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May 15, 2015
Table of contents
UW Prof. Randall Moon, founding director of UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, deserves special recognition
We have many outstanding and extremely productive faculty at UW Medicine. Even with this very high bar for excellence, Randall “Randy” Moon, professor of pharmacology, is a standout. I am delighted to inform you that Randy Moon is among this year’s inductees to the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS recently announced its annual election of new members and foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Randy joins 34 other UW Medicine faculty who have been elected to NAS.
Randy, also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is the founding director of the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research (ISCRM), where he also holds the William and Marilyn Conner Chair.
Since the late 1980s, Randy’s research has focused on the roles of Wnt signaling in stem and progenitor cells in regenerative processes. Wnts are a family of secreted proteins that activate multiple receptor-mediated signal transduction pathways in both embryos and adults. His most recent work has yielded insights into disease mechanisms and identified new therapeutic avenues through the regeneration of nerve and heart tissue. His lab is also looking at modulating Wnt signaling in cancer as a potential therapeutic target, particularly for melanoma.
Throughout his very illustrious career, Randy has been an example and role model for researchers and trainees. He is an impeccable investigator who strives for excellence in everything he does. His work and that of his colleagues has had a significant impact. Randy is a wonderful person who shares his insights freely and widely and who cares deeply about advancing science and creating collaborative partnerships. He has been an outstanding leader of ISCRM.
We are very proud of Randy’s election into this prestigious group of scientists. Congratulations Randy for this well-deserved honor!
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
UW researchers, who were the first to demonstrate you can normalize blood sugar in the absence of insulin, are now using a tool called optogenetics to understand which neurons of the brain are affected by stimuli. Understanding the neurocircuitry in diabetes could make it possible to treat patients with a designer protein to permanently change its function. See story in UW Medicine magazine.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is cited in several stories of how sugar is the culprit for obesity, not lack of exercise. See stories in Forbes, Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Consumer Affairs, among others. Also, the Washington Post uses the GBD data to look at which country is the most obese (U.S. is No. 27). And the GBD study is highlighted in a CNN story by Fareed Zakaria, “What in the World: A study of death around the globe.”
For more research stories, see HSNewsBeat.
UW Professor Douglas Wood, chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, played a key role in getting private insurers and Medicare to cover lung cancer screenings. The cure rate of lung-cancer patients, at all stages, is currently only 16 percent, he said, but if the cancer is identified early and the tumor is small, the chance of cure rises to 70-80 percent. And patients seen in lung-cancer screening programs have an 80-85 percent chance for a cure, he said. See more on the story in HSNewsBeat.
In related news, the School of Public Health just produced a short video on a UW Tobacco Studies Program that has a goal to end the global tobacco epidemic.
Under legislation signed into law May 11, 2015, by Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington is the first state in the nation to require pharmacists to be included in health insurance provider networks. Pharmacists, as with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, will be compensated for the patient care they provide within their scope of practice. Studies have shown that when a pharmacist is included in a healthcare team, the patient's outcome improves. See story in HSNewsBeat.
Also, Grace Marx, M.D. (’10), MPH reports on working in the Ebola holding unit at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. And Greg Davis, UW assistant professor in otolaryngology, answers questions about his sinus surgery on a 425-pound gorilla. See stories in UW Medicine magazine.
To celebrate Nurses Week (May 6-12 in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday), the UW School of Nursing created a microsite featuring great photography and profiles of nurses. The site includes a heartwarming video filmed at the Pike Place Market Senior Center on their weekly “Dance Day.” Also, the School of Nursing started a hashtag, #huskynurse, and asked people to hold up signs, "Im a Husky nurse" and tweet it out or post on Instagram.The campaign received more than 40 responses in two weeks. The School of Nursing will be celebrating nurses throughout May. See more.
Olga Afanasiev, Ph.D. (’13) worked with UW researchers Profs. David Koelle and Paul Nghiem on a therapy to shrink tumors in patients with Merkel cell carcinoma, a lethal skin cancer. Afanasiev is part of UW Medicine’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), an eight-year educational program in which students earn both an M.D. and a Ph.D. Caitlin Milligan, another MSTP student finishing up her Ph.D., is looking at why some babies contract HIV from their mothers, but others not. See more on their story in UW Medicine magazine.
Wyoming WWAMI students spent a day in February immersed in politics, meeting with Wyoming state legislators, the governor and U.S. senators as part of the annual legislative luncheon hosted by Wyoming WWAMI. At the Wyoming state capitol, the students were recognized on the floors of both the House and Senate and State Sen. Jeff Wasserburger (R-Gillette) gave a rousing speech to the students about their importance to the future of healthcare in Wyoming.
The luncheon was attended by both of Wyoming’s U.S. senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, as well as many Wyoming state legislators, third- and fourth-year medical students, WWAMI physicians, clerkship preceptors and healthcare organizations. Sen. Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, reminded students of the need for physicians to advocate for their patients and the need for their services in Wyoming when they complete their medical education. After the luncheon, the Wyoming WWAMI class went to the Wyoming state capitol where they were introduced. The students also met with Gov. Matt Mead and had a discussion about Medicaid expansion and other healthcare issues in Wyoming.
The Wyoming WWAMI legislative luncheon brings together everyone in Wyoming involved with the WWAMI program and serves as an opportunity for the students to thank the Wyoming legislature for their support of the Wyoming WWAMI program.
Karren Lewis, a M.D./M.P.H. student at the School of Medicine through the University of Wyoming WWAMI program, is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. Scholar Awards was established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral level degree at an accredited college or university. The P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded Jan. 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College.
UW Medical Center is ranked No. 11 in the 25th edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual best hospitals rankings. The ranking includes key information on nearly 5,000 medical centers nationwide. See more.
UW ranked third out of 59 universities in its approach to global equity and biomedical research, earning a B+ “grade.” The University Report Card ranking was published in late April by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a student-led group focused on access to medicine and health-related technologies. See article in The New York Times, “University grades are mixed on research for the poor” (May 11, 2015).
Prof. and Chair of Psychiatry Jürgen Unützer was appointed by Sylvia Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to a four-year term on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council.
The Gold Humanism Honor Society Chapter at the University of Washington School of Medicine held its fourth annual induction ceremony May 8 where 35 students, seven residents and two faculty were selected for membership. Approximately15 percent of the fourth-year class is inducted each year. Student inductees are chosen by a selection committee and based on peer evaluation. Faculty and resident members are nominated by students. Induction into the society recognizes dedication to the principles of humanism in medicine, including excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Students spend their fourth year promoting the practice of humanism in medicine at UW Medicine institutions and in the community.
In addition to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, the Gold Foundation also sponsors the annual Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards for a graduating student and faculty member at each of its participating medical schools. This award is presented to the student and faculty member who best demonstrate the foundation's ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families and colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence. The 2015 student recipient is Nicole Kim who, following graduation, will begin her internal medicine residency at University of California, San Francisco. The 2015 faculty recipient is Jill Watanabe, UW associate professor in the Department of Medicine.
The Nepalese Student Association and the Nepal Studies Initiative are coordinating earthquake relief efforts at the University of Washington. To donate, please go to http://students.washington.edu/nepaluw/.
Videos from the 2015 UW Mini-Medical School are now available on Youtube.
The address will be presented by David J. Tauben, chief of the UW Division of Pain Medicine, with opening remarks by Johnese Spisso, UW Medicine chief health system officer. A reception will follow. The event will take place at 5 p.m., Tuesday May 19, Health Sciences building, D-209.
The high-profile lecture, “Breakthroughs in Imprint Lithography and 3D Additive Fabrication,” will be given by Joseph M. DeSimone, Ph.D., who is the chancellor's eminent professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina (UNC), and the William R. Kenan, Jr., distinguished professor of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University and of chemistry at UNC. The lecture is from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Tuesday May 19, William H. Foege Auditorium (South Foege Bldg. Room 0-S60). View more information.
Lecturer George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org, which provides the world’s only open-access information on human genomic, environmental and trait data. The lecture is from 12 -1 p.m., Thursday May 28, Hogness Auditorium, Health Sciences Building. View more information.
Visit Continuing Medical Education for information on upcoming classes.