I’m pleased to announce that our clinical and research missions will intersect in a new venture. The University of Iowa has been invited to be a clinical site for the Pulmonary Trials Cooperative (PTC) by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as part of an effort to fund practical studies in a search for solutions and treatments for a variety of chronic pulmonary conditions from sleep apnea to interstitial lung disease. Dr. Alejandro Comellas and other physicians and researchers in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine will coordinate with other member sites to conduct a series of clinical trials at the University of Iowa. Dr. Comellas tells me that they have already received three invitations for trials involving patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The PTC will also test existing clinical management strategies, strive for increased patient recruitment, and explore opportunities for studying intermediate and comorbid conditions. Congratulations to Dr. Comellas and the other members of his Division as they embark on this new initiative.
Dr. Sanjana Dayal, a faculty member in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, recently reported interesting results in her investigations into mechanisms of thrombosis in aging. Last summer she published a paper with senior author Dr. Steven Lentz in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology examining the effects of an antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase on the susceptibility to thrombosis in mice. Her study found that superoxide-deficient mice developed arterial thrombosis faster following injury. Moreover, when these same mice were subjected to inferior vena cava ligations, they were significantly more likely to develop venous occlusions. These results suggest that, as we age, ensuring the presence of this enzyme may diminish our likelihood of developing thrombosis. An earlier article of theirs published in Circulation also indicates that presence of another antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase is critical in protection from age-associated thrombosis, though its mechanisms are not clear. Dr. Dayal recently received a five-year, $1.5m grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine these questions more comprehensively.
We wait with anticipation for the results of Match Day on March 18. We wish all our medical students the very best in their future endeavors. Dr. Manish Suneja, our Residency Director, tells me the results of this year’s Match Day will be made public to us on that same day. In the meantime, members of the Residency Program are also in the process of choosing the Chief Residents who will assume their duties in 2017. I look forward to meeting with candidates for these positions in the coming weeks.
Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations to Dr. Mohamad Mokadem, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dr. Mokadem just recently won an American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award. This one-year, $25,000 grant will fund Dr. Mokadem’s research into the gut microbiome’s metabolic effects after bariatric surgery. By understanding the key regulatory pathways that account for the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery, it may be possible that less invasive therapies for obesity and diabetes may be developed.