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Dr. Thomas Scalea delivering his presentation

Scalea Recalls the Journey to MARS in Entrepreneurs of the Year Presentation

Like a preschool teacher gathering his young students around him, Thomas Scalea had his own form of “story time.” But instead of Thomas the Tank Engine, Scalea’s topic was “Supporting Failing Organs” at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Entrepreneurs of the Year Presentation on Oct. 15.

His “very cool story” took place not in a cozy classroom but in the auditorium of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, which is regarded as the world’s most advanced trauma center under physician-in-chief Scalea, MD, FACS, FCCM, and his colleagues.

Scalea mixed history, humor, and humility into a riveting hourlong presentation enjoyed by over 100 people.

“Anyone who has heard me knows I tell stories. It’s the only thing I’m good at,” said Scalea, the Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor in Trauma Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “And this is a pretty good story. It’s a story not only about MARS. It’s about the development of support for failing organs. It’s a story about a whole bunch of entrepreneurs and their spirit that allowed us to accumulate the knowledge that has brought us to this point.

“It starts with the advent of critical care: When I finished my residency back in the Middle Ages, say around 1983, there was a single fellowship program in critical care for surgeons — one. My surgical critical care certificate number is 069. There weren’t that many,” said Scalea, who arrived at Shock Trauma in 1997. “So it’s a story of critical care that traces its maturation, it’s a story of innovation and determination. It’s a story that covers a long time, it’s not just about MARS, so indulge me.”

Later called a “Pied Piper” by 2017 UMB Entrepreneur of the Year Bartley Griffith, MD, Scalea led the crowd on a journey of organ failure through the ages. Heart failure in World War I. Kidney failure in World War II and the Korean War “because helicopters and blood banking made injured soldiers live who used to die from heart failure.” Lung failure in Vietnam.

Scalea dropped many names of pioneers in the fight against organ failure up to modern days. Florence Nightingale. Peter Safar. Tom Petty “without the Heartbreakers.” Dave Ashbaugh. Bruce Jarrell. Rolf Barth. Art Baue. Berry Fowler. And his mentor, Louis Del Guercio. “I had no right to that fellowship, but he took pity on me, so I dedicate this to his memory,” Scalea said.

Among the historical tidbits was that Safar in 1958 set up the first ICU in the United States. “Where?” Scalea asked the assembled physicians, researchers, students, and staff. “Eight miles from here, Baltimore City Hospital, now known as Bayview. The home of critical care in trauma in the United States is Baltimore.”

Next Stop: MARS

Eventually Scalea got around to his greatest story of the day, the one that garnered him, Deborah Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM, chief of trauma at Shock Trauma, and Steven Hanish, MD, FACS, a former liver surgeon at Shock Trauma who is now director of liver transplants at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the UMB Entrepreneurs of the Year award.

Their innovative application of the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS) led to a study that found this “dialysis machine for the liver” can remove toxins, improve clotting, and reduce brain swelling — allowing acute liver failure sufferers time for spontaneous recovery or transplantation.

“Usually as the senior member of the team I would have assigned this talk to Deb or Steve,” Scalea said early in his presentation. “But he is in Dallas [at his new job] and she is in England [on vacation], so you’ll just have to put up with me.”

How the MARS machine came to Shock Trauma combined knowledge, quick thinking, a tight-knit team, and good old-fashioned luck.

“This guy comes in with a devastating liver injury from a gunshot wound,” Scalea recalls. “Deb calls me, we get him through the first operation, but he goes into liver failure. Deb says, ‘What about this MARS machine?’ We’ve heard about it, we don’t own one, few did. She says, ‘Hey, Dad, you think we could get one?’ ” Scalea recalled to the audience’s amusement.

“I say ‘Sure!’ I don’t know where the hell we are going to get one. So I call the company. They say, ‘You’re not going to believe this. Somebody bought it. They decided they didn’t want it. It’s on the truck, in Maryland, coming back to the factory. Do you want it?’

“I said, ‘Absolutely, turn the truck around and bring it down,’ ” Scalea recalled. “Then I hung up and I asked myself, ‘I wonder how much this thing costs?’ [more laughter] So I called Karen [Doyle, senior vice president at Shock Trauma] and said, ‘Hey, Mom, can we have a dialysis machine?’ God love her, she said. ‘I don’t care what it costs, if you need it, you’ve got it.’ They deliver it and just like Petty [the pioneering lung specialist], we sit on the floor. We open the instructions. We say, ‘How hard can it be? It’s just a machine.’ The patient gets well.”

And so did more and more patients. After 27 patients, Scalea, Stein, and Hanish reported their findings to the American Surgical Association. Now the nearly 14,000 Americans on the liver transplant waiting list have renewed hope. And as James L. Hughes, MBA, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at UMB, who hosted the event, said, “Through persistence and meticulous research, the MARS team is on the path to turn inspiration to save one life into a new standard of care for thousands of patients.”

Scalea sees it more as being in the right place at the right time. “We had modern technology next to the patients,” he said. “We controlled the technology ourselves. We noticed what was different, we weren’t bound by conventional thinking. We challenged dogma, we flew by the seat of our pants, and as physicians and surgeons we were together. This story is far from told. There are a zillion careers for those who want to take this on. But it’s a cool story. A very cool story.”

Record-Breaking Research

After Scalea took questions from the audience, Hughes, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, assistant vice president of research and development, presented plaques to some of the 99 UMB researchers who had U.S. and international patents approved in the past year.

“We’ve had an incredible year in extramural funding,” Hughes said. “We had big growth two years ago and this year we grew the biggest we have ever had and the biggest of any University System of Maryland institution with $667.4 million. There is a lot of great research being done here, and that’s the foundation of much of the great entrepreneur work we are seeing.”

— Chris Zang

Read more about Scalea and the MARS Team.

Chris ZangClinical Care, Collaboration, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeOctober 19, 20180 comments
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UMB Researcher of the Year Karen Kotloff, MD

UMB Researcher of the Year Kotloff’s Talk Turns Into Celebration

Karen L. Kotloff, MD, has made many friends and many contributions during her 35 years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. So her 2018 UMB Researcher of the Year presentation on Oct. 16 turned into quite the celebration with plenty of praise to go around.

What began with glowing words from the University president and Kotloff’s supervisor ended nearly an hour later with a standing ovation from the 100-plus people who crammed into Health Sciences Research Facility II auditorium to pay homage to Kotloff.

“I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with Dr. Kotloff for close to three decades,” said Jay A. Perman, MD, who was her department chair in Pediatrics long before he became president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “You have focused on saving the lives of children in some of the world’s poorest countries and I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this honor.”

Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, director of the School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), where Kotloff is associate director of clinical studies, called the professor and head of pediatric infectious diseases “a superb scientist, an international leader in the field of vaccinology, and a tireless champion for access to vaccines in children’s health around the globe. Her impact has been multiplied by the dozens of physicians and scientists whom she has mentored.”

Then Kotloff took the podium and recapped her career with stories, slides, and passion.

A leading authority in human controlled infection models for shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea morbidity and mortality in children, Kotloff mixed in some humor as well. She thanked former CVD Director Myron “Mike”  Levine, MD, DTPH, for involving her in an early project that was a study of diarrheal diseases. “That was the start — and I know it’s hard to understand — of my love of diarrheal diseases,” Kotloff said, drawing laughter from the overflow crowd.

She was known as “the bag lady” for putting red bags on babies’ cribs from whom she needed stool samples. And when early pictures showed a pregnant Kotloff with several other soon-to-be mom researchers, she joked it was “an epidemic of pregnancy.”

But most of the work Kotloff has performed so well for so long is deadly serious. In the beginning it was babies with HIV and diarrhea in Baltimore. STDs and the papillomavirus. HPV and cervical dysplasia in college students.

“To summarize those early years, I think you can say it took a village to launch my career,” she said. “It took mentors to provide the context and the opportunities. It took the resources of the CVD to determine the etiology of diarrheal diseases. It took institutional processes to provide seed funds so that I could generate preliminary data and strong collaborators. I felt I was in a very rich environment to really grow as a faculty member.”

It was the “second part” of Kotloff’s career where she really fell in love with public health, she said. In 2001, her work took her to Mali, a poor country in West Africa with one of the world’s highest childhood mortality rates. Many haven’t heard of Mali. “My husband’s aunt is constantly asking me if I’ve been to Maui [the Hawaiian island] lately,” Kotloff said with a smile.

Levine had the vision of starting a field site in Mali, which was named CVD-Mali, Kotloff recalled. It is a center for infectious disease research teaching and public health in order to generate data to accelerate public health and to save lives.

There Kotloff met CVD-Mali’s first employee and “one of the most influential people in my life — Dr. Samba Sow,” who was the coordinator of the field site and is now the Malian Minister of Health. “Since 2001 when we had two employees we now have over 250 employees and it’s just a site that’s been able to do amazing things,” Kotloff said.

A series of epidemiologic studies followed to understand the causes and consequences of fever, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and tonsillitis from group A streptococcus. Whenever possible, Kotloff, an advisor to the World Health Organization whose present research portfolio totals over $50 million, helped to introduce vaccines and other interventions to curb the disease burden and then measure the impact of that intervention.

During her talk she pointed out how the CVD paradigm of “Evidence/Impact/Action” had been used in each case.

“We’ve come a long way,” she said, pointing out that basic tools like blood cultures and bacterial labs didn’t exist when the CVD first arrived in Mali. “But we have a long way to go.”

UNICEF reports a 50 percent reduction in under-age 5 mortality since 1990. “That’s the good news,” Kotloff said. The bad? “There are 5.4 million children who die each year before reaching their fifth birthday; 14,800 of them die every day; 10 die every minute, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. So what we have  been able to access and improve — here we call it the tip of the iceberg, in Mali it’s the eyes of the hippo, as my mentor and friend Samba always says.”

Kotloff summed up her talk with a montage of pictures giving thanks and some words of advice.

“Public health opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives,” she said. “It touches your heart, it inspires you. When you see what people do and how resourceful and energetic they are … it shows you what happiness means. People are resilient and they make the best of what they have been given. And public health needs you. So I hope that maybe there is something in this talk  that interested someone in the room enough so that they will begin a career in public health.”

Read more about Dr. Kotloff and the Founders Week award winners.

Watch a video about Dr. Kotloff.

Chris ZangClinical Care, Collaboration, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeOctober 19, 20180 comments
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CERSI logo

Nov. 16 M-CERSI Workshop: Advancing Drug Development in Pediatric IBD

An M-CERSI workshop titled “Advancing Drug Development in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)” will be held Nov. 16 at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, Md.

This collaborative workshop, hosted by the Centers of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) and the FDA, is open to the public with no cost to attend, but registration is required.

The aim of the workshop will be to discuss current barriers to expeditious pediatric IBD drug development and steps to overcome them. Specific topics will include a review of the legislation relevant to pediatric trials, extrapolation, trial design considerations, dose selection, and the level of evidence required to establish safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients with IBD.

  • Date: Friday, Nov. 16
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: FDA’s White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Building No. 31, Room 1503A, Silver Spring, MD 20903
  • Registration: Go to this link.
  • More information: Visit this webpage.
  • Note: Remote viewing will be available, but registration is required.
Erin MerinoClinical Care, Education, People, Research, UMB NewsOctober 19, 20180 comments
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Open Access logo

Scholarly Publishing Workshop Series at HS/HSL: Oct. 23-25

As part of this year’s Open Access Week, the Health Sciences and Human services Library will be hosting a Scholarly Publishing Workshop Series. All workshops will be held in Room LL03 on the library’s lower level.

Walk-ins are welcome, but you also may register at this link.

Tuesday, Oct. 23

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Choosing the Right Journal for Your Research”

  • Key factors to consider when choosing a journal
  • Tools to help you identify potential journals that match your research

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
“Open Access and Predatory Publishing”

  • What is open access and why should you publish in OA journals?
  • Red flags and evaluating journal quality

Wednesday, Oct. 24

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Author IDs”

  • Author IDs in ORCID, Google Scholar, and Scopus
  • How author IDs can enhance your impact

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Drop-in session for individual help with your author ID

Thursday, Oct. 25

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Enhancing Your Research Impact”

  • Establishing your scholarly identity
  • Making strategic publishing decisions

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Drop-in session for individual help with enhancing your impact

Everly BrownCollaboration, Education, People, ResearchOctober 16, 20180 comments
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Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions

New Exhibit at HS/HSL: ‘Pick Your Poison’

From the National Library of Medicine, produced in cooperation with the National Museum of American History, “Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions” will be on display in the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s Weise Gallery through Nov. 24.

Mind-altering drugs have been used throughout the history of America. While some remain socially acceptable, others are outlawed because of their toxic, and intoxicating, characteristics. These classifications have shifted at different times in history and will continue to change. The exhibition explores the factors that have shaped the changing definitions of some of our most potent drugs, from medical miracle to social menace.

For more information, go to this HS/HSL webpage.

Everly BrownClinical Care, Education, People, ResearchOctober 16, 20180 comments
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Nobel Peace Prize

2018 Nobel Prize Winner Shares Connection to School of Pharmacy

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is home to nearly 100 world-class faculty — researchers and practitioners who have gained national and international recognition for their tremendous accomplishments in their diverse fields of study.

Yet there was a time when these sought-after experts were students as well, learning from and being shaped by some of the foremost leaders in their fields.

For Patrick Wintrode, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy, it was a pivotal postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology that not only helped shape his career, but also introduced him to one of his most trusted mentors who, nearly 20 years later, would become the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Meeting His Mentor

From 1997 to 2001, Wintrode worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Frances Arnold, PhD, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biochemistry and director of the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center at the California Institute of Technology, where he used directed evolution — the technique for which Arnold would be recognized with the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry — to evolve enzymes for efficient activity and stability at high and low temperatures.

“My time in the Arnold Lab was critical in helping me to expand my scientific horizons,” Wintrode recalls. “As a graduate student, my research had focused on protein biophysics, and while I knew that proteins were products of evolution, I had not really thought about it in a deep way. Working alongside Dr. Arnold and her colleagues was a great experience for me intellectually and broadened my understanding of proteins.”

Pioneering the Field

Directed evolution is a specialized technique through which researchers are able to speed the evolution of enzymes by introducing mutations in the underlying sequences of proteins and testing the effect of those mutations on the function of the enzyme. Arnold first demonstrated the technique in 1993, using subtilisin E, evolving the enzyme to a variant that was able to maintain its activity in a highly unnatural environment.

Since that time, Arnold and her team — of which Wintrode was previously a member, authoring six publications with her during his time as a postdoctoral fellow — have repeatedly demonstrated that it is possible to evolve enzymes for use under a variety of new conditions, creating new enzymes that have been used in a wide range of products, including biofuels and medications, and earning her the title of the “mother of directed evolution.”

“Dr. Arnold never hesitated to ask whether enzymes can be evolved to perform functions that no one believed them capable of performing,” says Wintrode, whose research in the Arnold Lab focused on making enzymes function in unnatural environments, such as high fractions of organic solvents.

Cementing Her Legacy

Directed evolution is now commonly used in academic and industrial laboratories around the world, earning Arnold the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry as well as some well-deserved kudos from colleagues and peers like Wintrode.

“I was thrilled to learn that Dr. Arnold had won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, though not totally surprised, given her remarkable accomplishments and reputation,” Wintrode says. “Directed evolution was a fringe subject in the 1990s, but today it is a standard tool in industry and academic laboratories all over the world. In fact, almost any enzyme used in an industrial chemistry process today has likely been optimized using directed evolution, cementing Dr. Arnold’s legacy in the field.”

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollPeople, Research, UMB NewsOctober 12, 20180 comments
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Flow Cytometry Graphic

Next UMGCCC Flow Cytometry Lecture Set for Nov. 5

The next Flow Cytometry Monthly Lecture will be held Monday, Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Bressler Research Building, Room 7-035.

This course — led by Xiaoxuan Fan, PhD, director, Flow Cytometry Shared Service — is needed  to become a trained user at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) Flow Cytometry Shared Services. However, all are welcome to attend.

This lecture will cover:

  • How flow cytometry works
  • Multi-color design and compensation
  • Instruments and services
  • New technology and tools.

To RSVP, go to this link.

Karen UnderwoodBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, ResearchOctober 11, 20180 comments
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Researcher of the Year: Karen Kotloff

Founders Week-Researcher of the Year: Karen Kotloff

Every fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) commemorates our rich history and celebrates the future we’re building together during Founders Week, which this year runs Oct. 13 to 18. Among the highlights is recognizing the extraordinary work of UMB’s faculty and staff with four awards, each signifying outstanding accomplishment in one facet of our mission. Leading up to Founders Week, we will highlight the award winners every Tuesday on The Elm. For more information on UMB’s annual celebration and associated events, please check out the Founders Week website.

Sign up to attend the Researcher of the Year presentation and reception.

Today: Researcher of the Year

Karen L. Kotloff, MD
School of Medicine
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Head, Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Pediatrics
Associate Director, Clinical Studies, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health

When Karen Kotloff accepted a fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Department of Pediatrics and Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) in 1983, she didn’t realize she was signing on for a lifetime commitment. That’s just the way it turned out.

“During my fellowship at the CVD, I was exposed to the field of global health,” says Kotloff, a professor in UMSOM’s Department of Pediatrics and associate director of clinical studies for the CVD. “I learned that in addition to treating children one-by-one as a clinician, I could help to introduce public health interventions like vaccines that improve the lives of millions of children at once.

“I began traveling to amazing places, seeing things I never imagined, working next to incredible, dedicated people to solve some of the toughest problems. But what plagued me was that in countries of Africa and Asia, one in every 10 children did not survive until their fifth birthday. Trying to change that became my life’s work and I never looked back.”

Today, Kotloff is an international figure in the field of vaccinology and a leading authority in human controlled infection models for shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea morbidity and mortality in children.

CVD Director Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, is one of Kotloff’s biggest supporters. “Karen is a pioneer and has performed more Shigella challenge studies than anyone in the world,” Neuzil says. “She modified an earlier challenge model to make it more standardized, reproducible, and safe for participants. The model that she developed is the one currently used throughout the world. She’s a tireless champion for access to vaccines and children’s health around the globe.”

In addition to conducting large epidemiologic studies to understand the causes and health outcomes associated with infectious diseases in children, Kotloff has tested numerous vaccines in adults and children, including for influenza and group A streptococcus. An advisor to the World Health Organization, and author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, Kotloff’s research portfolio totals over $50 million.

“My career has really evolved in two intertwined tracks: studying the epidemiology of infectious diseases to understand what causes disease and death in children and conducting clinical trials to test new and improved vaccines to prevent these infections,” Kotloff says. “I have been fortunate to receive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NIH to pursue both tracks.”

One of her favorite projects took place in Mali, a poor country in West Africa with one of the world’s highest childhood mortality rates. Kotloff has worked there steadily since 2001, conducting a series of epidemiologic studies to understand the causes and consequences of fever, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and tonsillitis from group A streptococcus. Whenever possible, she helped to introduce vaccines and other interventions to curb the disease burden and then measure the impact of that intervention.

“I received the Legion of Honor in Mali for our initial work,” Kotloff recalls. “As a result of this project, I met Dr. Samba Sow, who was the coordinator of our field site and is now the Malian Minister of Health. Working with Dr. Sow and his incredible team of dedicated epidemiologists and doctors has been one of the greatest joys of my career.”

“Enormously honored” to be named the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Researcher of the Year, Kotloff says she shares the award with colleagues like Sow, Neuzil, former CVD Director Myron “Mike”  Levine, MD, DTPH, and others. “This award really goes to the group of dedicated, talented physicians, scientists, and health professionals with whom I work every day both here and at the international sites where my projects are conducted,” Kotloff says. “And of course those who have mentored and supported me.”

Kotloff is returning the favor, mentoring hundreds of investigators internationally in performing rigorous trials and field studies, conducting research to international regulatory standards, and preparing papers, abstracts, and presentations. James Campbell, MD, MS, Milagritos Tapia, MD, and Wilbur Chen, MD, MS, are just three at UMSOM who have developed their own independent research careers under Kotloff’s tutelage.

Asked about the satisfaction she derives from mentoring students, fellows, and junior faculty, Kotloff says, “The Center for Vaccine Development is a very special place with a legacy, extending over 40 years, of one generation of researchers training the next. Because of the stellar reputation of the CVD, we have been able to attract highly qualified fellows and I have had the pleasure of watching these talented individuals grow into highly successful senior faculty. It is extremely gratifying to me to see that they will carry on the work that I find so important.”

Kotloff also is grateful to her family. “I am married with two wonderful grown children, a fantastic daughter-in-law, and two adorable dogs,” she says. “My husband and children have always been very supportive and enthusiastic about my work, occasionally even joining me on a trip. My favorite activity of all is to spend time with my family. I enjoy hiking and kayaking in my spare time. Believe it or not, I also enjoy traveling.”

That’s a good thing, because she has done a lot of it since her first trip — to Somalia in 1993 during a refugee crisis. “It was an experience I will never forget,” Kotloff says. “I saw firsthand the tireless, impeccably organized efforts of a courageous team of Doctors Without Borders providing life-saving vaccines, treatment, and nutritional support to a devastated population and the gratitude that they received in return.”

Saying “it breaks my heart to see a sick child — it is always better to prevent a disease than treat it,” Kotloff also has focused on infections that affect infants and children in the United States. For example, she led a recent study that showed that an antibacterial ointment could be applied to the nose and skin of infants in the Intensive Care Unit to prevent severe staph infections.

After 35 years at UMSOM, Kotloff says there are more challenges to tackle.

“During my career, I have worked to lay the groundwork for introduction of new and underused vaccines in poor countries in Africa and Asia. Now that there are vaccines for many of the major infectious diseases affecting children, those that remain each make up a small piece of the pie. We need to rethink our approach to preventing deaths,” she says. “My current work has turned to strategies that we hope will improve the underlying health and nutrition of young children in these settings so that the children will be stronger and more able to handle the infectious assaults that they face.”

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, executive vice president for medical affairs at UMB and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean at UMSOM, points out that as of mid-2018, 60 percent of countries in Africa have introduced rotavirus vaccines nationally thanks in part to Kotloff’s efforts. She also has consistently ranked among the top-funded UMSOM researchers for the past five years, he says.

“Dr. Kotloff’s research contributions as well as her mentoring have proven critical in advancing our vaccinology research to the best program worldwide,” Reece says. “She is dedicated to serving the world’s most vulnerable populations and is recognized by her peers as a leader in vaccinology and pediatric infectious disease research.”

—  Chris Zang

Chris ZangEducation, People, Research, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeOctober 9, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the October issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on Promise Heights’ game-changing $30 million grant; a look ahead to Founders Week; President’s Symposium and White Paper Project tackles gun violence; John T. Wolfe Jr. talks disruption and diversity at DAC Speaker Series; UMB leaders discuss policing and emergency management; new CURE Scholars documentary to air on MPT; “I’m new to Twitter — come say hello @JayPerman;” and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 8, 20180 comments
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UMB ICTR: Molecules to Communities

Campuswide Funding Opportunity from UMB ICTR

The University of Maryland, Baltimore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (UMB ICTR) is a campuswide initiative that provides financial support, infrastructure, environment, training, and workforce development to invigorate, facilitate, and accelerate clinical and translational research to improve patient and community health.

The UMB ICTR Accelerated Translational Incubator Pilot (ATIP) Grant Program is now accepting applications. There are two types of ATIP opportunities: the ICTR Innovative Collaboration Pilot Grant and the ICTR Community-Engaged Research Grant. ATIP awards provide starter funds (up to $50,000 over 12 months) for projects specifically focused on innovative, translational research that involve multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty from the schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, law, and social work or UMB-community partnerships.

Applications are due Jan. 7, 2019. Visit the ATIP Grant Program webpage for more details and application materials.

For questions, please contact Meriem Gaval Cruz at

Meriem Gaval CruzCollaboration, ResearchOctober 8, 20180 comments
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Meet the Makers: Dr. Luana Colloca

Luana CollocaJoin the Health Sciences and Human Services Library for Meet the Makers, its speaker series focusing on emerging technologies in the life sciences, on Oct. 17, noon to 1 p.m., in the Gladhill Board Room on the fifth floor of the library.

Luana Colloca, MD, PhD, MS, of the University of Maryland schools of medicine and nursing will deliver the lecture titled, “The neurobiology of pain modulation: From placebo effects to virtual reality”.

“The capacity to activate endogenous opioid and nonopioid systems in concomitance with the administration of an intervention represents a fascinating phenomenon that is capturing the attention of scientists from different disciplines,” Colloca says. “This lecture focuses on the neurobiology of placebo effects and virtual reality with an emphasis on relevant discoveries, new insights and developments.”

A light lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP at this link.

Brian ZelipResearch, TechnologyOctober 5, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine logo

Vucenik to Give Keynote at International Symposium in Japan

Ivana VucenikIvana Vucenik, PhD, associate professor and graduate program director of medical and research technology and pathology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will present a keynote lecture on Friday, Nov. 30, at the Third International Symposium on Rice Science in Global Health in Kyoto, Japan.

Vucenik has been investigating the effect of IP6 on cancer cell growth, differentiation, and its interaction with intracellular signal transduction pathways to understand the molecular mechanism(s) underlying this antineoplastic action. Dr. Vucenik also has been studying the antiplatelet and natural killer (NK)-cell enhancing functions of IP6. Another research project in her laboratory focuses on platelet function testing and the phenomenon of aspirin resistance in humans.

As a recognized nutrition researcher and educator, Vucenik has made numerous presentations at national and international meetings. Her research has been supported by grants from the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the University of Maryland Designated Research Initiative Fund, and the University of Maryland Women Health Research Foundation.

Lisa RodgersEducation, Research, UMB NewsOctober 4, 20180 comments
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October 2018: Biosafety Month

October is Biosafety Month

October marks the fifth anniversary of Biosafety Month, a tradition started by the National Institutes of Health and continued through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA International). Biosafety Month is a period of time when individuals and organizations are encouraged to focus on and reinforce their attention to biosafety and biosecurity standards. The theme for this year is “Promoting a Culture of Biosafety and Responsibility” with the social networking hashtag #getyourcultureon.

Here are a few things you and your lab can do to foster a culture of biosafety and responsibility:

  • Be knowledgeable about the agents with which you are working. Take the appropriate precautions, including the use of a certified biosafety cabinet or fume hood and wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and lab coats.
  • Don’t inadvertently spread your agents outside of the lab. Wash your hands regularly, keep your cellphone away from potential contamination, and dispose of hazardous waste correctly.
  • Employees who work in a laboratory should attend initial laboratory safety training and take annual refresher courses thereafter.
  • Principal investigators and lab managers should register their research staff and general laboratory hazards in the online laboratory audit management system. When a lab audit is conducted, promptly review the findings and take corrective actions.
  • Research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids molecules, infectious agents, and/or human materials should be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) through the CICERO system.

UMB’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff are available to answer your questions and provide assistance by phone at 410-706-7055 or online at this EHS webpage.

Matthew FischerResearchOctober 4, 20180 comments
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Stein and Scalea

Founders Week-Entrepreneurs of the Year: The MARS Team

Every fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) commemorates our rich history and celebrates the future we’re building together during Founders Week, which this year runs Oct. 13 to 18. Among the highlights is recognizing the extraordinary work of UMB’s faculty and staff with four awards, each signifying outstanding accomplishment in one facet of our mission. Leading up to Founders Week, we will highlight the award winners every Tuesday on The Elm. For more information on UMB’s annual celebration and associated events, please check out the Founders Week website.

Sign up to attend the Entrepreneurs of the Year presentation and reception.

Today: Entrepreneurs of the Year

The MARS Team
Steven I. Hanish, MD, FACS
Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM
Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM
School of Medicine
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
University of Maryland Medical Center

Entrepreneurs transform their discoveries into outcomes that benefit the people they serve. In the case of MARS (Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System), the three physician-scientists listed above have demonstrated how discovery-based clinical innovations can make the difference between life and death for thousands of patients.

Liver failure is a devastating disease that affects around 1,600 patients in the U.S. each year. Modern medicine has developed a variety of devices to support failing organs — ventilators for the lungs, ventricular assist devices for the heart, dialysis for the kidneys. Until recently, there was nothing for the failing liver.

Thanks to these three outstanding physician-scientists and their innovative application of MARS now there is hope. This “dialysis machine for the liver” can remove toxins, improve clotting, and reduce brain swelling. MARS can be used to buy time for the liver to recover. In some cases where recovery is not possible, MARS is a bridge to liver transplant.

Steven HanishIn addition to the expertise of Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Deborah Stein, its chief of trauma, and Steven Hanish, a liver transplant surgeon who has since left Shock Trauma, good old-fashioned luck played a part in Shock Trauma becoming the first to use MARS when a gunshot victim being treated there developed profound liver failure.

“We had heard of the MARS. It seemed like the perfect application. We called the company and it turned out there was one in the area. An institution had bought it but then changed its mind,” Scalea recalls. “The device was on a truck passing through Maryland. I called Karen Doyle [senior vice president at Shock Trauma] and we purchased it that day. It was delivered within hours.”

When the patient and then several more responded to the MARS treatment, which can replace hepatic function in acute liver failure sufferers, Scalea, Stein, and Hanish began a formalized study.

From January 2013 to December 2016, they assessed data from increasing numbers of liver patients, who were referred to Scalea and his team as word spread of their MARS success. At the conclusion of their study, the three reported their encouraging results before the American Surgical Association.

“The results are nothing short of amazing,” says Samuel A. Tisherman, MD, FACS, FCCM, director, Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “These are patients who surely would have died, but they survive and go on to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.”

Adds School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, “Working collaboratively, Drs. Hanish, Scalea, and Stein have repurposed an existing technology to help extend and, indeed, save the lives of patients who have experienced acute liver failure. They have published the results of their life-saving work with MARS, paving the way for other clinicians to use this device and affect the lives of countless other patients,” says Reece, who is also executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “Their results using MARS as a bridge-to-transplant could also serve as an important first step in gaining FDA approval for liver transplant recipients.”

One of the foremost authorities in the world on trauma research, education, and clinical practice, Scalea is a seemingly round-the-clock fixture at Shock Trauma, where he has worked 80- to 100-hour weeks since becoming physician-in-chief in 1997. He says he is grateful for the Entrepreneur of the Year recognition of “the wonderful interaction between clinical care and investigation. It is especially meaningful to be recognized in conjunction with Dr. Stein. I have really enjoyed watching her career mature and seeing her develop into a master clinician, administrator, and investigator. Watching our trainees excel makes me know that our specialty is in good hands going forward.”

Stein, who said she was “pleased and honored” by the award and whose national service includes active participation in virtually every major trauma, critical care, and surgical society, paid tribute to Scalea when she was invested as the R Adams Cowley, MD, Professor in Shock and Trauma in May 2016.

Stein, whose father and grandfather were physicians, called Scalea her voice, her conscience, her source of confidence, her mentor in every way. “What can I possibly say to the man who, quite literally, changed my life?” she said of Scalea. “You have trained me to be the best, to provide the absolute best care to patients. You have modeled kindness and compassion and humanity and sympathy and service.”

Hanish, who is now director of adult, pediatric, and living donor liver transplant at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, recognizes firsthand the hardship that patients must endure while waiting for a suitable organ donor. According to national statistics, the liver transplant waiting list contains nearly 14,000 people — many of whom may die before they can receive surgery.

“MARS allows us to hopefully save those who wouldn’t be saved without the technology,” Hanish says. “The beauty of the system is not the box and cartridges, but how it represents a multidisciplinary/multi-modal approach to a critical care organ failure problem.”

James L. Hughes, MBA, oversees the Entrepreneur of the Year process as UMB’s chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president, and he says the MARS team’s pioneering spirit symbolizes what the award is about.

“Entrepreneurship combines innovation and impact,” Hughes says. “Through persistence and meticulous research, the MARS team is on the path to turn inspiration to save one life into a new standard of care for thousands of patients.”

Adds Anthony F. Lehman, MD, MSPH, senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the School of Medicine, “We believe that this team is a perfect example of what differentiates UMB and its faculty from other universities: Our collaboration and entrepreneurial mindset is focused on helping the most critical patients when life is truly on the line.”

— Chris Zang

(Note: Top photo is Stein and Scalea; inset photo is Hanish)

Chris ZangEducation, People, Research, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeOctober 2, 20180 comments
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Join us for Wikipedia Training on Oct. 10

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon Training at HS/HSL

Are you interested in helping improve a resource students, faculty, staff, and the community use daily?

Come to the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) on Oct. 10 to learn how to become a Wikipedian and participate in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s  second Edit-A-Thon. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the lower level of the HS/HSL, Room LL05.

During this training, librarians will help you make a Wikipedia account, make edits in Wikipedia, and use trusted National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources to improve the world’s largest encyclopedia. This workshop will help prepare you for the #citeNLM2018 Fall Edit-A-Thon, which will take place at HS/HSL on Nov. 7 and focus on women’s health. Your participation will help contribute to WikiProject Medicine.

Learn more about WikiProject Medicine or the NNLM Edit-A-Thon.

Register for Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Training.

Lauren WheelerCollaboration, Education, People, Research, TechnologyOctober 1, 20180 comments
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