School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Dr. Mattingly inducted into Academy of Pharmacology Educators
In Headlines on June 25, 2014
Carol Beck, Ph.D., of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and chair of the Division for Pharmacology Education at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, presents Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D., with a certificate marking his induction into ASPETís Academy of Pharmacology Educators.

Carol Beck, Ph.D., of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and chair of the Division for Pharmacology Education at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, presents Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D., with a certificate marking his induction into ASPETís Academy of Pharmacology Educators.

A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member has been recognized for his devotion to teaching by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, has been inducted into ASPET’s Academy of Pharmacology Educators. The academy recognizes instructors who have made exemplary contributions to pharmacology education.

“I have been committed to the field of pharmacology since I was an undergraduate student,” Dr. Mattingly said. “As a faculty member I have been particularly concerned to provide the best possible teaching to all of our students, in both the classroom and the laboratory, and so it is a special honor for me to be recognized by our major professional society.”

Dr. Mattingly, a member of the faculty since 1998, is the course director for Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and deputy director of the School of Medicine’s Cancer Biology Graduate Program, which is funded by a T32 training grant from the National Cancer Institute. The nomination recognized him for playing an important role in developing and modernizing the basic science curriculum in pharmacology, and said he is “regarded as an excellent scientist-educator” who has directly mentored 30 graduate students and five postdoctoral trainees.

A winner of three WSU College Teaching Awards, he is a longtime member of the Initiative for Minority Student Development, mentoring three students in the program in the last 10 years and serving as a committee member.

“I was the first member of my family to go to university and so I really wanted to contribute to programs, like the IMSD, that are successful in expanding access to biomedical education and research careers,” Dr. Mattingly said. “Many of these students are excellent, and so greatly benefit from the opportunities provided. For example, Ryan Jackson, an IMSD undergraduate student currently working in my lab, won the Outstanding Presentation Award at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Nashville, Tenn., in November 2013.”

In addition, he trains high school students in his lab.

“I think it is important to provide opportunities to people when they are young and have the chance to make decisions,” said Dr. Mattingly, who on Wednesday was scheduled to meet with another high school student interested in a summer internship experience. “This is particularly important for pharmacology, which often has a low profile for students compared to other biomedical sciences.”

Members of ASPET conduct basic and clinical pharmacological research and work for academia, government, large pharmaceutical companies, small biotech companies and non-profit organizations.
DMC's Graduate Medical Education Research Day rewards two medical student projects
In Headlines on June 24, 2014
Leslie McDonough

Leslie McDonough

Kevin Onofrey

Kevin Onofrey

Darshan Patel

Darshan Patel

Three Wayne State University School of Medicine students were recognized by the Detroit Medical Center as winners of the third annual Quality Education and Safe Systems Training Quality Improvement Research Day Poster Competition.

The event, which took place in April, showcased resident and student research projects that tackled the topics of patient safety and quality improvement in a clinical setting.

This year’s first place winners, in a tie, are medical students Leslie McDonough, Kevin Onofrey and Darshan Patel.

McDonough and Onofrey, a fourth-year student, teamed to present “Impact of equipment delay in the operating room of a busy tertiary medical center: A prospective study.” Their faculty mentor is David Edelman, M.D., a surgical resident at the DMC.

Patel’s winning entry was titled “Meeting screening guidelines: A quality improvement project to increase HIV screening and testing.” His mentor is Diane Levine, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to get my feet wet in research. Even more exciting was being part of a student team that came up with their own project idea and then saw it all the way to the end,” said McDonough, a third-year medical student planning to go into general surgery. “Winning this award was wonderful recognition of our hard work. It showed us that these types of projects matter to the hospital and have a real impact on efficiency and patient safety.”

McDonough said she and Onofrey examined delays in the operating room related to equipment delays, such as broken equipment, wrong equipment or unsuitable equipment due to a surgeon preference. They then asked how often such delays occur and what their impact was in terms of prolonged anesthesia for patients, inefficiency in the operating room and funding losses. “The idea came about when a few of us were doing our surgery rotation earlier this year,” she said. “We noticed a great deal of surgeries were delayed because of equipment problems, and these delays keep the patient under anesthesia longer and put a great deal of stress on the OR staff and surgeons.”

Patel, a third-year student, plans a career in radiation oncology, but is keeping his options open.

“I couldn't have done anything without the hard work and support of our inter-professional team and of my mentor, Dr. Diane Levine, who has inspired me to keep working hard and to keep achieving despite the heavy workload and the various other activities I am involved in,” he said.

While shadowing Dr. Levine at the ambulatory internal medicine resident training clinic, Patel noticed what he thought was no appreciable difference in the HIV screening rates between African-American patients and Caucasian patients. He brought this to the attention of Dr. Levine, and they agreed the issue needed to be quickly remedied.

“We realized that there wasn't an appreciable difference between screening rates of African-Americans and Caucasian patients,” Patel said. “The overall screening rate was just abysmal, thus providing an excellent opportunity for a quality improvement project.”

After creating an integrated team consisting of an undergraduate student, a medical student (Patel), a resident and attending physicians, medical assistants and the clinic manager, the team initially set out to double the HIV screening rate for African-American patients, but then broadened its scope to increase screening rates across the board by 300 percent.

Patel’s team then implemented a three-pronged approach. First, they created posters and pamphlets to increase patient awareness and to include them in their health care, hoping that would lead to patients asking their physicians about HIV if the physicians didn't bring it up. They then trained medical assistants as the first points of care in the screening process by educating them about the disease and the necessity of increased screening. Finally, the team worked with the resident and attending physicians to have them document patient HIV screening in the "physician comments" section since the electronic medical records system did not have a dedicated place for HIV screening. During the first three months, the team sent members to the clinic every weekday to provide support and encouragement.

“After our five-month intervention, we saw our screening rate improve by nearly 400 percent,” Patel said. “When we started, the screening rate was only around 5.5 percent. We realized the necessity for creating local champions for these changes to be sustainable and meaningful. Thus, the next phase of our project will be to identify local champions, create ownership, empower them to make changes and provide positive reinforcements for a sustained increase in overall HIV screening rates.”
Wayne State students earn top spots in Karmanos research symposium poster contest
In Headlines on June 24, 2014
Cancer Biology Graduate Program student Mike Wilson won first place for his research poster.

Cancer Biology Graduate Program student Mike Wilson won first place for his research poster.

Contest participant Sidra Ahsan presents her work.

Contest participant Sidra Ahsan presents her work.

The contest winners, from left: Andreana Holowatyj, Thomas Ridella, Nirmayla Saha and Mike Wilson.

The contest winners, from left: Andreana Holowatyj, Thomas Ridella, Nirmayla Saha and Mike Wilson.

Layne Weatherford, right, listens to a question from an attendee.

Layne Weatherford, right, listens to a question from an attendee.

Four Wayne State University students were recognized at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute Molecular Therapeutics Program’s annual research symposium, held in the Margherio Family Conference Center on the School of Medicine campus in Detroit.

Doctoral candidate Mike Wilson won first place out of 23 entries in the June 18 symposium’s poster contest for his presentation of “Functionally Important Transmembrane 2-3 Loop Domain of the Proton Coupled Folate Transporter (PCFT) Forms a Novel ‘Reentrant Loop’ Structure.”

“It feels great to have won, of course. Oftentimes in lab there aren't concrete ways to measure success, like grades in a class or a promotion at a job, so it's nice to have some validation for all of the hard work I've put in,” Wilson said. “On the most basic level, my work aims to better understand a protein that is responsible for taking certain chemotherapy drugs into the cancer cell.”

Wilson trains in the lab of Wayne State Professor of Pharmacology Larry Matherly, Ph.D., who is leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at KCI and director of the School of Medicine’s Cancer Biology Graduate Program. Wilson will begin his fourth year in the School of Medicine’s Cancer Biology Graduate Program in the fall.

Nirmayla Saha, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences doctoral student working in the lab of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Lori Pile, Ph.D., took second place. Cancer Biology Graduate Program student Andreana Holowatyj, from the lab of Assistant Professor of Pathology Zeng-Quan Yang, Ph.D., received third place, and undergraduate Thomas Ridella took fourth for research in the lab of Professor of Pharmacology Raymond Mattingly, Ph.D.

Posters were presented during a lunch break, with oral presentations by Wayne State faculty, and KCI and Children’s Hospital of Michigan clinicians on a variety of topics held throughout the day.

“It's always good to know what others around Karmanos are working on, and to fully realize the wealth of knowledgeable people who we are surrounded by every day,” Wilson added.

The poster contest was open to post-doctoral fellows, undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Ajay Kumar wins prestigious Majd-Gilday Award for tracking basal ganglia inflammation
In Headlines on June 20, 2014
Ajay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D.

Ajay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D.

A physician-researcher for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan of the Detroit Medical Center has won a prestigious research award for his work investigating brain inflammation associated with streptococcal infections in children.

Ajay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, of neurology and of radiology for the WSU School of Medicine, and a member of the Positron Emission Tomography Center at Children's Hospital of Michigan, received the Majd-Gilday Young Investigators Award from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

The award is given annually to young scientists for outstanding research contributions to the field of pediatric nuclear medicine.

“This is one of the most prestigious young investigator awards in the world for pediatric imaging, given by Pediatric Imaging Council of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the largest world body for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging,” said Dr. Kumar, who received the award at the 61st annual meeting of SNMMI, held in St. Louis, Mo., June 7-11. His research also was presented during the meeting's highlight session. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging promotes the science, technology and practical application of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

He received the award for his study, “Basal Ganglia Inflammation in Children with Neuropsychiatric Symptoms,” which may lead to better understanding of the effects of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and improved therapies to treat the condition.

Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, or PANDAS, is a neurological condition seen after streptococcal as well as non-streptococcal infection in children. The disorder is characterized by prepubertal onset of odd movements, including compulsive tics that may come and go, and increase over time. Other indications include cognitive disturbances, hyperactivity and severe obsessive compulsive actions. Researchers have suggested that the pathophysiological basis for PANDAS is a form of molecular mimicry in which antibodies produced to fight streptococcal proteins also target brain proteins, particularly in the basal ganglia, which consist of structures in the brain associated with a number of functions, including voluntary movement, learning and emotion.

Because any immunological reaction is accompanied by inflammatory reaction, Dr. Kumar and his colleague, Harry Chugani, M.D., the Rosalie and Bruce Rosen professor of neurology and chief of pediatric neurology for the WSU School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, hypothesized that patients with PANDAS should exhibit neuroinflammatory changes, particularly in the basal ganglia. However, detection of inflammation in the basal ganglia is not possible with current radiological or biochemical techniques, except for direct examination of brain tissues, an extremely invasive procedure, or examination after death.

Dr. Kumar and his team used Positron Emission Tomography with 11C-[R]-PK11195, a marker that can be injected into patients, to evaluate inflammatory changes in basal ganglia and the thalamus in children diagnosed with PANDAS, as well as children with Tourette syndrome, who demonstrate potentially overlapping clinical symptoms. They found brain inflammation in the basal ganglia in both the groups, but with some significant differences in the pattern and extent of the inflammatory changes.

“These findings not only provide an insight into the possible pathogenetic mechanisms behind these conditions, but also suggest a possible important pathophysiological difference between these two conditions,” Dr. Kumar said. “We believe that our findings will help in further demystifying and better understanding this condition, which will lead to development of rational and more appropriate therapeutic options.”

WSU receives $2.4 million NIH center grant to develop a cleaner, healthier environment in Detroit
In Headlines on June 17, 2014
Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D.

Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D.

Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D.

Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D.

With more than $2.4 million in new federal funding, Wayne State University researchers, regional collaborators at Henry Ford Health System, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and community partners will study how exposures to stressors that are prevalent in the urban industrialized environment — both chemical and non-chemical — impact human health in Detroit and beyond.

The grant, Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, or CURES, is one of approximately 20 select P30 Core Centers funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. CURES places special emphasis on understanding how environmental exposures during periods of heightened susceptibility can adversely affect health, particularly in vulnerable persons such as children and adults of low socio-economic status, older adults, first responders and refugees. At the heart of CURES is a grass-roots community engagement program committed to improving healthy living and working environments in the city of Detroit. CURES applies team-based approaches that integrate multiple disciplines to address pressing environmental health problems.

CURES is co-led by Wayne State faculty members Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D., director of the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and professor of oncology, and Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.Epi., deputy director of IEHS and professor of family medicine and public health sciences.

“The focus of CURES is to study how diseases that compromise the quality of life in an industrialized urban environment such as Detroit occur as a consequence of dynamic interactions between an individual’s genetic and epigenetic make-up, nutritional status and environmental stressors such as chronic low-level toxicant exposures as well as psychosocial and physical stressors,” Dr. Runge-Morris said. “Our team of researchers, along with community members, will explore the role of environmental exposure on immune disorders, metabolic disease, cancer and mental health.”

“We are very pleased that Wayne State University has received this important and prestigious P30 Center grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that will be of significant benefit for the city of Detroit and the many communities that we serve,” said Stephen Lanier, Ph.D., vice president for Research at WSU. “The CURES team is exceptional, and this initiative will focus on nurturing healthy communities in Detroit through environmental disease prevention and creating cleaner living and working environments, all of which are important building blocks to improving this great city.”

The award number for this National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health grant is P30ES020957.

Kimberley Grady, M.D., '14, earns attention for case report on innovative treatment for liver patient with low oxygen levels
In Headlines on June 17, 2014
Kimberley Grady, M.D.

Kimberley Grady, M.D.

Graduating less than a month ago, Kimberley Grady, M.D., is already making an impression for a case report she wrote as a fourth-year student at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Dr. Grady, Class of 2014, was captivated by the rarity of a case she encountered during her rotation at Harper University Hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit in Detroit.

She presented the resulting abstract, “Coil Embolization of Pulmonary Arteries as a Palliative Treatment of Diffuse Type I Hepatopulmonary Syndrome,” at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine 2014 meeting April 10-12 in Orlando, Fla.

In May, Dr. Grady was informed that a manuscript of the case, co-authored by Professor of Medicine Ayman Soubani, M.D., was accepted for publication in Respiratory Care, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Association of Respiratory Care. Use of the medical procedure together with the related diagnosis has not been outlined in academic literature before.

“It is an honor to have my case accepted at both the American College of Physicians National Meeting and in Respiratory Care. It was a great experience traveling to Florida with my current and future colleagues to not only present my case report, but also to learn from other students’ presentations,” she said.

The patient she wrote about came to the Detroit Medical Center hospital with shortness of breath, and required high levels of supplemental oxygen.

“He was determined to have underlying liver disease secondary to his alcohol abuse and hepatitis infection. His history, physical exam and supplemental diagnostic tests indicated that he had Type I Hepatopulmonary Syndrome,” she said.

Type I Hepatopulmonary Syndrome is defined by low blood oxygen levels in a patient with underlying liver disease. The low blood oxygen is secondary to the diffuse dilation of the pulmonary vasculature, which results in inefficient oxygen exchange. The treatment of choice for the disease is liver transplantation, because the diseased liver is the source of the lung issue, Dr. Grady added.

“However, our patient was not a candidate for liver transplantation because of his active alcohol abuse, lack of social support and his psychiatric instability.  Since he was unable to leave the hospital with such high oxygen requirements and he was not a candidate for liver transplantation, we needed to find a safe and effective alternative treatment,” she said.

He underwent right heart catheterization. Multiple coils were placed in the branches of the pulmonary arteries that had become dilated secondary to his liver disease. The procedure reduced the blood flow through the dilated pulmonary arteries that had ineffective oxygen exchange. His oxygen requirements significantly decreased and remained stable three months after the procedure.

Dr. Grady wrote the case report voluntarily because of the rarity of Hepatopulmonary Syndrome, and because coil embolization as a palliative treatment for Type I Hepatopulmonary Syndrome was not reported in literature as a safe and effective treatment for patients who are not a candidate for liver transplantation.

“I would like to thank Dr. Ayman Soubani, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center, for his guidance during both the case investigation and the preparation of the abstract and manuscript,” she said. “Also, I would like to thank Dr. Srinath Gowda, Division of Pediatric Cardiology at DMC, for his assistance in the development and performance of the coil embolization procedures as a treatment plan for this patient with Type I Hepatopulmonary Syndrome.”

Dr. Grady graduated from the School of Medicine with high distinction because of comprehensive honors in her first, second and third year of medical school. She is now an internal medicine resident at the University of Michigan.

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