Tag Archives: university of arizona

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UA’s Michele Norin among Premier 100 IT Leaders

IDG’s Computerworld announced Michele Norin, Chief Information Officer at the University of Arizona, as a 2015 Premier 100 IT Leaders honoree. This year’s Premier 100 spotlights 100 leaders from both the technology and business sides of companies for their exceptional technology leadership and innovative approaches to business challenges.

“The Premier 100 awards program showcases the innovative work of a dedicated group of IT leaders who are using technology to solve business problems in their organizations,” said Scot Finnie, editor in chief of Computerworld. “Every day, these tech-savvy professionals are positioning their organizations for success by mapping IT projects to strategic business initiatives. They also ensure that their departments are set up to quickly enable new ideas, and they balance the need for free and open access to information with concerns about security and compliance. These 100 men and women are using their vast experience in managing people and projects to stay a step ahead. We’re pleased to recognize their leadership and honor their achievements.”

“Michele has demonstrated her strategic leadership of the UA’s IT enterprise by implementing many cutting-edge initiatives that place us years ahead of the pack in higher education,” said Andrew Comrie, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, University of Arizona. “This requires rare foresight and vision as well as a strong team, and I am delighted that her achievements have been recognized through this award.”

Ms. Norinleads and advocates for the development and use of information technology on campus in support of the University’s vision for excellence in research, teaching, outreach, and lifelong learning. She encourages collaboration among central and departmental IT units, champions the use and expansion of IT services to enhance student and academic success, facilitates information sharing within the campus IT community, and has recently developed a new campus IT governance model.

The Premier 100 awards ceremony will be one of the highlights of the AGENDA15 Conference held March 30 – April 1, 2015, at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Island, Florida. The Conference, to be attended by more than 300 influential business and senior IT executives, will focus on transforming business for the digital world. (More information available at AGENDA15, www.agendaconference.com.)

Biltmore residents Karl and Stevie Eller with University of Arizona Eller College of Management Dean Len Jessup. The Ellers' gift of $1.5 million will name the Professional Development Center, a two-story addition to the business school that will house undergraduate career coaches, recruiter meeting space, and student collaboration space.

UA Eller College receives large gifts from Valley philanthropists

The University of Arizona Eller College of Management announced on Oct. 9 three new gift commitments totaling $6 million from Shamrock Foods and Karl and Stevie Eller of Phoenix and the Diamond family of Tucson.

More than 240 people attended the celebration of Arizona NOW: The Campaign for the University of Arizona, hosted by Eller College and the UA Foundation National Leadership Council at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The overall goal of Arizona NOW: The Campaign for the University of Arizona is set at $1.5 billion.

Biosciences_Partnership_Building_poster

UofA breaks ground on 245KSF Biosciences Partnership Building

With a shovel of dirt, construction began Thursday on the 10-story Biosciences Partnership Building; the latest development in downtown Phoenix.

 

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton tilled the soil ceremoniously marking the beginning of the 2-year design and construction for the 245,000-square foot research building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

 

“This building will foster collaborations with scientists that will lead to more cures, better treatments and bring more federal and private dollars to the state,” said President Hart. “We will pursue expanded partnerships with industry that we hope will lead to groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular and thoracic science. This building will allow us to further these efforts and, ultimately, improve lives.”

 

As announced earlier this year by the university and the City of Phoenix, plans are in place to construct the 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building just north of the Health Sciences Education Building on the downtown campus.

 

“This building will serve the medical school and beyond with important research and faculty to teach the next generation of health professionals,” Stanton said. “Of course, this just adds to the economic vibrancy of downtown. The research facility initially will bring construction jobs, and then high-paying, research-related jobs, including specialized technicians and other support staff for faculty and scientists.”

 

The 2-year construction on the $136 million building is expected to translate into nearly 500 jobs initially and another 360 permanent jobs at build out.

 

“The Bioscience Partnership Building represents yet another milestone as the city and the university develop a major academic medical center in downtown Phoenix,” said Stuart D. Flynn, MD, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “Research in this building, in collaboration with our partners, will advance healthcare for all and expand our role as an economic driver for the city, valley, and state.”

 

The building is the latest development in the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus and expanding academic medical center. In 2012, the award-winning Health Sciences Education Building opened, housing health education for both the UA and Northern Arizona University. Construction continues on The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

 

The Phoenix Biomedical Campus plays host to four UA health science colleges – the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health as well as the colleges of nursing and pharmacy. Also on campus are three NAU programs – physician’s assistant, physical therapy and occupational therapy as part of the university’s College of Health and Human Services. Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Innovation is housed in the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative 1 building just southwest of the education building and immediately south of the Translational Genomic Research Institute (TGen).

 

The funding for the Biosciences Partnership Building comes from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development bonds approved by the legislature in 2008that paid for construction of the Health Sciences Education Building and related campus improvements. Research focus areas include neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and precision medicine.

cancer

$1.8M grant supports UA cancer biology program

The National Cancer Institute has awarded the University of Arizona Cancer Center a $1.8 million grant to continue training cancer researchers for the future.

The grant, called a T32 Training Grant, is a five-year award that will draw on the strengths of research faculty at The University of Arizona who direct their efforts toward the understanding of cancer causation, prevention and treatment to train future cancer researchers. The grant will fund six pre-doctoral and two postdoctoral trainees.

The training grant has been continuously competitively renewed by the UA Cancer Center since 1978, when Eugene Gerner, PhD, was the first principal investigator. In 1992, G. Tim Bowden, PhD, the center’s chief science officer and chair of the Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, became the principal investigator. Jesse Martinez, PhD, became PI when Dr. Bowden retired in 2010. Dr. Martinez also serves as chair of the Cancer Biology Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, known as CBIO GIDP.

“The renewal of this training grant, which we have had at the UA Cancer Center for 36 years, means that we can continue to train the next generation of cancer researchers who will contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer,” said UA Cancer Center Director Andrew S. Kraft, MD. There are currently 20 students enrolled in the cancer biology graduate program.

The CBIO GIDP, which grew as part of the training grant, was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 1988. The GIDP training leads to a doctorate in cancer biology and offers graduate students the opportunity to interact with both basic scientists and clinical researchers. They can then establish themselves as independent investigators pursuing research into the origins and treatment of cancer. Since 1988, the program has trained and graduated more than 75 cancer researchers, including 7 MD/PhDs, who are working in industry, academia and government.

The UA’s Cancer Biology Program is the only program of its kind in the Southwest, excluding Southern California.

Susa joins DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy

Jim Susa

Jim Susa

Attorney Jim Susa has joined the Tucson office of the law firm of DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C. as a shareholder in the firm’s tax practice group.

Susa is recognized by the State Bar of Arizona as a certified tax specialist, and is a member of the State Bar of Arizona Legal Specialization Board Tax Law Advisory Commission. He is also licensed to practice law in Nevada.

Susa previously worked at Snell & Wilmer Law Offices in Tucson, representing numerous business clients in state and local taxation matters in Arizona and Nevada. Before that, he served as an Assistant Attorney General representing the Arizona Department of Revenue and an administrator at the Department.

Susa is a member of the Pima County Bar Association and the State Bar of Arizona Tax Law Advisory Commission. He is the past Chairman of the Arizona State Board of Accountancy Law Review Committee, State Bar of Arizona Tax Section and the Arizona State Board of Tax Appeals. He is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for Arizona, the State Bar of Arizona and the State Bar of Nevada.

Susa graduated cum laude from both the University of Arizona Colleges of Business and Law and holds a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Florida, specializing in tax law.

DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C., founded in 1968 and one of Southern Arizona’s largest law firms with offices in Tucson and Phoenix, conducts a full-service, multi-disciplinary practice. Additional information about the firm may be found at www.dmyl.com.

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Reconnecting Tucson

While Phoenix is in the throes of commercial recovery, Tucson is, comparably, about 18 to 24 months behind. The city’s proximity to the border is touted as a draw for investors, but the player with the best hand remains the University of Arizona (UA), which is not only the largest employer in southern Arizona but also the nucleus to an otherwise stagnant city.

As development stands, experts point out Tucson has added 1,900 student housing units in the last year and the retail and office sectors in proximity to UA and Pima Community College show promise. In April, Colliers closed the largest office sale in Tucson since 2008.

“Multifamily has led the recovery in almost all markets,” says Cindy Cooke, who heads the Cooke Multifamily Investment Team at Colliers. “Since so much of Tucson is UA and the medical school, I think you only see that continue to be strong. The growth will be fantastic.” The first sign in recovery, she says, is when vacancy increases. Right now, Tucson’s multifamily vacancy is at 7.9 percent. In 2009, it exceeded 11 percent.

The UA is working to spin its innovation to the private sector and create small firms offering high-paying jobs in many areas of core competency, says President and Managing Shareholder of Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, Mike Hammond. “The UA more than ever drives our community in a positive direction,” he says.

Kurt Wadington, Sundt Construction’s Tucson building group leader agrees. He adds that “apart from downtown and other isolated projects, Tucson’s market continues its softness in the shadow of a very slow economic recovery.”

Tucson’s streetcar project, Sun Link, aims to strengthen those existing assets and ignite future development. “With the recent infusion of student housing and corporate offices, downtown has become a desirable location for restaurants and bars as more people live and work in the area,” says Wadington. “This increased day and nighttime activity, that is expected to increase when Tucson’s new streetcar becomes operational on July 25, has numerous developers considering additional retail, office and housing projects.”

Though pens are to drawing boards, and the Sun Link has generated a “flurry of land sales,” there is some hesitation in development. Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR called Tucson a market in search of demand in its Q1 2014 reports. “One-liners are always a little true and at the same time false,” says Hammond. “Tucson says it wants good jobs but it acts differently when they appear.

Tucsonans tend to like the environment and object to nearly any attempt to develop on the land. This depresses demand as the process to develop anything is cumbersome and expensive with very little certainty of success, so we grow slower and some would say that is good. The right balance is tough to achieve.

“As government indebtedness drops, it is anticipated Pima County, followed by other jurisdictions, will pursue bonding authorizations for badly needed capital projects. Other needs may be met through public-private partnerships as public infrastructure needs continue to mount.”

UA is closely followed by Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the State of Arizona as top employers. Simply, southern Arizona relies on government funding.“I think the big rock the southern Arizona market is waiting for is some resolution at the national level on debt and how government goes forward at the federal spending level,” says Hammond.

“Much of our area is dependent of spending at the federal level and that has been decreasing, whether for infrastructure, military in general — the A10 fighter specifically — and Raytheon. No one expects funding to increase in these areas and these are very good jobs that bring new money into the area. The multiplier effect is real in the creation of jobs or the loss of jobs as the case may be.”

nancy_sweitzer

Nancy K. Sweitzer – Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Nancy K. SweitzerDirector, UA’s Sarver Heart Center
Sweitzer, an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and physiologist, hopes to build bridges between clinical and science enterprises and increase discovery in the areas of translational and personalized cardiovascular medicine.

Greatest accomplishment: “Becoming director of the Sarver Heart Center and chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona in March 2014.”

Surprising fact: “When visiting a new place, I always seek out local beer and yarn shops.”

Most Influential Women in Arizona Business – Every year in its July/August issue, Az Business Magazine celebrates the amazing women who make an impact on Arizona business.

Click here to see all of the 2014 Most Influential Women.

Rebecca Senf. (Photo provided.)

Phoenix Art Museum exhibit shares self-published photobooks

The INFOCUS Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photobooks will be at Phoenix Art Museum from August 23 to September 28, 2014. It explores the ways photographic artists are using newly available commercial technologies to self-publish photobooks. Entries were accepted until the end of July when a jury of seven industry professionals reviewed the 271 photobooks that came from 12 countries to select the 151 that will be on display to the public as part of the exhibition. The selected photobooks represent the diverse examples that were received and will be presented on tables in the gallery for visitors to easily view and enjoy.

DWVibnxiTi0TKguZqkIDs4oOQclBQqSUL1wIoZv7sQ0Phoenix Art Museum’s Norton Family Curator of Photography Rebecca Senf, Ph.D., was inspired to create this exhibition in Phoenix after learning about the DIY: Photographers & Books exhibition that was at Cleveland Museum of Art in 2012. A librarian, retail sales manager, two photography curators, two photography authors, and the founder of a photobook library made up the jury of seven industry professionals. Submissions were accepted until the end of July and the jury was overwhelmed by the nearly 300 submissions received. The photobooks came from 12 countries including Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. Within the U.S. alone books came from 31 states and Puerto Rico.

Rebecca Senf, Ph.D., said, “This is the first time I’ve done a big juried exhibition and it was such an exciting process.” She added, “Reviewing the books with my colleagues was enjoyable and it was a pleasure to discover so many wonderful books. I cannot wait to share what we discovered with the Phoenix Art Museum audience.”

The INFOCUS Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photobooks was organized by Phoenix Art Museum, INFOCUS,Phoenix Art Museum’s photography support organization, and the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. For additional information about the exhibition please visit phxart.org/exhibition/infocusphotobooks.

bioscience

Jewett Named Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year

jewett-sqJack B. Jewett, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation, will be honored with the Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year Award by the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

“Great leaders embrace possibilities and take the steps to make them reality. Jack B. Jewett has done more than just take steps,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, President & CEO, of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “Thanks to his leadership and the commitment of the Flinn Foundation, Arizona has a Bioscience Roadmap that charts our statewide bioscience strategies through 2025.”

A longtime Arizona leader in health care, education, and public policy, Mr. Jewett joined the Flinn Foundation in June 2009 as President & CEO. In this role, he is responsible for all grant programs and operations of the Flinn Foundation including Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, which is the longest running bioscience strategic initiative of its kind in the US. Under Jewett’s leadership, Flinn has renewed its commitment and released the next generation of the Roadmap extending out until 2025.

Mr. Jewett previously served in a variety of leadership roles within the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in Arizona for more than 40 years. He held senior public policy and government relations positions with Tucson Medical Center for 13 years and served as president of Territorial Newspapers, a family-owned publishing and printing company in Tucson. He served on the Arizona Board of Regents from 1998-2006, including a term as president; and five terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, from 1983-1992, the final two years as majority whip.

A University of Arizona graduate, Mr. Jewett currently serves on the board of trustees of the Tucson-based Thomas R. Brown Foundations, is a public member of the Arizona Judicial Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council. He served on the board of directors for the National Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges from 2004-13, and received its Distinguished Service Award for outstanding trusteeship for his work on “Changing Directions,” an initiative of the Arizona Board of Regents.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. Today, the Foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as three other program areas to help build Arizona’s knowledge-driven economy.

A ceremony honoring Jack B. Jewett will take place at the AZBio Awards Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of our bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year Award include: Linda Hunt (Dignity Health), Harry George (Solstice Capital), Robert Penny, MD, PhD (International Genomics Consortium), Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD (NantHealth), Martin L. Shultz (Pinnacle West Capital Corp.), Michael Cusanovich, Ph.D., (University of Arizona), Jonathan Thatcher (Exeter Life Sciences), John W. Murphy (Flinn Foundation), and George Poste (Arizona State University).

For registration and more information, go to www.azbio.awards.com.

health

Banner Health acquiring all UA medical facilities

In a historic move that will transform the health care landscape in Arizona, the University of Arizona Health Network (UAHN) and the University of Arizona (UA) executed a Principles of Agreement document with Banner Health, to create a statewide health care organization and a comprehensive new model for academic medicine. This ground-breaking agreement will formalize discussions and is intended to lead to final definitive agreements sometime in the fall.

The proposed transaction is anticipated to generate approximately $1 billion in new capital, academic investments, and other consideration and value beneficial to UA and the community.

The anticipated transition of 6,300 employees working at UAHN’s two hospitals, the health plan and the medical group into Banner will create Arizona’s largest private employer with more than 37,000 employees.

The action follows votes from the UAHN and Banner boards of directors in support of proceeding with negotiations, as well as a vote by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to authorize UA to also move forward with UAHN and Banner. The parties will now work together towards final definitive agreements, anticipated to be completed and signed in September of this year. The definitive agreements must also be approved by ABOR and the boards of directors of UAHN and Banner. The proposed transaction is expected to close a few months following the signing of the definitive agreements.

“We are impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that has driven the UAHN board process in determining how best to meet the future needs of those they serve. In addition, this agreement strengthens and can accelerate the discovery efforts of our Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, leading to medical advances,” said ABOR Chair Rick Myers.

Proposed transition key elements:

• Create an Arizona-based, statewide health system that improves care for all the state’s citizens • Create a nationally leading health system that provides better care and improved patient and member experiences at lower costs through valued-based or accountable care organizations that utilize population health management models that emphasize wellness;
• Expand University of Arizona Medical Center capabilities for complex academic/clinical programs such as transplantations, neurosciences, genomics-driven precision health, geriatrics, and pediatrics while providing for investment opportunities in other areas;
• Bolster fiscal sustainability, eliminating persistent shortfalls and low operating margins currently experienced by UAHN.

In addition to solving the immediate financial needs, the proposed agreement will:

• Eliminate the debt burdening UAHN (currently projected to be $146 million)
• Provide resources for improved hospital infrastructure, including the $21 million purchase of land currently leased to UAMC and $500 million within five years to expand and renovate the medical center, and build new facilities as appropriate, such as a major, multi-specialty outpatient center to be constructed in Tucson
• Create a $300 million endowment which will provide a $20 million per year revenue stream to advance the UA’s clinical and translational research mission
• Preserve historic funding levels between the clinical and academic partners in addition to a $20 million per year enhancement.
• Allow additional funding support based on growth in revenues generated by the clinical and academic partnership.
• Improve operational efficiencies
• Secure and sustain a lasting relationship with, and commitment to, the University of Arizona, anchored by an Academic Division within Banner. The Academic Medical Centers: The University of Arizona Medical Center – University and South Campuses and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center and the faculty practice plan, will support the growing needs of the Colleges of Medicine in Phoenix and Tucson and create a value-based delivery system;
• The Phoenix and Tucson academic medical centers will be infused with operational strength through the proposed transition and rapidly evolve into major economic drivers that will attract highly skilled, trained and paid professionals, elevating Arizona as a bioscience destination;
• Train more physician specialists and allied health professionals, including pharmacists and advanced practice nurses for Arizona;
• Provide a comprehensive platform for the development of physician-scientists who will drive discovery across basic science studies, patient-oriented clinical research, health services research, and population health;
• Enhance and elevate academic medical excellence across Arizona to national leadership levels; and
• Secure and sustain an operational foundation for the Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix that will maximize the value of the ongoing state funding received annually through legislative appropriations.

“When these respected organizations unite, the potential for delivering top-tier academic medicine throughout the state, recognized nationally, becomes a reality,” said Steve Lynn, UAHN Chairman of the Board.

Added Michael Waldrum, M.D., UAHN President and CEO, “I’m especially pleased that this proposed transition will infuse stability and energy into our organization. This will benefit our patients, faculty, staff and students as we pursue excellence. Ultimately, we’re moving from a situation in which we can only maintain status quo, to a situation in which we can create a premier Academic Medical Center.”

This proposed transition is occurring amidst a period of profound transformation in health care that is driving organizations to adopt innovative ways to not only improve health care with a strong emphasis on wellness, but to do it at a lower cost.

“With health care here in Arizona and across the nation facing new challenges and opportunities every day, this agreement will allow the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the entire UA to advance our mission to provide education, conduct research and enhance patient care that will transform health care at the state and national level,” said Ann Weaver Hart, President of the University of Arizona. “Combining the world-class care at UAHN and Banner will better meet the needs of patients in Arizona and throughout the region, while also providing tremendous learning experiences for students at the University of Arizona. By forming this collaboration we will accomplish more for Arizona’s residents and for the advancement of medical knowledge and practice than we could do in isolation.”

The University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine and Banner Health have a long history of successful affiliation through the Graduate Medical Education program at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Each year, Banner and the UA Colleges of Medicine collaborate in the training of nearly 260 physicians in five residency programs and in numerous fellowships.

Added Peter S. Fine, President and CEO of Banner, “We’re honored that the UAHN Board of Directors strategically sought Banner to create Arizona’s first statewide health system to help strengthen medical education. Banner’s vision is to sustain a position of national leadership. This opportunity to join with a premier academic organization significantly advances Banner towards this vision. In addition, we’re especially mindful of UAHN’s legacy of excellence in Tucson and throughout the state, which must be maintained, nourished and strengthened.”

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UA College of Public Health adds Halpern

image003The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health welcomes new faculty member Michael Halpern, MD, PhD, MPH, an associate professor and chair of the public health policy and management section.

Dr. Halpern has more than 20 years of experience in health services research and policy analysis, including evaluating patterns of medical care, quality of care, comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, access to care, and disparities. His research includes analyses of patient outcomes, medical treatment patterns and costs, using Medicare, Medicaid and other claims databases and national health-care surveys; assessments of patient symptoms, satisfaction and quality of life; examinations of health-care provider shortages and policies to facilitate team-based care; and program evaluations for interventions to improve preventive services, access to care and quality of care.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Halpern to our college. His academic portfolio will certainly strengthen our health services research program and develop the health outcomes research program. His leadership will guide the expansion of both the health outcomes and public health policy curricula to better meet the needs of both our undergraduate and graduate students,” said Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, dean of the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Dr. Halpern said, “This exciting position will provide opportunities to collaborate with other researchers at the University of Arizona, work more closely with underserved populations, have greater involvement in teaching and student mentoring and assist in developing health policies for Arizona.”

Dr. Halpern received his MD and PhD in the Medical Scientist Training Program and his MPH in epidemiology at the University of Michigan. He previously worked at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Battelle Memorial Institute, American Cancer Society, and Research Triangle Institute. Dr. Halpern serves on the Cancer Survivorship Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Scientific Review Committee of the American College of Preventive Medicine. He has more than 130 publications and is section editor for disparities for the journal Cancer.

health

Arizona Telemedicine Program names advisory board

The award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) at the Arizona Health Sciences Center of the University of Arizona has announced the appointment of the National Advisory Board of the Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase (SPSSM), to be held Oct. 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

The 24 nationally recognized thought leaders and health-care innovators have made major strides in the telemedicine arena. Members of the board are:

• Joseph S. Alpert, MD, professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson; editor-in-chief, The American Journal of Medicine

• David C. Balch, MA, chief technology officer, White House Medical Group, Washington, D.C.

• Rashid Bashshur, PhD, senior adviser for eHealth, eHealth Center, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

• Anne E. Burdick, MD, MPH, associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

• Robert “Bob” Burns, commissioner, Arizona Corporation Commission, Phoenix

• Daniel J. Derksen, MD, director, Center for Rural Health; professor of public health policy; University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson

• Charles R. Doarn, MBA, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, family medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio

• Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences; interim dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson; professor of medicine, Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona

• Robert A. Greenes, MD, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix

• Paula Guy, chief executive officer, Global Partnership for Telehealth, Inc., Waycross, Ga.

• Deb LaMarche, associate director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• James P. Marcin, MD, MPH, professor, pediatric critical care, University of California – Davis Children’s Hospital, Sacramento

• Ronald C. Merrell, MD, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, emeritus professor of surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

• Thomas S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, associate vice chancellor and professor, family and community medicine, University of California – Davis Health System, Sacramento

• Marta J. Petersen, MD, medical director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• Joseph Peterson, MD, chief executive officer and director, Specialists On Call, Reston, Va.

• Ronald K. Poropatich, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh

• Lisa A. Robin, MLA, chief advocacy officer, Federation of State Medical Boards, Washington, D.C.

• Brian Rosenfeld, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Philips Telehealth, Baltimore, Md.

• Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH, associate professor, Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado, Aurora

• Joseph A. Tracy, MS, vice president, telehealth services, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pa.

• Wesley Valdes, DO, medical director, Telehealth Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah

• Nancy L. Vorhees, RN, MSN, chief operating officer, Inland Northwest Health Services, Spokane, Wash.

• Jill M. Winters, PhD, RN, FAHA, president and dean, Columbia College of Nursing, Glendale, Wisc.

“This is the first national meeting addressing telemedicine service provider issues. It’s long overdue!” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, ATP director and SPS honorary co-chair.

SPS will focus on building partnerships for bringing quality medical specialty services directly into hospitals, clinics, private practices and even patients’ homes. The goals are to improve patient care and outcomes and to increase market share for both health-care providers and telehealth service providers they partner with.

The convention is co-hosted by the ATP, the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium, which includes the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Utah Telehealth Network.

More information about SPS is at www.TTSPSworld.com.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

NIH awards BAI, Mayo $8.3 million

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) renewed funding for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) and Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, longitudinal study of the earliest changes associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. The award, an estimated $8.3 million over the next five years, continues NIH’s long-term support of the investigation.

The study, which began two decades ago, has been examining the subtle brain imaging, memory and thinking changes that occur in healthy late-middle-aged and older adults who have inherited from their parents either one, two or no copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s. Each additional copy of the gene significantly increases a person’s chance of developing the disease.

“We are extremely grateful to the NIH and our wonderful research volunteers for their support,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director and one of the study’s principal investigators. “From the beginning, this study has been driven by our interest in finding treatments to prevent or end Alzheimer’s as quickly as possible, and to provide the information and tools needed to do just that.”

By studying individuals at three levels of genetic risk, researchers have been able to get a sneak peek at the changes associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s. As study participants begin to reach older ages, researchers hope to further clarify the extent to which characteristic brain imaging and other biological changes are associated with subsequent clinical decline. Additionally, researchers hope to further clarify the number of at-risk persons needed to conduct prevention trials, as well as share this valuable resource with other researchers and further develop the methods needed to test the range of promising treatments as quickly as possible.

This longitudinal study began in 1994, soon after researchers discovered the APOE4 gene’s contribution to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They have been following approximately 200 healthy volunteers with varying copies of the APOE4 gene, starting between the ages of about 50-65. Every two years, participants are monitored using an extensive battery of brain imaging, memory and thinking tests. A growing number of participants have also been providing cerebrospinal fluid samples. As many of the volunteers reach older ages, a growing number are now at risk for developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. This disease progression will give researchers the opportunity to characterize the extent of change in various biomarker and cognitive measurements. Data will be used to evaluate potential treatments that could combat amyloid plaques, which are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s, as well as help inform the design of future prevention trials.

“Like Dr. Reiman, I am excited about the opportunity we have been given to help advance the study of preclinical Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Richard J. Caselli, Professor of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the study’s other principal investigator. “We also look forward to the chance to share our data and samples with other researchers to help advance the scientific fight against this terrible disease.”

The study has had a profound impact on Alzheimer’s prevention efforts. It has helped shape the field’s understanding of the progressive brain changes that precede the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s by almost two decades. It has also served as the foundation for the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, an international collaborative formed to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven therapies. Data from this longitudinal study has also contributed to the development of the National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association research criteria for pre-clinical Alzheimer’s. It has also provided key information for the first reconceptualization of Alzheimer’s as a sequence of biological changes that progress over a person’s lifetime.

“By providing insights into the earliest Alzheimer’s-related changes to brain function and structure, this study is contributing to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’ Disease goal of finding effective interventions by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads the NIH research program on Alzheimer’s.

This work also includes researchers from Arizona State University, University of Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, organizations that are partners in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. Dr. Eric M. Reiman of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Dr. Richard J. Caselli of Mayo Clinic are the two principal investigators.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects as many as 5 million Americans age 65 and older, according to a number of estimates. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

Mayo Medical Schools Expands to Arizona

UA College of Medicine Accredited Through 2022

The medical education program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, designed to train the next generation of highly skilled physicians dedicated to improving patient care and advancing the state of medical knowledge, has earned accreditation through 2022, a full eight-year term.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accreditation authority for MD programs in the United States and Canada, announced the decision and identified a number of institutional strengths within the college that are distinctive and worthy of emulation. The LCME is jointly sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA).

The UA College of Medicine – Tucson graduates 115 medical doctors each year and is led by Interim Dean Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, who also serves as UA senior vice president for health sciences. The college’s medical education program is led by Kevin Moynahan, MD, deputy dean of education.

In January, more than 100 faculty, students, administrators and staff from the UA College of Medicine – Tucson (UA COM – Tucson) met with the LCME survey team during its site visit to determine accreditation eligibility.

“This achievement would not have been possible were it not for the tremendous leadership, teamwork and effort put forth by all. We are grateful to our UA COM – Tucson LCME project leadership team, to those students, faculty and staff who participated in the survey visit, as well as to the numerous students, faculty and staff who participated in the COM self-study process,” said Dr. Moynahan.

In addition to awarding the college accreditation for a full cycle, the 19 LCME members, who are medical educators and administrators, practicing physicians, public members and medical students appointed by the AAMC and AMA, determined that the college has a number of institutional strengths:

· The LCME found that the student-developed and student-administered Commitment to Underserved People (CUP) program, implemented by the UA College of Medicine in 1979, provides an exceptional number and variety of community service and service-learning opportunities for medical students. The CUP program provides UA medical students the opportunity to gain clinical experience by working with medically underserved populations. CUP was described by numerous medical students as a major influence in their decision to attend the college.

· The LCME also noted the development and implementation of an effective system of confidential and easily accessible personal counseling for its students, assisting them in adjusting to the ongoing emotional demands of a medical education. The UA COM – Tucson counseling program received high praise from students in the 2013 AAMC Graduation Questionnaire, in the independent student analysis and in conversations with students during the survey visit.

· In addition, the UA COM – Tucson Societies Program provides a strong longitudinal experience with a trained faculty mentor. Mentors are chosen from among the college’s most distinguished clinician-educators who teach students interviewing, physical examination and patient care skills at the patient bedside, helping students to develop clinical thinking, documentation and presentations and professionalism skills.

The LCME defines areas of strengths as those that reflect an aspect of the medical education program that has been shown to be critical for the successful achievement of one or more of the program’s missions or goals or a truly distinctive activity or characteristic that would be worthy of emulation.

The UA College of Medicine – Tucson provides state-of-the-art programs of medical education, groundbreaking research opportunities and leading-edge patient care. Together with the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, the two colleges are Arizona’s only MD degree-granting institutions serving as a health care resource for the state and its people.

Founded on the campus of the University of Arizona in 1967, with an initial class of just 32 students, the UA College of Medicine – Tucson today has graduated more than 3,900 physicians. College of Medicine students, faculty, staff and alumni continue more than 45 years of service in advancing medical care and knowledge in Arizona—and around the world.

cancer

UA Shows Curcumin Effect on Colon Cancer

A team of researchers led by the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center discovered that curcumin—the bioactive molecule derived from the spice turmeric—blocks the protein cortactin in colon cancer.

Cortactin, a protein essential for cell movement, frequently is overexpressed in cancer, thus facilitating cancer cell metastasis to other organs in the body.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women. When cancer metastasizes to other organs, a patient’s chances of survival are greatly diminished. Thus, finding novel ways to prevent cancer metastasis remains an urgent need.

The National Institutes of Health-funded research recently was published in PLOS One.

The study was led by co-investigators Fayez K. Ghishan, MD, professor and head, UA Department of Pediatrics and director of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center; Pawel Kiela, DVM, PhD, associate professor, UA Department of Pediatrics; and Vijay Radhakrishnan, PhD, assistant scientist, UA Department of Pediatrics. The study was conducted in collaboration with Jessie Martinez, PhD, professor, UA Cancer Center, and Eugene Mash, PhD, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Turmeric gives curry its yellow color and flavor. It is part of the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years to treat colds, inflammation, arthritis and many other ailments, including cancer.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has been scientifically studied in many types of cancer. It has been shown to have a chemopreventative effect—the ability to reverse, suppress or prevent the development of cancer.

“What’s novel about our research is that our study identified one of the mechanisms by which curcumin can prevent cancer cell metastasis in colon cancer,” said Dr. Ghishan.

The research team discovered that the active part of the cortactin protein, known as Phopsho Tyrosine 421 (pTyr421), is hyper-activated in malignant tumors of the colon.

“We showed that the cortactin protein was hyper-activated due to a process called excessive phosphorylation,” said Dr. Kiela.

Phosphorylation is the addition of a phosphate group to a protein, and is responsible for turning proteins on and off, altering the protein’s function and activity. Too much cortactin, and its activation by phosphorylation, has been linked with cancer aggressiveness.

The researchers treated human colon cancer tumor cells with curcumin. “We discovered that curcumin turns off the active form of cortactin,” explained Dr. Radhakrishnan, who led the experiments in the lab. “Thus, when cortactin is turned off, cancer cells lose the ability to move and can’t metastasize to other parts of the body.”

More specifically, curcumin “turned-off” cortactin by interacting with, and activating, an enzyme known as PTPN1. This enzyme acts as a phosphatase to remove phosphate groups from cortactin—a process known as “dephosphorylation.”

“This effect, essentially known as ‘dephosphorylating cortactin’ correlated with reduced ability of colon cancer cells to migrate,” said Dr. Kiela. “This suggests that curcumin reduces cancer cells’ ability to migrate, meaning the cancer can’t metastasize.”

“By identifying the mechanism of action—that curcumin activates the enzyme PTPN1, which then ‘turns off’ the active component of cortactin pTyr421, we believe that chemopreventative drugs can be developed to target cortactin in cancer cells to prevent the cancer from metastasizing,” said. Dr. Radhakrishnan.

“Treatments aimed at the suppression of cancer metastasis remain an urgent therapeutic need,” said Dr. Ghishan. “Our findings have laid the foundation for future research to develop treatments using curcumin to prevent cancer’s deadly spread to other organs.”

bioscience

Arizona bioscience industry producing ‘aha’ moments

AZBio Expo 2014 had “aha moments” at every turn. With over 250 entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, legislators, scientists and researchers in attendance, the energy was sizzling and the outlook endless. Here are just a few of the event highlights, appropriately, A to Z:

A – Access to Capital is the key. No money. No honey. Capital fuels innovation and commercialization. In the first panel discussion of the day – Funding Paths for Innovators – AZBio chief Joan Koerber-Walker engaged Mary Ann Guerra (BioAccel), Paul Jackson (Integrus Capital/Worthworm) and Kelly Slone (National Venture Capital Association) in a no-holds barred discussion. “The entire ecosystem has changed,” according to Slone. “After the tech bubble burst, available venture dollars have been virtually cut in half.” Guerra explains that only one in 100 will get angel funding – and then only one in 100 will get venture funding. We need to think of new ways to help our startup entrepreneurs get funding.” Jackson urges innovators to think like investors and offers one solution with his online valuation process, Worthworm.

B – Bridging the Gap with the 21st Century Cures Initiative. “No industry has to face the challenges we face to bring a product to market,” says Koerber-Walker. “We have new hope in the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Google it. Watch the videos, See what they are doing. There is exciting stuff happening and some of it is happening in Arizona.”

C — Cure Corridor. Scottsdale’s Mayor Jim Lane shares his pride and plans for the largest concentration of bioscience businesses in the U.S., the Cure Corridor, bounded on one side by the Scottsdale Airpark on the West, and the Fountain Hills Mayo facility on the East, “a major driver of our economy, with $2½ billion in direct economic impact and $3.5 billion in indirect impact.” According to Lane, “Health and wellness are a part of Scottsdale’s identity. We should never stop asking how we can find new answers alleviate pain, restore health and improve the quality of life.”

D – Discovery. Development. Delivery. Valley Fever Solutions CEO David Larwood shared his company’s formula for achieving success in development and funding – The Five R’s:

Right drug.
Right patient.
Right safety.
Right time. (How long before we can sell it?)
Right reimbursent.

E – Epigenetics and Personalized Medicine. Start-up company INanoBio founder and CEO Bharath Takupalli, explained that the genome sequencing market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2020. With a unique capability to combine nanotechnology and biomedicine, his company is in the lead for building new solutions now. “We aim to develop a $100 ultrafast nanopore-based desktop sequencer – a point-of-care diagnostic” that will help change the face of healthcare, he explains.

F – Funding needs to be the focus for the future. According to a Flinn Foundation/Batelle report, “Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the [Flinn Foundation’s] Roadmap’s goals.” Last year, Arizona bioscience sector attracted $37 million in venture capital investment, up from $23 million from 2012, but that is only a fraction of the $9.8 billion invested nationally.

The goal is to increase the annual investment up to $40 million for seed capital in emerging companies and up to $125 million in venture capital.

G – Genomic advances hold high hopes for positively disruption. Explaining that healthcare premiums are growing at three times the rate of inflation and wages, Frederic Zenhausern, Ph.D., MBA, president of Whitespace Enterprise, says “The new era of precision healthcare (also called personalized healthcare) will provide more accessibility, transparency and health information to improve – dramatically – quality and lower cost over time.” His start-up company, based in Fountain Hills, develops methods for automating and miniaturizing the workflow processing of biological specimens.

H – Henry Ford.“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done,” said Henry Ford. So does Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the International Genomics Consortium and founder and CEO of Paradigm. “Phoenix has become the Grand Central Station for all the aggregating and analyzing cancer tissues. We have 10,000 tumors – and the information is publicly available. This will accelerate cancer discovery at a rate faster than ever,” he says. “This is a tidal wave that Arizona has led. Everyone in this room should be grabbing a surfboard and figuring out how to ride it.”

I – IPO: The nation’s top IPO of 2013 is right here in Chandler. With 380 percent growth in shareholder value, Insys Therapeutics, a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company, ended the year with a market cap of $800 million. Darryl Baker, the chief financial officer, explained how the company, founded in 2002 by Dr. John Kapoor, was determined to discover better ways to deliver existing medications to patients. A sublingual fentanyl spray technology delivers treatments to opioid-tolerant cancer patients and holds real possibilities for better helping patients with acute pain, major burns and pediatric issues. In the R&D pipeline now is the development of a pharmaceutical cannabinoid, aimed at easing epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy and cocaine addiction.

J – Jobs: 107,000 bioscience jobs – good-paying and growing. Arizona has nearly 107,000 bioscience jobs, based on 2012 industry data, and the sector contributes an estimated $36 billion in revenue to the state’s economy, according to a study by the Ohio-based Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Hospitals account for 83,000 of those jobs and $22 billion of the revenue. Arizona’s average annual wage in the bioscience sector is $62,775, 39 percent higher than the private-sector average, the report said. Not counting hospital jobs, the average wage for bioscience jobs jumps to $85,571. (2013 data).

K – Kalos Therapeutics is building a promising platform for future drug discovery. Start-up innovator Michael Kozlowski, OD, Ph.D., chief science officer of Kalos Therapeutics, explains that their focus on transforming the atrial natriuretic family of peptides engages a natural biochemical mechanism. This approach holds promise for people with pancreatic cancer because it results in a more complete response, reduced side effects and improved safety and a longer period of effectiveness.

L – Let’s leverage every resource, strength, collaboration and person we’ve got! Arizona’s bioscience industry is aiming to increase research revenue for institutions statewide by 69 percent over the next decade to $782 million and attract additional anchors for the sector.

M – Medtronic models aggressive, needs-focused growth. Keynote speaker Ron Wilson, vice president and general manager of the Medtronic Tempe campus made it clear that passion for people runs through his veins. Locating a small manufacturing facility here in 1973, the company’s facility today covers 30 acres, has 900 employees and generates $17 billion in revenues. How do they do it? We follow our founder’s vision still: We understand what the unmet needs are and we apply our knowledge for the good of people all over the world.”

N – Next Level. “Arizona has made unprecedented progress over the last decade in developing the talent, building research infrastructure, and growing its base. Taking it to the Next Level will require new collaborative partnerships, forward looking leaders, and aggressive investments from both the public and private private sectors to take our place in the top tiers globally,” shared Koerber-Walker. ”Now is our time. Let’s get it done!”

O – Orphans no more. Valley fever, considered an orphan disease, hits about 150,000 people a year – 60 percent live in central Arizona. Current treatments have major shortcomings, with about 60 percent of those treated being unresponsive. The result is 2,000 serious cases and 150 deaths a year. It affects pets in nearly equal proportion. David Larwood, CEO of Valley Fever Solutions, has some answers. His company is developing Nikkomycin Z (NikZ) as a dramatically superior potential cure for Valley Fever. To help raise awareness and prevention, the Arizona Board of Regents created Valley Fever Corridor project, a public health program led by University of Arizona College of Medicine’s John Galgiani, MD, who is also the chief medical officer for Valley Solutions.

P – Policymakers are on board. Gov. Jan Brewer’s time is coming to a close and it’s time to decide which candidate can bring their best to bioscience. Recognizing that the Arizona bioscience sector is growing at four times the rate of the national average, candidates Christine Jones, Doug Ducey, Fred Duval, Ken Bennett and Scott Smith shared their ideas on how to ramp up funding and revenues in 90-second videos. Koerber-Walker says, “The most important thing we can do this summer is vote in the primaries.”

Q – Cues: Here are a few Q’s for success. Some lessons learned, courtesy of Robert Penny:

Make sure you have:

Complementary skills and expertise
Trust
Interpersonal chemistry (It’s better to navigate bumps in the road with people you trust than people you don’t!)

Pick the right projects:

Big enough to be worthy of your efforts
Complex enough to need partnerships
Audacious enough to move the field

R – Remembering Polio: Can Looking Back Catapult Us Forward? How did we cure the world of polio? What did it take to conquer the most feared disease of the 20th Century? What threatens our world today and how can we continue to keep people healthy with the right vaccines, for the right person at the right time? Gaspar Laca, state government affairs director at GlaxoSmithKime, engaged David Larwood, CEO and president of Valley Fever Solutions (and a person who has been directly affected by polio) and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization, in a rousing discussion of what’s happening in Arizona today, the mounting threats of the ”vaccine exemptors,” and what we need to do now. (See Vaccines.)

S – Shoes. Did you see those shoes? “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Enough said.

T – Tucson’s Critical Path Institute creates new tools. A jewel in the bioscience crown – and located right here in Arizona! The Critical Path Institute (C-Path) is a breakthrough organization, creating a new movement: “consensus science.” Keynoter Martha Brumfield. Ph.D, president and CEO, shared what can be achieved when people come together with the belief that a “rising tide floats all boats.” Working to improve the unacceptable 95 percent failure rate in the testing of new drug therapies, C-Path is improving medical product development efficiencies by identifying pathways that integrate new scientific advances into the regulatory review process. Check out their Alzheimer’s clinical trial simulation tool.

U – United we stand. Mayors Jim Lane (City of Scottsdale) and John Lewis (Town of Gilbert) will join Koerber-Walker and an Arizona bioscience-business contingent next week at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego (June 23-26), the world’s largest biotechnology gathering. They will surely scoop up new ideas, new connections – and with any luck, new investment!

V – Vaccines: Get ‘em! Talk about ‘em. Challenge the myths. Explain the realities. Polio. Measles. And whooping cough today. Without proper vaccinations, whooping cough (pertussis) could be the polio of our time. “As science-minded people, the best thing you can do is activate conversations about the importance of vaccinations. Here’s some help: Why immunize?

W – White Hat event brings in national investors. (Apply by July 15th.) “AZBio’s White Hat Investor’s Conference is the first ever life science specific investor conference to be held in Arizona,” says Koerber-Walker. “Kelly Slone [of the National Venture Capital Association] has been an amazing partner to bring this together along with the state bioscience association leaders from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region. Investors and investment firms from across the country will be here, so get involved. Even if you feel like you are not ready yet, take the leap and apply to present. “

X – “X” marks the spot for our next big gathering. Wear your White Hat! The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers. Meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat Investors 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain & Southwest Region.

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the best biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain & Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 & 18, 2014.

Presenting Companies will be selected from the region’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of:

Diagnostics
Therapeutics
Medical Devices
Health IT

Y – Young Talent is being cultivated. We got it! With nearly 50 abstracts accepted and student presenters presenting at the Expo, Koerber-Walker got it right when she said, “These young people are going to be working on things that we can’t even begin to imagine!” Arizona’s tremendous mentoring people and organizations are sharing knowledge, support and inspiration. For example University of Arizona student Keeley Brown is destined to help the world crack the code on genetically modified foods and farming. (Her presentation was the “Epigenetic Effects of Transgenic Manipulation in Glycine Max (Soybeans).

Zzzzzzzzz – No one fell asleep at this conference! Catherine Leyen, founder and CEO of start-up RadiUp, says she comes to AZBio to stay abreast of the action, connect with like-minded people and soak up inspiration. Her verdict of AZBIO Expo 2014? Mission accomplished!

bioscience

Regents Approve New UA Downtown Phoenix Project

The Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday approved plans to construct a 10-story, 245,000-square-foot research building on the campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

The Regents, at their meeting in Flagstaff, endorsed plans for the Biosciences Partnership Building, which will be built immediately north of the Health Sciences Education Building near 7th Street and Fillmore in downtown Phoenix.

“In this building, partnerships will be forged in which our scholars and researchers will be looking for the answers of some pretty daunting questions,” Ann Weaver Hart, president of the University of Arizona, said in announcing the project. “This is critical and central to the core plans of the Never Settle commitment at the University of Arizona. It will advance the interests of health care, it will nurture the best new science and the translation of that science into specific treatments. It will provide a setting where partners can find ways to increase not only our effectiveness but also the economic development of our broader community by tapping into the biomedical sciences.”

Under the plan passed by the Arizona Board of Regents, ground would be broken on the $136 million building by the end of 2014, taking about 26 months to complete. It would translate into nearly 500 jobs in design and construction and another 360 permanent jobs at build-out.

Plans are for the university to pursue expanded partnerships with industry, multi-disciplinary collaborations with its Phoenix partners.

The building would continue the steady expansion of the downtown Phoenix academic medical center after the 2012 completion of the award-winning education building and the ongoing construction of the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s. The cancer center, a 220,000-square foot outpatient and research facility, is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015.

“It will mean more lab space for UA and give them even more tools to lead the way on neuroscience and cancer research and put an emphasis on health care outcomes,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “It is incredibly important that we keep the momentum going on this campus. One of the key components for economic future is best represented by everything going on this campus.”

The funding for the building comes from the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development bonds approved by the legislature in 2008 that paid for construction of the Health Sciences Education Building and related campus improvements. The construction of this second research building was approved by the Arizona Legislature’s Joint Committee on Capital Review at the same time as the Health Sciences Education Building in 2010.

Research focus areas include neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and precision medicine.

Arizona State University student team members Haylee Hilgers, right, and Jason Hyacinthe won the EMC Green Data Center Challenge at the Avnet Tech Games.

Avnet Tech Games Winners Announced

Avnet, Inc., a leading global technology distributor, announced the 2014 winners of the Avnet Tech Games. Close to 200 students from Arizona community colleges and universities competed head-to-head for top honors in the Avnet Tech Games Arizona onsite competition on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe. In addition, college students competing on a national level in the Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games had their work displayed and winners were announced during the awards ceremony at the onsite competition. Thirty winning students collected $1,000 each in scholarship money.

A panel of judges including technology executives, engineers and other business leaders selected the winners based on the students’ ability to meet the technical requirements of a task, apply innovative approaches to the solution and demonstrate professional skills. Nearly 76 teams of students competed in the onsite and virtual Avnet Tech Games, including 8 Arizona community colleges and universities: Arizona State University, ITT Technical Institute, seven Maricopa County Community Colleges, Northern Arizona University, The University of Advancing Technology and University of Arizona.

The winners of the 2014 Onsite Avnet Tech Games are:

Cisco Networking Expert Battle
South Mountain Community College
Faculty Coach: Tom Polliard
Student Team Members: Huy Mai and Justin Woys

Desktop Domination
The University of Advancing Technology
Student Team Members: William Hartman and Kelly Stahlberg

Digital Design Dilemma
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Bassam Matar
Student Team Members: Michelle Smekal, Niccolo Horvath and Neel Mistry

EMC Green Data Center Challenge
Arizona State University
Student Team Members: Haylee Hilgers and Jason Hyacinthe

HP Build the Fastest Computer
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Troy Gerloff, Blake Knoll and Jeremy Morgan

Java Blitz
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Rameen Kaliqu
Student Team Members: Zachary Peshke, Samuel Slater and Larry Standage

Robot Race Obstacle Course
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Richard Dale, Spencer Hall and Federico Ortega

Solar Scrimmage
Mesa Community College
Faculty Coach: Bruce Carlton
Student Team Members: Justin Arispe, Drew Carlson and Jennifer Hooker

Since the inception of the Avnet Tech Games in 2006, nearly $300,000 in scholarship money and prizes have been awarded to hundreds of the approximately 2,680 students and 215 faculty members who have participated in the competitions.

“The Avnet Tech Games provide a great opportunity for students to test their technical and strategy skills by applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios,” said Joal Redmond, vice president of public relations for Avnet, Inc. “Students also had the opportunity to improve their communications skills by participating in a networking workshop and then practice those skills by meeting with Avnet and sponsor executives during a networking hour. Students win, schools win and business wins with the Avnet Tech Games.”

The annual multidisciplinary technology competition, composed of eight separate events, required students to work in teams to test their knowledge, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and technical skills. During the event, students showcased how they can make a difference in advancing business and improving quality of life by participating in competitions such as creating a solar-powered water-pumping system, racing to build a computer using refurbished parts and troubleshoot issues in the Windows 7 operating system.

2014 Spring Virtual Avnet Tech Games
The Virtual Avnet Tech Games were introduced in 2010 to expand the breadth of the onsite event by allowing students to compete on a national level. More than 115 teams competed in the Virtual Avnet Tech Games competition. The winners were:

Android App™ Showdown
ITT Technical Institute
Student Team Member: Bryan Geesey

Green Video Competition
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Faculty Coach: Eli Chmouni
Student Team Members: Dustin Allen, Kendra Charnick, Joel Parker and Brian Weeks

JDA Supply Chain Challenge
Southern Methodist University
Student Team Members: Aaron Barnard, Matt Mulholland, Tushar Solanki and Meredith Titus

“Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year’s virtual and onsite Avnet Tech Games, especially our winners,” added Redmond. On behalf of Avnet, thank you to all of our sponsors, business partners and volunteers for helping to make this year’s event a success.”

Avnet Tech Games 2014 sponsors included signature sponsors CA, Cisco, CDW, Datalink, DPAIR, EMC, HP, JDA, Kyocera, Microchip, Nimble Storage and Sungard.

football

Top 10 Green Collegiate Sports Initiatives

A survey conducted from May through June 2013 by the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability and published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) finds that more collegiate athletic teams are adopting green and sustainable practices in operation of their sports facilities.

The goal of the survey was to identify sustainability initiatives implemented in college varsity, campus recreation, and club sports programs in the United States and Canada. Additionally, researchers were trying to determine which campus groups were primarily responsible for implementing green initiatives.

Of the 1,200 respondents contacted by email, 175 completed the survey representing 148 colleges and universities, athletic conferences, and community colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

According to the survey, the top ten initiatives that have been implemented (in descending order) are the following:

1. Installation of recycle bins in public areas
2. Recycling programs in office areas
3. Recycling programs in non-public areas of the facility
4. Installation of bike racks and infrastructures to promote bicycle commuting
4. Upgraded lighting systems with more advanced controls
6. Selection of Green Cleaning products
7. Energy audits
8. Installation of recycling signage in public areas
9. Upgrading to water-efficient fixtures
10. Training of custodial staff on Green Cleaning practices and products

“While Green Cleaning-related initiatives are on the top ten list, we definitely would like to see those ranking even higher,” says Stephen Ashkin, President of The Ashkin Group, and a board member of the Green Sports Alliance. “One of my goals with the Alliance is to have more sports venues-collegiate, professional, as well as community-use Green Cleaning products and methods.”

As to who is most responsible for implementing the green and sustainable initiatives, the survey found it was primarily campus facility and sustainability departments followed by recreation and sports departments and athletics departments.

“While this is encouraging, we still have a ways to go,” adds Ashkin. “However, because today’s college students are so green- and sustainable-focused, I believe things will move along pretty fast in the next few years.”

education

UA’s Eller College Moving to Phoenix

The University of Arizona Eller College of Management announced today that it will be moving from its satellite location in north Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix.

The Eller College will occupy classroom and office space on the campus of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, located at 550 E. Van Buren St. The location will be home to two of Eller’s part-time MBA programs for working professionals: the Evening MBA and the Executive MBA, which are designed for managers with 3-plus years of experience and seasoned executives, respectively.

Between the two programs, the campus will serve about 170 MBA students annually.

“We are thrilled that Eller will be a part of the exciting things happening in downtown Phoenix,” said Len Jessup, dean of the Eller College. “The College of Medicine has established beautiful facilities that will give our professional MBAs access to high-tech working classroom space and a true campus experience.”

City of Phoenix’s Mayor Greg Stanton also supports the move.

“It’s incredibly exciting that Eller is opening its doors in downtown Phoenix, where we continue to offer the highest-rated education opportunities in the state within just a few blocks of each other,” Stanton said. “Eller graduates are top-notch, and exactly the kind of professionals we want as a part of our community.”

Access to graduate management education is one of many factors that contribute to greater Phoenix’s long-term competitiveness, added Don Budinger, chairman and founding director of The Rodel Foundations and board member of Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Greater Phoenix Leadership.

“The University of Arizona’s downtown programs offer excellent options for working professionals who are considering an MBA.”

Last week, in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate programs, the Eller Evening MBA rose 21 slots, from No. 46 to No. 25 nationwide. The college is recognized for its leadership in entrepreneurship and management information systems, which consistently rank in the top 10 among undergraduate and graduate programs nationally.

Applications are being accepted now for the Executive MBA program that will begin in August at the downtown campus. A new class of Evening MBA students will begin at the location in January.

“Downtown offers a central location, with easy access for those already working in the area, as well as public transportation options. Our students frequently come together for team meetings, and the medical campus offers great collaboration space,” said Hope Schau, associate dean of MBA programs.

The Eller College began offering its MBA programs in the Phoenix area in 2006, with the launch of the Executive MBA program in Scottsdale. Since 2007, the college has held classes at a satellite campus just east of the Loop 101 in the McDowell Mountain Business Park, at 16425 N. Pima Road.

The college will open its downtown Phoenix location in late August or September. The Executive and Evening MBA students scheduled to complete their programs this year will remain at the Scottsdale campus. The Evening MBA class of 2015 will relocate to the downtown campus on Sept. 1.

medical.research

UA Researchers Earn Flinn Foundation Grant

University of Arizona researchers have been awarded a $200,000 two-year seed grant by the Flinn Foundation through its Promoting Translational Research in Precision Medicine grants program to define the pulmonary virome and the role of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) persistence in the lung. The goal of this program is to foster collaborative efforts between physician-scientists and bench researchers in order to translate findings more rapidly to actual patient treatments.

The unique research team consists of UA Associate Professor of Medicine Ken Knox, MD, who specializes in pulmonary medicine and has a strong track record in clinical/translational research; UA associate professor of immunobiology, BIO5 member and biomedical researcher, Felicia Goodrum, PhD, who is an expert in CMV persistence; and UA associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and BIO5 member, Matthew Sullivan, PhD, an expert in viral metagenomics.

“Translational research—moving discoveries from the lab to patient care—is a crucial element of precision, or personalized, medicine as well Arizona’s bioscience strategy,” said Jack B. Jewett, Flinn Foundation president and CEO. “This exciting collaboration among Drs. Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan is an outstanding example of a potentially groundbreaking research project that could ultimately yield great benefits to human health.”

As a privately endowed, philanthropic organization, the Flinn Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations.

The human body is home to a vast number of bacteria, viruses and fungi that collectively make up the human microbiome. Much of our microbiome does not cause disease, but rather is critically important to maintaining human health. Recent studies in humans document the enormous impact bacteria have on normal health (e.g., obesity), disease states (e.g., diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders), and even behavior. The role of viruses, by contrast, represents uncharted frontiers for study.

Persistent viruses represent emerging health threats that contribute to chronic inflammation, cellular stress and cancer risk. In addition, latent viral coexistence is just beginning to emerge in association with age-related pathologies, including atherosclerosis, immune senescence and frailty. Health costs of persistent viral infections, whether chronic or latent, can be significant.

Drs. Knox, Goodrum and Sullivan will study CMV as a model of persistent viral infection upon which questions related to how to specifically prevent lung infections can be based. Manifestations of a disease state are influenced by how background host genetic traits drive immunological responses that interact with invading viruses. By using advanced informatics to analyze metagenomic data sets from the study, the team will investigate correlations between the presence of human CMV and the background virome.

Human CMV is one of eight human herpes viruses that infects 60-90 percent of the population worldwide and, like all herpes viruses, persists in the infected host indefinitely by way of a latent infection. CMV’s primary infection of healthy individuals is typically asymptomatic and, therefore, goes completely unnoticed. When CMV is reactivated from latency to an active state of replication, there are life-threatening disease risks in immunocompromised individuals, including transplant and cancer patients. CMV infection is also the leading cause of infectious disease-related birth defects, affecting 1 percent of live births in the United States.

Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, MD, PhD, Bowman Professor and head, UA Department of Immunobiology, said, “This study is extremely important and timely, as known- and yet-to-be discovered viruses are undoubtedly influencing human health and contributing to disease states.”

Fernando Martinez, MD, UA Regents’ Professor and director of both the Arizona Respiratory Center and the BIO5 Institute, agreed, adding, “Defining the viruses present in the human lung will be an important step in expanding our knowledge base of the pulmonary virome. In addition, techniques used to identify viruses hold promise for rapid diagnostics and treatments.”

Other members of the study team (photo) at UA include PhD candidates Katie Caviness and Ann Gregory, senior research scientist Bonnie Poulos, Heidi Erickson, RN, and Lance Nesbit, MS. The current study also will examine viral reservoirs in the context of lung transplant and thus is likely to have broad implications for our understanding of pulmonary immunity and rejection.

The BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona mobilizes top researchers in agriculture, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and science to find creative solutions to humanity’s most pressing health and environmental challenges. Since 2001, this interdisciplinary approach has been an international model of how to conduct collaborative research, and has resulted in improved food crops, innovative diagnostics, devices and promising new therapies. Learn more at BIO5.org.

Flying Books, WEB

One of the Biggest Festivals of Books Comes to Tucson

Calling all book worms and aspiring home librarians. This weekend, Tucson is hosting the sixth annual Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB) on the University of Arizona Mall.

The festival, held March 15 and 16 in Tucson, Ariz., has more than doubled since its debut in 2009 from 50,000 visitors to more than 100,000 visitors in 2013, making it one of the top book festivals in the U.S.

This year’s festival will host nearly 450 authors and presenters including some of the biggest names in adult, teen and children’s literature. Authors, illustrators, literary agents and scientists will present from every type of genre including nonfiction, science fiction, biography, graphic novel and even paranormal romance. There will also be book signings at the Author’s Pavilion throughout the weekend.

Some exciting events at this year’s festival include two children’s events: Children’s Storytime Character Breakfast and Tea Time with An American Girl Author. Some noted authors include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, best-selling writer Scott Turow and Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo. Many Arizona authors also will be in attendance for readings and presentations such as Arizona’s and Tucson’s poet laureates, Alberto Rios and Rebecca Seiferle, fifth-generation Arizonan and journalist Tom Zoellner, who wrote about the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, and J. A. Jance, an award-winning mystery author.

This year, TFOB is also providing an author grid, which lists locations, times, topics and presenters/authors. Visitors can create personalized agendas by starring their favorite events and make their ideal schedule. Holly Schaffer from the University of Arizona Press explains that in previous years many panels were so full that they had to turn people away; however, with the author grid this year, visitors will be able to see alternative panels and create back-up plans so they do not miss a minute of the action.

This year will also be the second year that TFOB sponsored a writing competition. Submissions were received from all over the world and increased significantly from the 310 entries in 2013 to 552 entries in 2014. Steering Committee Chairman, John Humenik, states, “Like the book festival itself, the writing competition has obviously caught on in a big way. To see the number of entries, and the quality of submissions, is pretty amazing.”

Along with the more literary aspects of the Festival, the University of Arizona’s College of Science and BIO5 Institute are partnering with the Arizona SciTech Festival to host Science City, which will be sponsored by Helios Education Foundation. Science City will include hands-on activities, lab tours, science talks, demonstrations and performances. Schaffer states, “Science City is like a world within a world. They are taking it outside of the science books to hands-on activities that are interesting to all ages. It has grown a lot and they really stepped it up a notch this year.”

TFOB also focuses on Arizona topics, businesses, and exhibitions. There will be mariachi bands and a showcase of local youth groups as well as an exhibition of low-riders, local organizations such as Friends of Western Art, Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance and the local news and media outlets. There will also be panels about the borderlands and social justice issues.

To round off this exciting event, TFOB also supports literacy services in Tucson and southern Arizona. The Festival has donated $900,000 since its launch in 2009 to literacy programs such as Literacy Connects, Reading Seed Children’s Literacy Program and the University of Arizona. Co-founder and President of TFOB, Bill Viner, states, “Giving back to promote literacy is the real success of the festival. Literacy is the foundation of building a strong, vibrant community, and the Tucson Festival of Books is proud to play a role in ensuring vital literacy programs are available.

theater

Artigue Elected President of ATC Board

Cameron Artigue, an attorney with Gammage & Burnham in Phoenix, has been elected President of Arizona Theatre Company’s Board of Trustees. Robert Glaser, Principle at PICOR Commercial Real Estate Properties in Tucson continues to serve as Chair.

Glaser and Artigue will be joined on the Executive Committee by:

 Immediate Past Chair – Michael Seiden, Former President and CEO of Western International University, Phoenix

 Vice President – Phoenix, Susan Segal, an attorney with Gust Rosenfeld PLC

 Vice President (Tucson) – Lynne Wood Dusenberry, University of Arizona – retired;

 Assistant Treasurer – Marc Erpenbeck, President and Chief Legal Counsel, George Brazil, Phoenix

Secretary – Robert Taylor, Senior Director of Regulatory Policy and Public Involvement, Salt River Project, Phoenix.

 Assistant Secretary – Dina Scalone-Romero, Executive Director, Therapeutic Riding of Tucson

For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org.

bioscience

TGen’s Zenhausern is named an NAI fellow

Dr. Frederic Zenhausern, a Professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and developer of a rapid DNA processor, has been named to the Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Zenhausern, Ph.D., MBA, will be inducted into the NAI Fellows by Deputy U.S. Commissioner for Patents Andy Faile, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, during the 3rd Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors, March 7, 2014, in Alexandria, Va.  Fellows will be presented with a special trophy and a rosette pin.

Zenhausern also is a Professor and Director of the Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. The center uniquely applies a combination of advances in nanoscience, microelectromechanical systems, molecular biology, and genomics to a new generation of biological tools and sensors based on nano and microscale technologies.

Applying interdisciplinary science approaches to medicine, Zenhausern’s work is aimed at early diagnostics of human diseases, in particular, integrating bioassay chemistries with several biomarkers and targets developed by researchers at TGen.. Over the years, his team has collaborated on multiple projects at TGen for designing bioanalytical  platform technologies to translate molecular analysis into clinical tools and, ultimately, promoting adoption of novel technologies for point-of-care diagnostics applications.

The Microfluidic DNA Analysis System (MiDAS), a desktop printer-sized box that is described as robust and user-friendly, is one of Zenhausern’s innovations. The integrated DNA analyzer can be transported directly to a point-of-care or deployed in a mobile setting, eliminating some of the issues that arise when collecting and shipping a specimen from a remote site to a centralized laboratory for molecular testing. The core technology is also enabling the rapid automation of preparation of a biological sample for interfacing with various high-resolution analytical instrumentations, such as Next Generation Sequencing. These emerging diagnostic tools in personalized medicine are being used the team of clinicians at TGen Clinical Translational Research Division.

A similar platform was configured for genomic assays ready for implementations in medical countermeasures against radiological and nuclear disasters, and also applicable in clinical settings for predicting which patients are most sensitive to radiation in guiding personalized treatment, and preventing the development of toxicities that may result from radiotherapy. These innovations are described in multiple patents with TGen co-inventors, which led to significant federal funding of Arizona academic institutions, and to generating commercial interest and licensing from multiple U.S. companies, also contributing to Arizona’s economic development.

Zenhausern has co-authored more than 70 scientific publications and is named on many pending and more than a dozen issued U.S. patents in various domains ranging from DNA sequencing to optical data storage. Zenhausern’s responsibilities also include leading clinical research at the personalized medicine research laboratory at Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and serving on several corporate scientific boards and international consortia in life sciences.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The 143 innovators elected to NAI Fellow status represent 94 universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes.  Together, they hold more than 5,600 U.S. patents.

Included in the 2013 class are 26 presidents and senior leadership of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 69 members of the National Academies, five inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and nine Nobel Laureates among other major awards and distinctions.

Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.