January-June 2005

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January-June 2005
Volume 1, Issue 1
January—June 2005
Governor Heineman speaks on Bioterrorism Preparedness
Lectureships are amongst the premiere
events of an academic institution, and we
are privileged this year to have had an
outstanding individual presenting at this
year’s Harry W. McFadden, Jr., M.D.
Lectureship on April 14, 2005, the
Honorable Dave Heineman, Governor of
the State of Nebraska.
Governor Heineman was sworn in
as Nebraska’s 39th Governor on Friday,
January 21, 2005. Prior to becoming
Governor, he served more than three
years as Lieutenant Governor.
Governor Heineman
Nebraska’s director of homeland security,
chairman of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission
(NITC), and the presiding officer of the Nebraska Legislature.
Governor Heineman’s lecture on “Building on the Nebraska
Model for Bioterrorism Preparedness” focused on the
extraordinary job Nebraska has done relative to bioterrorism
preparedness. This all began in 1997 with the move of the
Nebraska public health lab to UNMC.
Governor Heineman praised UNMC’s role in advancing the
Nebraska Model, “an integrated, coordinated and comprehensive”
preparedness plan that spans everything from information
technology and transportation to agriculture and academia.
The Harry W. McFadden, Jr., M.D. Lectureship was
established in 1985 upon his retirement as Chairman of the
Department of Medical Microbiology. Dr. McFadden was a
graduate of the Nebraska College of Medicine in 1943. After
completing his training in pathology, he became a faculty member
at UNMC where he rose to the rank of full professor and became
Chairman of the Department of Medical Microbiology in 1956. He
held that position for nearly 30 years until his retirement in 1985,
at which time the department was merged with Department of
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine to become the current
Department of Pathology and Microbiology. At that time, the
pathologists of the department contributed an endowment to
establish this lectureship. Dr. McFadden has had numerous
awards and recognitions for his many contributions to
microbiology, pathology, and most notably to medical education.
It is for his contributions as an outstanding educator of medial
students. The alumni of the Class of 1964, on their 25th reunion,
decided to further endow the McFadden Lectureship, making it a
premier event at UNMC.
A few of the distinguished guests at the celebration
dinner the evening before were, Governor Heineman and
his wife, Sally Ganem; Senator Abbie Cornett and her
husband, Mark Stranglen; Senator Gwen Howard and her
daughter, Carrie; Senator Pam Brown; Senator Lowen
Kruse and his wife, Ruth; Dr. Dick Raymond, Chief Medical
Officer for the State of Nebraska; Dr. Steve Hinrichs,
director of the University’s Biosecurity program and his
wife, Deb; Regent Dr. Drew Miller and his wife, Annabeth;
Regent Dr. Randy Ferlic; Alumni for the Class of 1964
Nebraska College of Medicine; Dr. Chet Thompson and his
wife, Barbara; Dr. Vale Sorensen and his wife, Peggy; and
Dr. Cleve Trimble.
L to R: Chancellor Maurer, Dr. Harry McFadden,
Governor Heineman, Dr. Samuel Cohen
Dr. Steve Hinrichs and Governor Heineman
L to R: Tony Sambol, Governor Heineman,
Ann Fruhling, Rhonda Noel (front)
Inside this issue:
Letter From The Chairman
Residents Corner
Biocontainment Unit Unveiled
Research May Help Fight Prostate Cancer
Department of Defense Funds Research Project
Path/Micro Baby Party Is A Hit
Researchers Discover Unknown Bacteria
Special Announcements and Upcoming Events
Page 2
Letter from the Chairman
Another academic year is about to begin, with the conclusion of an exciting year in our department and on
campus. Important events have occurred in our department involving all our missions, including education,
research, and clinical service.
A significant effort in the past several months has revolved around planning for a new Bioterrorism
Preparedness Laboratory, including new laboratories for research, and planning for a new clinical laboratory.
The efforts of numerous individuals are involved in this process as it continues. This project will follow on
the-soon-to-be completed opening of the Center of Excellence Building, which will include a new, modern and
expanded operating room suite and a new gross and frozen section room for pathology.
The clinical laboratory also recently completed a successful CAP inspection. Congratulations to all those involved with this major effort.
“This project will
As always, the end of an academic year brings the departure of some of our resifollow on the-soonSamuel M. Cohen,
dents and fellows, but the arrival of others. Dr. Jean Thomsen has gone to Virginia
to-be completed
M.D. ,Ph.D
Commonwealth University Medical Center for completion of her residency and a felopening of the
lowship in surgical pathology and cytopathology. In addition, Dr. Ken Young completing his 2-year hematopathology fellowship and will be taking a faculty position at the University of WisconCenter of Excellence
sin, my old alma mater. We wish them both great success in their future careers.
Building, which will
We would like to welcome two new residents, Dr. Kyle Perry from the University of Florida and Dr. Neil
include a new.
Rawlinson form Boston University, who will start their residency programs in pathology on July 1, 2005. We
modern and
also are excited about the return of Dr. Hina Nashaud who will be rejoining our department as a
expanded operating
hematopathology fellow. We are also welcoming four new faculty: Dr. Mavis Fletcher from the University of
Iowa who joined our department May 1, 2005. Drs. Ken Bayles, Kelly Rice and Jong-Sam Ahn, will join us
room suite and a
July 1, 2005 from the University of Idaho.
new gross and frozen
This past year has had numerous successes for our department. We look to the coming year for yet
even more exciting and greater achievements by our faculty and other members of our department.
section room for
Promotions(*) and New Hires
Tricia Aden
Lab Assistant
Molly Hartmann
Lab Assistant
Burak Aksu, PhD
Visiting Researcher
Wendy Jamison
Graduate Assistant
Brandi Babcock
Lab Assistant
Toru Kanno, PhD, DVM
Visiting Researcher
*Leslie Bruch, M.D.
Associate Professor
Kayla Kapels
Lab Assistant
Laurie Bruck
Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Kelly
Clinical Services Manager
Nicole Clark
Research Technologist II
Teresa Kottwitz
Sarah Clayton
Client Service Representative
Kristin Landis
Uğur Coşkun, M.D.
Visiting Researcher
Anthony Militti
Mechanical Engineer
Project Director
Alicia Dafferner
Industrial Engineer
Research/Ed. Services Manager
Research Technologist I
Mary Newcomb
Systems Analyst III
Takamasa Onishi, M.D. PhD Post Doc Research Associate
Maria Erickson
Secretarial Specialist
Kim Plath
Lab Assistant
Zhong Feng Liu, M.D.
Visiting Researcher
Doreen Potter
Client Services Representative
Paul Fey, PhD
Associate Professor
Ramona Repaczki MARP
Systems Analyst III
Jeff Engel
*Catherine Gebhart, PhD
Assistant Professor
Agnes Figuieredo, PhD
Visiting Researcher
*Timothy Greiner, M.D.
Shawn Slater
Research Technologist II
Amber Grimes
Medical Technologist
David Smith, PhD
Lloyd Halsell, III
DNA Analyst
Faculty & Staff Service
Marjorie Boyden
35 Years of Service
Shirene Seina
10 Years of Service
Yuri Persidsky
Patricia Koso
20 Years of Service
Frances Aguilera
5 Years of Service
Samuel Pirruccello
David Varga
20 Years of Service
Susan Anson
5 Years of Service
Rakesh Singh
Deborah Perry
Karen Hansen
15 Years of Service
Michael Arington
5 Years of Service
Jeanette Beda
10 Years of Service
Christine Glaser
5 Years of Service
Dalton Johnson
10 Years of Service
Cynthia Hardesty
5 Years of Service
Scott Kurz
10 Years of Service
Randi Nelson
5 Years of Service
Volunteer of
month, January
Page 3
Biocontainment Unit Unveiled
On March 7, 2005, Julie Gerberding,
M.D., director of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), unveiled
Nebraska’s new Biocontainment Unit at
The Nebraska Medical Center.
“Nebraska is leading the way (in
bioterrorism preparedness) and the
biocontainment unit is one stellar example
of that kind of preparedness,” Dr.
Gerberding said. The 10-bed unit, set up
to handle highly contagious and deadly
Julie Gerberding, M.D. infectious conditions, is the first-of-its-kind
in the nation. “We do not have any other
capacity like this in the nation,” Dr. Gerberding said. “Part of the
beauty of this particular facility is that it would serve not only for
Nebraska, but for the other states that are engaged in the
Midwest Alliance.” The unit is equipped with special air-handling
systems to ensure that germs do not spread beyond the patients
rooms. Ultraviolet light, a dunk tank for lab specimens and
sterilizer for items to be taken out of the unit are just some of the
safety features designed to keep germs inside the unit and protect
people on the outside. The unit also has two videophones that
would give families and friends a connection to loved ones inside
the unit. The videophones also will make consultations easier
and safer.
The unit is set up to handle a wide variety of contagious and
deadly infectious conditions, including the following hazardous
diseases: small pox, anthrax, tularemia, the plague, botulism,
SARS, monkey pox, avian flu, vancomycin-resistant staph
infection, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis.
There are only two other
bio- “Nebraska is leading
containment patient care units in the the way (in bioterrorism
country. The U.S. Army Medical Re- preparedness) and the
search Institute of Infectious Diseases Biocontainment unit is
houses a two-bed special Biosafety
one stellar example of
patient care suite at Fort Detrick,
Maryland, for military members and that kind of
investigators who may be exposed to preparedness”
infectious agents, and the CDC has a
two-bed unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Dr. Gerberding praised the leadership of Nebraska, which is
recognized nationally for its collaboration on bioterrorism
preparedness issues, calling it a model for the nation. Governor
Dave Heineman says, “Nebraska is a leader in bioterrorism
preparedness and this collaborative effort is another shining
example of what can be accomplished by working together.” The
funding comes from federal bioterrorism preparedness dollars
allocated to Nebraska, along with contributions from The
Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC. Each state received funds
to plan and develop bioterrorism projects.
Nebraska’s success, Gerberding said, has evolved from
established priorities, phenomenal performance and leadership,
vision and passion of state leaders to execute the job. Steve
Hinrichs, M.D., professor of Pathology and Microbiology and
director of the University of Nebraska Center for Biosecurity, says
having the Biocontainment Unit and the Nebraska Public Health
Laboratory located in the same area is an important benefit to the
state. “The Nebraska Public Health Laboratory brings state and
university expertise and resources together in a collaborative
effort,” Dr. Hinrichs says. “The laboratory’s nearby location
provides state-of-the-art services and enhances our overall preparedness for the threat of bioterrorism and infectious disease
Philip Smith, M.D., medical director of the biocontainment unit, says, “The unit is a valuable regional and potentially national resource that is unique because of its 10-bed
size and because it is a health department initiate project with
collaboration between public health, a university and a
“This unit gives testimony to what can happen through
collaboration,” Glenn Fosdick, President and Chief Executive
Officer of The Nebraska Medical Center, said. “A hospital alone cannot do
what we’ve done here. A state medi- “The laboratory’s
cal school or health
department nearby location
alone cannot do what we have done. provides state-ofIt takes all of us working together with the-art services
our eyes on the future and our focus
and enhances
on preparedness.”
our overall
Dr. Gerberding praised the
“health protection heroes” who preparedness for
volunteered and trained to work in the the threat of
new biocontainment unit, which cre- bioterrorism and
ates the “safest possible environment.” infectious
Fosdick, too, praised the 15 registered
nurses, seven respiratory therapists disease threats”
and seven technicians who have been
selected and specially trained to staff the unit, should it be
needed. “(We) see before us a group of protectors –
individuals who volunteered to work in a unit where they will
wage a bedside battle with the most contagious and deadly
disease in the world. I want you to see the faces of courage
– the people who’ve come to us and said, “I want this job”.
“Since 2002, the four campuses of the University of
Nebraska have worked together on terrorism research
through a Center for Biosecurity administered by the
University of Nebraska Medical Center,” Governor Heineman said. “UNMC has earned praise over and over again for
its caliber of research. It leads the way in developing technology to detect and react to a biological attack. State government’s unique collaboration with UNMC and other partners
makes very, very good sense.”
SARS Corona
Bacillus Anthracis
Page 4
Department of Defense
funds Research project
The Microbiology Automations
Research Project (MARP),
directed by Dr. Rod Markin
received funding from the
Department of Defense (DoD)
in October 2004. The objective of the MARP is to
develop a broad microbiology
(including bacteriology,
mycology, and virology)
automation platform that will
allow for and support the
creation of an automated microbiology technology that can
be used by the Army in the clinical laboratory. It can also be
used for non-clinical microbiology applications, potentially
including bioterrorism testing.
The project will evaluate certain types of known
microbiology specimen container systems for automation. At
the conclusion of the grant, MARP should be able to
dramatically improve how microbiology specimens are
processed and cultured.
There are tangible and intangible benefits of the Project.
The tangible benefits include a reduction in DoD healthcare
costs, 24-hour/7-day-a-week operations and production,
extremely quick turn-around times (critical in field settings),
decreased errors and increased quality through repetitive and
standardized processes. This means more troops can be
processed more quickly, more ambient air samples can be
tested, and more work can be done on site, all with less
training than might otherwise be needed. Intangible benefits
include advancing systems engineering for other applications
and gradually standardizing specimen handling and
Additional laboratory working space for the Special Pathogens
and Biosecurity Laboratory sections of the Nebraska Public
Health Laboratory (NPHL) in Wittson Hall was completed and
officially opened on January 20, 2005. In addition to the
Biosecurity and Special Pathogens Laboratory sections, the
Chemical Terrorism Preparedness Laboratory (CTPL) is also
located here. The new space gives these NPHL laboratory
sections substantially more area to continue developing the
capability and capacity necessary for public health related
testing. This capacity has been developed to provide testing in
a variety of situations, from suspected biological or chemical
terrorism events to West Nile virus testing.
The Biosecurity and Special Pathogens Laboratory
sections of the NPHL have the capacity and capability to test for
a variety of bacterial agents by culture, DNA detection by
polymerase chain reaction, or by detection of whole bacteria or
biotoxins by an enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) test
known as time-resolved fluorescence (TRF). (See Table 1). As
new assays are developed and released by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, the NPHL will continue to
receive the testing kits and diagnostic reagents needed to
perform the assays.
Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella
tularensis, Brucella spp., Burkholderia spp.,
Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., E. coli 0157:H7,
Vibrio cholerae, Coxiella burnetti, Chlamydia
psittaci, and M. tuberculosis (multi-drug resistant)
SARS-associated Coronavirus, Variola virus
(Smallpox virus), Monkeypox virus, Vaccinia
virus, Varicella-Zoster virus, and Western and
Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis viruses.
To determine which specimen collection devices/
systems should be “standardized’ using optimal,
high-priority modeling;
To build/develop a component prototype “Specimen
Collection Vehicle” (SCV), based on data gathered
from a market survey, which can be easily
incorporated as an integral component to a
full-scale automation prototype; and
Ricin, Staphylococcus enterotoxin B, and Clostridium botulinum toxin.
To develop functional and technical specifications
for a MARP prototype.
Table 1.
The four goals of the MARP are:
To identify issues needed to commence work on a
full-scale automation prototype;
Currently, the project staff has
completed six surveys and has 12
more scheduled in upcoming months.
Hospitals throughout Omaha will
participate, as well as such prestigious
institutions as the Mayo Clinic.
Reagents and test parameters are currently available to
test for the following special pathogens and select agents.
The CTPL continues to develop the capability to rapidly
detect the presence of chemical agents in human specimens
such as blood, urine, and tissue. Two types of mass spectrometers,
an Inductively-Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) and a
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), will be utilized. Currently, the NPHL can test for cyanide and 13 elements
including arsenic, and has recently received another GC-MS to
be used for nerve agent analysis in urine specimens once training and validation is complete. Anticipated date for this is June
Page 5
Researchers Discover Unknown Bacteria
After four cancer patients in five years
contracted the same mysterious,
life-threatening lung infection, a UNMC
cancer physician wanted to know exactly
what bacteria was causing the infection.
Knowing would give him a better idea of
how to more effectively treat the infection.
Employing molecular diagnostics to
solve the mystery, UNMC microbiologists
and laboratory specialists at The Nebraska Medical Center accomplished
something prestigious in the world of microbiology. They identified a previously
unknown organism and named it Nebraskense (pronounced neh-brah-SKENNebraskense
see) after the state.
“This may not be equivalent to discovering a new planet, but for biologists, it’s very exciting,” said
Steven Hinrichs, M.D, UNMC professor of Pathology and Microbiology and director of The
Nebraska Medical Center microbiology and virology laboratories. “This bacterium wasn’t just
created. It’s just that it hasn’t been recognized before. It’s
probably been around for a long time.”
The organism, called Mycobacterium Nebraskense, is in a
family called Mycobacterium, which include diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. Nebraskense, a new bacterium species
commonly found in soil and water, is slow growing and is known
to cause chronic lung infection, including pneumonia.
The UNMC discovery will allow laboratory specialists
around the world to identify the organism faster and earlier, enabling health professionals to use the most appropriate treatment. Dr. Hinrichs says treatment is the key because the organism is almost impossible to avoid.
Gail Woods, M.D., professor of pathology at the University
of Utah, and a scientist with Associated Regional and University
Pathologists, Inc., said the Nebraska discovery solved a mystery for her laboratory. “We had the isolate but couldn’t identify
it,” Dr. Woods said. “We didn’t know what it was. Once we had
the information, we added it to our database. The discovery will
allow scientists to learn more about the disease it causes.”
“Within each organism’s DNA, there are signature sequences areas that are unique to the organism,” Peter Iwen,
Ph.D., associate professor in the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology said. “There are multiple signature sequences that can be used for identification purposes. The signatures we have identified are somewhat unique and found to
be reliable for identification purposes. A test we’ve developed
allows us to look at the unique sequence in the genetic material
of an organism and identify the species.”
The team is also working on developing the ability to
“direct test” patient specimens – making identification available
between a matter of hours and a couple of days, instead of
taking a month or longer as currently required. In addition, scientists also are looking to develop tests to determine the resistance of bacteria to certain drugs.
“Health professionals routinely prescribe treatments before they know the organism causing the disease,” Dr. Iwen
said. “They don’t always know what’s wrong. Some ask, why
worry about obscure organisms that are difficult to identify?”
The answer is: because frequently, they require different treatments.”
From their work on the project, researchers have patented a molecular diagnostic test kit and are applying for
patents on others they’re developing. The kits enable more
rapid and accurate ways to diagnose disease. Laboratories
performing diagnostic testing for micro-organisms, including
human and animal, are potential users of the test kits.
“Our capability in virology and molecular diagnostics is
probably only exceeded by places like Mayo Clinic, Baylor,
and a couple of national laboratories,“ Dr. Hinrichs said.
“Most labs don’t employ these methods. We’re just beginning to see the vast potential of this technology. It’s faster
and more accurate and has the ability to reveal aspects of
bacteria such as whether it has antibiotic resistance. It will
revolutionize microbiology.”
Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D.
Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D.
David T. Purtilo, M.D.
On January 8, 2005, the department celebrated the naming of
Dr. Rodney S. Markin as the David T. Purtilo Chair of
Pathology. The Chair is in honor of Dr. David T. Purtilo,
Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology
at UNMC from 1981 to his untimely death in 1992 at the age
of 53. David had the wisdom and foresight to establish a
major program funded by contributions from the faculty
members of the department establishing insurance policies
on themselves for future endowments. Ultimately, this
program will endow 14 chairs or professorships for the
Dr. Markin was recruited as a resident by Dr. Purtilo in
the department and ultimately as a faculty member. It was
one of many outstanding recruitments by Dr. Purtilo in
changing the department from a clinical and teaching entity to
a major academic department with significant extramural
research funding for clinical and basic research.
Dr. Markin has an unusual combination of backgrounds
including a Ph.D. in chemistry, board certification in anatomic
and clinical pathology, and special expertise in
hematopathology in anatomic pathology and clinical
chemistry, laboratory automation, and laboratory information
systems in clinical pathology. His research has involved all of
these areas, but he is best known for his development for
laboratory automation systems, including his recent
endeavors in automating processes for microbiology testing,
particularly as it could be related to bioterrorism
At the celebration dinner at Happy Hollow Country Club,
he was joined by his wife, Annette, his two sons, Nicholas
and Christopher, his father and other family members, friends
and faculty colleagues.
Dr. Rod Markin epitomizes the vision of excellence in
academic pathology anticipated and expected by Dr. Purtilo,
and it is a pleasure and honor to name him as the David T.
Purtilo Chair in Pathology.
Page 6
Schenken Award Goes to
Three Recipients
Pathology Residents Corner
Three UNMC students received the 2005 J. R. Schenken M.D.
Outstanding Achievement in Pathology and Microbiology Award
during the honors convocation on May 12, 2005.
Schenken Award is presented to outstanding medical students
in honor of Dr. Jerald R. Schenken, a nationally recognized
pathologist. The award is presented to those medical students
who best exemplify scholarship and professionalism in
Pathology and Microbiology during their
medical school
The past six months have been a very busy and productive time
for our residency program. The largest project was preparation for
the ACGME residency accreditation site visit which took place on
February 23, 2005. We would like to extend a big thank you to all
the faculty, residents and staff who worked so hard in preparation
for this day. At this time, we do not anticipate receiving feedback
on our residency program until next fall. Until then we will diligently
continue working on several goals including re-designing the
residency web site, rewriting the residency manual, and residency
recruitment will be our major focus for 2005.
Dr. Schenken, who practiced pathology at Methodist
Hospital in Omaha, was involved with UNMC from 1965 until his
death in 2001.
This award recognizes Dr. Schenken’s
contributions to the education of future physicians and medical
technologists and to the continuing education of health
professionals. Since Dr. Schenken was involved in medical
education broadly, the awards are not limited to individuals
going into pathology. The winners this year and their residency
plans are:
Michael Feilmeier: Ophthalmology
University of Miami/Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL
Stephen Schinker: Internal Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
It is with pleasure that we announce Dr. John Gentry has
agreed to serve as the Chief Resident for the 2005-2006 academic
year. We would like to thank our current Chief, Dr. Rachel Stevens
for a job well done. Her work and ideas this past year have been
integral to many improvements in the program. In addition, Dr. Kurt
Mathews also deserves a thank you for his involvement as Chief
during Rachel’s maternity leave this past fall.
Match Day took place on March 17th. Our residency program
had two positions available and filled both. As of July 1, 2005 Drs.
Kyle Perry, University of Florida and Neil Rawlinson, Boston
University will join our program as first-year residents. We look
forward to welcoming them both to Nebraska and our department.
Dr. Neil Rawlinson
Nicole Sherman: Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Kyle Perry
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, IA
Congratulations to…
Congratulations to these three outstanding young physicians.
Dr. John Gentry on his publication:
Klinger ET, Bernal K, Paustian F, Schafer
D, Hoagbin J, Gentry J, Swindells S. A
48-year-old HIV positive man with chronic
intermittent diarrhea. Clin Infect Dis 39
(8):1174, 1239-40, 2004.
Dr. Kurt Mathews on his publication: Mathews K, Gulizia J.
Young woman with abdominal pain and fullness. Consultant
44:12:1514-1520, 2004.
Dr. Rachel Stevens’ accomplishments, not the least of which
was the birth of her second child, Owen Stevens, on October
13, 2004. Rachel also had a poster presentation entitled,
“Analysis of HER-2 Gene Amplification Using an Automated
FISH Signal Enumeration System” at the March 2005 USCAP
meeting in San Antonio.
Dr. Jean Thomsen for securing fellowships in surgical
pathology and cytopathology at Virginia Commonwealth
University Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, where she
will begin her training in July 2005. Dr. Thomsen was also
appointed as a resident representative on the CAP/ACGME
Cytogenetics Committee this past year as well as being
selected to participate in the Council of Scientific Affairs (CSA)
Leadership meeting in March 2005.
Department Has Strong
Presence at USCAP
The largest meeting of anatomic pathologists in the United
States was held in San Antonio, Texas during the first week of
March. Historically, the United States and Canadian Academy
of Pathology (USCAP) has been a favorite venue for the UNMC
Department of Pathology & Microbiology. This year was no
exception. The department was recognized as one of the top
20 departments, out of two hundred twenty departments, for the
number of posters and presentations by our residents, fellows
and faculty at the meeting. Our strong presence at this meeting
reflects the diverse research endeavors of our department.
This only scratches the surface of the accomplishments our
residents have had in the past 6 months. We look forward to
reporting even more exciting resident activities and
accomplishments in the months to come.
Page 7
UNMC Research May Help Fight Prostate Cancer
metastasis from
occurring. ”
MMP-7 is an enzyme that
regulates communication between
the tumor and surrounding normal
tissue by processing cytokines and
growth factors to active forms.
MMP-7 has been shown to be
involved in the invasion and spread
of several cancers.
The researchers found that
MMP-7 cleaved a molecule called
RANKL into a soluble form that
promoted osteoclast activation and
bone degradation. Mice deficient in
MMP-7 had little to no soluble RANKL and exhibited substantially reduced prostate cancer-induced bone degradation compared to control mice expressing MMP-7.
The researchers conclude that MMP-7 plays a major role
in prostate cancer-driven osteolysis and that the mechanism of
MMP-7 action involves cleavage of RANKL to a soluble form
that promotes osteoclast activation and pathological bone
breakdown. "Our results make MMP-7 an attractive
therapeutic target for the control of prostate cancer-induced
bone osteolysis," Dr. Futakuchi said.
Dr. Singh said the next step will be for researchers to
extend the study to breast cancer. He said prostate and breast
cancer are most likely to spread to the bones. In approximately
60 percent of patients with metastatic prostate or breast
cancer, the metastasis occurs in the bone.
"This is all about quality of life," Dr. Singh said. "Bone
cancer is very painful and treatment options are lacking. We
now need to look at these regulators of bone metastasis and
try to develop targeted therapeutics that will prevent the bone
metastasis from occurring."
tumor cells
Researchers at UNMC have reported
the findings of a new study that sheds
light on a mechanism involved in the
pathological destruction of bone caused
by metastatic prostate cancer.
The findings provide critical insight
into the process of prostate
Rakesh Singh, Ph.D. left
cancer-driven bone destruction and
and Mitsuru Futakuchi,
identify a treatment that may interrupt
Ph.D. right
bone disease caused by the spread of
prostate cancer. The research is published in the cover story in
the May 2005 issue of Cancer Cell, a premier scientific journal.
The spread of cancer to other body regions is the primary
cause of death from prostate cancer. The most common place
for prostate cancer to metastasize is bone, causing intense pain,
pathological fracture, and immobility. At the current time,
treatment options for patients with bone metastases are limited.
Rakesh Singh, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and
microbiology, and Mitsuru Futakuchi, Ph.D., a post doctoral
research fellow, headed the collaborative study between UNMC,
Vanderbilt University and Nagoya City University in Nagoya,
Japan. Dr. Singh is the principal investigator. Dr. Futakuchi is a
visiting postdoctoral fellow from Japan. Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D.,
chair of the department of cancer biology at Vanderbilt University,
also was a key participant in the study.
The study, which has been ongoing for the past five years,
used a new rodent model that mimics the changes to bone that
occur following prostate cancer metastasis.
Transplantation of prostate tumor tissue onto bone surfaces
provided a histological picture similar to human prostate cancers
growing in the bone. The goal of the study was to look for
mechanisms that drive the behavior of this disease, with the hope
of discovering new therapeutic targets.
"Bone remodeling is always going on in the body. It's a
natural process," said Dr. Singh. "What we found is that for the
metastatic tumor to grow in the bone, it must exploit the normal
bone remodeling process by using the same pathway."
Dr. Futakuchi said: "Bone is not a very fun place for cancer
to grow. For tumor cells to grow in the bone, a vicious cycle must
occur involving bone destruction and the release of growth
factors necessary for tumor cell growth. The destruction must
occur, because the tumor needs the space to grow."
The researchers identified
“This is all about
genes that are expressed in the
quality of life, bone
tumor-bone interface but not in the
tumor alone. Several genes that
cancer is very
play a role in bone physiology
painful and
were abnormally regulated,
treatment options
including the gene for MMP-7.
are lacking. We now
Cells called osteoclasts at
need to look at these
the tumor-bone interface were
observed to secrete MMP-7.
regulators of bone
Osteoclasts break down bone as
metastasis and try
part of normal bone remodeling,
to develop targeted
but are overactive in cancerous
bone, leading to excessive bone
therapeutics that
will prevent the bone
MMP-7 promotes prostate cancer-induced osteolysis via
the solublization of RANKL. Cancer Cell, 7: 485-496, 2005
Page 8
Mary Haven to Retire
When Mary Haven was named associate dean of UNMC’s School of Allied Health Professions in 1995,
she had an idea of how long she’d stay in the position. She thought 10 years would be a good time to be
associate dean and see things through, then time for new ideas.
“Haven joined UNMC on March 1, 1968, as a clinical chemist in pathology/microbiology and medical
technology. “Mary Haven has been a part of the gyroscope that has kept our department, the clinical
laboratory and the Allied Health programs on course during her tenure at UNMC. We have all been
educated through one venue or another by Mary. I have personally enjoyed working with her both in the
department and the College of Medicine over the years,” says vice-chairman Dr. Rodney Markin. When
accepting the associate dean position, she succeeded Reba Benschoter, Ph.D., who also spent 10 years
in the role.
During Haven’s tenure, she has expanded the distance learning programs beyond that of most allied
health schools and colleges. By this fall, SAHP will have four programs offered by distance learning: medical technology,
radiation therapy, radiography and cytotechnology. She became nationally recognized for her work and research in clinical
chemistry and her contributions to education. “She is one of the most remarkable individuals I have known,” declared department
chair Dr. Sam Cohen.
Upon retiring, Haven and her husband, UNMC ophthalmologist Gerald Christensen, M.D., plan to travel. She also intends
to stay involved with international programs at the medical center.
Grants Funded
Julia Bridge – IRSG Studies of Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma Gene Fusion – 2/1/05—1/31/06 - Awarded by: NIH through
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine- $69,050.
Julia Bridge – A Validation Study of the ThinPrep UroCyte Collection and Slide Preparation Systems with UroVysion –
12/07/04—2/06/05 – Awarded by: Abbott Laboratories- $50,000.
Wing Chan – Molecular Signatures to Improve Diagnosis and Outcome Prediction in NHL– 6/01/05—4/30/10– Awarded by:
DHHS/NIH/NCI- $1,714,885.
Nora Chapman– Inhibiting Demyelination By Immunization Using Coxsackievirus Vectors– 4/01/05—3/31/06– Awarded by:
NIH through Creighton University- $39,247.
Samuel Cohen– Six-Month Oral Investigative Urinary Bladder Reversibility Study in Male Rats 2/22/05—2/21/06– Awarded
by: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company- $175,292.
Samuel Cohen– Three-Month Oral Investigative Study of Urine Composition in Male Rats– 4/07/05—4/06/06– Awarded by:
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company- $80,848.
Paul Dunman– Develop Methods for Monitoring Bacterial Gene Expression Using Affymetrix Gene Chips– 6/01/05—
5/31/06– Awarded by: Merck & Co, Inc.- $77,037.
Paul Dunman– Role of the Staphylococcus Aureus Accessory Regulator SarA in Post-transcriptional Virulence Factor
Regulation– Awarded by: American Heart Association (National)- $65,000.
James Gulizia– Educational Support-Awarded by: Educational Support office.
Steve Hinrichs– Department of Homeland Security– LETPP– 4/01/05—3/31/07- Awarded by: NEMA-$109,500.
Steve Hinrichs– Department of Homeland Security– SHSG– 4/01/05—3/31/07– Awarded by: NEMA- $152,468.
James Talmadge– UNMC Eppley Cancer Center Support Grant– 9/20/04—7/31/05– Awarded by: DHHS/NIH/NCI- $250,000.
James Talmadge– Novel Technologies for Non-Invasive Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer– 11/30/04—
11/29/05– Awarded by: Alnis Biosciences, Inc.- $55,587.
James Talmadge– Analysis of the Antigenicity of KSA Vaccines– 3/24/05—6/23/05– Awarded by: Immuno– Designed
Molecules, Inc.- $5,846.
Steven Tracy– Coxsackievirus Modulation of T1D Outcome in NOD Mice– 3/01/05—2/28/06– Awarded by: Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation International- $155,295.
Dennis Weisenburger– Lymphoma Defined Cytogenetically for Epidemiologic Study– 4/01/05—3/31/06– Awarded by: NIH
through Northwestern University-Chicago- $124,119.
Page 9
Path/Micro Baby Party
Path/Micro family
The Department’s Annual Baby Party was held on
March 16th, 2005.
Many families attended and fun was had by all!
Sean Vollmer (grandson to Dr. Cohen)
Danielle Koch (daughter to
Melissa, Rapid Response Lab)
Samantha, Danielle, & Tatum Holmstrom
(daughters to Jessie, Cytology lab)
Shonia, Joseph, & Kaitlyn Struck
Page 10
Special Announcements
Jamie (Parman) Bass to Wayne Bass:
January 14, 2005
Michelle Faron to John Gasko:
June 18, 2005
Stuart Bridge, son of Dr. Bridge, graduated May 05
from the School of Engineering in Physics and Math at
Washington University in St. Louis. He will be a first
year med student at UNMC in August 05.
Benjamin Iwen, son of Dr. Iwen, graduated from North
Dakota State University, Fargo with a BS in
Environmental Science and a BLA in Landscape
Edward Matthews, brother of Katrina Matthews,
graduated from Bellevue University with a MA in
Business Management.
Sara Salerno, daughter of Kathy Salerno, graduated
from UNO with a degree in Marketing in December.
Jeff Annin to Amanda Finch:
July 30, 2005
Sabrina, age 9 & Ashley, age 6 adoption by
Julie Moreno
Madeline Sophia Fontana, 7-9-04, to Jennifer
Joeli Nicole
Bryson Michael Tracy, 12-01-04, grandson to
Kathy Salerno
Kaitlyn Rose Struck, 12-10-04, to Shonia Struck
Emily Holbrook, daughter of Maureen Holbrook,
graduated from Papillion LaVista High School. Emily
is going to UNO, wants to work with geriatrics,
probably in physical therapy.
Joseph Graser, son of Karen Graser, graduated from
Bryan High School. He will be attending Peru State
Stephanie Lavoie, daughter of Beverly Lavoie, was •
selected for a foreign exchange program to study for
one semester in Melbourne, Australia. She is a
senior at Kansas State University.
Clark Kephart, son of Lynne Owen, graduated from
Millard North. He will be attending Metro Tech as part
of the Passport Program.
Department Zoo Picnic—July 10th
Andrea Felber, daughter to Glenda Felber, graduated
from Creighton with a BSEMS in May.
Upcoming events:
Mark Gregory, son of Marcy Gregory,
graduated May 14, 05 from Iowa Western
Community College with a degree in
Electronic Communications Media.
Christian Johansson, son of Dr. Sonny Johansson,
was recently promoted to CEO of the Baltimore •
Economic Alliance where he has been Vice President
since August 2003.
Jared Plath, son of Kim Plath, graduated from Burke
High School and will be attending UNO.
Steven Timko, son of Denise Timko, graduated from
Omaha North and will be attending UNO.
Newsletter Team
Jamie Bass
Stephanie Kelly
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 552-3311
Phone: 559-7760
With a special thanks to Kristin Landis for getting us off on the right foot.
Continued article suggestions are appreciated!
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