School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Research assistant, med school applicant Craig Thomas wins Young Investigator Award at American Heart Association symposium
In Headlines on December 17, 2013
Wayne State University’s Craig Thomas, right, receives the Young Investigator Award at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium on Nov. 15 in Dallas.

Wayne State University’s Craig Thomas, right, receives the Young Investigator Award at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium on Nov. 15 in Dallas.

A Wayne State University School of Medicine research assistant was recognized at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium in Dallas last month for the study abstract “Cerebral Oximetry and End Tidal CO2 as Predictors of Futility During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.”

Craig Thomas, who works in the Department of Emergency Medicine, received the Young Investigator Award at the national meeting Nov. 15.

“It was certainly a great surprise. I knew that we were doing important and groundbreaking research, but for it to be recognized at such a huge national event amongst so many other impressive research projects certainly made me very proud to be a part of such an incredible team,” Thomas said.

Emergency Medicine Professor and Chair Brian O’Neil, M.D., is the principal investigator on the ongoing study. Thomas also presented a portion of the data in poster format Nov. 17.

“Craig, who had no relevant clinical or research experience, quickly integrated into our research family and through his hard work and ingenuity was able to produce a scientific discovery that will likely change how we treat cardiac arrest patents,” Dr. O’Neil said.

Thomas has been working with cerebral oximetry in cardiac arrest since joining the department in 2011, and began looking at it as a tool for futility after starting data analysis less than a year ago. An oximeter uses near-infrared spectroscopy to estimate how much oxygen the brain is getting during cardiac arrest. Lack of oxygen can lead to hypoxic injury and neuronal death.

“So, even in the phase of an arrest where compressions are being done, we can measure the cerebral perfusion with the oximeter to determine if we are giving the brain the oxygen it needs via compressions. If we see that there is an extended period of non-perfusion or under-perfusion, we may be able to use this as an indicator of futility,” Thomas said.

The medical school hopeful and Clarkston, Mich., native received a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree from Philadelphia’s Drexel University, both in biomedical sciences.

“I would love the opportunity to attend the Wayne State University School of Medicine so that I could have the same quality medical education the medical students that I work with have received. I would also like to stay at WSU in order to continue my work with Dr. O’Neil in order to improve clinical practice in cardiac arrests,” he said. “Dr. O’Neil has been a great mentor of mine and a strong advocate of resuscitation science research, particularly with cardiac arrest. His enthusiasm for our work with cerebral oximetry has certainly spread to me and the rest of the team.”

The study is ongoing, and Thomas is responsible for generation of abstracts, protocol and logistics, patient enrollment, and data collection and analysis. In addition to Thomas and Dr. O’Neil, the team includes Informatics Coordinator Brian Reed, Clinical Research Manager Patrick Medado, Statistician Scott Millis, Ph.D., and fourth-year WSU medical student Tom Engel.

“(Tom Engel and I) were talking about the anecdotal evidence we had that oximetry was great for predicting the futility of a code. We brought the idea to Dr. O’Neil and after some discussing he allowed us to push forward with organizing and analyzing the data for the abstract,” Thomas said.

To see if they could predict the futility of the code, the team looked at cerebral oximetry and end tidal CO2 data – the level of carbon dioxide exhaled from the body – for 169 events of cardiac arrest. “There obviously has to be a lot more work done in this area in order to validate it. But I believe, and our data seems to suggest, that cerebral oximetry could certainly be a tool used to assist a physician in their decision to terminate a code. In addition to our data showing it as a good model for futility, it is an easy device to apply and understand, making it useful in an emergency medical services’ setting or hospital setting.”

His award is one of two representatives from the Department of Emergency Medicine received at the AHA meeting. Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine James Paxton, M.D., M.B.A., received a Young Investigator Award for the study abstract “Surviving Septic Shock: Do Delays in Obtaining Adequate Vascular Access Prevent Appropriate Early Resuscitation?”

(Read the article on Dr. Paxton here).

“As the chair of our relatively small department, I am beaming with pride over being awarded two AHA ReSS National Young Investigator Awards at this year’s Scientific Sessions in Dallas. These awards are a testament to our department's dedication and investment into mentoring our young faculty and students,” Dr. O’Neil said.
Kresge Eye Institute photographers win accolades at national events
In Headlines on December 16, 2013
Kit Morehead won Best in Show at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting in April 2013 for this image.

Kit Morehead won Best in Show at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting in April 2013 for this image.

Lisa Belanger received a third place award for this ophthalmic photo.

Lisa Belanger received a third place award for this ophthalmic photo.

Zlatan Sadikovic received second place in the Gonio Photography category.

Zlatan Sadikovic received second place in the Gonio Photography category.

Melanie Zuckero placed third in External Photography.

Melanie Zuckero placed third in External Photography.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine Kresge Eye Institute’s certified image specialists were recognized for their work in several ophthalmology photography categories at the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society’s Scientific Exhibition, part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting held Nov. 15-19 in New Orleans.

Kit Morehead won first place in the fundus photography category for “45 degrees.” Zlatan Sadikovic won second place and Melanie Zuckero took third place, in the external photography category. In wide angle fundus photography, Lisa Belanger received third place and Morehead received an honorable mention.

Zuckero also was a member of the OPS program’s lecture faculty.

The photographers also received awards at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery annual symposium and congress earlier this year.

“The repeat of multiple awards in this year’s competitions comes as no surprise to me,” said Sadikovic, Kresge’s director of imaging and testing. “The winning images are just a sampling of our department’s daily exemplary work based on excellent skills and improvements made possible through the continuing education process.”

At the ASCRS Scientific Exhibition, held in April in San Francisco, Morehead won Best in Show out of 15 categories and first place for her slit lamp photography piece titled “Hyphema.” The photo also was featured on the cover of the Journal of Ophthalmic Photography’s fall 2013 issue. Morehead also received first place and honorable mention in fluorescein angiography and second place in high magnification fundus photography, with Elisabeth Silvis taking third place in the latter category. Dena Harris received second place in wide angle fundus photography; Zuckero received second place in cross categories; and Sadikovic received second place in the composite and gonioscopic photography categories, and an honorable mention in fluorescein angiography.

All of the award-winning KEI photographers are certified retinal angiographers through OPS.

“We are fortunate at Kresge Eye Institute to have one of the largest and most talented groups of certified imaging specialists in the industry,” said Mark Juzych, M.D., M.H.S.A., director of the Kresge Eye Institute and chair of the Wayne State University Department of Ophthalmology. “Our initial investment nearly 15 years ago into digital imaging has put us on the cutting edge of diagnostics and treatments, and has improved our patient care.”

KEI’s photography department provides photographic and digital documentation for patient care, clinical research and vision research activities in a variety of styles. The full-service lab furnishes WSU faculty, residents and fellows with prints for publication and presentations for teaching and lecturing purposes.
Student group will make holiday fundraiser annual event
In Headlines on December 13, 2013
Dr. Chih Chuang spoke at the Dec. 5 holiday dinner.

Dr. Chih Chuang spoke at the Dec. 5 holiday dinner.

A silent auction included items from the organization’s various destinations.

A silent auction included items from the organization’s various destinations.

Dr. Paul Kilgore was among the featured guest speakers.

Dr. Paul Kilgore was among the featured guest speakers.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s World Health Student Organization hosted its second annual holiday dinner Dec. 5 to support the purchase of medical supplies for six mission trips to Haiti, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.

More than 350 guests attended the Health for the Holidays event, held at Byblos Banquet Center in Dearborn, Mich. Proceeds from ticket sales, sponsorships and a silent auction that featured items related to the organization’s trip destinations will help fund the organization. Profits from the dinner will be split among the trips.

“We hope to continue this every year and have it be a regular annual event in support of WHSO,” said Danny Orabi, WHSO’s vice president of External Affairs for 2013-2014 and a second-year medical student. “With it happening early in the school year, our hope is it will provide the majority of our funds in future years for trips. My goal is that we make it large enough, secure sponsors and have enough attendees so our medical students don’t have to fundraise for medical supplies.”

This year’s sponsors included Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer and Garin P.C.; Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry; the Wayne State University Physician Group; the Wayne State University Department of Surgery; Print Xpress; and Sonosite.

“We’re very grateful to our sponsors,” Orabi said. “With support from sponsors, the organization can continue to grow.”

Orabi also thanked Vice Dean of Education Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., who helped publicize the event by sharing the information with WSU’s hospital partners. Attendees also included medical students, their friends and family, School of Medicine representatives and members of several undergraduate student organizations, including the Arab Student Union, the Pre-Professional Medical Society and the Red Cross Club.

The WHSO is an all-volunteer, non-profit, student-run organization comprised of WSU medical students whose mission is to gain rich medical and cultural experiences outside their immediate communities. Goals include providing free medical care to underserved populations in remote regions of the world, volunteering at community outreach projects that serve the residents of Detroit, and teaching fellow students about global health through speakers and seminars. First- and second-year students on overseas missions are accompanied by at least one senior medical student, two physicians, a pharmacist and others.

Chih Chuang, M.D., director of the school’s Office of Global Health and Education, was among the dinner speakers. The 2006 School of Medicine graduate talked about his experience observing the health plight of poverty-stricken nations.

Paul Evan Kilgore, M.D., M.P.H., also spoke at the event. Dr. Kilgore is an associate professor in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ Department of Pharmacy Practice and a 1991 graduate of the School of Medicine. He talked about importance of global health and his experience working for 12 years at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, a facility set up by the United Nations.

For photos from the event, visit http://waynewhso.org/health-for-the-holidays-dinner.

To learn more about the WHSO sponsors or to become a sponsor, visit www.waynewhso.org.
Researcher discovers new treatment for skin and corneal wound healing in diabetics
In Headlines on December 12, 2013
Fu-Shin Yu, Ph.D.

Fu-Shin Yu, Ph.D.

Diabetes Mellitus, a metabolic disorder that affects nearly 170 million people worldwide, is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia that disrupts carbohydrate fat and protein metabolism resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. DM can cause long-term damage, dysfunction and even failure of various organs.

Patients with DM may develop corneal complications and delayed wound healing. This slow wound healing contributes to increased infections and the formation of bed sores and ulcers. Corneal complications include diabetic neuropathies and ocular complications that often lead to reduced vision or blindness.

A team of Wayne State University researchers recently developed several diabetic models to study impaired wound healing in diabetic corneas. Using a genome-wide cDNA array analysis, the group identified genes, their associated pathways and the networks affected by DM in corneal epithelial cells and their roles in wound closure. The findings may bring scientists one step closer to developing new treatments that may slow or thwart DM’s impact on vision.

The team, led by Fu-Shin Yu, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and director of research at the Kresge Eye Institute, has discovered transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling as a major pathway affected by hyperglycemia in DM corneal epithelial cells. In addition, Dr. Yu and his team identified for the first time that wound-induced upregulation of TGFβ3 is dampened by hyperglycemia and that by adding TGFβ3 to the wound, epithelial wound closure was accelerated.

This discovery, published on line in the prestigious scientific journal Diabetes, may provide new treatment options for diabetic wound healing in tissues such in the cornea and skin.

“Delayed wound healing are major complications of diabetes, often leading to severe end results such as diabetic ulcers, losing a limb or going blind,” said Joan Dunbar, Ph.D., associate vice president for Technology Commercialization at Wayne State University. “Dr. Yu’s discovery of the genome-wide transcriptional analysis has allowed the development of composition and methods to treat negative effects of diabetes, which may ultimately promote healing of wounds, reduce the negative effects of diabetic neuropathies, and promote the health of the eye and maintenance of eye sight in diabetics. The findings in the cornea have a strong implication in the skin as they both have neuropathy and delayed wound healing.”

Wayne State University has filed a U.S. Provisional Patent application on Dr. Yu’s technology discovery.

Dr. Yu’s research was funded by a grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, award number EY01869 and Research to Prevent Blindness.
Researchers find soy isoflavones protect against side effects of radiation therapy for lung cancer
In Headlines on December 11, 2013
Gilda Hillman, Ph.D.

Gilda Hillman, Ph.D.

A Wayne State University School of Medicine professor has published pre-clinical study results that indicate soy isoflavones could reduce the side effects of radiotherapy treatment in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

The findings of two studies, “Radioprotection of lung tissue by soy isoflavones” and “Differential effect of soy isoflavones in enhancing high intensity radiotherapy and protecting lung tissue in a pre-clinical model of lung carcinoma,” published in the November issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology and Radiotherapy and Oncology, showed that the use of soy isoflavones in mice before and after radiation reduced the side effects of such treatment.

A team led by Gilda Hillman, Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology for the School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, treated mice with oral soy isoflavones for three days before and up to four months after radiation. Their findings showed that the isoflavones protected the lungs against the side effects of radiation, and diminished other effects, including skin injury, hair loss, increased breathing rates, inflammation and fibrosis.

Radiotherapy is commonly used in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. Soy isoflavones are nontoxic plant estrogens extracted from soy beans.

The studies also showed that mice with lung cancer that ingested isoflavone supplements while undergoing radiation therapy experienced slower tumor growth in comparison to mice not given the supplements. Those treated with the isoflavones experienced less damage to healthy surrounding lung tissue.

“Taken together, these observations confirm that soy isoflavones can modulate the inflammatory response caused by radiation and slow the progressive tissue damage induced by radiation, which leads to impaired lung function,” Dr. Hillman said. “The use of soy isoflavones as radioprotectors is attractive because they were proven to be safe in controlled human clinical trials. Our experimental studies in animal models suggest that the addition of soy to radiotherapy might improve the effect of radiotherapy on the tumor target and reduce the dose-limiting toxicity of radiotherapy to the normal lung. If this proves to be the case, this simple, nontoxic, natural compound would radically improve the effectiveness of this new radiation treatment for inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer.”

Lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, is the second most common malignancy in men and women in the United States, and the leading cause of cancer deaths. The ACS estimates that more than 215,000 people per year will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Approximately 85 percent of lung cancers are classified as non-small-cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. One-third of patients with diagnosed NSCLC have an inoperable Stage III form and face a five-year survival rate of only 20 percent.

“The protective effect was first observed in our clinical trial for prostate cancer patients, showing that soy isoflavone pills, taken in conjunction with radiotherapy, reduced radiation toxicity, resulting in improved urinary, gastrointestinal and sexual functions,” Dr. Hillman said.

Shirish Gadgeel M.D., professor of internal medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology for the School of Medicine and leader of the thoracic multidisciplinary team at the Karmanos Cancer Institute is a co-author of the studies. He and Andre Konski, M.D., M.B.A., professor and chair of the WSU Department of Radiation Oncology, will begin a clinical trial evaluating the addition of soy isoflavones with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the treatment of stage III NSCLC patients.
Emergency Medicine's Dr. James Paxton wins Young Investigator Award at American Heart Association symposium
In Headlines on December 11, 2013
Wayne State University’s James Paxton, M.D., right, receives the Young Investigator Award at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium Nov. 15 in Dallas.

Wayne State University’s James Paxton, M.D., right, receives the Young Investigator Award at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium Nov. 15 in Dallas.

A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member was recognized at the American Heart Association Resuscitation Science Symposium in Dallas last month for the study abstract “Surviving Septic Shock: Do Delays in Obtaining Adequate Vascular Access Prevent Appropriate Early Resuscitation?”

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine James Paxton, M.D., M.B.A., received the Young Investigator Award at the national meeting Nov. 15. The awards are given to the top-scoring abstracts submitted by investigators within three years of their faculty appointment.

He was the principal investigator on the study, which looked at whether these delays impact patient care outcomes. He also presented a portion of the data in poster format Nov. 17.

Dr. Paxton is director of Emergency Medicine Resident Research at the Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. He joined the hospital staff and WSU faculty two years ago. He hopes to use what they have learned to develop methods to improve management of septic shock patients in the emergency department.

The Surviving Sepsis Guidelines of 2012 state that all patients with septic shock should receive large amounts (30ml/kg) of intravenous fluid in the first three hours following diagnosis. Delays in achieving vascular access adequate enough to deliver that amount of fluid may have significant impacts on patient outcomes, said study research assistant and second-year WSU medical student Nathaniel Hunt.

Hunt won the Best Medical Student Presentation award for his oral delivery of the project at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Regional Conference on Nov. 8 in Akron, Ohio.

Dr. Paxton became interested in the subject of sepsis and septic shock while in residency at Henry Ford Hospital, and began collaborating with WSU Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Rob Sherwin, M.D., after arriving at Sinai Grace Hospital and WSU. “Dr. Sherwin has done a great deal of research in the area of sepsis, and assisted me in formulating the study in May and June 2013,” he said.

The Department of Emergency Medicine’s Academic Research Advisor Cheryl Courage also was an essential member of the project team, Dr. Paxton said, working closely with him and Hunt in conducting the data analysis. “This award would not have been possible without the contributions that Nate, Cheryl and Rob all made to this project,” he said.

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