On the Cover
Stephanie Barron cradles Brody, one
of her twin sons born three-and-a-
half months premature. Twin Brayden
passed away two days after birth,
but Brody is getting better after
overcoming obstacles in the neonatal
intensive care unit at Shands at UF
Photo by Jesse S. Jones
Table of Contents
0 POST it
SEducation: New master's degree
SEducation: Physical therapy for all
0 Patient Care: Keira Grace Foundation
0 Patient Care: Little patients, big space
SResearch: Helping children walk again
0 Cover Story: Inside the NICU
SResearch: Sensitivity to pain
SResearch: A donkey's family tree
SJacksonville: Little girl on the mend
SProfile: Karen Reed
A fact-finding mission
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns embarked on a self-styled
"listening tour" through the UF Health Science
Center and Shands Critical Care Center in
August, interviewing doctors who work on treatments to
combat Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer, as well as
physicians who work on the front lines of emergency care.
"Health care is a prevalent concern in Congress," Stearns
said. "There are large issues involved. Just using
Alzheimer's disease as an example, what can be done to
arrest the process when people start losing their cognitive
ability?" For those answers, he interviewed Todd Golde,
M.D., director of the Center for Translational Research in
Neurodegenerative Diseases. He also met with emergency
medicine resident Beth Nealon, M.D., (center) and
Adrian Tyndall, M.D., (right) chair of emergency
medicine, to discuss the challenges of providing
emergency care. Stearns ended his tour with Stephen
Grobmyer, M.D., an assistant professor of surgical
oncology and endocrine surgery, and Brij M. Moudgil, a
professor of materials science and engineering. The
researchers are collaborating on ways to use nanoparticles
for high-resolution imaging of cancer.
2 1 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events
CALLING ALL BOOKWORMS
What can $1 buy? A used book, movie or CD at the Gator
Bookworms Book and Media Sale, which will be held from 8
a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the west entrance lobby of the Dental
Tower. All proceeds benefit the 2010 UF Campaign for
Charities. Last year, the campaign raised more than $1 million
for 78 charitable organizations in the region that provide
services such as child care, legal help and medical assistance.
Donations for the sale can be brought to Michelle Watson in
D9-6. To arrange a drop-off, call 352-273-5830.
U.S. News & World Reporthas ranked Shands
at UF in eight specialties in the 2010-11 edition
of "America's Best Hospitals." Shands at UF
had the highest national ranking among
Florida hospitals in four specialties: heart and
heart surgery, kidney disorders, pulmonology
and urology. Shands at UF consistently ranks
in the "America's Best Hospitals" list. The
rankings weigh the reputation of each
hospital, death rates and care-related factors
such as nursing and patient services.
Hospitals are scrutinized thoroughly before
being ranked and considered a Best Hospital.
The rankings are available online at
t1- 'EVEN ALBERT HAS A PASSPORT ...
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SIT, STAY, SAVE!
Next time you drop by the UF Veterinary Hospitals
with Fido or Fluffy (or even Mister Ed) make sure to
flash your Gator 1 card. The College of Veterinary
Medicine is now offering UF employees a 10 percent
discount on care atthe small and large animal
hospitals. The discount will only be honored upon
presentation of a valid UF Gator 1 identification card.
For more information about the UFVeterinary
Hospitals, orto make an appointment, please call
352-392-2235 for small animals or 352-392-2229 for
large animals, or visit www.vethospitals.ufl.edu.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events. I *jj 0 3
e. **^ **..
By Karen Rhodenizer
hirty-five students from across Florida got an impression
of what dental school is like on July 23 during the Third
Annual Impressions Program, coordinated by the UF
College of Dentistry chapter of the Student National Dental
Impressions programs are designed to expose pre-dental
students from under represented minority groups to careers in
ddentistr y as well as the application and financial aid process for
dental school. This allows them to learn about dental school and
become stronger applicants.
Students, faculty and staff assisted with hands-on experiences for the participants as they learned to take alginate
impressions and to pour and trim models and wax teeth. Olubisi Aina, D.M.D., an alumna of the college, volunteered that
day, inspiring the participants by sharing her experience as a dental student and a practicing dentist.
"The program helps us continue to recruit the best and the brightest to our college and to expose students to dentistry
in new and interesting ways. We need to continue to help all talented young people understand the profession of
dentistry," said Teresa A. Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H., a professor and dean of the college.
To see more photos from the program, visit the college's Facebook site: UF College of Dentistry. i
Helping pets in need
New certificate program focused on shelter medicine
By Sarah Carey
UF veterinary students now have a
new opportunity to embark upon an
intensive course of study designed
to address a shortage of veterinarians trained
in the special needs of veterinary care in ani-
The Certificate in Shelter Medicine will
expose students to a cross-section of oppor-
tunities in the field, including care of shel-
tered animals, animal disaster management
and cruelty investigations and forensics,
"Our initial program will be conducted at
UF, but it's our hope to develop online offer-
ings so that students at other veterinary
schools have access via distance learning,"
said Julie Levy, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of
Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF.
Students can earn the certificate by com-
pleting 15 units of newly developed elective
courses, clinical clerkships and externships
focusing on shelter medicine topics.
Certificate course offerings span all four
years of the veterinary curriculum. Each par-
ticipating student will be mentored by one of
UF's five shelter medicine faculty members
who will work with the student to tailor a
study plan that matches the student's partic-
"When I decided I wanted to be a veteri-
narian, I did so because I wanted to be a shel-
ter veterinarian," said Lauren Unger, a junior
veterinary student who is president of UF's
student chapter of the Association of Shelter
Veterinarians. "I couldn't have started veteri-
nary school at a more appropriate time. The
shelter medicine program at UF offers an in-
ternship, a residency and now has options for
a shelter medicine certificate, which creden-
tials a specialty I am so passionate about." Q
4 1 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events
JULIE LEVY, D.V.M., PH.D.
Richard Snyder gave an overview of
the new translational biotechnology
master's degree program Sept. 1 at
a kickoff luncheon, which was at-
tended by the inaugural class (left).
S-M I HEL BUSIINLES (U
New master's program pairs science and industry
By Czerne M. Reid
The UF College of Medicine, in collaboration
with UF's Warrington College of Business
Administration, has started a two-year mas-
ter's program in translational biotechnology that
will prepare graduates for management roles in
industry and academia by equipping them with
skills critical for developing new therapies.
The first of its kind in Florida, the program is supported by a three-year,
$700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
The program is especially timely because biotechnology is poised to be an
important economic engine that will power growth for the state of Florida.
In addition to curricular and practical training in biomedical and labora-
tory science, students will receive intensive training in business adminis-
tration. Graduates will earn a Master of Science degree in medical sciences,
with a minor in business administration.
"They are going to really understand the science fundamentals, how
products are developed, how business functions, what the main drivers of
project management are, how projects and resources are budgeted, the
types of timelines involved and the different kinds of expertise needed to
develop new therapeutic products," said molecular genetics and microbiol-
ogy associate professor Richard Snyder, Ph.D., the program director and
director of Biotherapeutic Programs in the UF Office of Research.
Students entering the program typically have a strong background in
chemistry and biology and will learn how to conduct advanced applied re-
search. By the time they graduate from the program, they will also have a
strong grounding in business management. The program presents addi-
tional career and re-training options in a high-skill, high-wage industry for
many individuals, including traditional students and people who are un-
deremployed or have been displaced.
The two-year, thesis-optional program is research-in-
tensive and includes a formal internship at a Florida bio-
technology company. Industry leaders serve on the pro-
gram's advisory board.
"Success in the biotechnology industry requires a
combined skill-set not just knowing the life sciences;
you also need to have business knowledge in order to be
effective in turning a science and technology project into
a successful business venture," said Steve Lin, Ph.D.,
vice president of biologics research and development and
chief technology officer of Gainesville-based Exactech
Inc., a leader in orthopedic implant technology. Lin
wrote to the NSF in support of the new program.
"If I'm going to add staff, if there are two applicants
that are equally talented in biotechnology I would choose
the one who has training in business, because it is very
important when planning or executing a technology
project to understand the business requirements and re-
source and regulatory issues and laws, because that can
affect the success of technical projects."
Traditionally, such skill combinations are found in in-
dustry settings, but more and more they are being nur-
tured in academic institutions, as clinical and transla-
tional science programs thrive and researchers
investigate therapies for various diseases, including rare
conditions that do not generally attract the interest of
"Graduates are expected to have a high impact on the
growth of biotechnology companies in the state, but also
on the expansion of the translational research enterprise
at UF and other academic institutions," Snyder said.
For information about enrolling in UF's translational
biotechnology master's program, contact Jessie Essex at
352-273-6850 or email@example.com. Q
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news 1nd HSC events. 5
Students run free
physical therapy clinic
By Shayna Brouker and Kirn Libby open from 6
vette Headley, 45, has two and offer gui
kids, but they are too old Second-ye
to qualify her for Medicaid. c "They do
Her income does not afford her days," he sai
can, they rea
the luxury of health insurance. The work
She suffers from piercing, their level of
S' while the sec
persistent headaches. offer sage ad
It's the mi
With nowhere else to go, Headley comes to a volunteering
small building downtown once a week to be patients are
tapped, twisted and stretched by young adults tapping belo
half her age. "It has def
"It's a blessing," she said with a smile. "I'd be be more inte
hurting without this place." This speci
This place is UF's Physical Therapy Equal P.T., Ph.D.,
Access Clinic, where physical therapy students and cooperative
patients plagued by financial and bodily woes "I think it
enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. learning ten
UF has always provided ample opportunities for listen to a pe
its students' education, but through the clinic, The clinic
students also have found a way to give back to physical their
the community. of space and
An affiliate of the College of Medicine's Equal and make tr
Access Clinic, the clinic offers free physical unsophistica
therapy services to those in the Gainesville proved capat
community unable to afford treatment elsewhere. "We made
Located at the Gainesville Community Ministry, leadership a
the clinic welcomes walk-in appointments and is reading the t
p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday.
provide most of the care while faculty members and local clinicians supervise
dance. Students founded the clinic in 2009 so they could apply classroom
o actual patients.
ar physical therapy doctoral student Tony Lauretta has already seen the
n't know why their back hurts or why they have pain at certain times of
d. "If we can help them with a treatment plan or point them to someone who
lize they can get better, which drastically improves their quality of life."
in the clinic is divided between students, who are assigned roles based on
education. The first-year students, for example, take vital signs and observe
ond- and third-year students examine patients, develop a therapy plan and
vice to younger students.
ddle of the summer semester and Shannon Burton, a first-year student, is
at the clinic for the second time. Although first-years' interactions with
usually limited, a third-year student instructs her to test a patient's reflexes by
w his kneecap with a tendon hammer.
initely changed my outlook on patient care," Burton said. "It teaches you to
active and to build a trusting relationship with the patient."
al dynamic, or "peer learning," is just what faculty adviser Mark Bishop,
mand his fellow faculty members hoped would spring from the clinic's
is profoundly effective," he said. "If you look at the clinical literature, peer
ds to be a strong way of conveying information because you're more likely to
er than to me. This group of students has exceeded my expectations."
has only two mat tables and the towels and bedsheets are donated from the
apy department. A first aid kit from Wal-Mart completes the setup. The lack
funding means a lower-tech facility, but it also forces students to be creative
eatment tools out of common household items, Lauretta said. Despite its
ted arrangement and its clinicians' limited experience the clinic has
le of serving its clients.
the decision several years ago to recruit people that had both evidence of
nd investment in service into the program," Bishop said. "I think this is
benefits of that." Q
6 1 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events
Volunteer Ashley Kennedy shows Yvette Headley exercises to alleviate her headaches.
By ill Pease
Within days of the
Jan. 12 earth-
of UF's "A Better Tomorrow
for Haiti" team were on the
ground providing medical
care and supplies. But when
the dust settled it was time
to think about Haitians'
long-term health needs.
"Once the immediate crisis was resolv-
ing we were concerned about outbreaks of
infectious diseases that become more
prevalent when water supplies are contam-
inated and people are in crowded living
conditions," said Mary Peoples-Sheps,
Dr.P.H., senior associate dean for public
health in the College of Public Health and
What followed was months of coordina-
tion that involved the efforts of a multidisci-
plinary UF team, with the help of govern-
ment agencies and charities, to bring an
immunization program to Leogane and
Gressier through L'Academie Chretienne
de Macombre, sites of a UF public health
initiative established in 2009. Team mem-
bers' tasks included acquiring and arrang-
ing transportation for donated vaccines; ob-
taining permission from Haiti's Ministry of
Health for the vaccines' delivery and admin-
istration; developing health and post-earth-
quake social history forms; coordinating
with administrators and faculty of
L'Academie Chretienne de Macombre; and
sorting thousands of vitamins for children
and pregnant women into Ziploc bags.
The Haiti vaccination program launched
in June with a two-and-a-half-day clinic, in
which more than 300 children and their
families received diphtheria and tetanus
A -';. -
A new mom was among the 300 people who received diphtheria and tetanus vaccines.
vaccinations and another 300 were screened.
In addition to Peoples-Sheps, team mem-
bers included Phillip Barkley, M.D., and
Sheryl Heinicka, A.R.N.P., of the Student
Health Care Center; Sally Bethart,
A.R.N.P., from the College of Nursing;
Slande Celeste, M.P.H., of the College of
Public Health and Health Professions; and
Jayne Redden, R.N., of Brooks San Marco
Terrace Rehabilitation and Care. PHHP
Dean Michael G. Perri and Edsel Redden,
M.S., led the initiative. Sarah McKune of
the School of Natural Resources and
Environment collected funds to purchase
The UF team is now analyzing data col-
lected from the health and social history
forms to identify needs that will guide the
development of future interventions in Haiti.
"This project really lends itself to multi-
disciplinary activity across all the Health
Science Center colleges," Peoples-Sheps
said. "We know that the earthquake caused
major upheavals in living situations, and
that many of the survivors are dealing with
disabilities. The tent communities have
varying access to clean water, medical care
and other services critical to healthy life-
styles. What we do not know is the propor-
tion of people in these communities who
are dealing with specific health-related
problems. Our data will begin to illuminate
these details. We expect to be able to iden-
tify needs for psychological interventions,
occupational therapy, physical therapy,
medical and nursing interventions, and
prevention opportunities for acute and
chronic health problems.
"There is a lot to be done and as time
goes on many opportunities for collabora-
tion in research, education and service will
arise," she said. 0
Visit us olie @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for th-e Iatest ews d HSC events I J 7
Lauzardo and his
wife, Dr. Eileen
children Sophia and
the Keira Grace
their daughter Keira
(left) lost her battle
with an aggressive
form of leukemia.
Foundation helps children with cancer in Dominican Republic
By Laura Mize
conditions are better th
an they once were for cancer
patients at the Dominican Republic's national
n rest in beds during chemotherapy almost six years ago after their children both
s, instead of hard chairs. Reading were diagnosed with leukemia in 2003.
d toys help them play and learn at Their son Ryan was diagnosed with acute
al. New chairs offer seating in the lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4. Soon after,
waiting room. Hospital employees 9-month-old Keira was diagnosed with acute
g the importance of hand washing. myeloid leukemia, a more aggressive cancer.
most meaningful change is that The news sparked a whirlwind of emotions,
dren are receiving treatment. And treatments and tests.
urviving. "The surreal part of it was having both
re "still a lot of things that shouldn't kids in the operating room at the same time
JF assistant professor of medicine having different tests, or having one at home
auzardo, M.D., "but every year that with chemotherapy and one at the hospital in
e get a little bit better for them." chemotherapy," Lauzardo said. "If I hadn't
o is president of the Keira Grace lived through it I would have trouble believ-
n, a nonprofit organization that ing it."
vith Fundacion Amigos Contra el Ryan endured three years of therapy and
fantil (Friends Against Childhood has been cancer-free for four years. Keira
undation) to improve cancer treat- passed away at 17 months old.
children in the Dominican Republic. Because of "the extraordinary circum-
e are not foundations like our sister stances we found ourselves in, we wanted to
i doing the things that they are ... do something equally extraordinary in re-
get done," said Lauzardo, who also sponse," Lauzardo said. "We felt that, be-
principal investigator at the cause of our faith, that suffering does not ex-
ern National Tuberculosis Center. ist in a vacuum and that something should
e kids die, as they do in other coun- come out from suffering."
now." The Keira Grace Foundation began work-
o and his wife, Eileen Lauzardo, ing with its sister organization to improve
ended the Keira Grace Foundation care for cancer patients at Hospital Infantil
Dr. Robert Reid Cabral in late 2004. The
foundation has increased access for all chil-
dren with cancer but mostly focuses on chil-
dren with ALL.
"That's the most common form of child-
hood cancer, and kids there were dying at
very, very high rates from this," Lauzardo
explained. "The one-year survival rate went
from less than 40 percent to now ... over 90
percent," Lauzardo explained.
Lauzardo quickly acknowledges the Keira
Grace Foundation isn't solely responsible.
The government has increased the hospital's
funding, for one thing.
"The idea of sharing the cure stimulated a
lot of things that probably wouldn't have hap-
pened without us, but to take credit for all of
it would be disingenuous," he said. "But the
fact is that things are dramatically better over
five years ago."
Once a year, the Lauzardos take a family
trip to visit the hospital with 11-year-old
Ryan, who's now healthy, and Sophia, 5.
The couple adopted Sophia from
Guatemala in 2005. During visits to the hos-
pital, she and Ryan talk with the kids and
give them toys. Of course, the trips make the
family think of Keira.
"That pain will never go away," he said,
"but accompanying it, heightening the expe-
rience, is the potential ... to just be able to
look at someone and say 'Your child's alive
today, because my child was alive once.' I
think that is a very powerful thing." Q
8 1 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events
more are s
goes by, w
ment for c
FOLndations help UF renovate pediatric cance L
Foundations help UF reno\ ate pediatric cancer unit
B\ SIh'I Inl i-r ukii'
In the race to cure cancer, NASCAR
donated its winnings to a new pediatric
cancer unit at Shands Children's Hospital.
Just before the Coke Zero 400 race weekend in Daytona Beach, the
NASCAR Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research
presented a $500,000 check and cut a ribbon to officially open Unit 42.
The organizations each donated $250,000 to fund the 18-bed unit.
Now fully operational, Unit 42 was designed to accommodate
patients with immune systems most susceptible to infection.
Each room is equipped with a HEPA filter to ensure pristine air
quality, as well as a 32-inch television set and Wii game console to
encourage active play. The room also offers Internet access so
bedridden patients and their parents can connect with peers
and support groups. An activity room, funded by former quarterback
Tim Tebow's First and 15 Foundation, offers a mental break from
IVs and infusions with three 42-inch TVs hooked up with video
For 2-year-old Logan Cruce and his mom Natasha, the gift means a
more comfortable home away from home while he completes his last
round of chemotherapy. Doctors diagnosed Logan with acute myeloid
leukemia in January, just a month after his new sister was born. He
and his mom live in his hospital room while he undergoes treatment.
"All the kids have what he has, so we don't have to worry about
him catching things from other kids," she said as Logan happily
scooted his own toy car around the activity room, indifferent to the
IV lines trailing behind him. "He already has his room picked out,
just down the hall."
Behind the cheery furnishings of this kid- and family-friendly
environment stands a staff dedicated to protecting and nurturing
their most sensitive charges. Just as it's important to look under the
hood of any good racecar to understand whether it's really going to
be a winner, nurses are the core of Unit 42 and the key to its success,
said William Slayton, M.D., interim chief of the department of
pediatrics division of hematology/oncology.
Unit 42 is staffed with nurses who are specially trained to give
infusions of medicine to children and to treat immunocompromised
patients. Patients will have more direct access to their primary care
physicians during treatment there, too.
Slayton also gave due credit to the two organizations that made
the unit a reality.
"Most importantly, we need to thank the NASCAR Foundation
(Top) Logan Cruce, 2, explores the activity room as supporters
and his doctor, Dr. Bill Slayton, look on. (Bottom) Patrons and
HSC leaders usher in the new Unit 42 with a ribbon cutting.
and the V Foundation for trusting us with your hard-earned
donations to renovate this unit," Slayton said. "Your support is
already having a major impact on our community and the health of
The gift is NASCAR's largest donation ever to a pediatric
The V Foundation is a charity founded in memory of Jim Valvano,
legendary coach of the North Carolina State University
championship basketball team during the 1980s. "Jimmy," as he was
known, died from metastatic cancer in 1993. The $250,000 check is
its first donation to the construction of a children's cancer unit. 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news 1nd HSC events. I ;0 9
PATIENT CARE I
Fertility a growing concern for
young cancer patients
By April Frawley Birdwell
'W I ill I still be able to have a baby?"
It's a question a 28-year-old woman might ask her
doctor after learning she has been diagnosed with
cancer. But a 13-year-old girl? She's more likely to worry about mak-
ing it to eighth grade than how chemotherapy and radiation will af-
fect her future fertility.
Still, it's something parents need to think about as they guide
their children through the jagged terrain that is cancer, said Caprice
Knapp, Ph.D., a University of Florida health economist. That's why
Knapp and Moffitt Cancer Center researcher Gwendolyn Quinn,
Ph.D., teamed to study how to better prepare parents and their ado-
lescent daughters to grapple with and make decisions about fertility
preservation. The issue is a growing concern because more young
cancer patients are surviving today, Quinn said.
"It's not enough to focus on survival but on quality survival,"
So far, the collaboration has yielded two sub-grants and four pub-
lished papers examining everything from how to approach girls on
the subject to what they really understand about it. One of the sub-
grants is part of a project dubbed the Oncofertility Consortium. UF
is a study site in the consortium, and Knapp and Quinn are working
with the reproductive endocrinologists who lead UF's fertility pres-
Alice Rhoton, M.D., a UF reproductive endocrinologist, says UF
patients looking to preserve their fertility can store sperm and em-
bryos. Patients who meet study criteria can also have strips of ovar-
ian tissue frozen to preserve some of the eggs, and doctors are devel-
oping a protocol to freeze eggs, a delicate process that requires
significant training. Medication options are available, too.
"Most people just want to survive, but if you never bring up the
topic, they don't ever have the chance to make a decision for them-
selves," Rhoton said. Q
Hidden W iei
Institute on Aging opens new
Health Promotion Center
By Czerne M. Reid
ucked behind ground floor corridors of the Dental
Science Building is a spacious surprise the new
Health Promotion Center of the Institute on Aging.
This new resource features more than 7,000 square feet where
research study participants can walk on a 200-foot cushioned
indoor track, balance on ballet-style bars set in a mirror-
paneled wall, receive health education or whip up easy meals in
a demonstration kitchen.
The facility will help improve how aging research is carried
out at UF and allow collaboration among departments
interested in lifestyle intervention studies.
"The center provides a dedicated area for physical activity
and health education interventions that doesn't have to be
rearranged from day to day for other purposes," said Susan
Nayfield, M.D., M.Sc., chief of the division of clinical research
in the department of aging and geriatric research.
The center is now being used for the NIH-funded LIFE
study which seeks to determine whether physical activity or
health education can prevent mobility disability in older
adults, and the Task-Specific Exercise study, which compares
the relative benefit of exercises that mimic daily life activities
with exercises geared toward general fitness.
Set apart from suites where participants get tested for study
outcomes, the center's location also helps improve data
accuracy. That's because preventing assessment staff from
seeing which intervention group a participant is in helps
reduce measurement bias. Q
IM eOST S htp:lnwsheltoulId
Researchers team to help kids walk
By Nancy Dohn
R rolling over. Crawling. Taking
a first step. This is the natural
progression of development
for most children. But not for Luke
Adams. At 5 months of age, Luke
became paralyzed literally overnight.
"We didn't know what to do so we went to the E.R.,
and by the time we arrived he had lost movement up to
his neck, which compromised his breathing," Luke's
Luke was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a
neurological disorder that causes an inflammation in
the spinal cord. It is not known why this occurs, but the
onset is rapid and can cause permanent or temporary
paralysis. For Luke, the disorder left him unable to
fully use his arms and hands, control his torso and
learn how to walk.
That was in 2007. While Luke and his parents were
Luke Adams works with physical therapist Emily Fox as part of the
Kids STEP study.
dealing with the debilitating effects of this disorder, they had no idea UF scientists
were launching a study to conduct clinical research on the recovery of walking in
children who have a chronic, severe, incomplete spinal cord injury.
The clinical research program, called the Kids STEP study at UF and Brooks
Rehabilitation, is housed in a large, kid-friendly lab on the UF campus that
contains pint-sized walkers, mobility balls and a high-tech treadmill. UF Clinical
and Translational Science Institute researchers Dena Howland, Ph.D., and Andrea
Behrman, Ph.D., P.T., head the Kids STEP study. Together they form a clinical-
translational research team whose work demonstrates how more than two decades
of spinal cord studies can benefit clinical practice.
Forming a collaborative team that connects basic research with clinical
application may seem intuitive, but this wasn't always the case.
"Faculty was separate: neuroscience was here and physical therapy was over
there. There was no bridge between them," said Behrman, a physical therapist and
rehabilitation scientist at the College of Public Health and Health Professions and
a research health scientist at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
"Now we have a partnership to work together to solve problems and to move
forward as a translational team."
"While I was originally trained as a clinical occupational therapist, I had been in a
basic science lab for more than 20 years," added Howland, a research scientist in the
College of Medicine department of neuroscience and McKnight Brain Institute, and
a research neurobiologist at the VAMC. "I felt like I had literally disappeared into
basic science and what I was doing in the lab didn't have a real clinical impact on
helping a person walk again until I partnered with Andrea Behrman."
Initially scientists believed the human spinal cord acted as a "conduit" between
the brain and the body. When this connection was severed due to an injury,
movement could no longer occur. Simply put, you would never walk again.
Research in the 1980s suggested the spinal cord might have its own "brain" in
the form of spinal pattern generators and that they could be "trained" to take over
some of the messaging the brain used to do. Now, scientists such as Howland and
Behrman are testing this concept in individuals with severe spinal cord injuries.
In 2007, the researchers launched the Kids STEP study with funding from the
Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. It was perfect timing for Luke Adams, who enrolled
in the program in 2009 at age 3.
Emily Fox, a physical therapist and doctoral candidate in the College of Public
Health and Health Professions' rehabilitation science program, recalls when she
first met Luke and the strides he has made since then. He now has more control
over his trunk, enabling him to better use his arms, and he is now able to initiate
steps with assistance, Fox said.
This makes his mom very happy. "We have been on a hope and a prayer that this
would work for him and get him stepping on his own." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news 1nd HSC events. I 30 I 11
, ie4 ~
Story by April Fr
Photos by Jesse S. J
Designed for oJo'l
H wriggles a ruddy hand and squirms. She beams.
He opens his eyes. She kisses his forehead, careful of
the tubes taped to his face.
He sleeps. She gazes, cradling his 4-pound, 14-ounce
body in her arms.
Stephanie Barron collects these moments as she sits
an arm's length from a plastic incubator in the neonatal
intensive care unit at Shands Children's Hospital at UF.
Each memory with her baby boy Brody changing his
tiny diaper, tucking him into her shirt for "kangaroo care"
is precious to her. She almost didn't have many memo-
ries of him at all.
Brody and his twin brother, Brayden, were born by
emergency Caesarean section at Shands Children's
Hospital on June 17, about three-and-a-half months be-
fore they were due. Brody weighed just 1 pound, 9 ounc-
es, and Brayden weighed just 4 ounces more.
"That first day, they told me there was only a 20 to 30
percent chance of either of them making it," Barron says,
her voice wavering. "That was hard. I didn't believe them.
"When you get pregnant this is not what you expect."
t bo arrn was lor n iune, weinj poun
ouncs. Now a)ot pounh 3 e o verc0
Su erie n S rWin eVe j in 1 S S
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The lights are low inside the Level III neonatal intensive care unit.
Nurses bustle around plastic incubators called Isolettes where babies
barely bigger than an ear of corn are hooked to ventilators, some causing
tiny chests to quiver as they pump in 750 to 900 breaths a minute.
About 750 patients, from micro-preemies like the Barron twins to sick
full-term babies, come through the Shands Children's Hospital NICU
each year, including some from other Level III NICUs whose doctors
send babies to UF after they have tried everything else, says David
Burchfield, M.D., chief of neonatology in the College of Medicine
department of pediatrics.
It's a place where the combination of medicine, technology and highly
trained experts can save a baby's life.
It's also a place where mothers and fathers sometimes say goodbye to
babies they never got to hold until after they were already gone.
"People always ask me 'Why do you work there? It must be sad,'" says
Leslie Parker, Ph.D., A.R.N.P., an assistant professor in the College of
Nursing and a nurse practitioner in the unit. "But the way I see it, these
things are going to happen regardless of whether you are there or not. I
didn't make the sad thing happen, but if we can make this experience
better for the family then we have done a really good thing."
The smallest and sickest babies stay in the Level III NICU until they
can be moved to the Level II NICU, known as the "feeding and growing"
unit, a few doors down.
Here in the Level III unit, the staff a team of nurse practitioners and
a team of residents take care of the babies with staff nurses under the
direction of faculty neonatologists have a variety of weapons in their
arsenal to take care of sick babies. Even the room, which was renovated in
2005, is designed to give babies the most womblike environment possible,
with low lighting and hushed sound. Nurses try to handle the smallest
babies as little as possible because they are still supposed to be floating in
the womb, not held tightly.
Walking through the NICU, Shands nurse Melissa Huene, R.N., rattles
off a list of machines they use to keep babies alive: Standard and high-
frequency ventilators help babies breathe; monitors track babies' oxygen
saturation, heart rate and other vital signs; IV pumps dispense around-
the-clock medication to help control baby's blood pressure and treat
respiratory distress; nitric oxide can improve oxygenation. And the
list goes on.
"Some of the babies we take care of are so small, the total amount of
blood in their bodies is three to four tablespoons," Burchfield says. "If an
adult blood test requires two tablespoons of blood, we need equipment
that allows us to do it with a 20th of a tablespoon."
The technology is vital, but it is the staff that keeps the Shands
Children's Hospital NICU placed among the top 25 percent of units that
belong to the Vermont Oxford Network, which collects and analyzes data
from NICUs across the country, Burchfield says.
"The NICU has the lowest turnover rate for nurses in the hospital," he
says. "They come here and they want to stay. We have a lot of electronic
monitors, but nurses are the most important monitors. These nurses who
have been here, they can just sense when a baby is not doing so well."
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C.J. Kereston knows she is probably in at least a few dozen baby
books, having posed with countless babies during her 26 years as a
nurse in the NICU. She tears up when she reflects on that time, on
the teenagers who have come to visit years after being discharged
and the families she's cried with after they lost their little ones.
She's seen the NICU from both sides. Twelve years ago, her
daughter was a NICU baby, too.
"I had the luxury of already knowing everyone here, and I
already had that trust," Kereston says. "Parents come in and
don't know if they can trust you or not and they don't know what
No one thinks about having a baby attached to tubes and
monitors and a ventilator when they get pregnant, says Julie
Baines, M.D., a UF assistant professor of neonatology.
"It's incredibly difficult and full of uncertainty," Baines says.
"It is a lot of ups and downs, and I usually tell parents that from
The department holds a reunion for babies who have gone
home, giving families a chance to bring their growing children
back for a visit ... and a chance for families with children in the
NICU now to meet children who are home and thriving.
"I like keeping in touch with families," says Baines, who keeps
baby photos tacked to a bulletin board in her office. "Here are
these 1-, 2- and 3-years-olds out there thriving because of what
happened in the NICU.
"These little babies can be so incredibly sick. To see them
growing, laughing and playing is very special to all of us in
But for parents whose babies are in the NICU, it can be hard to
see past the tubes, the dings and beeps of the monitors, and the
four plastic walls of the Isolette.
"It was hell. I don't even know how to describe it," says Jamie
McLaughlin, D.V.M., a Gainesville veterinarian whose twins, Ava
and Elliot, were born 10 weeks early in May 2009. "You see people
leaving with their big, healthy babies every time you walk to the
NICU, and see your babies struggling ... It's a roller coaster."
After surgery to repair a heart condition called patent ductus
arteriosus, McLaughlin's twins improved and came home about
eight weeks after they were born. Now 16 months old, Elliot can
walk and has caught up to other 1-year-olds in weight. Ava, who
crawls across the floor at expert speed, is not far behind.
Brandon Lok's stay in the NICU lasted just a little longer. Born
last July, Brandon and his twin sister, Sophia, spent six months
apart after birth. Each weighed less than 2 pounds, but Brandon
faced far more setbacks. His lungs were not as developed as his
sister's and he developed pneumonia twice, says Laura Lok, who
had the twins at 27 weeks' gestation after developing
preeclampsia. Brandon was still in the Level III NICU when his
sister came home from the hospital last October.
"With her, we at least saw one good change every week," Lok
says. "Sometimes, it just seemed like he was never going to make
it out of there."
But in January, he finally came home, weighing about 9 pounds.
"As soon as I brought Brandon home, I had them in the Pack N'
Play and they were holding hands and laughing. They must have
remembered each other from the womb," she says.
Brandon still has struggles he is on a low level of oxygen
and the family is working with a therapist to resolve feeding
issues but Lok is hopeful he will catch up to his peers by the
time he is 2.
"I am just happy to see how far they have come and how much
they have grown," Lok says. "When you are in there, it is hard to
imagine your kids being 10 pounds. I am so appreciative to
everyone over there."
14 1 Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events
Loss... Lq hpie
Two days after her twins were born, Barron and her husband, Jared,
got the call. Brayden, who was hooked up to every possible machine
in the NICU, was not doing well. He had a serious hemorrhage in
his brain, his lungs were not mature enough and he wasn't
responding to treatment.
He passed away while the couple was on their way to the NICU.
"We came and saw him, and I got to hold him," Barron says
quietly. "As soon as Brayden passed away Brody started doing
better. They say it is a twin bond. After he passed, all the energy he
had left went to Brody."
Brody has faced his own struggles since then. He developed
necrotizing enterocolitis, a common infection in the smallest
premature babies that causes the bowels to stop functioning. Before
he underwent surgery, Barron got to touch Brody for the first time.
She placed her head on his little chest and sang. First "Jesus Loves
Me," then "Jesus Loves the Little Children."
Surgeon David Kays, M.D., operated on Brody, connecting an
ostomy bag to his abdomen to collect waste while he healed from
the infection. Brody recently underwent surgery again to remove
the ostomy bag and repair his intestines.
Barron has been by his side every day. Since returning to work,
her husband visits on nights and weekends with Brody's older
"(Jordan) came every day all summer until school started,"
Barron says. "He would watch the monitors and tell me what
Brody's heart rate and oxygen were."
Two days before the surgery was scheduled, Barron sat in the
Level II NICU, peering at Brody in the Isolette as he underwent a
blood transfusion. His pacifier popped out of his mouth, and she
reached in to place it back. He looked pink ... and wiggly. Healthy.
"He's almost the size of a bag of sugar," she says with a smile.
For now, her whole world is there, the tiny bundle in the Isolette.
She hopes to take him home soon, but until then she travels from
her home in Trenton, Fla., every day to be in that chair next to him.
It's the only place she wants to be. Q
NeOA S# updcph
In addition to taking care of babies in the NICU now,
UF neonatal researchers are also finding better ways
to take care of future patients. Here is a quick glance
at just a few of the ways pediatrics researchers are
improving care for babies:
MICHAEL WEISS,M.D., recently established the
Florida Neonatal Neurological Network to improve
care for babies born with brain damage. The
network will link NICUs around Florida to collect
data and establish new treatment protocols, such
as a cooling treatment to stave off brain damage in
babies deprived of oxygen at birth.
The work of SANDRA SULLIVAN, M.D., has shown a
link between exclusive breastfeeding of premature
infants and a reduced risk of necrotizing
enterocolitis. Sullivan's Center for Breastfeeding and
Newborns has also received $330,000 to support a
breastfeeding medicine clinic, a lactation consultant
in the NICU and professional education efforts to
teach residents about infant feeding.
* Researcher JOSEF NEU, M.D., is funded by the
National Institutes of Health to study the cause of
necrotizing enterocolitis. About 15 percent of
preemies who develop this gastrointestinal
complication die. UF has a bank of samples and
Neu and his colleagues are using DNA sequencing
to analyze the samples to try to pinpoint a cause.
N/CU! A Avg Ei (
K0cau Pn Ph W# eo, Jafie.
Dr Roland Staud (center) has been working with Ashlyn Blocker (left photo) since 2004.
Scientists find genetic clues about pain sensitivity
By Czerne M. Reid
A baby who rarely cries
is many parents'
idea of a "happy"
baby. Ashlyn Blocker was
that kind of baby.
She never cried at birth, when she was
hungry, wet or teething. But when neither a
severe diaper rash nor a cut on the surface
of her eye caused the tiniest complaint, her
parents, Tara and John Blocker, realized it
wasn't happiness that kept her quiet.
Ashlyn could not feel pain in a normal way.
Now, UF researchers have pinpointed a
major clue about her condition, called con-
genital insensitivity to pain. They identi-
fied two genetic mutations that affect how
strongly pain signals are sent to the brain.
"This is a gene that, depending on how it
is modified, has the ability to affect pain sen-
sitivity to a large degree," said Roland Staud,
M.D., a pain expert and professor in the UF
College of Medicine who led the study.
The findings shed light not just on the
inability to feel pain, but also, at least po-
tentially, on cases in which people feel un-
bearable or chronic pain. This knowledge
ultimately could guide the development of
novel and effective pain therapies.
The work was published in the European
Since 2004, Staud has collaborated with ge-
neticists, neurologists, pediatricians and clin-
ical psychologists to better understand
Ashlyn's condition. They evaluated the
Blocker family, who live in Patterson, Ga., and
10 other individuals who feel pain normally.
"When we found out what gene it was, we
were so excited," Tara Blocker said. "It's re-
ally nice to be able to say, 'This is why.' It
might be little, but to us it's huge. Finding
out more about our daughter helps us take
better care of her. "
The gene in question, called SCN9A,
contains the "message" to produce a mole-
cule that acts as a battery to power pain-
signaling nerve cells so they can fire im-
pulses. Mutations that cause overactivity of
that molecule lead to severe pain. Those
that cause the molecule not to function lead
to the inability to feel pain.
"If you don't have this gene it's like a
faint whisper in the wind," Staud said.
"Nothing much goes up the nerve, and you
don't feel anything."
Ashlyn, now 11, has a condition between
the two extremes. Whereas Ashlyn cannot
feel what is normally a painful touch or
heat or cold, she can sense warmth and feel
someone's touch or tickle. But on rare occa-
sions, in cases of very severe illness, she has
said she hurts.
Sensations or pain come as a result of
contact with an object or other stimulus
such as heat, when a signal is generated
and transmitted to the brain. Sometimes,
as in Ashlyn's case, the signals don't get
For Ashlyn, that has meant many injuries
over the years. She has bitten the skin off her
finger, chewed her bottom lip, gotten sec-
ond-degree burns on her hand and broken
her ankle in a bicycle accident without feel-
ing any of it.
Her parents have had to watch her close-
ly to make sure she doesn't injure herself.
They have also taught her how to look over
her body for signs of injury.
While scientists potentially could manip-
ulate genes to allow Ashlyn and others like
her to feel pain more readily, they have to
weigh the possibility that they might, in the
process, set off other conditions or hyper-
sensitivity to pain.
For now, UF researchers are focusing on
identifying functional abnormalities asso-
ciated with the genetic mutations, and ways
in which the body compensates.
"It's kind of an experiment of nature that
we're observing here," Staud said. 0
IMPO ST S htpglnwsheltoulId
Flat emotions misleading in Alzheimer's patients
By Shayna Brouker
Watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer's disease can be a painful
process, but for the patient, the experience may be a muted one.
Alzheimer's patients can appear withdrawn and apathetic, symptoms
often attributed to memory problems or difficulty finding the words to communicate.
A new UF study found that they may also have a decreased ability to experience
emotions; that is, they do not feel emotions as deeply as their healthy peers. This
finding in a small group of patients may be useful for doctors assessing whether
Alzheimer's patients are clinically depressed.
The study, published in the spring issue of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical
Neurosciences, suggests that when Alzheimer's patients are asked to place an emotional
value on pictures, they measure the pleasant images as less pleasant and the negative
scenes as less negative. This emotional flatness could be incorrectly interpreted as a
symptom of depression.
"We found that the Alzheimer's patients as a rule tend to go more toward the
middle," said Kenneth Heilman, M.D., senior author of the paper and a professor of
neurology at the College of Medicine and UF's McKnight Brain Institute. "They don't =
feel as positive toward the positive pictures or as negative toward the negative ones.
They're not depressed, but their emotional experience appears to be flattened."
Further research is needed, but the findings could be valuable for clinicians trying .
to learn whether a patient is depressed as well as for families concerned about a loved
one's apparent indifference. 0
Answers in an instant
Device packs power to analyze genes, proteins at bedside 4 l ,
LYLE L. MOLDAWER, PH.D.
SBy Laura Mize
T T F researchers have helped develop a device that quickly identifies genes and proteins in
body fluids a technique that could make a vital difference to the trauma patients
In a study published in the September issue of Nature Medicine, scientists describe how they
developed and tested a new way to isolate cells from patient samples and analyze them to help
predict outcomes after severe trauma. The technology, called a microfluidic cassette, allows
'i precise analysis of very small volumes of fluids and can be used to study patients' genes and
proteins. Previous devices required 4 to 8 milliliters of fluids, the work of a highly skilled
technician and several hours to complete analysis.
"What's so powerful about this technique is that you can isolate any cell population quickly
and efficiently at the bedside," said Lyle L. Moldawer, Ph.D., vice chair of research in the UF
College of Medicine's department of surgery and a co-author of the paper. "In this case we
/ isolated blood neutrophils, but we've also isolated T cells, mixed leukocytes and monocytes.
/ Theoretically, you can isolate any cell population, under any disease, and rapidly get nucleic
Sacids to produce a genomic signature."
Knowing the genomic signature of a cell population can help doctors diagnose diseases and
may allow them to predict how individual patients will respond to trauma and what treatments
to order. The approach also could be used with patients who have cancer or other conditions.
The device was constructed by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital and sent to UF for
initial testing, spearheaded by Elizabeth Warner, M.D., a surgical resident researcher and a
co-author of the paper.
ZILE ABETH WARNER, M.D.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news Snd HSC events. I *jj 0 17
MEET YOUR GRAN
MEET YO UR GRAND PA
Genetic investigators say the partnership
between people and the ancestors
of today's donkeys was sealed not by
monarchs trying to establish kingdoms, but by
mobile, pastoral people who had to recruit animals
to help them survive the harsh Saharan landscape
in northern Africa more than 5,000 years ago.
The findings, reported by an international research team in Proceedings of the
Royal Society B, paint a surprising picture of what small, isolated groups of
people were able to accomplish when confronted with unpredictable storms and
"It says those early people were quite innovative, more so than many people
today give them credit for," said senior author Connie J. Mulligan, Ph.D., an
associate professor of anthropology and associate director of the UF Genetics
Institute. "The domestication of a wild animal was quite an intellectual
breakthrough, and we have provided solid evidence that donkey domestication
happened first in northern Africa and happened there more than once."
Sorting through the most comprehensive sampling of mitochondrial DNA
ever assembled from ancient, historic and living specimens, scientists
determined that the critically endangered African wild ass is the living ancestor
of the modern donkey.
What's more, researchers found evidence to suggest that a subspecies called
the Nubian wild ass, presumed vanished late in the 20th century, is not only a
direct ancestor of the donkey it may still exist.
If any Nubian survivors are found, the possibility remains that the animals
could be bred and reintroduced into the wild.
"The whole idea behind conservation is the need to maintain genetic
variation," Mulligan said. "We don't know which elements are more or less
important, but we think the whole range of diversity is important to the health of
the species. Knowing the genetic makeup of the animals is essential to protect
that diversity." Q
A UF study has linked the
production of new nerve
cells in the human brain
to learning and memory.
Published in the journal
Brain, the findings provide
clues about processes
involved in age- and
health-related memory loss
and reveal potential cellular
targets for drug therapy.
"The findings suggest that
if we can increase the
regeneration of nerve cells
in the hippocampus we can
alleviate or prevent memory
loss in humans," said Florian
Siebzehnrubl, Ph.D., a
postdoctoral researcher in
neuroscience and co-first
author of the study.
Taxes save lives
Adjusting the alcohol tax
in Florida to account for
inflation could prevent 600
to 800 deaths each year,
UF epidemiologists say.
Conducted by Mildred M.
Ph.D., and Alexander C.
Wagenaar, Ph.D., the new
study analyzed death rate and
tax data. "Previous studies
conducted in the United
States and other countries
have clearly shown that
increasing alcohol taxes is
associated with reduced
overall consumption of
alcohol as well as reduced
heavy drinking," Maldonado-
Molina said. "This new study
shows that increasing taxes
on alcohol also influences
the death rate from liver
cirrhosis, pancreatitis, gastric
diseases, some cancers,
and cardiovascular diseases
caused by heavy alcohol use."
IMPOST S htpolnwsheltou Id
TraumaOne saves girl who fell 15 feet
By Kandra Albury
President's Day 2009 was so beautiful that Elizabeth
Tullis decided to open the windows and do some
Shortly after she started her chores, Tullis
received a call from her daughter's school
saying her 3-year-old was running a fever.
She checked her daughter Tabitha out of
school and brought her home.
Once home, Tabitha went upstairs to grab
her blanket to watch a movie with her
parents. While upstairs, she went to her
bedroom window to talk to her sisters
playing outside. As she leaned against the
screen, it fell out of the window and Tabitha
plummeted 15 feet onto the driveway.
"I didn't think anything of the window
being slightly open," Tullis said. "It was
only open a few inches."
Tullis told her husband that she heard
someone crying but he thought it was one of
the neighborhood kids.
"Our neighbor happened to be outside at
that time and he was the first to call 9-1-1,"
Tabitha was immediately rushed via
ambulance from their Clay County home to
the trauma center at Shands Jacksonville.
During the ride to the hospital, Tullis sat
on the floor talking to Tabitha, hoping to
keep her alert. Tabitha started vomiting and
staring into her mother's eyes, but she didn't
say a word.
"She didn't respond at first but after
repeating myself several times, she squeezed
my hand," Tullis said. "Then I knew
everything would be OK, even if it was
going to be a long road ahead of us."
From the outside Tabitha looked fine
- no sign of physical injury but her
mother worried about internal injuries.
When they arrived at Shands
Jacksonville, Tabitha was immediately
stabilized and underwent several tests and
CT scans. Tabitha was placed in the
pediatric intensive care unit for close
"She sustained a skull fracture and
intracranial bleeding," said Joseph Tepas,
M.D., a UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville
professor and chief of pediatric surgery.
He said window falls are very common in
the toddler age range and can sometimes be
fatal. He added that what a child hits on the
way down, how they land and the material
upon which they land all play a role in the
severity of the injuries.
"Falls of this nature may cause abnormal
functioning such as sleepiness, seizures and
vomiting," Tepas said.
After receiving around-the-clock care for
five days, Tabitha was discharged.
Her brain is still healing from the fall and
she continues to have regularly scheduled
checkups with her neurosurgeon, the
pediatrician and her eye doctor.
The Tullis family said they are grateful
for the care their daughter received while at
"Tabitha received amazing care while in
the PICU," Tullis said. "We loved the pet
therapy, art therapy, clowns and all the
special love she got while there."
Today, the blue-eyed 4-year-old is still
adventurous and starts kindergarten in the
fall. She spends much of her time outside on
her Power Wheels Jeep and playing with her
"An average person would never know she
took a 15-foot fall a little over a year ago,"
Tullis said. "Thank goodness our faith,
friends, family and the awesome and caring
staff at Shands got us through that difficult
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC event
College of Medicine researchers (left to right) Alfred Lewin, David
Bloom and Sonal Tuli have teamed up to investigate a potential new
therapy to prevent the recurrence of herpes.
Voters choose UF project for Pepsi award
By Laura Mize
researchers from UF's College of Medicine have received $50,000 in
funding to continue work that may lead to a drug used to prevent
recurrent outbreaks of herpes in people who have the disease.
The award came from a somewhat unusual source: soft drink giant
The UF research team, led by principal investigator David C. Bloom,
Ph.D., a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, registered the
research project with the Pepsi Refresh Project. The Pepsi Refresh Project is
an online program that allows people to vote for their favorite goodwill ideas.
Each month, Pepsi awards a total of $1.3 million to the organizers of the most
The herpes research project received enough votes in June to land in the
top 10 projects for the month and receive $50,000.
The research will focus on a ribozyme known to block infections of herpes
simplex virus 1, which causes ocular herpes and cold sores. Bloom and his
team will investigate whether the ribozyme can be used to stop recurrent
outbreaks in patients who already have the disease.
"I think the thing that makes this research so promising is that it is a new
approach to herpes treatment and has the potential to be effective even in
cases where a patient has a drug-resistant strain of the virus," Bloom said.
Other members of the research team include faculty members Gregory
Schultz, Ph.D., Alfred S. Lewin, Ph.D., and Sonal Tuli, M.D.; and doctoral
students Levi Watson and Dan Gibson.
The Herpes Cure Coalition, an organization dedicated to raising money to
support herpes research, also gave the team $9,000 to support its work. Q
Genetics researcher gets grant to
study personalized medicine
By Linda Homewood
A UF genetics researcher
million to further a
national effort of using genetic
data to more effectively
pinpoint what medications and
treatments are best for
Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D., a
UF professor and chair of
pharmacotherapy and JULIE A. JOHNSON,
translational research in the PHARM.D.
College of Pharmacy, is one of
14 researchers and five resource development groups
named as part of the NIH's Pharmacogenomics
With an eye to the future of personalized medicine,
the NIH's National Institute of General Medical
Sciences has invested more than $160 million in these
investigators to study responses to medicines for cancer,
heart disease, asthma, nicotine addiction and more.
"Through these studies we are moving closer to the
goal of using genetic information to help prescribe the
safest, most effective medicine for each patient," said
NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Johnson, who directs the UF Center for
Pharmacogenomics, said the award makes it possible to
continue her work to discover the genes that result in
different responses to blood pressure medications.
The genetic makeup of humans is about 99.9 percent
identical, but it is that 0.1 percent that might explain
differences in disease risk or response to medications.
Johnson's lab is looking at places in the genetic code that
differ between individuals and how these differences
might affect response to blood pressure medication
About 75 million people in the United States have
high blood pressure, said Johnson, a professor of
cardiovascular medicine. "Our goal is to find the best
medicine for a person from the beginning," she said.
"Evidence shows that the sooner blood pressure is
controlled, the less risk there is for other diseases such
as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure." 0
20 OSTS Shtpoles-eatoul~d
ANDREW M. KAUNITZ,
M.D., a professor
and associate chair
of obstetrics and
gynecology, was installed
as president of the
Florida Obstetric and
Gynecologic Society Andrew Kaunitz
at the group's annual
meeting held in August in Miami. The
Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic
Society is a nonprofit medical society
that represents more than 900 physician
and resident members and provides
continuing education to advance patient
care in the area of women's health.
J.D., senior university
counsel for health affairs,
is the co-project leader
of the newly published
Fraud & Abuse for Coders
and Coding Insights for
Healthcare Lawyers. Robert A. Pelaia
This unique publication
is designed to help coders and attorneys
understand and navigate health-care
coding and the law. The manual discusses
the nuances of coding, why proper coding
is vital for health-care facilities and
professionals, and the legal implications
of improper coding. Pelaia is certified as a
health-care law specialist and has been a
certified professional coder since 1999.
How the dean spent
Teresa A. Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean
of the UF College of Dentistry, graduated
from the Bryn Mawr Summer Institute. A
35-year partnership between Bryn Mawr
College and Higher Education Resource
Services, or HERS, the summer institute
is a residential professional development
program dedicated to advancing women
leaders in higher education administration.
The 72 participants selected for this year's
summer institute represented 59 institutions
from 23 states across the United States.
And the apple goes to ...
Michael Tuccelli, Ed. D., a senior lecturer in the department of speech,
language and hearing sciences, was named the 2010 College of Public
Health and Health Professions' Teacher of the Year. A member of the UF
faculty since 1995, Tuccelli teaches American Sign Language I, II and III,
and he developed the university's first American Sign Language courses
offered for credit. Dean Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., presented the award to
Tuccelli at the college's commencement ceremony in May. "Dr. Tuccelli's
extraordinary talents as a teacher are fundamentally based on his own
excitement for teaching," Perri said.
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
M.D., chair of the
department of neurology,
has been named the new
executive director of the
Evelyn F. and William L.
McKnight Brain Institute.
Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., a TetsuoAshizawa
professor of neuroscience
and authority in the field of regenerative
medicine, who stepped down after six
years in the post. The Brain Institute began
in the early 1990s as a campuswide
initiative to harness UF's research, clinical
care and educational skills to confront
Ph.D., the Stephany W.
Holloway university chair
in AIDS research and a
professor of pathology,
chaired a pre-meeting
workshop at the 28th Mauree M. Goodenow
International AIDS Conference in Vienna,
Austria in July. The meeting and the
workshop, focusing on HIV reservoirs
that elude therapy, brought together
researchers from around the world who
study HIV from a variety of perspectives,
including molecular biology, phylogenetic
analysis, behavioral science and clinical
research. A month earlier, Goodenow
participated in a National Institutes of
Health Office of AIDS Research-sponsored
workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia.
STEVEN J. HUGHES,
M.D., has been named
the new chief of
general surgery in the
department of surgery.
Hughes, who previously
served as an associate
professor of surgery
in the University of Steven J. Hughes
Pittsburgh's School of
Medicine and as chief of gastrointestinal
surgery at the institution's medical center,
began his new job at UF Aug. 2.
AMY SMITH, M.D., an
assistant professor of
pediatrics and director
of the UF Pediatric
Brain Tumor Program,
received a $125,000
infrastructure grant from
Alex's Lemonade Stand 1
Foundation to help fund Amy Smith
an innovative therapy
program that will provide treatment options
for young patients with rare forms of
cancer or whose families have exhausted
all traditional treatment options.
COLLEGE OF PHARMACY
DERENDORF, Ph.D., a
of pharmacy, has
been named the 2010
American College of
Distinguished Investigator. Hartmut Derendorf
This prestigious annual
award recognizes superior scientific
expertise and accomplishments by a senior
investigator whose work in basic or clinical
pharmacology is internationally renowned.
Derendorf was honored Sept. 12 at the
39th annual ACCP meeting in Baltimore
for his outstanding research on the
pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
of corticosteroids, analgesics and
antibiotics, and also for drug interactions.
COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS
Ph.D., associate dean
for international affairs
and a professor in
the department of
clinical and health
the Joseph Matarazzo
Award for Distinguished
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for the latest news and HSC events. 1 I *J 1 21
Disaster strikes, he responds
John Haven, the UF College of Veterinary Medicine's director of
medical/health administration, was honored with the Distinguished
Service Award during the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference
for his work with disaster relief and response efforts on behalf of the
college and the state. Haven's award was given "for his significant
contributions to the state disaster preparedness and response efforts
involving the rescue and care of large and small animals."
Contributions to Psychology in Academic
Health Centers from the Association
of Psychologists in Academic Health
Centers. The award recognizes
exceptional senior psychologists who
have made substantial contributions to
psychology in academic health centers.
a clinical assistant
professor in the
department of speech,
language and hearing
sciences, presented her
dissertation work, titled
"Attentional Resource MichelleTroc
Allocation and Swallow
Function in Parkinson's Disease," at the
Integrative Neural Systems Underlying
Vital Aerodigestive Tract Functions
Conference in Madison, Wis., in June.
She received a merit-based minority travel
scholarship to support her research.
doctoral student in the
department of clinical
and health psychology,
received the Walter G.
Award for Parkinson's
from the American Laura Zahodne
Psychological Association's Division of
Adult Development and Aging. She was
recognized at the association's annual
convention in San Diego in August. It
is the second time in three years that
a UF clinical and health psychology
graduate student has been selected for
the award. Ania Mikos received the first
McMillen award in 2008.
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
TARA CREEL ANDERSON, D.V.M.,
M.P.H., a graduate student in the
college, has received the Outstanding
Alumnus Award from
the UF College of
Public Health and
award was made in
honor of Anderson's Tara Creel Anderson
professional practice and exceptional
leadership in the advancement of
the health professions. Anderson will
be honored Oct. 16 during PHHP's
PAUL GIBBS, B.V.Sc.,
Ph.D., a veterinarian
and virologist in
the department of F
and pathology, has E
been named associate
dean for students Paul Gibbs
and instruction at the
college. Gibbs has served as a member
of UF's veterinary faculty since 1979,
when he became a founding member.
He has been a full professor in the
college since 1981 and also holds
joint appointments with the College of
Medicine's department of molecular
genetics and microbiology as well as
with the College of Public Health and
Health Professions' department of
environmental and global health.
Jerry Davis (left) is shown here with
wife, Judy, and Dr. Jay Lynch.
Jerry Davis, a generous donor who was committed to ad-
vancing cancer research and care for everyone, passed
away Aug. 20 after a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
"Jerry Davis believed passionately in UF and Shands and
supported our college in so many ways, with his time and ded-
icated service, with his leadership talents, and his personal re-
sources," said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of
Medicine. "At UF and Shands, we are determined to find cures
for cancer, and if we do, we will do so because Jerry Davis be-
lieved in us. Those of us who knew him are better human be-
ings because of our friendship with him and his family."
Last year Davis and his wife, Judith, made a $21 million gift
to the UF Shands Cancer Center to advance research efforts
and patient-care initiatives and to support construction of the
$388 million Shands Cancer Hospital at UF.
The Davises' support of the college began 12 years ago when
they helped jump-start the cancer program with a $5 million
gift in 1998. Their contributions have provided dozens of re-
searchers with the latest tools needed to understand the dis-
ease. The outpatient care component of the cancer center was
named the Jerry W. and Judith S. Davis Cancer Pavilion in
recognition of their support.
He is survived by his wife, Judith; their son Jerry Jr. and his
wife, Candice; their two sons Cameron and Colin; their son
Troy and his wife, Julianne, and their son, Jake, and daughter,
Rylianne; and his brother, Gene. Karen Dooley
IMPOST S htpolnwsheltou Id
pp *'- ^ 0
y st- t D i Nddo
* b'hp atet0M--01
By Shayna Brouker
he little Vietnamese boy in the yellow shirt was not
born in the harsh environment of a Cambodian
prison but arrived with his mother when she was
arrested for drug trafficking. Just 5, he was thrown into
a 'rld of violence and fear. But for just a f minutes,
he is enveloped in the grace and bright smile of a tall
American woman as she balances his feet on hers,
grasping his small hands in a playful dance.
The Vietnamese boy is a "prison child,"
just one of the many young charges touched
by Karen Reed, R.N., a clinical assistant
professor in the College of Nursing, during
her third trip to Cambodia this summer.
She visited in 2005 and 2007 to learn about
the country and teach nurses about
When she had the opportunity to return
this summer, she jumped at the chance.
This time, her mission was to teach
Cambodian undergraduate nursing
students. For six weeks, she battled extreme
heat, daunting language barriers and a lack
of fundamental understanding to instruct
her "hatchlings" on everything from
metabolism to alcoholism.
Reed's dynamic teaching techniques were
a refreshing change from the traditional
style of teaching in Cambodia: Faculty sit at
a desk and read from their lectures, which
often contain obsolete information due to
their own insufficient education.
Instead, she used team projects, relay
races, flashcards and colored pencils to
rouse all the senses, enhance understanding
and break through language barriers. For
many of the terms she taught, there is no
Khmai (Cambodian language) equivalent.
"I was constantly having to filter their
responses: Are they understanding, not
understanding, how do I make them
understand?" she said. "So I used stories.
Cambodians love stories. They will sit for
hours to listen to a good story."
She also had to come up with examples
that translated without words, like using a
light switch to explain how the thyroid
gland switches metabolism on and off.
On top of the language barrier, she
taught her students a basic understanding
of anatomy and physiology as well as
biology, pathology, pharmacy and nursing.
And then, of course, there was the heat.
"I never knew I could produce that much
sweat. I'm teaching endocrine and fluid and
electrolytes, and there would be a disease
where profuse perspiration was one of the
symptoms, and the students would go, 'Dr.
Karen, do you have this disease?"' she
recalled, laughing. "No, I'm just 52 and
menopausal. That's the cruel joke."
Despite the difficulties, Reed is
committed to educating her "hatchlings"
on nursing management of diseases,
collaboration with pharmacists and
physicians and the role of the nurse as a
patient advocate. Such concepts are alien in
Cambodia, which lacks an accredited
nursing program as well as transplants,
outpatient dialysis and MRIs. Patients
receive treatment primarily from no-cost
missionary and church-run hospitals.
On weekends, Reed traveled to these
remote health-care havens to offer her
expert care. In addition to the rampant
malnutrition and lack of dental care she
witnessed, she is especially concerned with
caring for Cambodia's elderly. The Khmer
Rouge genocide during the 1970s nearly
decimated a generation. Among the almost
15 million people in Cambodia, fewer than
50,000 are over 70.
She plans to return next year to witness
her students' progress in nursing school.
"They're some of the bravest people I
know because of the personal sacrifices
they make over a long period of time," Reed
said. "Who am I to hold back and not give
freely of my knowledge, my time and my
talent? Failure to do so is to fail an entire
country. And I'm just not willing to let
Reed kept a detailed blog of her
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu for th:e latest news and HSC events. U IU *J e 23
Master of Public Health student Yu Ling discusses
smallpox during the Master of Public Health Seminar.
The College of Medicine class of 2014 makes silly poses
before their official group picture during orientation Aug. 9.
UF Health Science Center
Office of News & Communications
Senior Vice President,
Health Affairs; President,
UF&Shands Health System
David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, News &
Melanie Fridl Ross
April Frawley Birdwell
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
Jesse S. Jones
Maria Belen Farias
April Frawley Birdwell, Jennifer Brindise,
Tracy Brown Wright, Sarah Carey, Karen
Dooley, Linda Homewood, Laura Mize,
John Pastor, Jill Pease, Czerne M. Reid,
Karen Rhodenizer, Melanie Fridl Ross,
Priscilla Santos, Christine Velasquez
Shayna Brouker, Nancy Dohn,
Cassandra Mack, Beth Powers,
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 and
Shands HealthCare employees. Content may
be reprinted with appropriate credit. Ideas for
stories are welcome. The deadline for submitting
items to be considered for each month's issue
is the 1 5th of the previous month. Submit to
the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver to
the Office of News & Communications in the
Communicore Building, Room C3-025.
UpF Health Science Center
UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA
Shands occupational therapists Naomi Edwards (left) and
Heather Simpson play paddleball using physical therapy
equipment during Rehabilitation Awareness Day in August.
- -"' S