Every week it seems we have another cause to celebrate our faculty’s success in obtaining research funding. Some of the most gratifying to me are those achieved by a faculty member in the early stages of his or her career. I am pleased to share the news that Dr. Ryan Boudreau, Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, has received the Carver Young Investigator Award, a three-year grant of nearly $440,000 funded by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. Dr. Boudreau will use these funds to examine the post-transcriptional gene regulatory networks associated with cardiac disease in the search for novel therapeutics. We wish Dr. Boudreau every success in his research project and offer him our sincere congratulations.
Our strength as educators can be difficult to measure, which is why we take special note when our faculty members are honored with awards arising directly from student nominations. Dr. Rebecca Davis, Clinical Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, was recently given the Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award at the Graduate Medical Education Teaching Awards ceremony. In their nominating letters, some of her students had the following to say:
“She has had a profound effect on me, both as a person and as a physician, just as you would expect from any great coach.”
“Her tenacity and passion about her patients and the art of medicine are infectious.”
“She is an excellent clinician, mentor, educator, and leader, but above all she prioritizes the success of her residents above her own.”
“I am forever changed by Dr. Davis.”
Dr. Davis has our heartfelt thanks for her efforts at making such a difference in her students’ education and lives.
The fourth Annual Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Symposium was held recently. Presentations varied from UIHC Chief Quality Officer Dr. Mike Edmond to President of the Iowa City Area Development Group Mark Nolte. In addition to a keynote address from Dr. Ralph Gonzales, Associate Dean for Clinical Innovation and Chief Innovation Officer at the University of California, San Francisco, symposium organizers also held a poster presentation session featuring a record-breaking 76 posters. Special thanks to Dr. Michael Brownlee, Chief Pharmacy Officer, and Dr. Krista Johnson, Educational Director of Safety and Quality for our Residency Program, for chairing this successful symposium that addresses an area of increasing importance, the ways in which we practice medicine in an increasingly complex environment. (For a fuller recap of the symposium’s events, including winners of the poster contest, read this post.)
Finally, I would like to highlight the research of Dr. Long-Sheng Song, Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Song was recently awarded a four-year $1.9M National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grant to study excitation-contraction coupling in muscles, particularly the role that the protein junctophilin-2 (JP2) plays in intracellular Ca2+ signaling in cardiac myocytes. Dr. Song has been studying Ca2+ sparks in both normal and diseased hearts in an effort to better understand heart failure and other conditions such as arrhythmias. He is investigating the theory that JP2 is critical in organizing the cardiomyocyte transverse (T)-tubule system. When this protein is insufficiently regulated, his preliminary data suggests, the downstream effect is disorganization of the T-tubule system and cardiac failure. Researchers in Dr. Song’s laboratory utilize sophisticated and cutting-edge approaches, such as patch-clamp and laser scanning confocal microscopy, and techniques, such as novel transgenic mouse models, to record ion channel activity. Under this current NIH grant Dr. Song will determine whether proper regulation of JP2 can serve as a therapeutic to prevent or at least slow the progression of heart failure, which represents an intractable and growing clinical problem with relatively few robust treatment options.