Associate Professor Francesca-Fang Liao of UTHSC Receives $1.4 Million Grant for Alzheimer’s Disease Research

With the help of a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Francesca-Fang Liao and her research team will be able to investigate HSF1, a universal master switch in the brain for stress response, which could be significant to brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.

With the help of a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, Dr. Francesca-Fang Liao and her research team will be able to investigate HSF1, a universal master switch in the brain for stress response, which could be significant to brain function and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most devastating neurodegenerative conditions, afflicting more than 4 million Americans each year. The available FDA-approved drugs only stabilize the conditions. More robust medications are needed to improve the syndrome. Synaptic damage is the earliest sign of AD, which leads to memory loss. Therefore, uncovering novel synaptic mechanisms and identifiable targets for the disease is key for developing effective treatments. With new funding, Francesca-Fang Liao, PhD, and her research team plan to do just that. [Read more...]

Dr. Marie Chisholm-Burns, Dean of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy, Receives Clinician of Distinction Award from American Society of Transplantation

Dr. Marie Chisholm-Burns, dean of the College of Pharmacy at UTHSC, center, received the Clinician of Distinction Award from the American Society of Transplantation (AST). With her are Kenneth Newell, AST immediate past president, and James Allan, AST president.

Dr. Marie Chisholm-Burns, dean of the College of Pharmacy at UTHSC, center, received the Clinician of Distinction Award from the American Society of Transplantation (AST). With her at the recent American Transplant Congress are Kenneth Newell, AST immediate past president, left, and James Allan, AST president.

Marie Chisholm-Burns, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, dean and professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), received the Clinician of Distinction Award from the American Society of Transplantation at the recent 2015 American Transplant Congress in Philadelphia.

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Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, Receives $2.4 Million Grant to Study Macular Degeneration

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, professor of retinal diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been awarded a four-year grant totaling $2.4 million from the National Eye Institute as co-principal investigator on innovative research into age-related macular degeneration.

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, professor of retinal diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been awarded a four-year grant totaling $2.4 million from the National Eye Institute as co-principal investigator on innovative research into age-related macular degeneration.

Edward Chaum, MD, PhD, Plough Foundation Professor of Retinal Diseases at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Hamilton Eye Institute, has a successful history of collaborating with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to battle diseases of the eye. [Read more...]

University Distinguished Professor Michael Carter Receives 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

Dr. Michael Carter receives the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from Sheila Melander, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP, the organization’s president and a former UTHSC professor.

Dr. Michael Carter receives the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from Sheila Melander, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP, the organization’s president and a former UTHSC professor.

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) has selected Michael Carter, DNSc, DNP, FAAN, DCC, as the recipient of its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Carter, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies in the College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), received the award during the organization’s 41st Annual Meeting recently in Baltimore, Maryland. [Read more...]

UTHSC Graduate Research Assistant Sarah Neuner Receives $172,480 Grant for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Research

A $172,480 grant from the National Institute on Aging, an NIH subsidiary, will allow graduate research assistant Sarah Neuner to identify genes that may influence a person’s likelihood for  developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

A $172,480 grant from the National Institute on Aging, an NIH subsidiary, will allow graduate research assistant Sarah Neuner to identify genes that may influence a person’s likelihood for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Although gene mutations that cause early onset Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, the vast majority of cases result from what is known as “sporadic,” or late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), which has no known cause.  Sarah Neuner’s research focuses on identifying currently unknown genes that influence a person’s likelihood of developing LOAD.

Neuner, a graduate research assistant in the lab of Catherine Kaczorowski, PhD, in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $172,480 from the National Institute on Aging, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will be used to support a project titled, “Identification of Genetic Modifiers of Neuronal Deficits and Memory Failure in Alzheimer’s Disease.” The award will be distributed over four years.

Identifying those genes that modify susceptibility to LOAD in human studies has proven challenging, in part due to large genomic variability in individuals. In contrast, animal studies suffer from the opposite problem – too little genetic diversity, as most traditional studies utilize one inbred Alzheimer’s disease (AD) mouse model. Therefore, Neuner and her collaborators have developed a new panel of AD mice that model some of the genetic complexity of human populations, which is thought to contribute to the “sporadic” nature of the disease. In this project, the research team will measure memory function as well as clinically relevant markers of AD in this panel throughout their lifespan in order to determine which strains are more or less prone to developing AD. Results from these tests will be used to pinpoint the region or regions in the genome that contain genes influencing the susceptibility and/or resistance of an individual strain to AD. Once these genes have been identified, gene therapy tools will be used to prevent or reverse AD-related memory deficits. Research outcomes, combined with insight from analysis of available human datasets, will allow researchers to prioritize candidates with the best potential to translate into treatments for use in human populations.

If successful, this research may uncover new therapeutic targets that can be used to delay, prevent, or cure Alzheimer’s disease in humans. They may also be useful as “biomarkers” to identify individuals who are at high risk, enabling earlier detection and treatment, which would ultimately result in better outcomes for both patients and their families.

“I am extremely fortunate and thankful to have received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Aging, which will provide support for my doctoral training over the next four years,” said Neuner. “My mentor, Dr. Catherine Kaczorowski, and the co-sponsor of this award, Dr. Rob Williams, will provide training on research design, ethics, grantsmanship, and additional career development opportunities that are essential for progressing towards a career as an independent scientist. Working closely with Drs. Kaczorowski and Williams in the development of this project has allowed me to learn from experts in the three fields I am very interested in – aging, Alzheimer’s disease and genetics – and combine the two in new ways. This award is especially important to me because it will help me achieve my goal of making significant contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s disease genetics and to the understanding of the mechanisms causing this disease.”

The National Institute on Aging remains committed to understanding the aging process and prolonging life. It is the primary agency that supports and conducts Alzheimer’s research. For more information, visit www.nia.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Receive $417,625 Grant to Study Brain Activity Related to Stuttering

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, left, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the UTHSC Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology have received a $417,625 NIH grant to investigate brain activity associated with stuttering.

Tim Saltuklaroglu, PhD, left, and Ashley Harkrider, PhD, of the UTHSC Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology have received a $417,625 NIH grant to investigate brain activity associated with stuttering.

Approximately 5 percent of all children stutter for some period of time, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Many recover, but for those who do not, stuttering often progresses and severely impairs communication. [Read more...]

Valerie K. Arnold, MD, of UTHSC Inducted into the American College of Psychiatrists

Valerie K. Arnold 2015 American College of Psychiatrists Inductee

Valerie K. Arnold
2015 American College of Psychiatrists Inductee

Valerie K. Arnold MD, FAPA, chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), was inducted into the American College of Psychiatrists during its recent ceremony in Huntington Beach, California. [Read more...]

Mojdeh Dehghan, DDS, of the UTHSC College of Dentistry Honored by American Association of Women Dentists

Receives Grant to Test Newly Developed Mouthwash to Prevent Dental Erosion in Women with Eating Disorders

Mojdeh Dehghan

Mojdeh Dehghan

Mojdeh Dehghan, DDS, assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry in the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, was honored by the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) with the 2014 Proctor and Gamble/Gillette Hayden Memorial Foundation Research Award. This award is accompanied by a grant designed to support innovative scientific discoveries that will advance new concepts in women’s oral health research and encourage the study of gender differences in oral health care delivery and its practice.

Dr. Dehghan and her colleagues have developed a mouthwash that will prevent dental erosion in patients with eating disorders. The aim of the study is to determine its effectiveness. [Read more...]