School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Dr. Badr becomes president of American Academy of Sleep Medicine in June
In Headlines on May 23, 2013
Safwan Badr, M.D., M.B.A.

Safwan Badr, M.D., M.B.A.

Safwan Badr, M.D., M.B.A., takes the helm of the 12,000-member American Academy of Sleep Medicine as president beginning in June.

Dr. Badr is chief of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, professor of Medicine and the WSU Sleep Fellowship’s program director.

The AASM, established in 1975 as the Association of Sleep Disorders Centers, sets standards and promotes excellence in health care, education and research.

A native of Syria, Dr. Badr earned his medical degree from Damascus University Medical School. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Syrian American Medical Society at the SAMS 12th annual international meeting in 2012 for his accomplished research, medical practice and education.

He also serves as a clinical researcher and staff physician at the John D. Dingell Veteran Affairs Medical Center and chief of Service, Pulmonary and Critical Care at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Dr. Badr has said he plans to focus his term on the future of Sleep Medicine, a subspecialty recognized by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Poor sleep contributes to obesity, heart disease, airway disease and depression, he said, and is a leading cause of car accidents and subsequent deaths.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the only professional society dedicated exclusively to the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine. As the leading voice in the sleep field, the AASM sets standards and promotes excellence in health care, education and research.
Professors Sandra and Joseph Jacobson win WSU, international awards for fetal alcohol syndrome research
In Headlines on May 22, 2013
Wayne State University Professors Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., and Joseph Jacobson, Ph.D., at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Wayne State University Professors Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., and Joseph Jacobson, Ph.D., at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

A Wayne State University School of Medicine professor has been honored at home for her work abroad.

Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D., was selected by a committee of her Wayne State University colleagues as one of the 27th group of WSU Board of Governors Distinguished Faculty Fellows, an honor established by the board to recognize and assist the intellectual pursuits of selected senior faculty members.

Dr. Jacobson and her husband, Joseph Jacobson, Ph.D., also will receive the Henry Rosett Award from the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group at the Research Society on Alcoholism’s scientific meetings in June.  The award is given annually to recognize researchers for outstanding long-term contributions in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

The Jacobsons are professors in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. They conducted a 19-year study of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in a prospective longitudinal African-American cohort of 480 mothers and children in inner-city Detroit. Their current research focuses on the effects of very heavy prenatal alcohol exposure in the Cape Coloured community in Cape Town, South Africa, which is part of the Western Cape Province, a popular wine-growing region. In this region, workers were traditionally paid, in part, in wine, leading to a high incidence of alcoholism, including binge-drinking as many as eight to 10 drinks per occasion while pregnant, Dr. Jacobson said. According to a UNICEF report, as many as one in 10 children in the community have fetal alcohol syndrome, the highest incidence rate in the world. The research, conducted in collaboration with Chris Molteno, M.D., a developmental pediatrician, was the first prospective study of FAS beginning when mothers were recruited during pregnancy. Typical neurocognitive impairments of a child with FAS include low intelligence, behavior problems, poor social judgment and poor attention.

Dr. Sandra Jacobson received the WSU award at the Academic Recognition Ceremony held April 25 at WSU’s McGregor Memorial Conference Center in Detroit. The award includes two $6,500 stipends given in 2013 and 2014 to support her research.

“I’m very proud of her,” Dr. Joseph Jacobson said.

In addition to following up a longitudinal cohort of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure using both neurobehavioral and neuroimaging assessments, the Jacobsons are collecting neuroimaging data from a new Cape Town sample of newborns born to heavy-drinking mothers and non-exposed controls, as part of R01 (5R01AA016781) and R21 (AA020037) grants from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The neuroimaging work also is being conducted with Ernesta Meintjes, Ph.D., a physicist at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

“We’re conducting the first newborn neuroimaging study of infants with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure,” Sandra Jacobson said. “We are also conducting an additional R21 study in which we give choline, a nutrient, to heavy-drinking mothers during pregnancy (R21AA020332); this work is being conducted with R. Colin Carter, a pediatrician at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. This grant did not include funding for neuroimaging. The WSU Distinguished Faculty Fellowship will enable me to cover the cost of scanning newborns who are participating in the choline trial to determine whether there are beneficial effects of choline on brain structural development. This part of the study would otherwise not be possible.”

As part of the study, the researchers also will scan newborns in a comparison group whose mothers used methamphetamine during pregnancy.

“It is very important that these types of awards be granted to faculty members conducting research since it provides opportunities to pursue innovative approaches to problems, such as those in biomedical and public health areas that may have an impact on health issues both in the U.S. and internationally,” she said.

Dr. Sandra Jacobson joined the WSU faculty in 1984, and said she is honored to receive her first Distinguished Faculty Fellowship award. The couple also has a child development research laboratory and hold honorary professorships at the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Jacobson started her career at WSU by studying the impact of environmental contaminants, including PCBs in Michigan, and alcohol and substance abuse on infants and children.

“I would like to acknowledge the contributions of my husband, Joseph Jacobson, with whom I have collaborated on all of the behavioral teratology (the study of congenital abnormalities and birth defects) studies, as well as other researchers and our wonderful research staff, graduate students and fellows, both at WSU and at UCT.  I also want to recognize the contributions of faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Boston, Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, Israel, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Delaware, with whom we are currently collaborating on our studies of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, as well as our other collaborators at Laval University in Quebec (Inuit PCB research) and those at Vanderbilt University, who helped us and our UCT collaborators set up the first functional magnetic resonance research in South Africa," she added.

Jointly, the couple will receive the Henry Rosett Award at the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group’s June 21 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. This is the first time the award will be given to two individuals. It honors outstanding lifetime or long-term contributions to research in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Honorees are nominated and chosen by committee.

The Jacobsons are members of the FASDSG group and have attended annual meetings for more than 20 years. Sandra Jacobson served as the study group’s treasurer/secretary in 1998, vice president in 1999 and president in 2000.

At WSU, the Jacobsons have collaborated with Robert Sokol, M.D., the WSU distinguished professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the John M. Malone Jr., M.D., Endowed chair and director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, on their longitudinal study in Detroit of children whose mothers abused alcohol, drugs and tobacco while pregnant. The Jacobsons followed the children through 19 years old.

They are now collaborating with Associate Professor Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Noa Ofen, Ph.D.

“Drs. Diwadkar and Ofen are working with us and our graduate students from University of Cape Town as part of the functional magnetic resonance imaging research that we’re conducting there,” Dr. Jacobson said.
Dr. Jena to deliver a keynote address at World Congress of Molecular & Cell Biology
In Headlines on May 22, 2013
Bhanu Jena, Ph.D.

Bhanu Jena, Ph.D.

Bhanu Jena, Ph.D., the George E. Palade University Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology, has been invited to deliver a keynote address at the annual World Congress of Molecular & Cell Biology.

Dr. Jena will present “Porosome: The Universal Secretory Machinery in Cells” during the congress meeting, set for June 14-16 in in Suzhou, China.

The porosome, discovered by Dr. Jena 15 years ago, is the universal secretory machinery in cells. Secretion is a fundamental cellular process that occurs in all living organisms. Cell secretion is responsible for numerous activities, including neurotransmission, and the release of hormones and digestive enzymes. Secretory defects are responsible for a number of debilitating conditions, including growth defects, diabetes and neurological disorders.

Dr. Jena’s work has focused primarily on the molecular machinery and mechanism underlying cell secretion. His discovery of the porosome has revolutionized understanding of the secretory process in cells. He and his team have further determined the structure and dynamics of the porosome, its isolation and composition, and its functional reconstitution in lipid membrane. His studies demonstrate for the first time that, following a secretory stimulus, membrane-bound secretory vesicles transiently dock and fuse at the base of porosomes present at the cell plasma membrane to release intravesicular contents as opposed to the commonly held belief that during cell secretion secretory vesicles completely merge/collapse at the cell plasma membrane. His discoveries explain the presence of partially empty secretory vesicles in cells following secretion.

 

Faculty reception honors promotion and tenure recipients
In Headlines on May 21, 2013
Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Roberta Soninno, M.D., left, and Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., right, congratulate Professor Judith Arnetz, Ph.D., on her tenure and promotion.

Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Roberta Soninno, M.D., left, and Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., right, congratulate Professor Judith Arnetz, Ph.D., on her tenure and promotion.

Professor Harriette Horst, M.D., and Professor Henry Lim, M.D., enjoy the May 21, 2013 faculty reception.

Professor Harriette Horst, M.D., and Professor Henry Lim, M.D., enjoy the May 21, 2013 faculty reception.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine administration and faculty gathered to celebrate the granting of tenure to nine faculty members and the promotion of several others at the Promotion & Tenure Reception held May 21 in the Margherio Family Conference Center.

The event was organized by Roberta E. Sonnino, M.D., vice dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, and her office.

“This is my favorite day because it sees all of your hard work come to fruition,” Dr. Sonnino said. “Getting promoted is really the ultimate recognition in the academic environment.”

Promotion and tenure is non-competitive, and applications are reviewed at the department, School of Medicine and university levels based on strict criteria, such as demonstration of scholarly activity, service and teaching.

Each faculty member recognized received a special WSU School of Medicine lapel pin and had their photo taken with Dr. Sonnino and School of Medicine Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

“It is a very big deal. You are achieving a body of work and being recognized by your mentors and superiors,” Dean Parisi told the faculty members.

Faculty members Wael Sakr, M.D.; Judith Arnetz, Ph.D.; Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, Ph.D.; Cathryn Bock, Ph.D.; Leonard Lipovich, Ph.D.; Karin List, Ph.D.; Patrick Mueller, Ph.D.; Lobelia Samavati, M.D.; Jeffrey Withey, Ph.D.; and Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., were awarded tenure.

“It is really an honor,” said Dr. Arnetz, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. “It is a long process, but I have had a lot of support from within my department and from mentors outside my department. It is a happy occasion.”

Faculty promoted to the rank of professor included:

Judith Arnetz, Ph.D.

Deborah Ellis, Ph.D.

Csaba Juhasz, M.D., Ph.D.

Robin Hanks, Ph.D.

Dawn Misra, Ph.D.

Timothy Stemmler, Ph.D.

Those promoted to the rank of professor (clinician educator) included:

Patricia Brown, M.D.

Jacob Burmeister, Ph.D.

Arthur Carlin, M.D.

Mohamad Fakih, M.D., M.P.H.

Shirish Gadgeel, M.D.

Elisabeth Heath, M.D.

Harriette Horst, M.D.

Leonard Johnson, M.D.

Mary Ann Kosir, M.D.

Sanjay Revankar, M.D.

Ulka Vaishampayan, M.D.

Rudolph Valentini, M.D.

Those promoted to the rank of associate professor included:

Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, Ph.D.

Cathryn Bock, Ph.D.

David Ledgerwood, Ph.D.

Leonard Lipovich, Ph.D.

Karin List, Ph.D.

Patrick Mueller, Ph.D.

Lobelia Samavati, M.D.

Jeffrey Withey, Ph.D.

Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D.

Those promoted to the rank of associate professor (clinician educator) included:

Awoniyi Awonuga, M.D.

Rajan Jain, M.D.

Kerin Jones, M.D.

Sandeep Mittal, M.D.

Berhane Seyoum, M.D., M.P.H.

Mamta Sharma, M.D.

Robert Sherwin, M.D.

Jonathon Sullivan, M.D., Ph.D.

Those promoted to the rank of associate professor (research) included:

Angulique Outlaw, Ph.D.
WSU names Dr. Joan Dunbar associate vice president of technology commercialization
In Headlines on May 21, 2013
Joan Dunbar, Ph.D.

Joan Dunbar, Ph.D.

Hilary Ratner, Ph.D., vice president for Research at Wayne State University, announced the appointment of Joan Dunbar, Ph.D., of Bloomfield, Mich., as associate vice president of Technology Commercialization in the Division of Research. Dr. Dunbar assumes her new position effective immediately. Her appointment comes after a competitive national search in which she emerged as the transformational leader the university sought.

In 2012, Dr. Dunbar joined WSU’s Division of Research as interim associate vice president of Technology Commercialization. In just a year, she nearly doubled faculty invention disclosures, facilitated the pipeline of nine start-up opportunities with the anticipation of several companies launching in the near future, initiated a mentors-in-residence program, created an innovation fellows program, began the Technology Development Incubator and strengthened partnerships with WSU’s TechTown. These significant achievements were powered by grant funds projected to be $2.5 million over a three-year period that she secured from the New Economy Initiative.

“The grant from the NEI has allowed Wayne State to re-invent technology commercialization on our campus,” Dr. Ratner said. “With the help of the NEI, Dr. Dunbar is re-energizing our faculty and students to translate their research in even more productive ways that benefit not only the university but the region, state and nation as well. Dr. Dunbar’s deep knowledge and experience will serve Wayne State and our faculty well as we advance the mission of the Wayne State’s Technology Commercialization Office.”

Dr. Dunbar brings energy and vision to the Technology Commercialization Office built on an impressive foundation of accomplishments. She received her doctorate degree. in biochemistry from the University of Sydney, and undertook postdoctoral studies at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark, and subsequently at the University of California, Irvine.

She was appointed assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Molecular Biology and Center for Molecular Biology and Genetics in 1987. She has served as principal investigator and co-investigator on many grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and collaborated extensively with industry on these projects. She published numerous papers on protein–DNA recognition and transcriptional regulation. In 1997, Dr. Dunbar became consultant director of research and biotechnology development in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics where she developed key academic and industry partnerships, created the Biotechnology Core Lab, and provided faculty support in securing SBIR and STTR grants.

In 2000, she became the founding director of biotechnology development and biomedical innovation in Wayne State’s School of Medicine. In that role, Dr. Dunbar established a new enterprise and infrastructure to promote and facilitate commercial translation of academic research by providing critical outreach and counseling to faculty on invention disclosures, intellectual property and technology commercialization. She created one of the first “Business of Biotech” curriculum programs in the nation that focused on engaging graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical sciences in entrepreneurship.

“Dr. Dunbar has played a key role in Wayne State’s School of Medicine to develop technology commercialization strategies for biomedical technologies stemming from research,” said Bonnie Stanton, M.D., vice dean of Research for the School of Medicine. “In conjunction with Wayne’s main technology commercialization team, Dr. Dunbar was instrumental in launching a new technology commercialization culture in the School of Medicine to prepare faculty to take their research discoveries to the next level.”

“I look forward to continuing to build the infrastructure to support technology commercialization and to effectively capitalize on the research enterprise at WSU,” Dr. Dunbar said. “I am pleased to be chosen to lead the university’s efforts and work with our faculty and local and statewide resources to bring innovative products and services to the clinic and to the marketplace.”

School of Medicine Class of 2013 commencement ceremony celebrates 277 new doctors
In Headlines on May 21, 2013
Friends Lindsay Richmond, M.D., left, and Philip McDonald, M.D., celebrate graduation May 20, 2013, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

Friends Lindsay Richmond, M.D., left, and Philip McDonald, M.D., celebrate graduation May 20, 2013, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

Graduate Brenda Satterthwaite, M.D., poses with her boyfriend, from left, and her father, mother and grandmother before the commencement ceremony.

Graduate Brenda Satterthwaite, M.D., poses with her boyfriend, from left, and her father, mother and grandmother before the commencement ceremony.

Jason Epstein, M.D., will soon begin an emergency medicine residency in Lansing, Mich.

Jason Epstein, M.D., will soon begin an emergency medicine residency in Lansing, Mich.

A friend helps a graduate with her ceremony hood.

A friend helps a graduate with her ceremony hood.

Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., congratulates a graduate at the May 20, 2013 commencement and hooding ceremony at Detroit's Fox Theatre.

Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., congratulates a graduate at the May 20, 2013 commencement and hooding ceremony at Detroit's Fox Theatre.

Keynote speaker Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., receives the hood marking his honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wayne State University.

Keynote speaker Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., receives the hood marking his honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wayne State University.

They did it. And they couldn’t be happier.

“Happy to be done and share this day with family and friends,” said graduate and new doctor Lindsay Richmond, M.D., 26, of Clawson, Mich.

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s 141st commencement and hooding ceremony for 277 men and women who earned the title of doctor was held Monday at Detroit’s historic Fox Theatre.

(Click here for photos from the event).

School of Medicine faculty, deans, department chairs, WSU President Allan Gilmour, his cabinet members and other dignitaries filled the stage as family and friends of the new physicians packed the venue’s main floor and upper levels. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings and children were there, cheering and applauding the culmination of four years of intense studying, exams, courses, clerkships and perhaps more than a few sleepless nights.

Dr. Richmond is headed to an emergency medicine residency at St. John Providence Hospital in Detroit next month. She met friend and fellow graduate Philip McDonald, M.D., 26, in their first year of medical school. Thankfully, graduation wasn’t goodbye for the two. He is staying in WSU’s back yard, studying internal medicine at the Detroit Medical Center. The Saginaw, Mich., native moved to Detroit to participate in WSU’s MedStart program eight years ago, and doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.

“I’ve been in Detroit for a long time, and love the city. I feel like I’m home here,” he said.

Graduation was an early birthday present for another friend, new physician Jason Epstein, M.D., a Fullerton, Calif., native who turns 39 in two weeks. Ten years ago, he was an unfulfilled Japanese-to-English language translator with an unused undergraduate degree in chemistry. Then he decided to apply for medical school, a two-year process he said. He was 35 on his first day at WSU.

“It’s a huge relief,” he said of graduating.

He is headed to Lansing, Mich., for an emergency medicine residency at Sparrow Hospital.

“Our father went to law school in his 40s, so we sort of have it in our genes,” joked his brother, Dan Epstein, who flew to Detroit from San Francisco for the ceremony. “I’m very proud and excited for him.”

The afternoon was celebratory, but not without poignancy.

“Your parents were right when they told you that you were special. You are,” said Dean Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., beaming at the graduates. “I am extra proud of all of you today and I wish you all the best. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.”

The physicians now move on to graduate medical education, serving as residents, for the next three to seven years, depending on their chosen specialty. More than half of the Class of 2013 will begin practicing medicine in Michigan, good news for a state with a projected physician shortage, as studies show that residents who train in Michigan often remain here for the majority of their careers. Another 35.8 percent will enter primary care residencies.

Whatever their specialty, keynote speaker Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D., encouraged them to stay engaged as physicians, working as advocates for patients in the new era of health care.

“It is a privilege of the degree, and I hope you don’t take it lightly,” Dr. Grover said. “People need you to speak up for them.”

Dr. Grover received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the ceremony for advancing policies that will lead to better education for students while protecting and improving the health of the public. He is chief public policy officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a nonprofit representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools, as well as nearly 400 teaching hospitals and health systems.

Of Monday’s graduates, 47.7 percent will head out of state to practice medicine in 23 states and Canada, at Yale University’s New Haven Hospital, the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California and other prestigious hospitals, universities and medical centers.

Graduate Brenda Satterthwaite, M.D., is headed to an anesthesiology residency in Pittsburgh. The self-proclaimed “farm kid” spent her childhood and teen years running around the family property in Chelsea, Mich., so her decision to attend medical school was “out of the blue, at least as parents we thought it was,” said her mother, Barb Satterthwaite.

Yet as they talked outside the Fox Theatre shortly before the ceremony, her father, Trent Satterthwaite, remembered how helpful she was with the farm’s livestock, giving them shots when needed and other care. “Working on a farm, she got a lot of practical experience,” he said.

Older Articles Newer Articles