to support outstanding education and research but will also evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of our academic environment and of the community at large.”

Kristi Palmer. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
Kristi Palmer. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Palmer will continue to guide the strategic direction of the library as dictated in the library’s mission of informing the IUPUI campus and the wider community; connecting people with resources and services; and transforming lives by facilitating discovery, creativity, teaching, learning and research. Under her leadership, University Library has enjoyed several successes over the last year, including establishing a student employment program within the library, completing a $1.75 million renovation of the third and fourth floors, and launching a new on-demand book-purchasing process.

Established as a result of a generous gift from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, the Herbert Simon Family Dean of University Library is an endowed position that will enable library leadership to further improve lives through new programs that will serve the campus and the community.

Each year, University Library welcomes more than 800,000 visitors, including 80,000 Indianapolis community members, connecting them with a vast array of resources and learning opportunities. The library also leverages IUPUI’s urban setting to collaborate regularly with local museums, historical societies, archives, public libraries and civic organizations, including the Indiana Historical Society, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Madam Walker Legacy Center and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, among others.

“As the first Herbert Simon Family Dean of University Library, I welcome the responsibility of refreshing the library’s strategic plan with an endowed gift in place,” Palmer said. “For me, this gift means enriched opportunities to invest more deeply in student success through classroom and experiential learning, make new strides in our rich community-engaged work through enhancing our already robust digital scholarship and special collections, and improve scholarly communication and library acquisition models.”

Prior to serving as interim dean, Palmer served as associate dean for digital scholarship in University Library, where she developed and implemented the library’s digital scholarship strategy. She supported the creation, digitization and preservation of scholarly, historical and cultural content as well as managed the campus’s institutional repository, IUPUI ScholarWorks, and other open access systems.

Palmer began her career at IUPUI in 2003 as an assistant librarian and has steadily risen to her current rank and position. She teaches as adjunct faculty in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Informatics and Computing. She was honored with a 2016 Indianapolis Business Journal “Forty Under 40” award and was named a 2009 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Herron School of Art and Design Heads Into the New Year With Exhibitions By Three Notable Artists

INDIANAPOLIS — The Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI will kick off the 2019 winter/spring season Jan. 9 with new and iconic works by Kota Ezawa, Christian Marclay and Peter Shear. The solo exhibitions — Ezawa’s “Tonya,” Marclay’s “Telephones” and Shear’s “Time Stamp” — offer three conceptual investigations into dance choreography and animated movement, communication and the transformative power of editing, and the formal qualities of mark-making in painting.

Headlining the school’s first exhibitions of 2019 is “Tonya,” Ezawa’s latest three-channel video based on the choreography and movements of contemporary dancer James Kirby Rogers of the Kansas City Ballet. The collaboration between Ezawa and Rogers brings together dance and visual arts disciplines by fusing human movements with the imaginative faculties enabled by digital animation. Included in the exhibition are videos and films by Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, Kate Bush and Bruce Nauman to trace a history of dance recorded between the 1960s and 1980s. The videos and films also function as an ancestry to the artist’s own backstory as a Kate Bush fan as a teenager and a student of Nam June Paik at the Kuntstakademie Dusseldorf.

Peter Shear, “Burnt Ends,” 2018, acrylic on canvas, 11 inches by 14 inches.

Also opening Jan. 9 in the Basile Gallery is Christian Marclay’s “Telephones,” an exhibition exploring the artist’s interest in telecommunications — a recurring motif in his work. The centerpiece of the show is Marclay’s 1995 video “Telephones,” in which Marclay, using the narrative arc of a telephone call, masterfully stitches together excerpts from well-known movies to craft a new narrative from film fragments. Through it, he presents a meditation on the mechanics, rhythms and sonic properties of our ever-changing technologies while also offering an astute observation on cinematic structure and outmoded social habits.

In the Marsh Gallery is “Time Stamp,” an exhibition of new paintings by Peter Shear, a self-taught artist based in Bloomington. Known for his small-scale, abstract compositions, Shear is introducing a new series of larger-format paintings together with a selection of other recent work. These new, larger canvases offer an exuberant exploration of the poetic and expressive possibilities of color and gesture and continue the artist’s sustained investigation into the varied and sometimes contradictory ways to make a painting.

“Tonya” is on view through Feb. 23; “Telephones” and “Time Stamp” close Feb. 21.

An opening reception will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 9 at Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St.

In-kind support is provided by Sun King Brewing. Parking is free in the Sports Complex Garage adjacent to Eskenazi Hall or on levels 5 and 6 of the Riverwalk Garage, courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis, with validation from the Herron galleries. Visit for more information.

Located in Eskenazi Hall on the IUPUI campus, the Galleries at Herron are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

About Kota Ezawa

Born in Cologne, Germany, in 1969, Kota Ezawa is known for animating film and video footage of iconic moments from history and popular culture using a process involving freehand and vector-based digital techniques. Recent solo exhibitions include the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts; and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Ezawa is based in Oakland, California.

About Christian Marclay

Born in California in 1955 and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, Christian Marclay has explored the fusion of fine art and audio cultures for the past three decades, transforming sounds and music into a visible, physical form through performance, sculpture, installation, photography and video. His work is held in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Metropolitan Museum of American Art, New York City; Tate Modern, London; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, among many others. Marclay lives and works between London and New York City.

About Peter Shear

Peter Shear was born in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, in 1980. His work has been shown in galleries nationally and internationally and has appeared in New American Paintings, The L Magazine and Whitehot Magazine. He has recently exhibited at George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco; 840 Gallery at the University of Cincinnati; Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida; Fortnight Institute, New York City; Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago; and Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University, Detroit. Shear lives and works in Bloomington.

About Herron School of Art and Design

Founded in 1902, Herron School of Art and Design is the premier accredited professional school of art and design in the state of Indiana and is part of the thriving urban campus of IUPUI. Herron has more than 50 full-time faculty serving 11 undergraduate and three graduate programs and a curriculum that prepares graduates to be leaders in a world that requires a unique combination of creativity, conceptual skills and technical abilities. Herron is an engaged community and regional partner including five public galleries; youth and continuing education programs; and the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life.

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‘Art and Refugees: Shine the Light’ Gallery Exhibition Highlights Experience of World Refugees

INDIANAPOLIS — The experiences of refugees will be highlighted in a multi-arts exhibit that opens Jan. 9 at IUPUI, with affiliated events in Indianapolis and Bloomington.

“Art & Refugees: Shine the Light” brings together glass, photography and documentary art to create awareness of the refugee experience, telling stories of perseverance that transcend cultures, time and religion. The United Nations reports that refugee crises across the world have forced an unprecedented 68.5 million people from their homes.

“Todesmarche Revisited” is composed of cast glass and cement footprints, some of which were taken from Holocaust survivors.

The exhibit will be open Jan. 9-31 in the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. It is free and open to the public.

Pieces of the exhibit are housed in the Cultural Arts Gallery on the second level of the Campus Center as well as on the first floor. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Visitor parking is available in the adjacent Vermont Street Garage.

Members of the campus and community will have a chance to meet the artists at an opening reception taking place 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Campus Center Atrium. The reception will include light refreshments and a short program.

The exhibit includes “Todesmarche Revisited” by Laura Doneferan installation of cast glass and cement footprints, some of which were taken from Holocaust survivors, telling the story of the forced marches and displacement.

The glass installation is juxtaposed by German photographer Charlotte Schmitz’s “Take Me to Jermany” photography installation, capturing the faces and experiences of displaced refugees living in Europe, and excerpts of the “Finding Home” documentary by multi-Emmy Award-winning filmmaker David Marshall in collaboration with Deborah Haber, creator/playwright of the “Moses Man: Finding Home” musical.

Affiliated Events

  • “Exploring Stories of Holocaust and Displacement,” hosted by the Jewish Federation of Indianapolis, will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Laikin Auditorium at the Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road. This program will feature testimonials from local Holocaust survivors as well as a panel of visiting artists. Participants can also view a photography exhibit of and by contemporary refugees in Europe. The event is free. Preregistration is preferred at the JCC website, by calling 317-251-9467 or at the JCC membership desk.
  • An open house and panel discussion with the exhibit artists will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 10 in Room 1060 of the Indiana University Global and International Studies Building on the IU campus in Bloomington.
  • “Refugees of the Holocaust, Refugees of Today” will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan 29 in IUPUI’s Hine Hall Auditorium, 875 W. North St. The program will feature a panel discussion with Tamra Wright, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, and will include IUPUI’s scholar-in-residence, Adam Strom, Director of Re-Imagining Migration; artist Debbie Haber, director of Shine the Light and daughter of Holocaust-survivor refugees; and Winnie Betili Bulaya, director of Refugee Welcoming Baskets.

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Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Seminar Explores The Story of Lot’s Wife With 12 Indiana Artists

INDIANAPOLIS — Twelve Indiana artists have been selected to explore and expound upon the biblical story of Lot’s wife during the eighth annual Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar, a project of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

The artists invited to participate in the 2018-19 seminar and the accompanying art exhibition are Stan Blevins, Peggy Breidenbach, Alys Caviness-Gober, Marjie Giffin, A. Paul Johnson, Kasey May, Michael McAuley, William Peacock, Katherine Simmons, Jennifer Strange, Teresa Vazquez and Kevin Wilson.

The artists will consider questions that delve far beyond the story of Lot’s wife, who, as told in Genesis, turns to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and becomes a pillar of salt. Did she act in disobedience or out of compassion? What is our responsibility to bear witness? Is looking back redemptive or paralyzing? Might we see contemporary events such as mass tragedies and refugees through this text? Exploring the story through religion, art, poetry and music, this seminar will ask questions fundamental to the human experience.

Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the seminar explores the varieties of religious experience and understanding. Through events led by an interdisciplinary faculty, artists gain the knowledge and inspiration to develop new artistic works. They share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, schools, libraries and community groups.

A public exhibition March 7 at the Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road, will feature new works of painting, sculpture, music and poetry developed by the cohort. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display at the Jewish Community Center through April 30.

Also during the exhibition, the RSA seminar will feature a performance by critically acclaimed cellist Maya Beiser on April 3 at the Jewish Community Center. Beiser will perform excerpts from her cello opera, “Elsewhere,” an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot’s wife. This event is offered in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indiana Humanities and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.

Programming for the 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available online.

About the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute

Established in 2012, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute supports research and creative activity across the IUPUI campus, serves as a campus liaison to the Central Indiana community, and fosters ongoing partnerships and ventures that advance arts and humanities endeavors at IUPUI and in Indianapolis.

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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.

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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

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.”

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American Academy of Nursing Selects Four Current and Former IU Nursing Faculty for Prestigious Award

INDIANAPOLIS — Three current and one former faculty member at the Indiana University School of Nursing have been named 2018 American Academy of Nursing fellows.

Lisa Carter-Harris

Lisa Carter-Harris, Wendy Miller, Joyce Pittman and former faculty member Kimberly Harper will be inducted as fellows during the organization’s annual policy conference Nov. 1-3 in Washington, D.C.

“Our new IU School of Nursing fellows join an esteemed group of leaders past and present who have made a significant impact on nursing practice, patient care and health,” said Robin Newhouse, dean and Distinguished Professor at the nursing school. “On behalf of the school, I congratulate my colleagues on receiving national recognition by the academy for their outstanding contributions.”

Academy fellows include renowned researchers and academic, clinical and government leaders who have transformed health care, nursing practice or education. The academy is currently composed of more than 2,500 nurse leaders representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 29 countries.

Lisa Carter-Harris is an assistant professor who focuses on improving patient-provider communication and the shared decision-making process in lung cancer screening. Her research has been used widely by clinicians, patients and policymakers to help more people get early screening and treatment for lung cancer. Carter-Harris is a board-certified adult nurse practitioner, teacher and mentor. She is an invited member of the American Cancer Society’s National Lung Cancer Roundtable as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s expert panel on shared decision-making in lung cancer screening.

Wendy Miller

Wendy Miller is an associate professor and director of the Social Network Health Research Lab, where she oversees interdisciplinary projects that focus on capturing the patient’s voice. Her independent program of research focuses on generating knowledge that will advance the state of science in the area of chronic disease self-management with an emphasis on improving the quality of life of adults with epilepsy via patient-centered interventions. She was awarded the New Investigator Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health via the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Joyce Pittman

Joyce Pittman is an adjunct assistant professor and coordinator of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Program at IU Health Academic Health Center, leading a team of 10 nurses. Her research is focused on improving the quality of life of those individuals with wound, ostomy and continence issues, specifically prevention of pressure injuries and ostomy-related complications. She has 38 years’ experience in clinical practice, including 18 as a certified WOC nurse and 15 as a nurse practitioner. She is the deputy editor for the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing; a board member for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel; and a member of the Governing Guidance Group for the International Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment Guideline. Pittman has published numerous articles, authored chapters, and given presentations both nationally and internationally.

Kimberly Harper

Kimberly Harper is chief executive officer of the Indiana Center for Nursing and serves as the nursing co-lead for the Indiana Action Coalition. Previous positions held include Nursing 2000 executive director; vice president for public affairs and the foundation at Wishard Health Services, now Eskenazi Health; and a 30-year stint serving Indiana University in a variety of nursing, marketing and human resources senior leadership roles. She is active in numerous professional organizations and has held various leadership roles within them; currently she is the chair of the board of directors of the national Nurses on Boards Coalition, where her leadership has contributed to improved health of our communities and nation through the voices of nurses on boards, commissions and governmental appointments all across the nation. Harper has served as a guest lecturer and a national and international speaker and has earned many awards, including the Nursing Professionalism and Practice Award for her “outstanding professional contributions and excellence in the practice, science and art of nursing” from the Indiana State Nurses Association.

About the Indiana University School of Nursing

Established in 1914, the IU School of Nursing has been empowering leaders in practice, research, education and service for over 100 years. Ranked 12th among public schools and colleges of nursing for National Institutes of Health funding, the school boasts a robust program of research focused on quality of life in chronic illness, nursing education and behavioral oncology. Programs offered include three undergraduate and nine graduate options in the master’s program. At the doctoral level, the school offers a Ph.D. in nursing science, the only Ph.D. program in the state of Indiana, and a leadership-focused DNP. There are also multiple graduate certificate and continuing education opportunities.

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Researchers at IUPUI Propose New Model for Gene Regulation

INDIANAPOLIS — Work by Indiana University researchers sheds new light on how DNA becomes RNA.

Raja Kadumuri

In a new paper titled “Epitranscriptomic code and its alterations in human disease,” researchers Raja Shekar Kadumuri and Sarath Chandra Janga of the Department of BioHealth Informatics at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI explore the factors that control the proteins that translate DNA to RNA.

In their paper, Kadumuri and Janga surveyed and compiled the literature to date on RNA modifications — a field increasingly being referred to as epitranscriptomics — and summarized significant findings.

Additionally, they have proposed a new model for how genes are regulated in a cell.

RNA plays an important role in human health. Since many diseases — neurological diseases, developmental defects, multiple types of cancer — are directly due to “incorrect” forms of RNA, treatments targeting the components that modify RNA may offer new ways to fight these diseases.

In their paper, Kadumuri and Janga hypothesize that there may be more regulation of RNA protein production than previously thought. More than 160 unique RNA modifications have been documented to date. These modifications act like cellular traffic signals, turning access to RNA on or off.

Saratha Janga

“We are identifying the ‘traffic lights’ for every gene in a cell across the length of the gene so that we can uncover the code’s full potential. We’re also studying how it impacts other traffic lights in a gene,” Janga said. “In other words, we are developing experimental and computational methods to identify this code in human RNA.”

Kadumuri and Janga are currently generating data to extend their observations.

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