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July 2013


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Think you know every nook and hideout connected to UW Medicine? Guess where this picture was taken and win a UW School of Medicine prize. Email with your guess, and put “where am I?” in the subject line.

Have a story you think your fellow alumni would be interested to hear? Email, and put “Connections topic” in the subject line. Thanks!

From Grad to Fellow: Andy Powers, Ph.D. '11

Andy Powers, PhD '11

As a graduate student, Andy Powers, Ph.D. ’11, studied in the Asbury lab with Chip Asbury, Ph.D. ’99, part of the UW School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics. He now works as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR). 

“The training I received from my mentor Chip Asbury was instrumental in preparing me for the challenges of postdoctoral work. He is a master of communicating crystal-clear ideas to explain complex experimental results, and he pursues biological questions with the precision and rigor of an engineer, always designing the best possible experiment to test a given hypothesis. Chip is also an incredibly kind and genuine person who strives to maintain a fun and collegial atmosphere in lab,” says Dr. Powers. 

For six years, Powers examined how dividing cells generate force to segregate chromosomes during mitosis. Part of this research included work on how kinetochores monitor the quality of microtubule attachments to prevent chromosome mis-segregation, which can lead to birth defects and cancer. 
“I have many great memories from my time at UW and of living in Seattle, but the best was meeting my wife in our first year of graduate school. The years we spent in Seattle doing research, spending time with friends and exploring the city and the Pacific Northwest were wonderful. We recently had a baby girl and can’t wait to show her Seattle,” says Powers. 

Powers is a native of Sonoma, CA, and has traded the Pacific Northwest for Cambridge, MA, for his post at NIBR. 

“I have been really impressed with the talented scientists and high-quality research at NIBR. It’s inspiring to work in an atmosphere where rare diseases are given as much attention as more prevalent conditions,” says Powers. 
Powers is focusing on a protein called Cdk5, a signaling molecule that participates in many aspects of normal cellular physiology but is thought to become dysregulated in neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders. To study Cdk5, his team is employing a full biological, biochemical and genetic toolkit, including the use of knockout mice to study the consequence of ablating Cdk5-associated genes.

“Ultimately, we hope that our findings will shed light on an understudied aspect of cellular biology, and we also hope that they will provide answers about what governs Cdk5 activity in health and disease,” says Powers. 

On life in the Northeast, Powers says he and his wife have had a blast exploring this new part of the country. 

“But it was hard to leave behind such dear friends. I definitely miss the stunning beauty of the mountains and water and enjoying the recreational opportunities… and nothing tops the cuisine available in the Pacific Northwest.”


Q&A with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine: Building the Prosthetics and Orthotics Program

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UW Medicine has the longest-standing degree program in prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) in the United States.  A degree in P&O provides practitioners with the ability to design and fit artificial limbs and devices that correct musculoskeletal functions. Ann Yamane, B.S. ’76, senior lecturer, Vickie Corrin, academic counselor and Ph.D. coordinator, and Susan Spaulding, teaching associate, talk about the department’s strengths and the recent addition of a master’s degree to their offerings. 

How did the P&O program begin at UW Medicine?
Beginning as a baccalaureate program in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1970, the program was led by then-chair Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., and Bernard Simons, CPO (E), the director of prosthetics. The first class of seven students graduated in 1972, and with the 2013 graduation of our inaugural MPO class, we have 417 graduates.

Why did the department expand its degree program to include an MPO?
Transitioning from a baccalaureate program to the master’s level paralleled recent changes in professional standards. In 2005, the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) convened an educational summit to review the status and future of P&O education. The group affirmed the need to transition existing education programs to the master’s level in order to provide students with the core competencies required for present and future practitioners. 
How many students are accepted into the program each year?Twelve. The small cohort supports the department’s active learning format, helps maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio, and helps students excel in multidisciplinary classes with extended clinical learning. We’re proud of our inaugural class, as they all secured residency positions at well-respected and competitive sites. 

Damon Bagley-Ayres, MPO University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS
Daniel Dailey, MPO Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA
Kimberly Gorbutt, MPO University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Rebecca Lamson, MPO Scheck and Siress, Chicago, IL
Jeremy Miles, MPO Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Phoenix, AZ
Alyssa Perry, MPO National Orthotics & Prosthetics Company, Boston, MA
Nathan Tulloch, MPO Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kenya Sandhagen, MPO University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Tevye Waite, MPO Shriners Hospital for Children, Portland, OR

How did your curriculum change in building the MPO program?

We added three new research-related courses and two new clinical courses in pediatrics and clinical skills to the program. Additionally, existing courses were revised with higher-order learning objectives and outcomes. 

How will the advanced degree enhance the graduate’s ability to treat patients?
Graduates will acquire further ability to interpret research, place research in context with clinical experience, provide effective and ethical clinical care and develop skills to analyze and integrate new technology. 

What impact is the MPO having on the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine?
There is now better collaboration among prosthetics and orthotics students, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students and master of occupational therapy (MOT) students. Previously, courses could include DPT students who had completed their undergraduate work and had been in the workforce for several years, as well as P&O students working towards their baccalaureate degree. Therefore, the move to an MPO provides the opportunity to create more interdisciplinary coursework and experiences for all rehab medicine students.

Calling Seattle-area Alumni!
(for service learning)

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Our students need M.D.s to serve as volunteer preceptors for service learning activities this summer and fall. With your supervision, students can offer basic health screenings and referral services to low-income or uninsured clients at the Aloha Inn and through co-sponsored health fairs. Preceptors provide supervision for medical and pharmacy students and consultations with clients who have abnormal test results, and they provide general advice and support for the students conducting the screenings.

If you are interested in serving as a preceptor for any of the dates below, or would like to volunteer in the future, please contact Lauren Henricksen at or 206.685.2009. Liability coverage can be arranged.

Aloha Inn Clinic Dates (2:30–4:30 p.m.)
Sunday, July 28
Sunday, August 25
Sunday, September 22
Sunday, October 13
Tuesday October 22

Upcoming Health Fairs
Saturday, August 3 (Federal Way, Luke Lutheran Church, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.)
Saturday, September 28 (Auburn, Grace Community Church, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.)
Sunday, October 13 (Seattle, St. Mary’s Church, 1 p.m.–3:30 p.m.) 

Get Your Merchandise

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The Medical Student Association (MSA) is opening its summer clothing sale. Beginning on Thursday, Aug. 1, alumni may purchase UW School of Medicine apparel at A portion of the proceeds benefits UW School of Medicine student organizations.

Please note: to complete your purchase, you will need to create a user name and password at the site. 

Alumni in the News

Dr. Gregory Foltz, who founded brain-cancer clinic, dies at 50
Seattle Times obituary for Gregory Foltz, M.D., Res. ’97 – founder and director of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Swedish Medical Center. 

Training programs feel growing demand for rural physicians
Roger Rosenblatt, M.D., Res. ’74, discusses the need for more family doctors as a result of the Affordable Care Act. 

Four seek two seats on hospital board: Nemec, Montgomery, Pierce, Razzeto
Neil Nemec, M.D. ’75, Res. ’77, was recently elected to a position on the Kootenai Hospital District Board of Trustees in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Leaders in Health Care 2013
Alumni Rainer Storb, M.D., Fel. ’68, and Anthony Back, M.D. ’87, Res. ’88 were recognized by Seattle Business magazine as leaders in health care. Other UW Medicine leaders were also recognized. 

Discovering Harborview
A reporter discovers the many facets of Harborview Medical Center. Features Brian Ross, M.D. ’83, Ph.D., Res. ’87, and his work as the executive director for the Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies at Harborview. UW Professor Sam Sharar, M.D. ’83, Res. ’85, ’86, Fel. ’90, ’91, an anesthesiologist at Harborview, also discussed his work with burn patients. 

Free Summer Genome Sciences Lecture Series

UW Medicine’s Department of Genome Sciences has launched its annual free summer public lecture series titled “Wednesday Evenings at the Genome.”

Wednesday, July 24 — 7:00 p.m. (Hitchcock 132)

Peter Byers, M.D.: “Genetics and the law: contretemps over brittle bones still waiting on a picture.”

Wednesday, July 31 — 7:00 p.m. (Hitchcock 132)

Maynard Olson, Ph.D.: “Genomic medicine: what path forward?”

For more information, contact Carlene Cross at

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