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Biology of bullying
Nanotech gets bigger
Patient care briefs
o UF expects big things from the science of small
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
0 UP FRONT RESEARCH Goodenow "Superchair" ( EXTRAORDINARYY PEOPLE Africa Calling
ADMINISTRATION Expert on Aging 0 COVER FEATURE Nanotech Gets Bigger PROFILE Major Doctor
EDUCATION Future Tense PATIENT CARE Dentistry Donation GRANTS
RESEARCH Biology of Bullying DISTINCTIONS COMMUNITY- FUTURE NURSES
Rescued Akita's remaining front leg
saved, straightened through bone
lengthening procedure performed at UF
Life and limb go hand in hand for a 1-year-old Akita
amputee whose remaining front leg was saved by UF
veterinarians with a bone-lengthening procedure they've
perfected over the years.
"The moment that I saw her, I thought she had great
possibilities to be a therapy dog," said Teri Harvey, who
adopted the dog she named Cassidy as in Hopalong
from the Akita Rescue Society of Florida, where she is a
"We want to teach her tricks and take her to the
orthopedic hospitals, because we know the same device
that helped her will be used to help many children, and just
seeing Cassidy would be an inspiration to them," Harvey
,;i Harvey brought Cassidy for a final visit to UF on Nov. 24,
where she said goodbye to the doctors and others who had
administered the bone-lengthening treatments for a period
of about four months.
S, When Cassidy was an 8-week-old puppy, another dog
mauled and injured her. The Tri-County Humane Society
performed emergency surgery to remove one of her legs.
-I Cassidy was adopted out to a family and appeared to be
doing well until it became clear her remaining front leg
wasn't growing properly, Harvey said.
"In fact, it was becoming distorted," Harvey said. "The
front leg was much shorter than the back leg and she had
almost a kangaroo-like appearance."
Small animal surgeons at UF have developed a
reputation as experts in the use of a bone-lengthening
device known as a circular external fixator. An orthopedic
specialist in the Jacksonville area referred Harvey to UF's
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in August, and the
vets were able to use the fixator to help Cassidy. At UF, she
received surgery and follow-up care until surgeons deemed
her ready to go home. The therapy straightened, derotated
and extended the dog's forelimb by 30 percent.
Dr. Dan Lewis, a professor of small animal surgery, said
he was very happy with how Cassidy looked during her last
visit to Gainesville.
"She is very functional and doing fine on her forelimb,"
Teri Harvey, above, with three-legged Cassidy. The 1-year-old
Akita benefited from bone-lengthening treatment at UF.
Expert on aging named director of UF institute
By John Pastor
n in iI nri ional expert on aging has been named to
kiJ UlI I ilbrts to improve the health of older
A.rn! !L n,
Marco Pahor, M.D., a professor of medicine and director of
the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University, will be
chairman of a new department at the College of Medicine and
will serve as director of the UF Institute on Aging, beginning
Feb. 1. Dr. Marco Pahor
"We have to be leaders in understanding and solving the
problems of an aging America," said Douglas Barrett, M.D., senior vice president
for health affairs. "We have considerable strength in gerontology, rehabilitation
and working in social problems associated with the aged. The addition of Dr. Pahor
builds the geriatric research component. He will bring new clinical trials and
research programs to UF."
Pahor's arrival coincides with the creation of the department of aging and
geriatric research in the College of Medicine and the rebirth of the Institute on
Aging at the Health Science Center. The institute will pool the talents of diverse
scientists to address the theme of disability in aging Americans, and the
department which will include faculty from a mix of disciplines will serve as
"The College of Medicine and the Health Science Center have made a real
commitment to develop a world-class institute that will focus on aging and
geriatrics," said Craig Tisher, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. "We believe
we have a world-class leader of this institute in Dr. Pahor."
The new department, the first in the country to focus primarily on aging-related
research, will concentrate on finding ways to prevent disabilities in an aging
population, Tisher said. In general, these disabilities prevent people from
performing basic activities of daily living, such as walking, eating, dressing,
bathing, toileting or getting out of bed.
"We are where cardiovascular disease was about 40 years ago, when we started to
learn high blood pressure and high cholesterol were bad," Pahor said. "Treating
hypertension and cholesterol translated into prevention of major clinical events in
cardiac patients. In aging, we are just beginning to learn potential areas to
intervene. Our approach uses the entire spectrum of investigation from basic
science to animal studies to clinical research to understand what leads to
disability and how to intervene."
Pahor received his medical degree in 1980 from Catholic University in Rome,
where he later received specialty thesis degrees in internal medicine and
gerontology and geriatrics. He's been section head of geriatric medicine and
gerontology at Wake Forest and director of the Sticht Center on Aging since 1999.
Pahor also served as principal investigator of a Claude D. Pepper Older Americans
Independence Center, funded by the National Institute on Aging.
The collaborations Pahor and the aging institute engender at UF will help attract
larger research support grants, officials said.
"Dr. Pahor is an international leader who will synergize the talent on this
campus and move forward with an agenda to address issues of aging," said Pamela
Duncan, Ph.D., director of the Brooks Center for Rehabilitation Studies and a
professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions. "We can now
integrate aging in terms of both preventive strategies and rehabilitation. Because of
our population, there's no greater need anywhere than in this state for these kinds
of programs of excellence. UF is really poised to set the agenda for world-class
research and clinical practice."
Likewise, Pahor said UF's research strength, bolstered by its brain and genetics
institutes, Health Science Center colleges and collaborations with organizations
such as Veterans Affairs, is well suited to serve Florida's older population, which in
turn provides a strong basis for research.
As for the new department, officials expect it to dovetail with the recently formed
division of geriatric medicine within the department of medicine, which will
emphasize clinical aspects of aging and maintaining a healthy elderly population.
The geriatrics division is headed by Thomas Mulligan, M.D., who until recently
was chief of geriatrics at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in
Richmond, Va., and professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth
University's Medical College of Virginia.
Tisher said medical doctors who see patients in the new department of aging
likely will have dual appointments in the department of medicine, which is chaired
by Edward Block, M.D.
Series to explore role of volunteers in clinical research
People interested in understanding the vital role volunteers play in finding
medical cures and treatments are invited to attend presentations in the series
"Topics in Medical Research: Learn how research in human volunteers improves
medical practice and health care" at UF's McKnight Brain Institute.
Dr. Peter Stacpoole, program director of the General Clinical Research
Center, will open the series at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1 by explaining how both healthy
people and people with different diseases help test experimental medical
treatments and procedures. Additional lectures by other experts will follow on
Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Feb. 22, and March 1.
Each 30-minute lecture begins at 7 p.m. at the Deweese Auditorium inside the
main entrance of the McKnight Brain Institute. Parking is free at the east parking
garage of UF&Shands Medical Center.
Internationally renowned speakers at the Florida
Bioinformatics Workshop 2005
All aspects of bioinformatics will be addressed, including functional genomics,
proteomics, phylogenetics and systems biology at the Feb. 21-22 bioinformatics
workshop at the Reitz Union. Students, faculty and staff are invited to the
poster session and to hear 10 renowned speakers, including keynote speaker
Eric Jakobsson, Ph.D., NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational
Biology, and special guest speaker Nikos Tsinoremas, Ph.D., Scripps Florida.
The event is sponsored by the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences
and Medicine; IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment Station; the Office of
Research and Graduate Programs; and the UF Genetics Institute.
More information at www.cise.ufl.edu/-suchen/fbw2005.
For more information contact the
General Clinical Research Center at 265-0032.
Teledentistry grant expands
dental education, service
By Lindy McCollum-Brounley
n "The Jetsons," a wacky, futuristic cartoon that
Iirst hit television airwaves in 1962, George Jetson
,ommutes to work in a space car that folds into a
suitcase and the Jetsons' teen daughter, Judy, talks
with her girlfriends non-stop on the family's
"Visaphone," a space-age cross between a telephone
and a TV.
We don't have cars that fold into suitcases for
compact parking, but the Visaphone is a high-tech
reality today that combines the Internet and
Now this conferencing capability is at the heart of
the college's teledentistry project, which aims to
equip every UF dental clinic with digital radiography
and portable videoconferencing capability.
Bolstered by big ideas and a $1.5 million grant
from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Agency,
the college is developing its teledentistry program
with the ultimate goals of enhancing educational
opportunities and improving patient care.
Internet Protocol allows videoconferencers to
simply type in an IP address a computer's unique
Internet identification number and connect. Once
the connection is established, live video, audio and
other multimedia materials can be transmitted
Dr. Timothy Wheeler, chairman of orthodontics at UF, conducts a sound and audio check in the
college's videoconferencing suite in preparation for his Sept. 24 presentation to the Polish
Orthodontic Society's annual conference held in Opole, Poland. The plasma displays behind him
show the Gainesville view of the empty presentation hall in Opole. A short time later, Wheeler
delivered his presentation to a full house of Polish orthodontists who enjoyed the speech in real
i Ad ii d i i A i h lA1: AI- I I :d
instantly to distant receivers anywhere else on the m'ie UI puI iiLpuic
"It's a matter of exchanging something similar to a
phone number, but it's a network number," said Linda Kubitz, the College of
Dentistry's coordinator of distance learning. "So you just exchange numbers and
literally dial each other up and there you are."
Kubitz oversees the college's IP videoconferencing meeting rooms, which have
been used in a distance learning capacity for the past two years in its community-
based clinics. The rooms are networked between the main campus and each of the
clinics in Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Apopka and Hialeah. They are
routinely used to deliver live lectures to clinic residents from main campus
faculty and for interclinic grand rounds where residents share patient treatment
planning and outcomes with each other. Staff in the community-based clinics,
separated by hundreds of miles, also hold regular face-to-face meetings using the
"What we're doing here is connecting people," said Boyd Robinson, D.D.S.,
director of community-based programs. "An oral pathologist here in Gainesville,
for instance, could utilize the mobile VC carts to assist a private practitioner in
Miami in diagnosis and treatment planning of a patient's oral lesion. That is an
efficient use of college resources that provides a real service to the patient and the
Dentistry Dean Teresa A. Dolan, D.D.S., envisions the college's teledentistry
project opening doors to long-distance education, expert consultations and other
patient care opportunities never before considered. Portable videoconferencing
carts could be taken into nursing homes, public health centers or schools
anywhere in the state to capture and share images of patient conditions with
specialists back on the Gainesville campus. Web-based learning opportunities for
continuing education, virtual study groups and patient record portability are all
on the college's horizon thanks to videoconferencing technology, she said.
"I think it's important not to lose sight of why Congress supports teledentistry
initiatives through these HRSA grants," said Dolan. "It's not so we can buy new
toys. It's so we can find more cost-effective ways of both educating practitioners
and meeting access-to-care needs in the state."
Dolan and her team have organized the project into three defined objectives.
The first is to reinforce the college's technology infrastructure, such as the server
room capacity, and install mobile VC carts in the college's community-based and
partner clinics. The second is to develop the college's capacity for live
demonstrations, collecting clinical educational materials and then using the VC
suites to share them with the college's clinical sites. Development of Web-based
educational materials is the third goal, the first example of which is the college's
oral pathology case-of-the-month Web site. Drawing on the college's established
oral pathology diagnostic services, it will feature real cases submitted by private
practitioners and the college's faculty, residents and students.
"I think the HRSA grant will help us increase our capacity to share
information and develop and deliver educational products in a new way," Dolan
Students honor anatomical
donors in candlelit ceremony
By Tom Nordlie
First-year UF medical students honored a very special group
of supporters in November, at an annual tribute to the
deceased men and women whose bodies were used in gross
Thanks to the generosity of donors and their families,
students can begin their journey toward medical practice by
studying the ultimate training ground for all physicians, said
Nicole Paulson, co-director of the ceremony and academic
chairwoman for the Class of 2008.
"You can't replace the experience of working with a
cadaver," Paulson said. "You learn everything from these
The ceremony, attended by the entire Class of 2008 and
numerous College of Medicine faculty and administrators,
began with music, poetry and readings at the Public Health
and Health Professions/Nursing/Pharmacy Complex
auditorium. The class presented a gift to the college, a framed
collection of letters written by donors' family members
explaining why bodies were donated.
Afterward, the attendees made a candlelight procession to
the gross anatomy laboratory. There, small groups of students
gathered around carts holding the now-covered bodies they
had studied twice a week for the past semester. Representatives
of each group expressed their gratitude and related the few
details they'd been given about who the donors were during
The ceremony helps underscore the reverence for human
life the college instills in students, said Lynn Romrell, Ph.D.,
a professor of anatomy and cell biology and executive director
of the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida. The board
handles the donation of bodies used in medical education and
research at the state's institutions.
"At the end of the course," Romrell said, "for the students to
come back and reflect on the significance of that donation, to
reflect on how much they've learned and to recognize in the
end that none of this would have been possible without the
real generous gift that comes through donation of the body, is
a very important thing to do."
First-year medical students Mike Cammarata (left) and Pablo
Medina light candles for a luminaria in the courtyard between
the HPNP Complex and the Communicore, marking the path
to the start of the ceremony.
First-year medical students Pablo Medina, (left), Javier Gutierrez and Nicole Paulson
from the College of Medicine's Class of 2008 pause on their way to the gross
anatomy laboratory during a ceremony honoring those who donated their bodies for
said. "It will cause us to have some conversations about the way we do our
business today. Digital radiography alone is a huge transformation of the way we
collect radiographic images, the way we store them and the way we access those
images for clinical, teaching or research purposes."
It is anticipated that digital radiography will facilitate the college's goal of
developing completely paperless patient records at some point in the not-too-
distant future. Transportability and access to patient information is key to
Dolan's vision of teledentistry, where it possible for an expert in Gainesville to
view patient radiographs from a Web interface or conduct an oral exam of a
patient at a remote location using the VC equipment.
Although it may seem "Jetson-like" and foreign to us now, teledentistry using
videoconferencing technology will soon be as commonplace as other techno-
newcomers like cell phones, e-mail and the Internet itself.
"People don't realize how easy it is," Kubitz said. "It seems so futuristic that
people just can't understand the future is here and they need to take advantage
1 0 S
Psychiatry researchers Eric Storch (left) and Gary Geffken were part of
a research team that found bullying affected a third of children with
endocrine disorders such as type 1 diabetes, compared with an
estimated 15 percent to 25 percent of all American youngsters.
Endocrine disorders involve faulty production of hormones, which are
chemicals that regulate growth, metabolism and other functions.
The biology of bullying
By Tom Nordlie
children with endocrine disorders that cause short stature, early or late
puberty, or type 1 diabetes confront unique challenges in life, not the
least of which is an increased risk of being teased, snubbed or even
attacked by school classmates, UF researchers reported in an article published
online in The Journal of Pediatrics in December.
Researchers surveyed 93 children ages 8 to 18 who were visiting UF
endocrinologists for checkups and found a third reported being bullied in the
previous month more than the national average, said Eric Storch, Ph.D., an
assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics in UF's College of Medicine.
Many suffered problems related to bullying, such as depression, anxiety and
loneliness, which in some cases might hinder management of their endocrine
disorders, Storch said. Researchers fear children might jeopardize their health to
avoid being picked on.
It's possible youngsters who are bullied particularly those with type 1
diabetes, which affects about one in every 400 to 500 U.S. children and
adolescents would skip their self-care practices to reduce the chances of
appearing different from their peers, Storch said. In extreme cases, such neglect
could lead to complications or even hospitalization, he said.
"If you know kids may tease you because you have to go to the bathroom to
check your blood sugar or you can't eat some foods, you might begin avoiding
those things," he said. "The idea behind it starts with social fears."
An estimated 15 percent to 25 percent of all U.S. children are bullied regularly,
according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
"One of the things I often hear is 'everyone goes through this, why make a big
deal of it?' I don't argue that this happens," said Storch, a co-author of the study.
"The point is if it's chronic bullying, it's often distressing."
Researchers were surprised to learn that children with disorders that affected
their appearance, which included early or late puberty, short stature and male
breast development, reported fewer adjustment problems related to bullying that
those with type 1 diabetes or low thyroid function, which may not be noticeable,
"It may be these kids get extra support from peers and teachers that help them
cope with the negative peer experience," he said.
The study, funded by $8,000 from the Human Growth Foundation and the UF
Center for Pediatric and Family Psychology, asked children to complete four
written surveys. Of the 93 children participating, 33 had type 1 diabetes, 26 had
low thyroid function, 25 had short stature, three had male breast development,
three had early puberty and three had late puberty, Storch said.
The endocrine system includes the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, the testicles
or ovaries and other structures that release hormones to regulate growth,
metabolism, sexual maturation and other functions, said study co-author Gary
Geffken, Ph.D., a UF associate professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and clinical and
health psychology. Many common endocrine disorders occur when too much or
too little of a specific hormone is produced.
The UF findings should be a wake-up call for primary-care providers, who
often see children with endocrine disorders before they are referred to specialists,
"Pediatricians and their nurses or nurse practitioners should be looking for
that (evidence of bullying) in these kids with chronic illnesses, because they're
more at risk with chronic conditions I don't think it's just endocrine
conditions," he said. "They need to treat the whole person, which is what we all
want when we go to the doctor."
A prescription for drug safety in rural hospitals
By Linda Homewood
Improving medication safety in small rural hospitals
has been a work-in-progress for researchers at the
College of Pharmacy. The project's principal
investigator, Abraham Hartzema, Pharm.D., a
College of Pharmacy professor and eminent scholar,
said improving patient safety and preventing
medication errors were the research team's primary
UF has collaborated with the Department of
Health's Office of Rural Health and Florida Medical
Quality Assurance Inc. to increase the safety of
medication management in 12 rural Florida
hospitals. Designated as critical access hospitals,
these facilities have 25 or fewer beds and provide
emergency medical treatment to small communities.
"These hospitals have very limited resources and
staffing. They often do not have a pharmacist
physically on staff and must contract with
pharmacists at other sites for medication review,"
The researchers presented their work on drug
safety in rural hospitals in December at the
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists'
mid-year clinical meeting in Orlando.
The Journal of the American Medical Association in
1995 published a study that found medication errors
resulted from 16 types of failures in the hospital
management system. Aspects of the management
system related to drug knowledge, dosing, allergies,
transcription, tracking and interservice
communication accounted for 78 percent of the
errors. In 2000, the Institute for Safe Medication
Practices studied adverse events nationally that led
to serious injury or death. The study found
pharmacy management systems can prevent errors
at every stage of the medication process.
To work toward creating a management system,
the Department of Health's Office of Rural Health
awarded nearly $95,000 each year for three years to
establish internal quality control for each of the 12
critical access hospitals. The hospitals enlisted UF
as a research and education provider. In the first
year, UF faculty made site visits and organized
summit conferences and hospital staff completed a
needs assessment and started two medication safety
initiatives. Each hospital appointed medication
safety officers and established medication safety
committees. In the second year, UF faculty
continued to make site visits and observed
operational procedures established by the newly
Hartzema's project team includes Almut
Winterstein, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor,
and Jessica De Leon, Ph.D., coordinator of research
programs at UF; Tom Johns, Pharm.D., associate
director for pharmacy services at Shands
Healthcare, Alyson Widmer from Shands/UF
Information Technology; and Robert Winkler,
Dr. Abraham Hartzema meets with hospital
staff at George E. Weems Memorial Hospital
hospital administrator, and Warren Bailey, Pharm.
D., from Doctor's Memorial Hospital in Bonifay.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
awarded an additional $150,000 six-month grant last
fall to fund health information technology planning,
which includes computer systems that allow for
timely review of new prescription orders by
pharmacists in other locations. This planning grant
will lead to larger funding for implementation a
goal the UF team is working toward, Hartzema said.
Oragenics' Chief Scientific Officer Jeffrey Hillman (left) and CEO Chuck
Soponis stand in the company's new research laboratory, housed in the
recently completed 5,300 sqare-foot Oragenics headquarters at the
university's Sid Martin Biotechnology Transfer Center. Lab Manager Jixiang
Mo, background right, oversees the day-to-day operations of the lab's work.
Oragenics' cavity-preventing mouth
rinse gets FDA go-ahead for human testing
IJ. i I I I I1
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our food, dissolves tooth enamel with its lactic acid waste and leaves black
pits of decay in its wake.
S. mutans has become one of the leading infectious agents on the planet,
causing a worldwide epidemic of dental caries that the World Health
Organization estimates affects 60 percent to 90 percent of all school-aged
children and the vast majority of adults.
By Tom Nordlie
dJ i i c HIV/AIDS expert Maureen
( ... Jenow, Ph.D., a UF professor of
piih.I. gy, immunology and laboratory
medicine and pediatrics, has been appointed to
a $4 million endowed AIDS research
"superchair" position named the Stephany W.
Holloway University Chair in AIDS Research.
Orlando native John W. Holloway honored
his sister Stephany, who died from
complications of AIDS in 1990, with a $1
million gift to UF's pathology department to
establish the superchair position. Also known
as a university chair, a superchair is the most
highly funded endowed research position at
Holloway's gift was supplemented with
$750,000 in state matching funds and $250,000
in matching funds provided by the President's
Challenge, a special UF discretionary fund
established with private donations. The College
of Medicine's pathology department assigned
the final $2 million from an endowment fund.
Goodenow, a geneticist who co-founded UF's
first ongoing AIDS research program, said the
funding will be used to support personnel and
projects to grow the existing research program
with the goal of developing a vaccine against
the HIV virus.
Bioinformatics technology will be key to the
effort, she said, because it enables researchers
to sort, separate and correlate information
"There's a lot of genetic information on HIV
available, but it needs to be mined," she said.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus,
weakens the body's immune system and can
lead to the development of AIDS in infected
Florida ranks third in the nation in the
number of AIDS cases, Goodenow said.
Approximately 100,000 HIV-infected persons
live in Florida, roughly 11 percent of the
national total. HIV/AIDS is the fourth most
common cause of death among Floridians ages
25 to 44.
The Holloway gift brings to fruition an
effort initiated in 2002 to endow a major
pediatric AIDS program, said UF pathology
department Chairman James M. Crawford,
"This is truly a dream come true for our
department, particularly because Dr.
Goodenow is such a deserving recipient of this
chair," Crawford said.
A UF faculty member since 1988, Goodenow
has investigated numerous aspects of HIV,
including its genetic structure and
biochemistry, influence of AIDS disease
progression and role in the development of
She is perhaps best known for discovering
genetic variations that regulate transmission of
HIV from mothers to their unborn children,
determining why the antiviral drug zidovudine
reduces the level of HIV in the bloodstream in
pediatric patients and discovering that genetic
variations in HIV explain why some strains of
the virus are inherently more resistant to
certain drugs. Recent studies looking at gene
expression have identified interactions between
the virus and the cells it infects that could be
used to develop new drug targets.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Tammy Euliano (left) checks the heart rate of Christina Brill's unborn baby in
Shands at UF medical center. The computer screen displays fetal heart rate data obtained by
ultrasound and by fetal electrocardiogram, or EKG.
A twist on understanding genes
A gene commonly thought to help suppress tumors
may actually block cells' ability to repair damaged
DNA, causing mutations that may fuel the spread
of colorectal cancer, UF researchers report in the
Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The gene is known as adenomatous polyposis coli,
or APC. Mutations in APC have been linked with a
hereditary form of colorectal cancer known as familial
adenomatous polyposis and with most spontaneous
forms of the disease, the second-leading cause of
cancer-related deaths in the United States.
"Our findings indicate that this gene plays a dual
role: Under certain conditions it can be a tumor
suppressor, and under another condition it can be
very harmful and actually create new mutations,"
said Satya Narayan, Ph.D., an associate professor of
anatomy and cell biology at the UF Shands Cancer
Center. "This is a very new twist in our understanding
of this gene."
Narayan's research was funded by a four-year $1
million grant from the National Cancer Institute. In
additional studies, he will evaluate whether enhancing
concentrations of the protein the gene produces could
be used in combination with anticancer drugs to more
effectively kill tumor cells by inducing DNA damage.
"The long-term goal is to find out how specifically
to target APC within cancer cells while avoiding
normal cells," Narayan said.
Melanie Fridl Ross
New fetal heart monitor could give
better health picture during labor
By Tom Nordlie
Anyone who's tried to tune in a distant radio station
knows how multiple signals can muddle each other.
Obstetricians face a similar problem with
ultrasound devices, which are used during labor to
track fetal heart rate and considered to be the best
available indicator of an unborn baby's well-being.
The sonar-like system must find the baby's heartbeat
in a jumble of sounds from the mother's body, and
the results can be inadequate or even misleading.
In hopes of giving doctors a better assessment of
fetal well-being, UF physicians and a private
engineering firm are developing what could be the
first commercial monitoring system to noninvasively
detect electrical activity in the baby's heart and
produce an electrocardiogram, or EKG, said Tammy
Euliano, M.D., a UF associate professor of
anesthesiology and obstetrics and gynecology.
When perfected, the system might help reduce the
number of unnecessary Caesarean deliveries, detect
abnormal fetal heart rhythms, distinguish false
labor from early labor and track the mother's heart
rate and uterine contractions.
"There have been some preliminary studies by
other groups that say fetal EKG is a more accurate
predictor (than ultrasound) of how the baby's doing
during labor," Euliano said.
The main component of the system is a complex
mathematical program developed at UF called
MERMAID, which separates data from multiple
sources faster and more efficiently than its
competition, said Neil Euliano, Ph.D., president of
Convergent Engineering, a Gainesville-based
biomedical engineering company involved in the
project. He is Tammy Euliano's husband.
The system includes an amplifier that magnifies
fetal EKG signals and computer programs used to
calculate and label the fetal and maternal heartbeats
and assign a "trust factor" to indicate the
information's reliability, he said.
Ultimately, fetal heart rate may not be the most
important data the system delivers, said Rodney
Edwards, M.D., a UF assistant professor of
obstetrics and gynecology who is part of the research
team. Although continuous fetal heart rate
monitoring is a standard practice for birth care, it's
used primarily because it's the only data doctors can
obtain, Edwards said.
The researchers hope to find features in the EKG
that correlate strongly to fetal well-being, giving
doctors better information than ultrasound
provides. Study findings from the past four decades
indicate ultrasound has not improved outcomes and
may have contributed to a five-fold rise in Caesarean
deliveries since the 1960s, he said.
Orthopaedics institute wins award
UF received a Project Leadership Award from the
Construction Owners Association of America for
leadership and project-management excellence
demonstrated in the construction of its new $25
million Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute.
The institute was designed and built in two years, and
the completion and move-in were successful despite
interference by three hurricanes.
In the photo above, Miles Albertson (right), a
UF associate director of facilities planning and
construction and the institute's project manager,
presents a commemorative plaque to Dr. Peter
Gearen, a UF associate professor and chairman of
orthopaedics and rehabilitation.
The institute will be formally dedicated in a public
ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the south
entrance. A reception will follow at 11 a.m.
UF expects big things
By Rocco Castoro
Scientific devices that are dwarfed by dust mites may one day be capable of
grand biomedical miracles. Nanotechnology, science on a small scale, is
causing UF researchers to dream big, from treating cancerous cells with the
accuracy of a heat-seeking missile to the construction of artificial bone grafts that mimic
real tissue to untold possible applications.
Indeed, molecules loom large at this scale of manipulation where one nanometer
equals one millionth of a millimeter, which is about 300,000 times smaller than the
average dust mite.
The unique quantum phenomena that happen at the nanoscale draw researchers from
many different disciplines to the field, including medicine, chemistry, physics,
engineering and others. At UF, the Nanoscience Institute for Medical and Engineering
Technology has fostered the necessary collaboration between the multiple colleges that
study, develop and engineer nanotechnology. UF is peering into the future with an
initiative that has been years in the making the construction of a recently approved,
state-funded $35 million Nanoscale Research Facility, now nearing the final planning
Vice President for Research Winfred Phillips, D.Sc., is helping coordinate the
initiative and is one of its most vocal supporters. He says NIMET is a key element in
uniting the numerous experts in nanoscience who already call UF home.
Dr. Donn Dennis investigates the
effectiveness of a particular type
of nanoparticle to reverse the toxic
effects of amitriptyline on electric
function in a heart isolated from a
"We're trying to bring together all
those people from particle science to
microelectronics to bioengineering to
genetics and use the nanoscience
initiative as a glue for dealing with
things in the nanoscale," Phillips says.
"You have to be able to fabricate things,
you have to be able to analyze things,
you have to be able to handle things
smaller than ever imagined, in ways not
"I think we will be a leader in the
field," Phillips says. "That's why we're
in investing in this building and why we
moved it up on the priority list."
The new Nanotech Research Facility
will expand on UF's ability to provide a
place for big thoughts about tiny
particles. The complex will not only
house the advanced equipment
necessary for the fabrication and
development of nanotechnologies, it will
also provide an independent meeting
center for the teamwork that currently
takes place distantly across campus.
g THINKING BIG
Phillips says that UF is one of the few
places in the country that seeks to
implement so many different aspects of nanotechnology on such a broad scale.
Encouraging research among faculty who might not otherwise have collaborated is one
of the main reasons campus officials are building the center. The anticipated
groundbreaking date is April 24, 2006.
Donn Dennis, M.D., who has conducted breakthrough research that includes using
nanotechnology to combat the effects of drug toxicity and detect the presence of cellular
irregularities at the nanoscale, is coordinating the medical component of the new
research center. He says this combination of specialized and diverse areas of expertise is
required to make such theoretical technologies a reality.
The potential of nanomedical technologies to provide alternatives to seemingly
untreatable conditions is monumental, he says. Nanotherapeutics and nanodiagnostics,
along with a thorough understanding of nanotoxicity (how humans react to
nanoparticles once they are inside the body) will provide a foundation to revolutionize
"In medical diagnostics you use
nanotechnology to detect diseases or
detect drugs. In this application, the
nanostructures will generally
function outside the body and
nanotoxicity isn't a concern because
the nanostructures aren't being
administered directly to the patient,"
says Dennis, the Joachim S.
Gravenstein professor of
anesthesiology, of the nanoscopic
instruments and sensors that make
nanodiagnostics possible. "So,
compared to nanotherapeutics where
nanotoxicity will likely provide some
barriers to development and a greater
number of federal regulatory issues,
the development time for
nanodiagnostics will be much shorter.
Here you can exploit the power of
nanotechnology in the near term for
the benefit of patients. I suspect the
In the biomimetics field, materials
scientists are interested in
mimicking biological processes,
such as the patterning of mineral
crystals to grow on selective regions
of ultrathin self-assembled
monolayers, which serve as an
earliest medical advances with nanotechnology will be in the area of nanosensor
technologies, probably within the next one to five years."
o MICRO DETECTIVES
Richard Melker, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of anesthesiology, pediatrics and biomedical
engineering, says nanotechnology will allow doctors to assess patients less invasively.
Melker and his colleagues have spearheaded research that uses nanosensors
developed for military use in recognizing airborne rogue agents and chemical weapons
to detect drugs and other substances in exhaled breath. Aside from being one of the few
applications of nanotechnology Melker says will likely be available on the market in the
next five years, it may also prove to be one of the most commercially viable. Melker's
research has primarily focused on implementing sensors capable of detecting licit and
illicit drug usage with a device similar
to that used by law enforcement to
determine blood alcohol levels. The
researchers plan to create a company
that will market products developed
from this technology.
"What we've basically determined
is that you can detect many drugs in
breath, but the amount you detect in
breath is going to be related to the
amount that you take and also to
Through biomimetic processing, whether it partitions well between the
mineral nanofibers can be formed blood and the breath," he says. "So,
at room temperature in a water- for some drugs that we would be
based reaction. The fibers are interested in detecting substances
extruded from an amorphous of abuse like marijuana and things
globule to produce single-crystalline like that the concentration in
mineral nanofibers. breath is going to be much lower than
the concentration of alcohol."
The novel but widely applicable
uses for such technology are a good
example of the kinds of ingenious surprises nanoscience has to offer. Testing of athletes
for banned substances and individuals in drug treatment programs are two areas
Melker says are long overdue for breath detection technologies.
"We see this totally replacing urine testing," Melker says.
TREATMENT ON THE NANOSCALE
Nanotherapeutics also has the potential to offer invaluable advances in the way drug
treatments are administered.
Guenther Hochhaus, Ph.D., and Rajiv Singh, Ph.D., from the colleges of pharmacy
and materials sciences and engineering, are researching the use of nanocoatings to slow
the release of asthma medication in the lungs, allowing people with asthma to
experience longer periods of relief from symptoms after using inhalants.
"What we try to do is essentially to make the drug particles in such a way that they
don't dissolve that fast," Hochhaus says. "We have done this with nano-thin coatings."
Most legal and illegal drug overdoses currently have no specific way to be effectively
neutralized, says Dennis. Using nanoparticles as absorbents of toxic drugs is another
area of medical nanoscience that is rapidly gaining momentum.
"Generally, our goal in this program is to design nanostructures that effectively bind
molecular entities, which currently don't have effective treatments," he adds. "This list
would include tricyclic antidepressants or cocaine."
"We're putting these nano-sponges into the bloodstream and they're soaking up
toxic drug molecules to reduce the free amount in the blood," Dennis says. "That, in
turn, causes a resolution of the toxicity that was there before you put the nano-sponges
into the blood. We have used a variety of different types of nanostructures in this
program. Some of the most effective and safe nano-sponges are constructed by
materials that have been around a long time and are deemed to be safe."
Although neutralizing drug overdoses through nanoscience is a bit further off than
its diagnostic counterpart, lab tests on animals have shown very promising results,
Nanomotors and nanotubes, technologies pioneered by UF's Charles Martin, Ph.D.,
a professor of chemistry, could be used to administer drugs more precisely. Martin says
the technology should be able to target specific cells in a patient suffering from cancer
or other life-threatening conditions. Toxic drugs used to fight these illnesses would
become much more direct and, consequently, less harmful to the body.
Dennis says the construction of a comprehensive research facility is crucial to meet
the rigorous requirements for the development of nanotechnologies such as these.
Bill Appelton, Ph.D., is the laboratory director of UF's NIMET project and he was
previously involved with Harvard's Center for Imaging and Mesoscale Structures. He
has been named as the laboratory director, NRF, Nanoscience Institute for Medical
and Engineering Technologies. His primary responsibility is to see that the new
facility is constructed in a way that offers the best accommodations for the study of
"It's always difficult with things like this," Appleton says of the facility, "but the
main thing these kinds of centers bring is a set of tools that you must have if you're
going to be competitive in nanotechnology research. The main thing that this building
is supposed to deliver is the right set of research tools."
The new institute should provide researchers with their own Oz to explore the future
of medicine. Although some applications of nanotechnology may be ready for mass
production within the next few years, other researchers at UF are looking farther down
the nano-brick road.
Laurie B. Gower, Ph.D., an associate professor of materials science and engineering,
has been researching bone formation and structure at the nanoscopic level. She is
examining biomimetic methods of constructing a synthetic bone-graft substitute with
a nanostructured architecture that matches natural bone, so that it would be accepted
by the body and guide the cells toward the mending of damaged bones.
"Biomineralization" refers to minerals that are formed biologically, which have very
different properties than geological minerals or lab-formed crystals. The crystal
properties found in bone are manipulated at the nano-scale and are imbedded within
collagen fibers to create an interpenetrating organic-inorganic composite with unique
mechanical properties. Gower says mimicking the "nano-structured architecture"
found in bones is a main goal of her research because it is this level of structure that
provides the strength and toughness of bone.
While Gower says her ultimate goal of a bioresorbable and load-bearing bone graft
substitute is a long way off, she foresees numerous implications of the material in the
future of osteology.
"Ideally, since bone is a living tissue, you'd like to put in a biomaterial that can be
reabsorbed and remodeled by the cells that are there in the body to be replaced with
the natural bone component."
She says the current "gold standard" for bone grafts is to use donor tissues (either
from the patient or from cadavers), but this has many drawbacks, so if a nano-
engineered alternative can be offered in the near future, this would provide the patient
with many benefits. She also sees the nanotechnology initiative and research center as
steps toward pushing her research into reality.
"You basically can't learn it all these days," Glower says. "There's so much science
out there that you need to have collaboration among people in the different fields, but
you have to get them speaking together first."
Rocco Castoro is a freelance writer based in Gainesville.
From sea shells to
systems have complex
such as Dr. Laurie
Gower are trying to
learn how these
materials are made.
In the spirit of giving...
Dentistry and Office of Global Health
work together to send dental equipment
to the Dominican Republic
By Lindy McCollum-Brounley
he container truck was a day late and 20 feet shorter than promised, but
Michael Parsons, Ph.D., director of the Health Science Center's Office of
Global Health, was nonetheless thrilled to see it backing up to the HSC
loading dock Dec. 7. The container was slated to move donated equipment to
Catholic Northeastern University in the Dominican Republic and Parsons' office
had worked hard to facilitate the transaction.
"The donation of such equipment is in keeping with a key philosophy of the
UF Office of Global Health to ensure equity in the relationship between UF and
its health-care partner universities for their invaluable assistance to our teams in
the field," Parsons said. "In addition, such donations serve as a more long-term,
and therefore more sustained, aspect of the overall international health outreach
provided by UF."
As soon as the truck was docked and chocked, Parsons, joined by Timothy
Garvey, D.M.D., a UF professor of pediatric dentistry, second-year dental student
Miguel Martinez, and Butch Dees and Charles Lesch of dental maintenance,
began loading the container. They squeezed in 16 dental chairs and assorted
operator's and assistant's chairs donated by the College of Dentistry, as well as an
autoclave sterilizer and two dental radiograph cameras.
Because the container that arrived Dec. 7 was smaller than expected, a second
container was sent from Jacksonville to "pick up the slack" of the first shipment.
The second container was loaded Dec. 8 with nearly 100 walkers donated by
Gainesville Medishare, another two dental chairs and a large radiograph
Garvey, who has led dental humanitarian mission trips to the Dominican
Republic since 1987, wanted the radiograph and autoclave equipment as well as
two of the dental chairs to go to the "Instruments of Peace" dental charity
established in the Dominican Republic by UF dental alumna Ivis Corbo-Alvarez.
The remaining 16 chairs were installed in Catholic Northeastern University
dental clinic during Garvey's humanitarian mission to the D.R. in the second
week of December.
Charles Lesch (from left), Miguel Martinez and Dental Maintenance
Supervisor Butch Dees muscle the last dental chair into the container.
In all, 16 dental chairs, assorted operators' and assistants' chairs, two
radiographic cameras and an autoclave were loaded for transport to
Catholic Northeastern University in the Dominican Republic.
The equipment is not new many of the dental chairs date to the college's
1976 opening but it has been well maintained and will be greatly appreciated
in the Dominican Republic.
"It's going to be like Christmas morning when they open the doors of this
container over there," laughed Martinez. Born and raised in Miami, Martinez is
of Dominican descent and still has family living there. He joined Garvey on the
college's December trip.
Garvey's dental humanitarian team this year included 21 UF dental students,
three private practice dentists and one dental assistant. In 2004, the dental team
provided free dental care under very primitive conditions to more than 400
Dominicans in remote mountain villages.
Truck driver Timothy Wescott
(from left), Dr. Michael Parsons, i m
Charles Lesch, Miguel Martinez and 1e : ,
Butch Dees stand in front of the fully I a r,..m
loaded container. .
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 1* ** _
-- Charles Lesch and Timothy
Wescott close the doors and seal the
loaded container. From Gainesville,
the container was trucked to the Port
of Jacksonville, where it was loaded
onto a ship and transported to the
PATIENT CARE BRIEFS
New centers of excellence to
benefit lung research, patient care
By Tom Nordlie
UF's lung disease research and patient care efforts
received a huge boost this fall from the creation of
two centers of excellence, one dedicated to combating
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the other
to fighting mycobacterial diseases.
Funding for the two centers is expected to reach
more than $11 million.
The UF Center of Excellence in Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases will investigate
illnesses that permanently impair lung function,
such as asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and alpha
1 antitrypsin deficiency, said principal investigator
Veena Antony, M.D., a professor and division chief of
pulmonary and critical care medicine in the
department of medicine.
"At least 14 percent of the population of Florida is
affected by some form of chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease," Antony said. "Much of it is
secondary to smoking."
One of the center's initial research projects will
focus on the effects of nitric oxide in cigarette smoke
on lung components, she said. The study is funded
by a two-year grant totaling almost $1 million from
the state Department of Health through the James
and Esther King Biomedical Research Program.
That grant convinced College of Medicine Dean C.
Craig Tisher, M.D., to dedicate $80,000 in matching
funds to the effort, along with lab space and
personnel to make the center possible, Antony said.
Establishment of the center also paved the way to
consolidate existing clinical programs for genetic
lung diseases in one location, on the llth floor of
Shands at UF. The clinic opened in November.
The UF Center of Excellence in Mycobacterial
Diseases focuses on the investigation and treatment
of tuberculosis, nontubercular mycobacterial disease
and other maladies caused by bacteria from the
genus Mycobacterium, she said. The tuberculosis
research efforts are funded by a National Institutes
of Health grant totaling $2.7 million over the next
The center also is funded with a five-year grant
totaling $7.5 million from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention through the state
Department of Health to establish a Regional
Training and Medical Consultation Center, said
principal investigator Michael Lauzardo, M.D., the
state's deputy tuberculosis controller and an adjunct
assistant professor of medicine.
UF will be one of four centers nationwide, and will
handle research, education, medical training and
consultation services to physicians in a 10-state area,
Dr. Michael Lauzardo (left) and Dr. Veena
Antony are key personnel in the two new
centers dedicated to fighting lung diseases.
Lauzardo said. Other partners in the effort include
the University of South Florida and A.G. Holley
Hospital, the state's tuberculosis hospital.
Florida continues to maintain a comprehensive
tuberculosis treatment program as well as an
extensive training and education program, so
creation of the center will enable UF researchers to
access a goldmine of data on state TB cases, he said.
Florida has the highest incidence of tuberculosis
infections in the Southeast.
"This is an incredible opportunity for the division,
the department and the College of Medicine,"
Lauzardo said. "We are equipped here to create a
smooth interface between the worlds of academia and
public health, which doesn't happen often enough."
Pediatric surgeon Dr. David Kays (left) visits recently with Jason and Janice Kennedy and their 2-week-old son Matthew in the temporary Level 3
neonatal intensive care unit at UF&Shands. Dr. Mat Langham, Jr. Dr. David Burchfield and Dr. Michael Weiss see patients in the renovated NICU.
Shands Children's Hospital debuts expanded neonatal intensive care unit
By Tom Nordlie
Shands Children's Hospital has made more room for its smallest patients.
The newly expanded Donald V. Eitzman, M.D., Regional Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit Level 3 opened for business in January, boasting $4.2 million in
upgrades and 4,000 square feet of patient care space, double the original amount.
The unit, built in 1984, now comprises 10,000 square feet of total space,
including new rooms for surgery, and high-tech equipment and new space where
families can visit and relax. The improvements are sure to boost the UF
neonatology program's already stellar reputation, said David Burchfield, M.D., a
professor of pediatrics and chief of neonatology at the College of Medicine.
"We have a special mission here in our neonatal intensive care unit, and that is
when kids come here they stay here. They get everything they need and they
don't have to leave for other things," Burchfield said. "I'm very happy that
throughout this expansion, which took about a year, Shands at UF did not have to
turn down one patient because of our expansion."
The renovation was funded with a $4.2 million dollar gift from the Children's
Miracle Network, an organization that raises funds and builds awareness for
nonprofit children's hospitals throughout the United States and Canada.
The unit was renamed in 1994 to honor UF neonatology pioneer Donald V.
Eitzman, currently a distinguished service professor emeritus of pediatrics.
Serving in UF's department of pediatrics since 1959, Eitzman was the
department's first neonatology division chief and he established the first neonatal
intensive care unit at Shands in 1974.
U 0 13
joined the department of
operative dentistry's division
of public health research and
services with teaching and
research responsibilities as
assistant scientist. He comes to
the college from the Faculty of
Dentistry, University of Toronto.
Adegbembo earned his dental degree from the
College of Medicine of the University of Lagos,
Nigeria, and his Diploma in Dental Public Health
and Master of Science in Dental Public Health
from the University of Toronto. He is a fellow of
the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.
D.M.D., has been appointed
clinical assistant professor
in the department of perio-
dontology. Previously, Brock
served as chief of periodontics
at Bergen Pines County
Hospital in Paramus, N.J., J
was a part-time instructor at
the UF College of Dentistry
and served as acting director of general dentistry
at Sunland Center in Gainesville. Brock earned
his Doctor of Dental Medicine and certificate
in peridontics from UF and his area of research
interest is bone regeneration after root planing.
A, D.D.S., has been
appointed assistant professor
in the department of pediatric
dentistry. Previously, Silva
served as a faculty member
at the University of Detroit
Mercy School of Dentistry
and Joao Prudente School of
Dentistry, Brazil. Silva earned
her Doctorate of Dental Science from Goi6s
Federal University, Brazil, a certificate in pediatric
dentistry from Camilo Castelo Branco University
and a Master of Science in pediatric dentistry from
the University of Michigan.
has joined the college as an
assistant clinical professor in
the department of operative
dentistry's Foreign Trained
Dentist Program. Prior to com-
ing to UF, Stillwell maintained
a practice for 19 years in
Columbia, Mo., and Mountain
Home, Ark., and has held aca-
demic appointments at the University of Colorado
School of Dentistry, the University of Missouri
School of Medicine and the University of Missouri,
Kansas City. Stillwell earned his Doctorate in
Dental Surgery from Louisiana State University and
a certificate in General Practice Dental Residency
from the University of Colorado.
M.D., a professor and chair- .
man emeritus of neurosurgery
who is known as the father of r'-
to receive worldwide honors.
This fall, Rhoton received
the Distinguished Service
Award from the Congress of
Neurological Surgeons at its
annual meeting in San Francisco. He was one
of five physicians, and the only neurosurgeon
from outside Brazil, honored by the Society of
Brazilian Neurosurgeons as "homenageados," or
"homaged" at the 25th Congresso Brasiliero de
Neurocirurgia in Goiana. And Rhoton served as
co-president of the 2nd International Symposium
on Microsurgical Anatomy in Antalya, Turkey,
where he gave nine lectures in four days.
F, (from left)
coordinator of computer applications in the
department of clinical and health psychology,
,office manager in the department
of rehabilitation and
assistant director for health administration in the
department of clinical and health psychology,
were honored as 2004 Employees of the Year at
the annual staff and faculty appreciation dinner.
JOHN ROSENBEK, Ph.D.,
an internationally known
logist, has been named .
chairman of the department lr
of communicative disorders.
Rosenbek succeeds James
Hall III, Ph.D., who will
continue as a professor
and researcher in the
Rosenbek joined the UF faculty as a professor
in September 2000, previously serving 25 years
at the Veterans Administration Medical Center
in Madison, Wis. He is a fellow of the American
Speech-Language Hearing Association and has
received the association's highest honor.
In his research, Rosenbek focuses on the
director of the Center for
Telehealth and Healthcare
the Regent's Award from
the North Florida Chapter
of the American College
of Healthcare Executives in
the early career category.
Recipients are recognized for
their contributions to health-care management.
M.S.J., E.L.S., was named the
Membership for 2004-05 for
the American Medical Writers
Association. The announce-
ment was made at the 5,000-
member organization's an-
nual meeting in St. Louis. Ross
is assistant director of Health
Science Center News and Communications and
senior producer and managing editor of Health in
a Heartbeat, which airs on National Public Radio
affiliates in more than 50 cities.
Ph.D., an associate professor
of epidemiology, received the
2004 International Educator
of the Year Award from the
UF International Center.
Hernandez was one of 20
UF faculty members honored
as outstanding international
educators in a program UFIC
began this year. Hernandez has served as director
of the college's Office of International Programs
since 2003. Under his leadership, the college
established one of the only international offices of
its kind for a veterinary college.
evaluation and treatment of adults with
swallowing and speech disorders. He is currently
investigating the use of transcranial magnetic
stimulation in the treatment of swallowing
disorders, a common occurrence after stroke,
and is developing and testing behavioral
therapies for aprosodia, the inability to express
emotion through tone of voice, in patients with
"Among my earliest and most concentrated
efforts as chair will be the encouragement of
course development and the hiring and support
of new, young researchers with present or the
potential for future funding," Rosenbek said.
"The men and women in this department are
hard-working and creative. My enduring goal
will be to let them know often and publicly that
the future depends on them."
Drawn to once-in-a-lifetime opportunity', a UF
student goes on leave to \i\ork in AIDS prevent
he n first-year clinical and health
p, chology graduate student Shann.n
Senefeld was asked to serve as a tech in il
adviser for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, it w j, r
offer that, ultimately, she couldn't refuse.
The decision to take a two-year leave of abs enr
from her Ph.D. studies in the College of Public
Health and Health Professions was a difficult r I..i
Senefeld. Applying to graduate programs and
selecting the right program had been a grueling
process and she had firmly decided to put her
professional career on hold while she pursued her
"Then this position opened up," Senefeld, 27, said.
While it might seem like a radical departure to
many, those familiar with Senefeld's background
wouldn't be surprised by the pull this international
opportunity had on her. She completed bachelor's
degrees in French and political science from Indiana
University and a master's degree in international
development from George Washington University. In
addition, Senefeld spent three years in Haiti, working
primarily on HIV/AIDS projects, and held a four-
month internship with the U.S. State Department in
Senefeld was particularly attracted to the newly
created technical adviser position because of her
research interests in HIV/AIDS and other
immunological or infectious diseases, as well as
behavioral health. The prospect of helping to
decrease rising infection rates in a vulnerable region
of the world made it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
With the support of program director Russell
Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the department of
clinical and health psychology, Senefeld put her UF
studies on hold.
seneleld, who leli lor Alrica in
January 2004, said she considers herself Shannon Senefeld (lower right) recently conducted a training
very lucky to have received such session on nutrition and living positively with H IV for these
encouragement. staff members from Catholic Relief Services and local
Senefeld began work for Catholic community-based organizations that provide HIV/AIDS
Relief Services, which offers counseling and testing.
community-based programs for people
infected with HIV and AIDS that
address prevention, AIDS-related stigma, poverty
and burdens faced by women.
"Southern Africa has the highest HIV/AIDS
prevalence rates in the world, with new infections
occurring daily," Senefeld said. "I felt that I had the
opportunity to come here at this point and try to
make a positive difference."
Based in Lilongwe, Malawi, Senefeld is responsible
for ensuring that all of the HIV/AIDS programming
in a 12-country region is of the highest technical
quality possible. She provides training to staff and
partners; designs program proposals; writes
manuals; and conducts field evaluations and
Senefeld and her colleagues are working to stem
the high rates of infection in the sub-Saharan region
of Africa. Of the 38 million people worldwide with
HIV or AIDS, 25 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Within this same region, 12 million children have
lost at least one parent to AIDS.
Despite these sobering facts, Senefeld is heartened
by the mindset of the African people she serves.
"I'd say that it's the most hopeful place I've ever
been," she said. "There are so many negative factors
that could affect the people here every day. It's
astonishing, honestly. In addition to HIV, there's
malaria, tuberculosis, cholera and more. But the
people here are happy and hopeful despite the poor
health conditions. I've definitely learned as much as
Upon her return to UF later this year, Senefeld
hopes to jump back into her doctoral studies and is
interested in pursuing a master's in public health.
Her career goals include working in academia or for a
research organization that would allow her to
maintain overseas links while being based in the
"I continue to remain hopeful that we'll manage to
harness the rising AIDS and HIV rates in Africa,"
Senefeld said, "[so that] hopefully the type of
opportunity I have here will never happen again."
" -L J
A doctor saves lives in a war zone
By Leah Cochran
I \ .u called Dr. Thomas Beaver a hero, he would most
I k 1\ smile, shrug and reply that he is just like any doctor
J..!ng his job.
Just because he spent the summer doing his job halfway
across the world in a volatile war zone doesn't make him
different from any other doctor or any soldier for that
matter. As a doctor, you save lives when you can. And like all
soldiers in Iraq, he was just a normal guy serving his country.
A cardiothoracic surgeon at Shands at UF medical center,
Beaver has been a member of the Army Reserves since 1991.
He spent this past summer on a three-month tour in Iraq as
part of the 933rd Forward Surgical Team. It was his first tour
"I joined after Operation Desert Storm because I was
feeling patriotic and I thought I'd be willing to help out if Major Beave
something happened," Beaver said. C-17 cargo p
His duty was extended through the Reserve Component
Unit of the Stop Loss Program, which the government
implemented in 2002 to maintain enough troops to rotate in
and out of the Middle East.
Although he was expecting to be mobilized, his departure came sooner than he
expected. He was notified of his orders by e-mail on July 25, and boarded a 747 to
Kuwait just four weeks later.
"It was surreal," Beaver said. He recalls going though airport security with
weapons and being startled to hear a slight twist in the usual pre-departure
announcement on the airplane's intercom: "Please put your tray tables up, your
seats in the upright position and stow your weapons."
Beaver, a major in the Army Reserves, was in for many more surreal experiences
during his time serving the country for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He was stationed six miles outside of Tikrit at Forward Operating Base Speicher,
an old Iraqi air base renamed for a lost American pilot who had carved his name on
one of its walls during the first Gulf War.
The hospital where he worked was actually a series of large tents strung together.
They were stocked with modern equipment and well supplied, Beaver said. His
unit was also trained to set up small, mobile operating rooms near combat zones if
For Beaver, performing trauma operations on both Americans and Iraqis was
daily work, although he now regrets that he could not help as many Iraqis as he
would have liked.
"There was an enormous need. Their whole medical system was down and so we
couldn't take care of as many locals as we wanted to," Beaver said.
The highlight of his tour of duty was a civil affairs mission he made to a nearby
city where he helped to distribute antibiotics, provided medical care and passed out
candy to the children.
"Working with the kids was the most rewarding," said Beaver. "It makes you
realize that kids are kids everywhere."
Anti-American feelings were never far away though; FOB Speicher was attacked
by mortars frequently in the three months Beaver was there. The doctor also
recalls operating on Americans injured by Improvised Explosive Devices.
"The most disturbing thing is that we lost a couple of young guys that were
massively injured and we couldn't save them," said Beaver. "I have seen young men
r with other members of the 933rd
Surgical Team travel to Afghanistan in a
with their limbs basically torn off. That was bad."
Before heading home, Beaver also spent a short time in Afghanistan when extra
security was needed during the new elections.
The first week he was back home in the Shands operating room, Beaver
performed three heart surgeries, a skill, he said, that came back to him as easily as
"riding a bike."
While his skills remained fluid, Beaver admits that the transition between the
two worlds is a difficult one to make.
"It's very disruptive. There is never a good time to mobilize but I feel that my
partners here picked up a little extra call and slack," Beaver said. "They were very
supportive of me going over."
Dr. Charles T. Klodell Jr., a surgeon that works with Beaver, agrees.
"I think the hospital and the university were very supportive of him," Klodell
said, "the same as they have been for all the other physicians and nurses who have
been called to service."
Beaver could be recalled to serve again in as few as 11 months. He keeps in touch
with the members of his unit that are still in Iraq, sending them care packages of
American goodies such as DVDs, candy and pork rinds.
He admits that he missed friends, family and Starbucks coffee while he was
gone, but says that overall morale was very good.
"People just want to get it done right and then come back home," Beaver said.
Medics at the 67
Hospital load an
onto a Blackhawk
Helicopter for -.. .
transfer to an Air
Proteins and aging, a new approach
By Linda Homewood
A UF pharmacy researcher is taking a novel approach in his study of the effects of
protein oxidation on the brain during the aging process. Like an astronomer
searching for specific stars throughout the galaxy, Laszlo Prokai, Ph.D., must first
identify dozens of proteins out of millions.
The National Institute on Aging awarded a five-year $1.3 million grant to
Prokai, a professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy, to study
the biochemical mechanisms that cause age-related deterioration in brain
function through free-radical oxidative damage. This process, called
carbonylation, results in a chemical change brought on by free-radical attack
mostly within energy-producing mitochondria.
Prokai has discovered a way to streamline the protein search using mass
spectrometer equipment together with his newly developed isotope-coded
affinity-tag methodology, or ICAT now under UF patent pending.
"The ICAT method has broadened the scope of identifiable proteins," Prokai
said. "Only a handful of all possible oxidation-susceptible proteins could be
detected before. This new method will make it possible for us to discover
In the study of genomics, common research protocol was very tedious and
limiting, Prokai said. Researchers have to sift through approximately 30,000
genes to gather data, which is not a simple task. In proteomic research the
study of proteins the task becomes exponentially compounded because there
are millions of proteins. To further complicate this research, whereas genes are
like static blueprints, proteins have functions and the aging process does not
affect all proteins, Prokai said.
"This makes the research multidimensional. Not only do we have to find the
right proteins to study, we have to look even farther to examine parts of a protein
to find out where the oxidation is occurring," Prokai said.
Laszlo Prokai uses this mass spectrometer in the HSC Protein Chemistry
and Biomarkers Core Facility to conduct his research.
Prokai said the improved research technique is a stepping-stone to a bigger
goal. In the future, he hopes to apply the understanding of age-associated
carbonylation of brain proteins to discoveries in drug treatment or prevention of
neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's and to treat strokes
and brain injuries.
Study of breast cancer advanced
with million-dollar research award
By Patricia Bates McGhee
Steve Goodison has received a $1.25
million NIH grant aimed at discovering
and functionally testing putative
metastasis genes in a breast tumor
model that he and colleagues
Steve Goodison, Ph.D., an associate professor and
director of research in the department of pathology at
the HSC Jacksonville, was recently awarded a $1.25
million grant by the National Institutes of Health to
study breast cancer.
The five-year investigator-initiated grant, which runs
through 2009, is aimed at discovering and functionally
testing putative metastasis genes in a breast tumor
model that Goodison and colleagues previously
Breast cancer, the second-most-common cause of
cancer-related deaths among American women, results
in nearly 42,000 deaths each year, according to the
World Health Organization Mortality Database.
Although its detection and diagnosis continue to
improve, in many patients breast cancer has already
spread by the time the primary tumor is diagnosed.
Despite significant advances in treating the primary
cancer, predicting the metastatic behavior of a patient's
cancer and detecting and eradicating such
recurrences remains a major clinical challenge.
"We're interested in finding and understanding -
the genes and molecular mechanisms responsible for
the metastatic efficiency that some tumor cells
acquire," Goodison said. "The overall goal of this
research is to identify gene products that may provide
biomarkers for improved prognostic assessment of
breast cancer patients and may present novel targets for
future therapeutic interventions."
Collaborating with researchers from the University
of Michigan's chemistry department, Goodison and his
team will identify and test the function of genes
involved in the metastatic phenotype of their breast
cancer model. So far they have identified some 15
candidate metastatis genes, which will be tested
individually and in combination for phenotypic
"While we hope to contribute to the wealth of
knowledge regarding the biology of tumor cells, our
long-term goal is to provide information that will lead
to the improvement of breast cancer management,"
1 U 0 17
mu .TA 1 [t d
UF nursing educator/recruiter Norma Cooper (back row, center) meets monthly with the "Future Gator Nurses" in Carmen Reid's kindergarten class at
Long Branch Elementary School in Jacksonville as part of HELP, a new recruitment effort in the College of Nursing.
It's great to be a Florida
(Future Nurse) Gator
By Patricia Bates McGhee
he third Wednesday of every month UF,
nursing educator/recruiter Norma Cooper,
M.S.N., R.N., prepares for a challenging
outreach opportunity. Her goal is noble to
encourage students to consider nurse-midwifery as
a career. Her handouts are visual to captivate
nonreaders. And her lesson plans are fast-paced -
to target short attention spans.
Her audience? Twenty-four bright-eyed, bubbly
5- and 6-year-olds in Carmen Reid's kindergarten
class at Long Branch Elementary, one of
Jacksonville's 14 high-poverty elementary schools,
according to the Duval County Public School
Cooper's visits to Long Branch are part of UF
Jacksonville's Helping Educate Little People pilot
project, one of several recruitment efforts in UF's
College of Nursing Nurse-Midwifery Program.
Aimed at students from disadvantaged
backgrounds and in medically underserved
regions, HELP gives these children the knowledge
and direction they need to make smart career
choices and consider a possible future in health
care, said Cooper.
"Our goal is to educate children early about
health-care careers so they'll be more able to meet
the educational criteria required for further
training and believe the goal is actually
attainable," Cooper said. "HELP is a vital piece of
our nurse-midwifery recruitment efforts."
The Long Branch students have fun while
learning the basics of what nurses do, from their
young point of view. Cooper provides an hour of
nursing career-related activities using oral
communication tactics, coloring books, crayons,
handouts and expressive art to stimulate and
challenge the project's "little people."
"We discuss the different types of nurses, the
training involved in becoming a nurse, nurses'
Nathaniel Brown proudly displays his
completed work, designed to enrich the
children's vocabulary development.
Future Gator Nurse Fanticous McNair waits while
Cooper explains the day's activity.
"Peace-full" Jeremiah Newell
takes a break from his
assignment, designed to introduce
kindergartners to the possibility of
a future nursing career.
responsibilities, equipment and instruments they use,
attire they wear and different workplaces," Cooper said.
The program helps the children with academics, too.
"Not only is it an exceptional opportunity for
enhancing vocabulary development," said Lillie
Granger, Long Branch principal, "but it also gives our
students a chance to talk and think about college at an
early age something that will stay with them."
The first time Cooper met with Ms. Reid's
kindergartners, she asked them what they wanted to be
when they grow up.
"They immediately shouted out basketball player,
football player, race car driver, lawyer and police
officer-the professions emphasized in television's ry
highest-rated shows," she said. "Now when I ask the
same question, they enthusiastically chime in unison
Programs like HELP can increase awareness of health h
profession shortages, especially in underrepresented
minority populations, said Alice Poe, UF nurse
midwifery coordinator and assistant professor.
"Our outreach to Long Branch is funded by a grant
from the Human Services and Resources O o IT -,
Administration and fits the goals of Kids Into Health .
Care, a federal program," Poe said. "This project may -
help alleviate the shortage of minorities in nursing not $C S P
only in Duval County but also in the state and nation." --
But the HELP project is more than recruiting
"It's also about showing children how a career in #
nursing can help make a difference in people's lives,"
Cooper said. "My goal is to challenge and educate these
enthusiastic children about nursing and how it improves W.
others' lives and helps everyone's the nurse and the
patient's quality of life."
The year's activities will culminate with a trip to
Shands Jacksonville. "There we'll reinforce the
information the children have been exposed to about
nursing careers," Cooper said, "and dispel any fears they
may have about hospitals." Youngsters unfamiliar with
nurses often relate nursing to negative experiences, like
fear of hospitals and injections, she said.
The impact of HELP, which runs through May, will
be evaluated based on faculty and administrative
feedback and suggestions. Evaluators will use a picture
tool to measure student interpretation and memory of
information shared during monthly sessions. Cooper
said HELP's expected rating may result in the program Coordinating the HELP program at Long Branch Elementary are (from left) Alice Poe, UF nurse
becoming part of the curriculum and expanding to other midwifery coordinator and assistant professor; Norma Cooper, UF nursing educator/recruiter;
grade levels. and Carmen Reid, kindergarten teacher.
LOOKING' AT YOU
I 0JI 6nit S ni l
The College of Medicine's division of nephrology, hypertension and renal
transplantation recently honored major donors to its new Kidney and
Hypertension Research and Education Fund by unveiling a commemorative
plaque outside the division's clinical offices in the Shands first-floor lobby.
The fund was established to stimulate investigator-driven clinical research
programs. Taking part were (from left) donor R. Glenn Davis, M.D., of
Dialysis Clinic Inc., UF department of medicine Chairman Edward R. Block,
M.D., donor Charles P. Hayes Jr., M.D., of Dialysis Clinic Inc., donor George
F. Schreiner, M.D., Ph.D., of Scios Inc., and UF nephrology division chief
Richard Johnson, M.D. Not present was donor Louis Gregory, M.D., of
Dialysis Clinic Inc.
Santa Claus got a little extra help from the Office of the Senior
Vice President, Health Affairs in December. To brighten the
holidays for families at the Gainesville Ronald McDonald House,
office staff (from left) Edra Ijames, Regina Richmond, Audrey Duke
and Cheryl O'Quinn collected donations of toys, food, phone
cards and other items from SVPHA personnel, who first displayed
them around the office holiday tree.
UF Health Science Center
Office of News & Communications
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Douglas J. Barrett, M.D.
Director, News & Communications
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
Tracy Brown, Sarah Carey, Tom Fortner, Linda
Homewood, Lindy McCollum-Brounley, Patricia
McGhee, Tom Nordlie, John Pastor, Jill Pease,
Melanie Fridl Ross, Denise Trunk
UF Health Science
Cassandra Jackson, Beth Powers, Kim Smith
The POST is the monthly internal newsletter for
the University of Florida Health Science Center,
the most comprehensive academic health center
in the Southeast, with campuses in Gainesville
and Jacksonville and affiliations throughout
Florida. Articles feature news of interest for and
about HSC faculty, staff and students. Content
may be reprinted with appropriate credit.
Ideas for stories are welcome. The deadline
for submitting items to be considered for each
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Submit to the editor at email@example.com or
deliver to the Office of News & Communications
in the Communicore Building, Room C3-025.