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|Table of Contents|
|Building better doctors|
|Stemming heart disease|
|A surprise gift|
|Learning from sea slugs|
|Cell phone use problems|
|Mental exercise strengthens aging...|
|Equine industry threat explain...|
|A sustainable future|
|Blue Cross builds new center|
|Sun Terrace transformed|
|Medical help for tweeners|
|Dr. Salemi provides evidence|
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Table of Contents
Building better doctors
Stemming heart disease
A surprise gift
Learning from sea slugs
Cell phone use problems
Mental exercise strengthens aging brains
Equine industry threat explained
A sustainable future
Blue Cross builds new center
Sun Terrace transformed
Medical help for tweeners
Dr. Salemi provides evidence
Sustain nab lity
DENTISTRY MEDICINE NURSING *.
PHARMACY PUBLIC HEALTH & HEALTH PROFESSIONS VETERINARY MEDICINE
On the Cover n Table of Contents
Recycling resources of all kinds is one step POST IT
toward creating a sustainable future for the
HSC. Full story on page 12. 0 Education-Building better doctors
0 Patient Care- Stemming heart disease
0 Research- A surprise gift
S0 Research- Learning from sea slugs
SResearch- Mental exercise strengthens aging brains
4 Five Questions- Equine industry threat explained
Cover Story A sustainable future
SGrants and Gifts Blue Cross builds new center
Dea. CAdministration Sun Terrace transformed
16 ,1 Jacksonville- Medical help for tweeners
Si Profile Dr. Salemi provides evidence
to Help Others"
On a day of hope and optimism, Gainesville's own
version of the "big dig" occurred Jan. 11 with the .:- ..
groundbreaking for the new Shands at UF cancer
hospital. The 192-bed, $388 million hospital, which
will house a new emergency department and .
trauma center in addition to inpatient cancer
services, will be located on Archer Road across
from Shands at UF and is scheduled for completion
in 2009. Judith Davis, a long-time benefactor of UF
cancer programs with her husband Jerry, summed
up the spirit of the event well: "This is our moment
in time when we can help others."
Pictured from left are College of Medicine -
Dean Craig Tisher, UF Shands Cancer Center ;
Director Stratford May, Trauma Center Director
Lawrence Lottenberg, Shands Chief Executive
Officer Tim Goldfarb, Shands Executive Vice : .
President Jodi Mansfield, Emergency Medicine : ~ ;
Chair David Seaberg, UF President Bernie Machen, .. r
Cancer Hospital Capital Campaign co-chairs Jerry --.- : '. ,
and Judith Davis and Judith and Davis Rembert, ,, '
former Cancer Center Director Ed Copeland and ..
Health Science Center Senior Vice President Doug .. <4: .. .. .- ... ... ,
2 1 1 lua a.M" Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
A day of mourning for a
Buckeye in the Gator Nation
Marc E. Ottenga, D.D.S., a clinical associate professor of operative dentistry at UF and a dental
graduate of Ohio State University, mourns the death of OSU's national football championship
dream as a jubilant Gator Nation celebrates bringing home the BCS National Football
Championship prize. Ottenga, dressed in Buckeye scarlet and gray accessorized with an OSU
necktie and a black armband, suffered through yet another Gator chompfest Jan. 10 as members
of the D.M.D. Class of 2010 show their Gator spirit in Sim Lab.
C t u -
Construction has begun on the Biomedical Sciences
Building on the west side of the Communicore
Building. The work will partially block the HPNP
Circle drive on Center Drive for the next few months.
Frank Javaheri, project manager, recommends
departments let all vendors and visitors know of this
inconvenience. He said visitors and vendors can
use the east side of the building accessible from
Newell Drive for drop-offs and deliveries. For a more
complete schedule of construction, please visit www.
I11n i : i, :1 :- iida forensic
, :irl, :1:' :1 :1' : nthony Falsetti,
.:l,,.- :i: i:t l.- A Pound
Hulliai Ideiilihcution Laboratory
awaits the arrival of the
mummified remains of what has
been reported to be an infant
boy in this Jan. 29 photo. The
body was reportedly found in a
Delray Beach, Fla., storage unit
inside a suitcase and wrapped in
an issue of the New York Daily
News dated Jan. 9, 1957. The
lab received the body on Jan. 30
and will begin the examination,
which will take several weeks to
several months to complete.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .. .I U 1 3
Building better doctors:
Humanities helps maintain empathy in medical students
By April Frawley Birdwell
D hipthi Mulligan returned from India last ,
summer with photos of people and buses
bustling along streets, a herd of goats,
schoolgirls at a temple, chickens, orphans smiling and
waving, and the pillars around the ancient mosque
She didn't bring back pictures of the homeless people who lay behind those pillars,
the sickly beggars who watched her take photos or the man who couldn't walk and
pushed himself along with his hands. Somehow, Mulligan says, it seemed wrong to
turn someone's misery into art.
"I felt like I shouldn't be taking their pictures if I couldn't help them, like it would
objectify them," said Mulligan, a second-year UF medical student who snapped the
photos for a project for her narrative medicine class. "That applies to medicine too.
As medical students we get excited to see certain diseases or procedures we haven't
seen before. It's easy to forget there is a person behind the diagnosis, and that person
becomes an object."
Learning about medicine through photography may sound unusual, but using art,
literature and culture to build and maintain empathy and communications skills in
students is the goal of classes such as narrative medicine, part of the College of
Medicine's burgeoning medical humanities program.
"Students come to medical school with empathy, but something happens in the last
two years that (often) chips it away," said Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, who founded the
program and was named its director last year. "Our goal really was to develop
programs to give students the tools to maintain empathy."
What started out as the addition of a small reading room for medical students on
campus four years ago has evolved into one of the country's largest medical humanities
programs. The college offers two for-credit elective medical humanities classes that
125 students take each year and boasts a student-run literary magazine, a dance
group, an acting troupe, yoga classes, history of medicine lectures, art shows and
"I try to foster their interests," Stoyan-Rosenzweig said.
Founding Dean George T. Harrell, M.D., tried to instill humanities in the medical
curriculum when the college opened 50 years ago. Although he started the country's
first medical humanities program at Penn State University, medical humanities didn't
take off at UF until the Thomas H. Maren Medical Reading Room opened in 2002.
Maren, a former College of Medicine professor who taught medical literature, had
talked with college leaders about creating a medical student reading room before he
"He didn't want there to be medical books there," said Robert T. Watson, M.D.,
senior associate dean for educational affairs. "He wanted there to be literature. This
would be a place where students could rest, relax and reflect on the physician-patient
But as Stoyan-Rosenzweig, the Health Science Center's archivist, became involved,
the number of activities slowly grew. She started a narrative medicine discussion
group that evolved into an actual class. In the class, students read books and watch
movies, often related to medical practice, and then discuss them. Soon, a course on
reflective writing was added, giving students a chance to vent their thoughts on
"It's a little bit of group therapy," said Karen Bodnar, a fourth-year medical student
who took the class.
Soon, students were approaching Nina with their own ideas. Kaleidoscope formed
to hold art shows in the Maren Room. Maren's widow donated a piano to the room
and bands began practicing there. Yoga classes, plays, dance groups and a literary
UF medical student Dhipthi Mulligan took this photo in India during a trip to
visit family last year. Mulligan compiled the images in a book she created as
part of her narrative medicine class.
magazine followed. Prospective students have named the program as one of the
things they like most when visiting the college, Watson said.
"This is a focal point," Watson said. "The program creates an environment that
helps maintain those ideals (of empathy and communication)."
Positive relationships between doctors and patients are essential to health care, and
usually all physicians have to do to establish them is listen and be kind, Watson said.
Bodnar has been involved in the program since her first year and said it has helped
her maintain empathy for patients by allowing her to vent and take a break from
medicine. It also helped her develop other important skills, like listening.
"I feel like this is one of the things that makes UF special, just the fact that this
program exists," Bodnar said. "People are drawn to it."
Mulligan, who is now taking reflective writing, said she didn't use her camera
much during her first year of medical school. Now, she knows those few extra minutes
of study time aren't worth ditching her camera. The hobby helps her relax and focus
when she does study, she said.
"I think it's important to be interested in other things besides medicine," she said.
"I just think this (program) is an absolutely essential part of medical education." 0
4 1 1L M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Medical school for teachers
By Denise Trunk
Middle and high school science teachers from schools throughout Florida
visited the University of Florida in November for a crash course on the
study of emerging pathogens.
The one-day Mini Medical School is coordinated each year by the UF Center for
Precollegiate Education and Training, with sponsorship from the UF Medical Guild.
The program's goal is to keep educators informed of new scientific knowledge so they
are better equipped to teach their students.
UF has numerous research and clinical faculty who work together as part of the
universitywide Emerging Pathogens Initiative, and several of them volunteered to
assist with Mini Medical School.
Grant McFadden, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Emerging Pathogens
Initiative, provided the keynote address, focusing on both the broad impact of emerging
pathogens and his work with poxvirus. Paul Gibbs, Ph.D., a professor of pathology in
the College of Veterinary Medicine, focused on animal diseases, including avian
influenza. Parker Small, M.D., a professor in the department of pathology, immunology
and laboratory medicine, discussed human influenza and described in detail the
pathology associated with the illness.
Nine faculty members opened their laboratories so participants could see research in
action. The participants also had the chance to exchange teaching lessons that have
proved successful in their classrooms. O
Middle and high school teachers from 24 Florida counties participated in
Mini Medical School at the College of Medicine in November. The full day
of educational sessions focused on the topic of emerging pathogens.
Doctors Without Borders
president to speak at UF
By April Frawley Birdwell
D arin Portnoy, M.D., has opened clinics in Liberia, helped Chechen refugees
get emergency health care in Georgia, coordinated primary care programs
in the Sudan and helped form programs to control tuberculosis in Uzbekistan
and measles in Nigeria.
Portnoy, a New York physician and president of the board of directors of Doctors
Without Borders in the United States, will speak at 7 p.m. March 5 at the University
of Florida Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
WHAT: Darin Portnoy, president of Doctors Without Borders
WHEN: 7 p.m. March 5
WHERE: The Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 315 Hull Road
Doctors Without Borders, also known as M6decins Sans Frontieres, is an
international medical humanities organization comprised of doctors, nurses and
other medical and non-medical professionals who work to provide health care to
patients in war-torn regions, medically underserved countries and disaster zones.
The group also sets up programs like those Portnoy ran to help stop the spread of
infectious diseases in these countries.
"My wish is that the community will be made aware, by the example set by
Doctors Without Borders, of current issues in global health and be inspired to
contribute to the effort to improve it," said Heidi Nagel, a second-year medical
student in the College of Medicine who organized the event with classmates. "This
to me is the primary altruistic example of what I believe in as a doctor."
One College of Medicine faculty member is already contributing. I. Keith Stone,
M.D., chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, recently joined
Doctors Without Borders and will be working in Sierra Leone until June.
Medical students and public health students from the College of Public Health
and Health Professions have spent the past year planning and raising money to
bring Portnoy to UF, Nagel said. They also plan to sell photos at the event to give an
additional donation to the organization.
The event is free and open to the public. O
Company donates equipment to laparoscopic training lab
By April Frawley Birdwell
One tiny hole is all it takes. Using a laparoscope,
an instrument doctors use to see inside the body,
surgeons can remove a gallbladder or a piece of
the colon through a small incision or investigate problems
in other abdominal organs.
For patients, this minimally invasive surgery technique
often means a same-day procedure, faster recovery and
less pain than traditional surgery. For doctors, it means
more time spent learning how to master the more
Medical residents at UF will now have an even better
way to train, thanks to $70,000 of new equipment the
laparoscope manufacturer Karl Storz Endoscopy donated
to the college for training purposes in December.
"This equipment will make (the training lab) a lot
better," said Stan Williams, M.D., a UF professor of
obstetrics and gynecology. "We've been using some real
It takes a while for residents to learn the technique. It
is more complicated than traditional surgery because
doctors have limited visibility using a laparoscope and
must be able to maneuver inside the body using specific
instruments. And because the incision is so small, doctors
cannot actually touch an organ they are operating on
with their hands.
Williams approached the company about donating
some new equipment for the laparoscopic training lab,
which his department holds every eight weeks to give
residents a chance to practice the technique on pigs.
The company donated two laparoscopes, two machines
to inflate the abdomen during surgery and two machines
that act as a light source.
"Karl Storz is a big believer in education," said Vivian
Vela, a sales representative for the company who delivered
the new equipment. "We want to be a big part of their
education and training." Q
Dr. Stan Williams (left) opens a box of equipment Karl
Storz Endoscopy donated to the College of Medicine
for a laparoscopy training lab as Dr. Kevin Behrns
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .a I a 0 5
By Melanie Fridl Ross
Pictured (from left) are nephrologist Dr. Mark Segal, UF
molecular physiologist Mohan Raizada and Dr. Carl
Pepine, chief of cardiovascular medicine at UF's College
of Medicine, during a meeting to discuss UF's role in a
new national network designed to study stem cell
treatments in patients with cardiovascular disease.
UF researchers will play a key role in a
new national network designed to
study stem cell treatments in patients
with cardiovascular disease.
As part of a five-member consortium known as the Cardiovascular Cell
Therapy Research Network, UF scientists will seek to identify and test
new cell therapies to improve the structure and function of the heart and
its blood vessels. The network and its projects will be supported by a grant
from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that is expected to
total $33.7 million over the next five years. Approximately $5 million will
be disbursed in 2007.
"Most of us believe that some form of regenerative medicine will be the
future for treatment of cardiovascular disease, that it will be the next level
of care," said Carl J. Pepine, M.D., a professor and chief of cardiovascular
medicine at UF and the principal investigator and center director for the
The centers will select protocols and then screen patients for possible
entry into multiple research trials in cardiovascular regenerative medicine
set to launch early this year. The collaboration will enable study
investigators to rapidly boost sample sizes and expedite studies that
otherwise would likely take many years to complete. At least 10 studies are
planned during the funding period.
The other centers are the Cleveland Clinic, the Texas Heart Institute,
the University of Minnesota and Vanderbilt University. The network's
data coordinating center will be based at the University of Texas Health
Science Center in Houston; the NHLBI project office is in Bethesda, Md.
Researchers will focus on adults with coronary artery disease, congestive
heart failure or other conditions, including diabetes, that reduce blood
flow to the heart, damaging heart muscle and hampering its ability to
function properly. "These will be patients who have already had medical
therapy, bypass surgery, angioplasty, stents or other treatment options and
have not responded to those treatments," Pepine said. "The current
thinking is we have a limited capacity to repair our hearts and blood
vessels but that is somehow defective in people who have end-stage disease.
Our hope is that by providing new cells we may be able to restore the
Studies will test whether various cell therapies can improve the heart's
plumbing by helping to repair blood vessels or form new ones and
strengthen the heart muscle to improve its ability to pump efficiently.
"In the United States we have had difficulty amassing the numbers of
patients and also bringing together the multiple disciplines required to
perform stem cell therapy at one table to be able to have large enough trials
to prove the worthiness of cell therapy in cardiovascular diseases," said
Chris Cogle, M.D., a UF assistant professor of medicine. "This is the
raison d'etre of the network, to amass the resources, bring the necessary
people to the table and recruit patients who need this help to be able to
complete these trials and answer whether or not cell therapy can help
prevent heart disease or protect patients who have it.
"We may have new options for patients whose cardiologists might have
told them there's nothing else they can do," he said.
Projects likely will involve the use of stem cells obtained from a patient's
own bone marrow or peripheral veins or even from the heart itself -
and will incorporate new strategies for cell delivery to the heart and
6 L M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
techniques for screening and localizing transplanted cells. In some studies
the cells may be treated to enhance their function before they are returned
to the body. Methods of delivering the cells to the blood vessels or directly
into scarred heart muscle also will be tested.
UF scientists also have proposed one study that involves extracting
skeletal muscle cells from the thigh in patients with severe heart failure who
are awaiting heart transplantation. The cells would be multiplied in tissue
culture and then implanted directly into the same patient's heart. The goal
would be to determine whether the cells can strengthen a very weakened
heart and to determine how long the cells survive, said Daniel Pauly, M.D.,
Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine and director of the division of
cardiovascular medicine's molecular cardiology and genetics section.
Researchers will include experts in various disciplines, such as hematology,
nephrology, radiology, stem cell biology, cardiovascular medicine, pediatric
cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery. In addition to Pepine, Cogle and
Pauly, they include nephrologist Mark Segal, M.D., Ph.D.; pediatric
cardiologist Barry Byrne, M.D., Ph.D.; endocrinologist Maria Grant, M.D.;
cardiothoracic surgeon Thomas Beaver, M.D.; vascular surgeon C. Keith
Ozaki, M.D.; John Wingard, M.D., director of UF's Blood and Bone Marrow
Transplant Program; stem cell biologist Edward Scott, Ph.D.; and radiologist
John Forder, M.D. Pulmonologist Veena Antony, M.D., will chair the
Internal Advisory Committee.
They will work closely with various university facilities to obtain and
process the cells used in the research, including the bone marrow transplant
unit, and the Good Manufacturing Practices facility at the Center of
Excellence for Regenerative Health Biotechnology, directed by Richard
Snyder, Ph.D., who heads biotherapeutic programs in UF's Office of Research
and Graduate Programs. O
Family surprises doctor
with donation during visit
By April Frawley Birdwell
Desmond Schatz pulled the thin piece of paper out of the box. It was a
few days before the holidays and one of his patients, Patrick Bell, had
brought the pediatric endocrinologist a present.
Patrick handed Schatz the gift after his routine diabetes checkup. First,
Schatz plucked a tie from the box, an orange UF one with Patrick's handprint
stamped across the bottom in blue.
Then there was this, a check. For $27,000.
"This is an unusual visit," Schatz said, eyeing the check in his hand. "Wow,
The donation came from Sugarbash, an Orlando-based nonprofit group that
funds diabetes research, said Bell's mother, Tania Brabble, who is a member of
the group. The group, many of whose members have relatives with diabetes or
know people who have the condition, recently disbanded but is still using
money collected during fundraising galas to support researchers like Schatz,
"There's not a lot you can give him as a gift," she said of Schatz, who became
Patrick's doctor shortly after he was diagnosed with diabetes. "But I thought
being able to fund his research would really be nice."
Judging from Schatz's reaction, she was right.
"I was literally bowled over and rendered speechless," Schatz said. "This was
a first receiving a check in clinic, and such a substantial one indeed in
over 20 years of seeing patients at the University of Florida."
Schatz said the money will be used in studies to help prevent diabetes and
improve treatment of it. Q
Patrick Bell (center) and his mother Tania Brabble surprised Dr. Desmond
Schatz with a donation for his research during a recent checkup. The
$27,000 check came from a group Brabble belongs to called Sugarbash,
which raises money for diabetes research.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. aoI a 10 7
LEONID MOROZ, Ph.D
Scientists analyzing the genomics of a
marine snail have gotten an unprecedented
look at brain mechanisms, discovering
that the neural processes in even a simple sea
creature are far from sluggish.
At any given time within just a single brain cell of a sea slug known as
Aplysia, more than 10,000 genes are active, according to scientists writing in
the Dec. 29 edition of the journal Cell. The findings suggest that acts of
learning or the progression of brain disorders do not take place in isolation
- large clusters of genes within an untold amount of cells contribute to
major neural events.
"For the first time we provide a genomic dissection of the memory-forming
network," said Leonid Moroz, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and zoology
at UF's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. "We took advantage of
this powerful model of neurobiology and identified thousands of genes
operating within a single neuron. Just during any simple event related to
memory formation, we expect differences in gene expression for at least 200
to 400 genes."
Researchers studied gene expression in association with specific networks
controlling feeding or defensive reflexes in the sea slug. To their surprise,
they identified more than 100 genes similar to those associated with all major
human neurological diseases and more than 600 genes controlling
development, confirming that molecular and genomic events underlying key
)s it tak to learn?
a Aea4 4
neuronal functions were developed in early animal ancestors and remained
practically unchanged for more than 530 million years of independent
evolution in the lineages leading to men or sea slugs.
-- Moroz and his collaborators uncovered new information that suggests
S that gene loss in the evolution of the nervous system is as important as
gene gain in terms of adaptive strategies. They believe that a common
ancestor of animals had a complex genome and different genes controlling
brain or immune functions were lost independently in different lineages of
animals, including humans.
Until now, scientists have been largely in the dark about how genes
control the generation of specific brain circuitry and how genes modify
that circuitry to enable learning and memory. For that matter, little is
known about the genes that distinguish one neuron from the next, even
though they may function quite differently.
Molecular analyses of Aplysia neuronal genes are shedding light on
these elusive processes. In 2000, senior author Eric Kandel, M.D., of
Columbia University in New York, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or
Medicine for his work using Aplysia as a model of how memories are
formed in the human brain.
Despite its simple nervous system Aplysia has about 10,000 large
neurons that can be easily identified, compared with about 100 billion
neurons in humans the animal is capable of learning and its brain cells
S communicate in many ways identical to human neural communication.
In the new findings, scientists identified more than 175,000 gene tags
useful for understanding brain functions, increasing by more than 100
times the amount of genomic information available for study, according to
Moroz and 22 other researchers from UF and Columbia University. More
than half of the genes have clear counterparts in humans and can be linked
to a defined neuronal circuitry, including a simple memory-forming
"In the human brain there are 100 billion neurons, each expressing at
least 18,000 genes, and the level of expression of each gene is different,"
said Moroz, who is affiliated with UF's Evelyn F. and William L
McKnight Brain Institute and the UF Genetics Institute. "Understanding
individual genes or proteins is important, but this is a sort of molecular
alphabet. This helps us learn the molecular grammar, or a set of rules that
can control orchestrated activity of multiple genes in specific neurons. If
we are going to understand memory or neurological disease at the cellular
level, we need to understand the rules."
Scientists also analyzed 146 human genes implicated in 168 neurological
disorders, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and genes
controlling aging and stem-cell differentiation. They found 104
counterpart genes in Aplysia, suggesting it will be a valuable tool for
developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.
"The authors have assembled a tremendous amount of data on gene
transcripts associated with neuronal signaling pathways in Aplysia that
sheds new light on evolutionary relationships of this very ancient and
highly successful marine animal," said Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., executive
director of UF's McKnight Brain Institute, who did not participate in the
research. "A very important part of this study is the discovery of novel
genes not formerly associated with the mollusk genome that include many
associated with neurological disorders." O
8 1 6L M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Addicted to phones? Ce
phone use becoming
a major problem for some, expert says
By April Frawley Birdwell
rn off your cell phones
For most people, heeding these
warnings in hospitals or at the movies is as simple
as pressing a button. But for a growing number of
people across the globe, the idea of being out of
touch, even just for a 90-minute movie, is enough
to induce anxiety, says a University of Florida
psychologist who studies addictions to the
Internet and other technologies.
Although cellular phones and personal digital
assistants such as the BlackBerry were created to
make modern life more convenient, they're
actually beginning to interfere in the lives of
users who don't know when to turn them off, says
Lisa Merlo, Ph.D., an assistant professor of
psychiatry in the UF College of Medicine.
"It's not so much talking on the phone that's
typically the problem, although that can have
consequences too," Merlo said. "(It's) this need to
be connected, to know what's going on and be
available to other people. That's one of the
hallmarks of cell phone addiction."
Unlike addictions to alcohol, drugs or even
gambling, it can be hard to pinpoint problematic
cell phone use. Almost everyone has a cell phone
and uses it regularly. But if someone can't get
through dinner without sending text messages or
furiously typing on a personal digital assistant
during a meeting, it may be time to take a step
back, Merlo said.
How people respond to being separated from
their cell phones or PDAs is another clue.
Frequent users often become anxious when they
are forced to turn off the phone or if they forget it
at home, so much so that they can't enjoy whatever
they're doing, Merlo added. Often, cell phone
"addicts" compulsively check their phones for
voicemails and text messages, she said.
"When (cell phone overuse) really becomes
problematic for a lot of people is if they have
underlying anxiety or depression," she said.
"This can really exacerbate it or (cause) their
symptoms to manifest themselves."
For example, someone who already worries
about what others think of them could become
easily agitated if their phone calls or messages
aren't returned right away.
"This is something that is going to affect them
on a day-to-day basis," Merlo said.
The problem seems to be growing. A British
study also recently found that 36 percent of
college students surveyed said they could not get
by without cell phones. But this may be more a
sign that students view cell phones as a modern
necessity like a car, said David Sheffield, Ph.D., a
psychologist who conducted the study at
Staffordshire University in England.
"The most shocking figure was that 7 percent
said the use of mobile phones had caused them to
lose a relationship or a job," Sheffield said.
Although experts have pinpointed these
problems in frequent cell phone users, studies
have yet to show if a bad cell phone habit
constitutes an actual addiction. Yet as with
traditional addictions, excessive cell phone use is
associated with certain hallmark patterns of
behavior, including using something to feel good,
building up a tolerance and needing more of it
over time to get the same feeling, and going
through withdrawal if deprived of it, Merlo said.
For frequent phoners who do think they have a
problem or for parents of children obsessed with
their cells, Merlo advises downgrading to a basic
phone with fewer features and setting limits
about where and when to use the phone.
"Cell phones are a great technology," Merlo
said. "They're useful in a lot of situations. (But)
one of the most important things is making sure
you have some cell phone free time in your day.
It's OK to turn it off. Focus on family, homework,
knowing that cell phone message will still be
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .oI 10 9
has long-term benefits for seniors
ust as physical exercise is good
for the body, mental training can
keep older minds functioning
better, with results lasting for years.
Older adults who received just 10 sessions of mental
training showed long-lasting improvements in memory,
reasoning and speed of processing five years after the
intervention, say researchers who conducted the Advanced Cognitive Training for
Independent and Vital Elderly study, or ACTIVE. The findings appeared in the
Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The mental exercises were designed to improve older adults' thinking and reasoning
skills and determine whether the improvements could also affect seniors' capacity to
follow medication instructions correctly or react to traffic signals quickly.
"Our findings clearly suggest that people who engage in an active program of
mental training in late life can experience long-lasting gains from that training,"
said study researcher Michael Marsiske, Ph.D., an associate professor of clinical and
health psychology at the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
The researchers also discovered some evidence of the training's "transfer" to
everyday functions. Compared with those who did not receive mental training,
participants in the three training groups reported less difficulty performing tasks
such as cooking, using medication and managing finances, although the effect of
training on performance of such daily tasks only reached statistical significance for
the reasoning-trained group.
"We had about 25 years of knowledge prior to the ACTIVE study suggesting that
older adults' thinking and memory skills could be trained, but we didn't know
whether these mental gains affected real-life skills," said Marsiske, also a member of
UF's Institute on Aging. "In this study we see some evidence that training in basic
mental function can also improve seniors' ability to perform everyday tasks."
The ACTIVE study is the first large-scale, randomized controlled study of
cognitive training in healthy older adults. Funded by the National Institute on
Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research, the study involved 2,802
seniors aged 65 to 96 who were divided into groups to receive training in memory,
reasoning or speed of processing in 10 90-minute sessions over a five- to six-week
period. A fourth group received no training.
Those in the memory training group were taught strategies for remembering word
lists and sequences of items, text material and the main ideas and details of stories.
Participants in the reasoning group received instruction on how to solve problems
that follow patterns, an ability that is useful in such tasks as reading a bus schedule
or completing an order form. Speed of processing training was a computer-based
program that focused on the ability to identify and locate visual information quickly,
skills that are used when looking up phone numbers or reacting to traffic signs.
When tested immediately after training, 87 percent of participants in speed
training, 74 percent of participants in reasoning training and 26 percent of
participants in memory training showed reliable improvement in their respective
mental abilities. In earlier reports, researchers found the improvements had been
maintained two years after training, particularly for seniors who were randomized
to receive "booster" training one and three years after the original training.
The improvements in memory, problem solving and concentration after training
roughly counteracted the degree of cognitive decline that older people without
dementia may experience over a seven- to 14-year period, said the paper's lead
author, Sherry Willis, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University.
But researchers have now discovered that cognitive improvements in the
participants were still detectable five years after training.
"The durability of training effects that we saw in ACTIVE exceeds what has been
reported in most of the published literature," Marsiske said. "Five years after
training, seniors are still outperforming untrained participants in the mental
abilities on which they received instruction." 0
101 t Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
An outbreak of equine herpesvirus in December
resulted in 13 confirmed cases of the virus in Florida,
with six horses euthanized because of the illness. The
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services instituted a quarantine and distributed
guidelines to the horse industry that, for now,
successfully contained this deadly virus. Expertise for
diagnosis, treatment and control of infectious diseases
was provided by UF's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Maureen Long, D.V.M., an infectious disease specialist
and an associate professor of large animal clinical
sciences at UF, describes why this emerging virus
caused such concern among horse owners,
veterinarians and state organizations working to
understand its origin and spread, as well as how to
What is EHV?
"EHV" stands for equine herpesvirus and this is a virus that is
closely related to the herpesvirus of humans that cause cold
sores and sexually transmitted infections. Herpesviruses cause
respiratory infections, loss of foals during gestation and nervous
How is it affecting
Florida right now?
We had a recent outbreak of herpesvirus in the central nervous
system of horses. Approximately 13 horses developed spinal
abnormalities and over half of them died.
What is being done to
deal with this outbreak?
Ten places around the state were quarantined. Once control
measures were instituted, the spread of the virus diminished.
Currently there are no quarantined sites in the state of Florida.
All known exposed horses tested negative for EHV-1. Stringent
biosecurity protocols were enforced, there was limited movement
of horses for several weeks around the state, and many horses
received booster vaccinations for herpesvirus.
What is at stake for Florida's
While the death loss due to this outbreak is far less that we see for
mosquitoborne viruses in Florida, since this is a contagious disease
and horse-to-horse contact is a mode of transmission, many of
the activities that horse owners pursue in Florida during the winter
months become jeopardized. Florida's horse industry is very large,
especially in the winter, and much of the equine-related industry
profits are realized during winter and early spring.
What could be done long-
term to protect the equine
industry and what role could
COVM play in that?
Unraveling the mystery of EHV-1 will require research that
investigates the nature of this particular strain of virus and the
risk factors now present in the equine industry, which has resulted
in what appears to be more frequent intense outbreaks. In the
short term, a provision of rapid diagnostic testing in the state of
Florida through the State Diagnostic Laboratory system and
the College of Veterinary Medicine's goal to identify potential
outbreaks early can help protect the state's horses. In addition,
veterinary, owner and horsemen education on the control of
infectious disease outbreaks is the other leg of our response.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. ..YAI ,o, 1 11
Reduce, reuse and re-envision: te HSC's next 50 years
Story by Denise Trunk Photography by Sarah Kiewel
Ossin a soda bottle into a recycling container
instead of a trashcan is the proverbial drop-in-the-
bucket when it comes to the University of Florida's
energy conservation efforts. But it's what most faculty,
staff and students likely think of when they hear the
Dedee DeLongpre, director of UF's Office of Sustainability, is trying to change that
one presentation at a time. Education, she says, is key to raising real awareness of the
issue, which reaches far beyond recycling paper and plastic.
Because of its efforts campuswide, UF is a national leader in energy conservation
and sustainable practices. Through her job coordinating UF campus staff, students
and faculty, DeLongpr6 acts as "the hub on the wheel" around which sustainability
research, programs and policy spin. The Health Science Center is one of the spokes on
that wheel, and as the HSC moves into its second 50 years, its future is more tightly
linked than ever to that of the entire campus.
Dennis Hines, assistant director, medical/health administration in the office of the
senior vice president for health affairs, has signed on to lead the HSC toward creating
a complex that meets the campuswide goals.
"We need to look at problems in new ways and work to solve them in a way that can
be maintained for many years to come," Hines says. "Our efforts are just getting
underway, but we aim to boost plastic, aluminum and paper recycling, reduce medical
and food waste, use green cleaning supplies, build green buildings and cut our
transportation and energy use in the coming months and years."
The basic idea of sustainability is simple: Humans must live successfully in the
present in a way that does not compromise their ability to live successfully in the future.
To put the future into perspective, DeLongpr6 says she often must first clarify some
points about the present.
For example, she says, resources such as oil, natural gas and water are limited and
valuable, yet they aren't included in the bottom line of economic equations. At the
same time, as capitalism has expanded globally, U.S. society has moved from valuing
durability to valuing disposability.
Natural systems, of which humans are a part, are circular, not linear, DeLongpr6
says. Resources in natural, sustainable systems are not consumed and then cast out of
the loop into the trash heap. Think of the journey water travels from rivers to oceans,
eventually evaporating, changing to rainfall, falling to the soil and returning to the
rivers. The life-sustaining liquid is transformed into a gas and recycled back into the
earth. If we view the world in a new way, one that considers natural systems, we can
transform the future, she says.
"If we want to maintain the health of our human society, we have to pay attention to
all life on the planet, all resources, and we have to acknowledge that we are a part of a
much bigger system," DeLongpr6 says. "We often think that we can get outside of that
ecology, but we are often reminded that we can't. On campus that means we need to use
our resources as efficiently and effectively as we possibly can."
The larger philosophy of sustainability may sound abstract, but is evident in everyday
actions. In fact, it involves changing the way humans interact with their environment.
Sustainable choices include actions such as turning off lights when leaving the room,
driving less or using alternative transportation, and buying products that are produced
locally in order to save transportation costs and build local supply networks and the
-7e big picture
UF recycles about 30 percent to 40 percent of its consumer solid waste but recycling
as most faculty, staff and students know it is only a small part of the equation, DeLongpre
says. UF recycles vegetative waste, construction waste, and bottles and paper.
Of these three categories, bottles and paper are the least important because "they
make less of a dent in our overall energy footprint," says Allan Preston, coordinator of
UF's quality office. On the other hand, recycling construction waste from just one
project can keep tons of trash out of landfills.
Other global issues include energy efficiency and water use, transportation, grounds
maintenance, building construction and disposal of dining hall food, waste, and
DeLongpr6 says once people begin to view the big picture focusing on ways to
continue the cycle of use for all resources on campus then they begin to see through
the lens of sustainability. Old problems are re-framed. When commuters have difficulty
finding a parking space, for example, rather than thinking there is a shortage of parking
121 :* Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
"` ii i
spaces, they begin to see there are too many cars.
The effort to create a sustainable campus took off after President Bernie Machen
called for a sustainability initiative in 2005, which provided administrative support for
a 10-year-old grassroots movement.
He set the goal for the campus to produce zero solid waste by 2015, initiated a
reduction of cars on campus and increased incentives for alternative transportation,
including bikes, buses and carpooling. He recommended exploring options of flex time
and telecommuting to reduce miles traveled.
The Health Science Center is just getting involved in this campuswide effort to re-
envision the future. Hines met with representatives from various HSC colleges in
January including Jennifer Moscoso from the College of Nursing, representatives
from Shands and UF's first lady Chris Machen to set goals and identify possible new
Chris Machen, who leads the Zero Waste Task Force, a sustainability subcommittee,
is a former nurse who is passionate about the effort. Given her background in health
care, she says she has taken a special interest in bringing the HSC on board.
"HSC is a huge piece of the puzzle and we have to have them involved to make this a
team effort," Chris Machen says. "This is our future. We have got to make it better.
They can argue global warming all they want, but the more we can do right now, the
better. There are no overnight fixes and we don't have 10 years."
The effort is starting with a few key, and sometimes overlapping, areas: energy
consumption, building construction, transportation, waste management and innovation.
0oo many ca0s
One issue that is glaringly obvious to nearly all who enter UF is the uneven ratio of cars
to parking spaces.
By creating bike lanes and bike parking and offering free bus service to UF students
and staff, UF has taken steps to reduce the number of cars on campus.
Some other early moves to promote fleet management that were instituted last year,
such as charging departments a $3,000 annual fee to keep a departmental car on campus
However, Preston says the fee is designed not only to reduce the number of cars on
campus, but also to help provoke a new train of thought.
"Cars aren't free," he said. "They require resources."
In the past few months the Physical Plant Division, through its new fleet management
programs, has kicked off new ways to reduce the use of nonrenewable, carbon-emitting
fossil fuels, including a new taxi service and Flexcar rental program.
The free taxi service uses cars liberated from the PPD's administrative motor pool
and is funded by the $3,000 fee. The door-to-door service is available to HSC personnel
beginning in February and it will continue as long as the fee is collected. To schedule
taxi pick-up, call work management at 392-1121, with at least one-hour advance
The Flexcar is Fleet Management's newest addition. In January, UF teamed with the
Washington-based car rental company to provide eight cars for hourly rental.
"Today, the more you use your vehicle the more economical it becomes," Preston
says. "We want to reverse the economics of owning a vehicle. Flexcar will give the
ability and freedom without having to have a car on campus."
Any student or employee over the age of 18 is eligible to join Flexcar at www.flexcar.
com for a one-time application fee of $35 and an annual fee of $40. The application fee
is waived for UF departments using Flexcar for official business.
The introductory rate of $5.50 an hour includes gas, insurance, maintenance and
roadside assistance. Flexcar members locate a vehicle and make reservations online,
and can travel across campus, across county or across the state. Two Flexcars, one a
hybrid, the other a minivan, are parked in an HSC lot on the corner of Mowry Road
and Center Drive.
Transportation and Parking Services also now offers carpool decals and has
reserved a large number of parking spaces for those who share their commute. The
decals are available at a reduced rate about a quarter of the cost of an orange decal
- and require only two full-time employees to register. In addition, UF started an
online service to link commuters who share specific routes. Through the UF/
GreenRide Program, employees can create an account through their e-mail address to
anonymously search for potential carpools in their area. For more information, visit
Jiome awayf ioWm home
On campus, people spend their days in buildings lighted, heated, cooled and plumbed
by UF. Needless to say, with more than 15 million square feet in 932 buildings, the
university requires a large amount of energy to function.
According to figures supplied by Jeff Johnson, coordinator of energy management in
the PPD's energy and metering department, UF used more than 438 million kilowatt
hours of electricity in 2006, at a cost of nearly $37 million. Of that amount, the Health
Science Center used nearly 73 million kilowatt hours. The HSC's roughly $7 million
electric bill last year was paid for by UF, as were the bills of every college, department
and institute on campus a practice that can stand in the way of energy conservation
because there is little financial college- or department-level incentive to conserve.
"There is no built-in pain because PPD pays the full bill for all departments,"
Preston says. "We are working to set up separate metering and conduct energy
conservation measures such as cycling buildings over the summer, dialing down the
Sustainaklity, continued on page 14
Allan Preston, coordinator of UF's Quality Office, parks a hybrid sedan Flexcar in the HSC's lot on Mowry Road and Center Drive. After collecting paper from
offices on the Communicore's third floor, Sidney Gordon takes it to a central recycling center on campus.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. a .I a, 10 13
Sustainalitty, continued from page 13
ones that aren't in use."
Campus uses about 55,000 to 80,000 gallons of water a month. Much
of that is reclaimed for use in irrigation. Today, 90 percent to 100 percent
of irrigation is reclaimed water. By planting native species, which require
less water, grounds staff is able to conserve even more.
"We want to make decisions that honor and restore the environment
and also provide restorative lifeways for students and employees,"
DeLongpr6 says. "We also have to be sure the decisions make long-term
economic sense for the health of the university because we are serving
the state and the state's taxpayers."
Energy conservation works best when the energy is not needed in the
first place, Preston says.
Bahar Armaghani, Env. Eng., assistant director of facilities planning
and construction, is responsible for seeing that new construction and
major renovation on campus is conducted in the most sustainable
manner. She says creating smart, well-designed buildings can lower
water and energy costs, make for a healthier workplace and ensure
environmentally sensitive construction.
"Our goal is to minimize the building's environmental footprint and
make it a better place to work, for improved economic, health and energy
standards," Armaghani says.
Since 2001, UF has complied with the building standards set by a
third-party group, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design, or LEED. Its certifications require meeting certain stringency
standards, which range from basic to silver, gold and platinum levels.
LEED's buildings use natural lighting and green materials that
contain low-levels of volatile organic compounds, including paints,
adhesives, sealants and carpeting all to improve indoor air quality.
"We spend 90 percent of our time indoors. We must make that
environment healthy and comfortable," Armaghani says.
The buildings also use resource-efficient air-conditioning units, water
fixtures, light sensors and temperature controls. And by using these
items, UF is creating a market for them locally.
"All these things you see," she says. "The things you don't see are that
the buildings have a huge effect on the amount of carbon dioxide
emissions. The building materials are locally sourced all come from
within a 500-mile radius of Gainesville to decrease the need for
In addition, UF purchases green power to offset the use of power
generated from non-renewable sources.
The UF programs are so innovative that Armaghani was invited to
give a presentation to the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., to
discuss her work with LEED-certified buildings at UF and at the HSC.
The Health Science Center has a number of certified or soon to be
LEED-certified buildings that are undergoing planning or construction,
including the Cancer & Genetics Research Complex and the Orthopaedics
and Sports Medicine Institute.
The Biomedical Science Building, Emerging Pathogens Institute,
The Nanoscience Institute for Medical and Engineering Technology,
the Veterinary Medicine Food Animal Facility and the new Shands
Cancer Hospital will all be built to basic or silver certification
The HSC buildings, despite their intensive energy needs, have proved
to present no additional challenge toward meeting certification, says
Armaghani who is UF's LEEDs-accredited professional.
"We have not seen anything to hold us up. At this point, we are so
established at doing it, it is easy for us to get basic and silver certification
without any extra cost," she says.
Also in the works are plans to upgrade older buildings, making them
more energy-efficient as well, which will require integration of cutting-
edge technologies in air, water and energy handling.
The university is a living laboratory for sustainability. Forty percent of
UF's solid waste is recycled-a better percentage than most cities.
However, to meet the goal of zero waste by 2015, UF is looking for new
technologies all the time.
Some new technologies in development involve such things as turning
waste into energy. One is an anaerobic digestion unit, others are thermal
conversion systems such as those already in use in Iraq processing paper
and plastic solid waste from military mess tents. A UF scientist is
developing a mobile thermal conversion unit, for example, that works at
5,000 degrees Celsius. UF is looking for funds to test this unit on campus,
DeLongpre says. The waste would create synthetic gas that would power
the unit, which could possibly help dispose of biomedical wastes.
"This is where we have to go," DeLongpr6 says. "Innovation that is
where sustainability is fun."
President Machen has said he believes sustainability is not only the
future for UF, but also the present.
"Most broadly defined, sustainability means protecting the
environment while also elevating the social and economic status of
everyone in the community," Machen says. "In other words, it's uplifting
- even transforming. Ultimately, sustainability will improve our lives
and the lives of our children. That's something we at the University of
Florida should all be able to get behind." 0
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GANT AN GIT
at the HSC
ByJill Pease and Tracy Brown
lue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida has
established a $3.5 million endowment at the
University of Florida to open the BCBSF Center
for Health Care Access, Patient Safety and Quality
Outcomes. The new center will be housed in the
colleges of Nursing and Public Health and Health
Professions and will work to significantly improve the
health of Florida's citizens.
The endowment, which will total $6.7 million with state matching funds, was
announced Jan. 25 at the Enterprise Florida board of directors meeting in
"The University of Florida is grateful for the generosity of Blue Cross and Blue
Shield of Florida and its dedication to improving Florida's health care," said UF
President Bernie Machen. "With this new center, the state is positioned to become a
national leader in health-care delivery, demonstrating that safe, high-quality care
can be provided, and that health-care costs can be reduced by preventing medical
errors and complications."
Through this center, UF leaders and BCBSF hope to address the unique health-
care issues that affect Florida's quality of life and economic viability. Critical issues
include access, the nursing shortage, patient safety and medical errors. Florida also
faces unique challenges due to rapid growth, the large elderly population and the
diverse and international composition of its residents.
"Florida is facing many challenges in the effort to provide safe, high-quality
health care for all of our citizens," said Robert Lufrano, M.D., chairman and CEO
of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. "The BCBSF-UF Center will bring
together experts from a variety of disciplines at UF, including health services
administration, nursing, health policy, medicine, pharmacy and sociology, to
design and evaluate improved approaches to health-care access and delivery."
The center will support evidence-based research on topics such as attracting and
retaining well-prepared nurses to maximize patient safety and quality care
outcomes, and financing and delivering health care in a fiscally responsible manner
College of Nursing associate professor and Jacksonville Campus Director
Andrea Gregg (from left), BCBSF Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Cyrus
Jollivette, UF Vice President for Research Win Phillips, BCBSF Vice President of
Public Affairs Catherine Kelly, and College of Public Health and Health
Professions Department Chair Paul Duncan at Enterprise Florida's board
meeting following the announcement of the BCBSF endowment to UF.
to people who are underserved. These steps, and others, can help to prevent patient
deaths and reduce suffering while also saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in
unnecessary health-care costs.
Workforce issues such as the escalating nursing shortage affect the quality and
cost of health care. The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis estimates
that Florida will have a shortage of 61,000 nurses by 2020. Florida hospitals,
meanwhile, spent $147 million in 2004 to fill vacant nursing positions, according to
the Florida Hospital Association.
Recent reports by several national study groups, including the National Academy
of Sciences Institute of Medicine, have cited the lack of safety and quality of care
received in the nation's hospitals. Limited access to health care for many Floridians
costs the state's hospitals $1.7 billion in uncompensated care, according to the
Florida Hospital Association.
In addition to establishing the BCBSF Center, the endowment brings both the
Dorothy M. Smith Professorship in the College of Nursing and the BCBSF
Professorship in Health Services Administration in the College of Public Health
and Health Professions to full chair status. These positions allow for the
recruitment of premier faculty members in the fields of health services
administration and nursing health policy to conduct research focusing on the
nursing workforce, patient safety, and health-care delivery and access.
"The complexity of the health-care problems we face require interdisciplinary
planning and research, and the new center will make this possible at UF," Machen
said. "UF is uniquely positioned to house the BCBSF Center since it includes the
state's oldest and most comprehensive health science center with an array of experts
in health care policy and research. The BCBSF gift is a significant step that will
help Florida become a national leader in anticipating future challenges and
developing solutions." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .oI 10 15
hard to put a
fresh face on the
Sun Terrace were
By Tom Fortner
ith a nod to Forrest Gump, a facelift
is like a box of chocolates: You never
quite know what you're going to get.
That's even more true when your face measures 46,500 square feet and
is traversed by flip-flops and hiking boots all day, and the results of
previous beautification attempts have been less than stunning.
That pretty much describes the recent history of the Sun Terrace. This
expanse of concrete between the Stetson Medical Science Building and
the Communicore serves the Health Science Center in many important
ways: as thoroughfare, gathering place, al fresco dining area, roof for the
ground floor, and as the name suggests a place to hang out and soak
up the sun that Florida is known for.
Unfortunately, what the Sun Terrace hasn't been known for is its
aesthetic qualities. But the place took a big step in that direction just
before the holidays when a major refurbishing project was completed
under the direction of the HSC Physical Plant Department.
The work was precipitated by the failure of the coating that had been
applied to the concrete deck about six years ago. The rubbery membrane
had become a tan and gray mess, with blemishes, bubbles and tears that
someone could trip over. More importantly, rainwater was seeping
through the deck, which might have been fine except that the coating
didn't permit the moisture to evaporate, producing leaks in ground
As the result of litigation, the original contractor removed the old
coating and sanded the deck. And that's where Jim Thompson and PPD's
health center paint crew came in. Over the next six weeks, they
painstakingly applied a new and improved coating to the deck surface
and also painted the approximately 50 white fiberglass planters and a
number of wooden benches.
The deck material consists of two coats ofstain, one coat of waterproofing
and a layer of grit material in between to prevent slipping. The crew,
primarily under the direction of Harley Ingle, often worked weekends
and nights to get unfettered access to the deck and repeatedly relied on
their friends in the grounds department to move the heavy planters from
one section to another. By doing the labor themselves, they saved the
university thousands of dollars on the project.
The new green and tan color scheme demarcates primary walkways
from seating areas and visually breaks up the expanse. The planters,
which were randomly placed before, are arrayed with the umbrella-
covered tables in geometric patterns that are most apparent when looking
down on the terrace from above, an arrangement that Thompson credits
to Vivian Raymond, a senior secretary with PPD.
Even the plantings, which were a hodgepodge before, are a more
thoughtful collection of pink knockout roses and palms interspersed with
specimen trees and shrubs, again courtesy of the grounds department.
Thompson, with obvious pride, called the project a "huge group effort"
that not only spruced up the place but should also stop the leaks.
"It looks pretty darn good up there and it looks like it's going to do what
we want it to do." O
161 L a M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Medical dean search produces seven semifinalists
even semifinalists under consideration to be the next dean of the College
of Medicine have been participating in intensive, two-day campus visits
that will continue through mid-February.
The seven emerged from a field of 10 candidates interviewed by the search
committee in two-hour sessions in mid-January. The candidates answered a
series of predetermined questions that ranged from what their plans might be
to help the college enhance its national stature to their views of shared
The semifinalists include two internal candidates, James M. Crawford,
M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory
medicine; and Terence R. Flotte, M.D., chair of the department of pediatrics.
The external candidates are Dennis W. Choi, M.D., Ph.D., Boston University;
Bruce C. Kone, M.D., University of Texas-Houston; G. Richard Olds, M.D.,
Medical College of Wisconsin; Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Joanna M. Cain, M.D., of the Oregon
Health and Science University.
Kone, Olds and Runge are all chairs of departments of internal medicine at
their respective institutions. Choi was head of neurology and directed an
interdisciplinary research center at Washington University before becoming
vice president for neuroscience at Merck Research Laboratories five years
ago. Cain is a center director and department chair in obstetrics and
Candidates' curriculum vitae and itineraries for their campus visits, some of
which had already occurred at press time, are posted at www.med.ufl.edu/
The search committee is slated to meet Feb. 19 and is expected to recommend
three candidates to Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Doug Barrett for
final consideration. O
College of Dentistry's Jacksonville
clinic marks 1,000th dental implant
he UF Jacksonville Dental Clinic marked an important milestone Dec. 20 as
the clinic performed its 1,000th dental implant surgery.
UF graduate Jake Pedraza, D.M.D., performed the implant surgery, during
which he placed 14 Nobel Biocare implants in patient Jean Walker using computer-
assisted and computed tomography planning. Attending staff included clinic
director and associate professor Cliff Starr, D.M.D., and clinical assistant professor
Nidal "Sam" Elias, D.D.S.
Averaging more than 180 dental implant surgeries each year for the past four
years, the clinic's first implant was performed in May 1998. Each year, seven to eight
residents complete advanced general dentistry training at the busy clinic, which
averages more than 10,000 patient visits per year about 175 patients per week.
Dr. Cliff Starr (left) stands with patient Jean Walker and resident Jake
Pedraza in front of the UF College of Dentistry's Jacksonville clinic. Walker,
a Jacksonville resident, has been a patient in the clinic since May.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. ..Y. I ,o, 10 17
helps tweens cross the medical gap
By Patricia Bates McGhee
Florida Sen. Stephen
Wise (left) and Dr. David
Wood (right), an
associate professor and
chief of general
pediatrics in the UF
College of Medicine-
Jacksonville, meet with
patient Dani Sapiro after
a recent tour of the
op culture targets "tweens" children
ages 8 to 13 caught between
childhood and adolescence. UF's
Jacksonville Health and Transition Services
program, known as JaxHATS, targets tweens
of another sort teens and young adults
with disabilities and special health-care
needs caught between pediatric and adult-
oriented health systems.
The only test pilot program of its type in the state, JaxHATS a
collaboration between Children's Medical Services and the
departments of pediatrics and medicine in the College of Medicine-
Jacksonville helps 16- to 26-year-olds with special health-care
needs make that transition. And the program's growth in just one year
confirms its success in the five northeast Florida counties it serves -
Duval, Clay, Baker, St. Johns and Nassau.
Ironically, the reason this group needs help is because of medical
advances in pediatrics.
"Children with congenital health problems or chronic health
conditions originating in childhood are living longer and longer," said
David Wood, M.D., co-medical director and founder of the JaxHATS
program. "In the 1960s and 1970s, children with Down syndrome or
cystic fibrosis rarely made it into adulthood, but now, due to advances
in medical science and treatment, their life expectancy is almost
normal into their 50s and 60s," he said. "The health-care and
insurance system is not prepared to incorporate these chronically ill
young adults into the adult care system."
JaxHATS aims to ensure access to quality primary care while
preparing patients to coordinate their own care in the adult health-
"There are no care coordinators in the adult health-care system, so
we need to get these patients prepped showing them how to read a
prescription bottle, fill a prescription, make an appointment, call if
they're feeling ill, know what side effects are, call 911," said Deborah
Ducett, JaxHATS program manager.
The program is primarily funded by Children's Medical Services.
This year state Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, and state Rep. Don
Davis, R-Jacksonville Beach, submitted a revised proposal for a bill
that if passed would replicate JaxHATS and expand the scope to any
large metropolitan area in Florida.
The JaxHATS multidisciplinary team includes Wood, an associate
professor of pediatrics; Linda Edwards, M.D, an associate professor
and division chief of general internal medicine; Ducett, who also
serves as social worker; nurse care coordinator Paulette Daniel; and
UF medical residents and medical students.
The program provides a safety net for the tweens and their parents
and guardians. "Many of these adolescents and young adults would
otherwise 'fall through the cracks' of our medical system and utilize
emergency rooms for their primary care as well as urgent care,"
Edwards said. "It's like a support group for parents and guardians,
who know they have someone they can call to assist them."
In addition to promoting independence, JaxHATS helps patients
"We go beyond just looking at health needs and look at the long-
range life goals for our patients and help them get them linked up in
the community," Ducett said. "We don't provide actual employment
placement or independent living services, but we do help them access
the resources they need through our relationships with stakeholders
and community organizations."
JaxHATS also explores the financial benefit issue for these young
people, many of whom have been on Supplemental Security Income
"When they turn 18, they have to be reevaluated under the adult
criteria for SSI, and those with cerebral palsy or spina bifida almost
automatically qualify," Ducett said. "But if they have childhood-onset
asthma or diabetes, they don't qualify and then the situation can spiral
- they may not be able to work full time, they can't get insurance,
their health care suffers, their quality of life worsens and their dreams
"Our clients and their families tell us they're relieved and comforted
knowing JaxHATS is here," she said. O
181 *" M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
Free public forum precedes
12th annual multidisciplinary
breast disease symposium
By Patricia Bates McGhee
leading breast disease experts will discuss the latest information on breast program sponsored by the U]
cancer at a free public forum, slated for 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 15 at the experts in breast surgery, rad
Jacksonville Marriott, 4670 Salisbury Road. the United States, United Ki
The event, "What Everyone Should Know About Breast Health," precedes the 12th featured.
Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease, UF's scientific meeting of Opening-session speakers
international breast disease experts. Forum attendees will have the opportunity to the University of Southern C
ask the experts questions about breast cancer diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. Carcinoma in situ: A 25-Year
Dinner will be provided, and reservations are required. Florida Supreme Court Justi
Forum panelists include Thomas Julian, M.D., Allegheny General Hospital, Journey with Breast Cancer."
Pittsburgh; Henry Lynch, M.D., Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, of Health Office of Research
Neb.; professor Laszlo Tabar, Falun Central Hospital, Sweden; The Honorable Barbara "The Washington Prospectiv
J. Pariente, Florida Supreme Court Justice; Charles Vogel, M.D., Lynn Regional A program of the departmt
Cancer Center West, Boca Raton; Susan Love, M.D., Dr. Susan Love Research Jacksonville, the Multidiscip
Foundation; and Aldona Spiegel, M.D., The Methodist Hospital, Houston. cooperation with the UF Sha
UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville faculty members participating in the forum Jacksonville and The BreastJ
include Andrew Kaunitz, M.D., Felicia Snead, M.D., James Chingos, M.D., and To reserve a spot at the put
symposium founder Shahla Masood, M.D. symposium, registration and
The symposium, Feb. 15-18 at Amelia Island, offers a continuing education pathology at 904-244-3430 or
Children exposed to antiretroviral
meds in utero subject of
multimillion-dollar NIH grant
By Patricia Bates McGhee
Mobeen Rathore, M.D., a professor and assistant chairman of pediatrics and chief of pediatric infectious diseases
at the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville and Wolfson Children's Hospital, was recently awarded a $2.75
million grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of antiretroviral medications on children
exposed to them in utero.
The information gathered during the four-year Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study, funded for 2006 to 2009, will
contribute to the study's long-term goal to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection, Rathore said.
"This is an important study because we have made major strides in preventing mother-to child-transmission of HIV
and, fortunately, now have hundreds of children living normal lives," Rathore said. "Although these children are not
HIV-infected, they are exposed to medications during pregnancy that have the potential for long-term side effects, and
that's why it's essential that we follow and evaluate these children over the long term for any possible problems."
UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville is part of a nationwide multicenter group conducting the research the first of
its kind to look at potential effects of antiretroviral medications during pregnancy. The Jacksonville study site, which
covers north Florida and southeast Georgia, is gearing up now to start screening patients. Nationwide, 1,625 children
will be enrolled. Q
F College of Medicine-Jacksonville. Twenty-three
iation, oncology and pathology from 19 universities in
ngdom, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands will be
include Melvin J. Silverstein, M.D., surgery professor at
alifornia-Los Angeles, who will present "Ductal
Odyssey," and The Honorable Barbara J. Pariente,
ce, who will share "My Personal and Professional
Vivian Pinn, M.D., director of the National Institutes
on Women's Health, will present closing remarks titled
e on Breast Health Issues."
ent of pathology at the UF College of Medicine-
linary Symposium on Breast Disease is sponsored in
nds Cancer Center, the Breast Health Center at Shands
blic forum and for more information about the
hotel accommodations, call the UF department of
register online at http://cme.ufl.edu. O
O. b lt P
Dr. Mobeen Rathore has received a $2.75
million NIH grant to study the effects of
antiretroviral medications on children
exposed to them in utero.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. t I : 1 19
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Pharm.D., has received a five-year
K-23 Career Development Award
grant from the National Heart,
Lung and Blood Institute. The grant,
totaling $623,912, will lead to a
master's in clinical investigation
and will support her research
focusing on adverse metabolic Cooper-DeHoff
effects associated with blood
pressure-lowering medications in patients with
JUAN CARLOS FERNANDEZ-
MIRANDA PEREZ, M.D., a
postdoctoral fellow training with
UF neurosurgeon Albert Rhoton,
M.D., recently received the Premio
Sanitas, an honor the Sanitas
Foundation gives each year to the
best medical postgraduate trainee
He also recently won the Spanish
Neurological Society's research prize for work
he has completed at UF. Perez was selected
from 5,000 young doctors for the prestigious
Sanitas award. Prior to coming to UF, he trained
in neurosurgery at University Hospital La Paz in
ROBERT S. FENNELL, M.D., a
professor and chief of nephrology f
in the department of pediatrics, has
received the American Association ; ''
of Kidney Patients 2007 Medal of
Excellence. He is the first pediatric
nephrologist to receive the honor.
Fennell, who also serves as
director of the pediatric kidney Fennell
transplant program as well as the
pediatric dialysis unit, has been at UF for 35 years
and plans to retire this summer. He has been
named one of the Best Doctors in America and
has been chosen as the Best Faculty Teacher by
RONALD SHORR, M.D., a
board-certified geriatrician and
internist, joins the Health Science
Center as associate director of the
Institute on Aging, director of the
Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research,
Education and Clinical Center, and
professor and chief of the division Shorr
of geriatric medicine in the College
of Medicine's department of aging and geriatrics.
His position began Jan. 1.
Shorr comes to Gainesville from the department
of preventive medicine at the University of
Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.
In his new position, Shorr will oversee the IOA's
clinical operations, including the geriatricians at
the University of Florida Physicians Senior Care of
Tower Hill clinic.
Shorr holds a master's degree in epidemiology
and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in
pharmacoepidemiology. His research interests
include the appropriate use of and adverse effects
of medications in older adults. He is currently
the principal investigator of an NIH grant to test
whether proximity alarms reduce fall risk in acute
THREE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE STUDENTS
recently attended the 48th annual meeting of
the American Society of Hematology, where they
presented findings that may lend new insights into
treating cancers and thyroid disease.
JAKE DAVENPORT, first-year medical student,
JACKIE OTERO, first-year medical student, and
KATHRYN RUSSELL, second-year medical
student, were invited to present their study findings
at the conference, held Dec. 9-12 in Orlando. The
students conducted their research this summer
while working under the direction of Christopher R.
Cogle, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine.
Russell and Otero's findings showed that cancer
can cause bone marrow to make blood vessels,
Cogle said, thus feeding the cancer and helping it
thrive. In the future, the research could be used to
target bone marrow in fighting the disease.
"What it does is open a potentially new way of
fighting cancer," Cogle said.
Davenport's research revealed that human
bone marrow can spur the growth of thyroid tissue.
Instead of using medicine to treat thyroid disease,
Cogle said, Davenport's findings suggest that
doctors may someday be able to use bone marrow
to repair damaged thyroid tissue.
ROGER BERTHOLF, Ph.D., an
associate professor and director of
clinical chemistry and toxicology in
the department of pathology and
laboratory medicine in the College
of Medicine-Jacksonville, has been
reappointed to the Florida Board
of Clinical Laboratory Personnel
for a term ending in 2010. He was
appointed to the board in 2003,
elected vice-chair in 2005 and re-elected in 2006
The regulatory board functions within the Florida
Department of Health's Division of Medical Qualit
Assurance and is responsible for establishing the
requirements for state licensure of clinical laborato
personnel and for adjudicating cases in which
licensees are charged with violating licensure term
MOBEEN RATHORE, M.D., a
pediatrics professor and assistant
department chairman and chief of
pediatric infectious diseases in the
College of Medicine-Jacksonville,
was elected to the prestigious
American Pediatric Society for his
outstanding contributions to the
field of pediatrics. He is the only
pediatrician from Jacksonville and
GENNE MCDONALD, P.T., an affiliate faculty
member in the physical therapy department
at the College of Public Health and Health
Professions, joined Lance Armstrong, Elizabeth
Edwards and John Kerry in addressing
delegates of the Lance Armstrong Foundation
LIVESTRONG Summit in Austin, Texas, in
October. McDonald is also the recipient of
the American Cancer Society's Terese Lasser
Award, an award given to one individual
per state in recognition of her outstanding
contribution to the Reach for Recovery
program. McDonald is a cancer survivor and
founder of Team Survivor North Florida, which
encourages women who have had cancer to
be more physically active.
the University of Florida to be elected to the APS in
With nearly 1,600 members, APS seeks to
advance the study of children and their diseases,
prevent illness and promote health in childhood,
promote pediatric education and research
and honor those who, by their contributions to
pediatrics, have aided in its advancement.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH PROFESSIONS
MARY HENNESSEY, Ph.D.,
an assistant professor in the
department of behavioral science
and community health's division
of rehabilitation counseling,
received the National Council on
Rehabilitation Education's 2007
Outstanding New Career in
Education Award. The award
is given annually to one rehabilitation counselor
educator who has earned his or her doctorate
within the past five years and who has established
an outstanding record of research, program
development and/or teaching.
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
JAMES P. THOMPSON, D.V.M.,
Ph.D., has been named executive
associate dean of the College
of Veterinary Medicine. Until his
appointment, Thompson was
the college's associate dean of
students and instruction for the
past decade. He served as interim
dean of the college from Feb.
rtholf 20 to Oct. 1, when Glen Hoffsis, Thompson
D.V.M., became the college's permanent dean.
Thompson's new position is the second-highest-
ranking position at the college.
SThompson received both his D.V.M. and Ph.D.
degrees from UF and completed a residency in
small animal internal medicine at UF prior to
joining the faculty in 1986. Board-certified in
the specialties of internal medicine, immunology,
virology, microbiology and oncology, Thompson
has won numerous awards both for his teaching
and for his research and has served as academic
adviser for dozens of veterinary students, residents
and interns over the years. After his days as a
graduate student and resident at UF, Thompson
became an assistant professor and director of the
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's immunology
Rathore service before advancing to full professor and
201 :*L" I% d M* Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
GANT AN GIT
Naples charity donates millions to fund UF
children's dental clinic
By Lindy McCollum Brounley
Thousands of disadvantaged children will soon benefit from a $5.5 million
gift to the College of Dentistry that will fund the construction and operation
of a state-of-the-art pediatric dental facility in Collier County.
The gift was announced Dec. 13 by trustees for the Naples Children &
Education Foundation, the founder of the hugely successful Naples Winter Wine
Festival. The exclusive event, featuring international celebrity chefs and
prestigious vintners, has raised nearly $40 million for Collier County children's
charities since its inception in 2000 and is billed as the "most successful charity
wine event in the world."
Of the foundation's gift to the UF College of Dentistry, $4 million is eligible
for state match through the Alec P. Courtelis Facilities Enhancement Challenge
Grant Program and will fund the construction and equipping of the UF dental
facility on the Collier County campus of Edison College. The remaining $1.5
million will cover the dental program's start-up operational expenses.
The planned $8 million building, modeled after the UF dental clinic on the
Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College in Pinellas County, will be a two-
story, 20,000-square-foot dental clinic and education facility. The UF dental
program at Edison College is expected to open in the fall of 2008 and eventually
will expand to provide specialized pediatric dental treatment to Collier County's
Medicaid-eligible and at-risk children during an estimated 15,000 patient visits
each year. It also will serve as a new home for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile,
also funded through the foundation, which provides critical medical and dental
outreach services to Collier County children.
The project represents an innovative collaboration between the philanthropic
Naples Children & Education Foundation, UF, Edison College and Collier
Health Services Inc., or CHSI.
Edison College district board of trustees approved a long-term land lease
agreement with UF to give the facility an academic home. While the first floor of
the two-story building will be dedicated to UF's clinical operations, Edison
College will share use of second-floor classrooms and laboratory space.
CHSI, which has long been a UF partner in extending dental services to Collier
Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, funded through the Naples Children &
Education Foundation, provides critical medical and dental outreach
services to Collier County children.
County residents through its community health centers, will manage the clinic's
billing and collection activities and supply procurement. Additionally, CHSI
community health clinics and its Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will refer
patients to the dental clinic.
The dental facility at the Edison site will be the UF College of Dentistry's
newest clinic in its Statewide Network for Community Oral Health. The network
comprises UF's Gainesville and community-based clinics in Hialeah, St.
Petersburg and Jacksonville as well as 14 county health department, community
health center and private not-for-profit partner clinics statewide.
This strategy of community partnerships focusing on vulnerable, indigent and
special needs populations has led to the UF College of Dentistry becoming one
of the largest providers of low-cost dental care in Florida. 0
WILLIAM T. DRIEBE, M.D., has been named chair of the department of ophthalmology effective Jan. 1. He served as interim
chair for the past three years.
Driebe earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia and completed residency training at UF and a cornea and
external disease fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. He has been a College of Medicine faculty member
since 1984 and was promoted to professor in 1997. His research interests include corneal infections, infections of the interior of
the eye and contact lens complications.
One of the items on Driebe's strategic to-do list is to expand the department's strong reputation for tertiary services by
enhancing access to referred patients and recruiting additional faculty for high-demand referral services. He also expects the
department to provide more adult and pediatric primary care services at its Hampton Oaks location, including eye exams,
contact lenses, cataract surgery and refractive surgery.
The department will continue to offer the most cutting-edge services as they become available, such as bifocal intraocular
lenses and new treatments for macular degeneration and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Driebe said the department will also continue its traditionally strong commitment to medical student, resident, graduate
and postdoctoral education. In terms of research, the department will build on its success in retinal studies, concentrating on
gene transfer therapy for retinal and macular degenerations and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Additional areas of research
interest include the development of effective gene therapies for the treatment of optic nerve disorders, glaucoma and herpes
simplex virus infections.
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .oI 10 21
UF cancer researchers
win millions in state support
I\ ) .. i i
By Melanie Fridl Ross
U F cancer researchers have garnered
more than $2.1 million in state
research funding through a new
The work of nine scientists representing nine academic departments
and the UF Shands Cancer Center is set to benefit from the monies,
part of the Florida Department of Health's Bankhead-Coley Cancer
Research Program. The program encourages a coordinated,
collaborative approach to preventing, treating and curing cancer-
Made possible through a four-year appropriation of $9 million per
year by the Florida Legislature, the program seeks to substantially
reduce the state's high cancer burden, lowering the incidence of the
disease and improving survival while positioning Florida as a leader
in cancer research and development.
Thirty-three grants totaling more than $8.1 million were awarded
in two categories to research scientists from Florida-based universities
and research institutions. The grants go into effect this month.
Seven UF researchers received funding intended to provide interim
support for promising cancer-related research projects that have been
highly rated in recent federal competitions, such as those conducted
by the National Institutes of Health, but have not been funded due to
Two UF researchers received funding aimed at supporting Florida
investigators who are conducting cancer-related research by improving
access to state-of-the-art research instruments that can only be justified
on a shared-use basis.
The following UF research investigators received one-year grants:
* Kevin Brown, Ph.D., of the department of biochemistry and
molecular biology, was awarded $52,500 to study the role of the
ATM protein in breast cancer suppression.
* W. Stratford May, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UFSCC and
chief of the division of hematology/oncology, was awarded
$200,000 to study the molecular mechanisms of the RAX
protein, which controls cell growth and protein synthesis and
may be vital for averting cancer, sustaining the accurate
composition of bone marrow cells and fueling the body's
response to infectious agents.
* Rolf Renne, Ph.D., of the department of molecular genetics
and microbiology, was awarded $200,000 to continue studies of
a herpesvirus that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and other diseases
such as primary effusion lymphomas, looking at a new class of
gene expression regulators called microRNAs that appear to
contribute to the development of certain cancers and tumors.
* George Sarosi, M.D., of the department of surgery, was
awarded $105,000 to study whether bile salts play a role in
promoting a precancerous condition triggered by chronic
heartburn, Barrett's esophagus. Since 1974 the incidence of
esophageal cancer increased six-fold and today it is the sixth
leading cause of cancer deaths.
* Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., of the department of radiation
oncology, was awarded $200,000 to conduct preclinical studies
combining radiation therapy with anticancer drugs targeting
the blood vessel network that supports tumor growth to see
whether the approach maximizes antitumor activity.
* Arun Srivastava, Ph.D., of the department of pediatrics, was
awarded $499,980 to purchase a Becton-Dickinson FACSAria
fluorescence-activated cell sorter to fractionate and isolate
large numbers of purified cell populations, and to study live
cells within individual populations.
* Stephen Sugrue, Ph.D., associate director for basic science
and shared facilities at the UFSCC and chairman of the
department of anatomy and cell biology, was awarded $499,693
to purchase a Leica TCS SP5 AOBS confocal microscope with
tandem scanner to study living cell populations. This new
microscope ensures that researchers can record brilliant, high-
resolution images of cancer cells, tumors and the tumor
microenvironment, and monitor high-speed dynamic processes
within cancer cells.
* Weihong Tan, Ph.D., of the department of chemistry and the
UFSCC, was awarded $157,500 to study small cell lung cancer
in an effort to develop early detection methods and targeted
therapies for lung cancer patients.
* Naohiro Terada, M.D., Ph.D., of the department of
pathology, was awarded $200,000 to explore how the drug
azacitidine helps treat a hematological disease common
among the elderly called myelodysplastic syndrome, which
often turns into acute leukemia. 0
221 :*16" I% d M Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events.
UF doctor helps prove innocence
of convicted health workers in Libya
By April Frawley Birdwell
| e dots all showed the
same thing. The nurses
and the doctor were
Marco Salemi, Ph.D., traced his finger across
the graph in his copy of the journal Nature. The
line at the top, labeled March 1998, marked
when the health workers arrived at the Libyan
hospital. The dots below it pinpointed when the
HIV epidemic the nurses and doctor are accused
of starting actually began, according to
molecular clock analyses performed at the
University of Florida, the University of Oxford
and institutions in Italy.
The dates were all before March 1998, proving
that it would have been impossible for the health
workers to start the epidemic by injecting HIV
into the 426 children who contracted the disease
at the hospital, which Libyan officials allege
"It is a statistical impossibility that these
people are guilty of spreading this virus on
purpose," said Salemi, a UF assistant professor
of pathology, immunology and laboratory
medicine who co-wrote an article detailing the
findings in the December issue of Nature. "As a
scientist, this data absolutely has no limitation.
It is clear-cut. This is probably why this paper
was so well-accepted."
That's also why Salemi nearly fell out of the
chair in his office when he heard on Dec. 19 that
the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor
had been convicted anyway, sentenced to death
by firing squad.
"It makes me very sad," Salemi said. "On the
other hand I heard the court decided in seven
minutes. Seven minutes is not enough time to
review anything. It sounds like they didn't even
look at the scientific study."
Italian researchers had collected blood
samples from 50 of the children while working
with the health workers' defense team during
their first trial a few years ago. The workers were
convicted the first time, too, but after
international outcry, the Libyans agreed to hold
a new trial.
With the samples they already had, the Italian
researchers approached Salemi, asking him to
analyze the data with molecular clock dating.
The technique has been used since the 1970s but
has improved dramatically as computers have
grown stronger and faster, Salemi said.
Using different samples collected from the
children at different times, the researchers could
calculate how often the HIV had mutated. This
allowed them to calculate the rate of evolution
and pinpoint the date the epidemic originated
using complex mathematical equations.
The technique has been used primarily to date
the origins of species but because HIV mutates
quickly often mutating several times over a
few months researchers have also been able to
use it to track the virus.
The researchers spent most of October
running complex calculations on computers in
Florida, England and Italy. Each team of
researchers used a different mathematical model
to determine when the epidemic began to make
sure the results weren't flawed because of one
model's results. All the models came up with
similar results, and each placed the root of the
origin prior to 1998, Salemi said
"We didn't invent anything new but we did
use the most accurate techniques, some
developed by the Oxford group over the last
couple of years," Salemi said. "(They're) really
Using another form of analysis called a
phylogenetic tree, Salemi also showed how the
three strains of HIV the children contracted
were similar to strains from Ghana.
"Libya has been known to have a lot of
immigrants from these neighboring states," he
said. "It's not unlikely to think some of these
immigrants brought the strain there."
Salemi, who has been at UF since 2004, has
been using computer models to answer
molecular questions since he was in graduate
school in Belgium, where he worked in one of
the leading labs studying the molecular
evolution of viruses. There, he and other
researchers traced the origin of HIV to the 1930s
after a book blamed the HIV epidemic on
widespread oral polio vaccinations in the 1950s.
Although the trial is over, Salemi said he is
hopeful that new hearings or trials will take his
group's research into consideration. The nurses
and doctor recently appealed the conviction to
the Libyan Supreme Court.
"Scientifically speaking we have done what we
can do," Salemi said. "Now it's just a matter of
hoping the court will start looking at the
evidence in front of their eyes." 0
Visit us online @ http://news.health.ufl.edu/ for the latest news and HSC events. .oI 10 23
Clockwise from top
Beth Duncan opens a gift, surrounded by the smiles of
co-workers who have come to wish her well as she retires
after 15 years as assistant director of Healthnet
Henry Simmons, a third-year pharmacy student, reviews
his notes outside the HPNP Building after a case
Dale Benjamin (left) practices a temporomandibular joint
exam on classmate Danny Bass as Clay Sims observes
during a preclinical lab for second-year dental students.
UF Health Science Center
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Director, News &
Melanie Fridl Ross, John Pastor
April Frawley Birdwell, Tracy Brown,
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McGhee, John Pastor, Jill Pease,
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Lyndsey Lewis, Stephanie Fraiman
Cassandra Jackson, Beth Powers,
The POST is the monthly internal
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