Tag Archives: university of arizona

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.”

health.education

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.

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.

startup

Getting an angel to open the checkbook

Governor Jan Brewer touts her policies and business regulatory climate as the reason Arizona is growing new businesses. That may be a factor, but it’s not the major reason Arizona topped the Kaufman Foundation Index of Entrepreneurial Activity in 2012. If it were the case, Arizona would have been on top again in 2013—instead of plummeting to 20th nationally.

“Just because there are a lot of startups,” observes Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, “doesn’t provide a measure of the economic growth in the Valley.” A startup can be someone opening a consultancy, a contractor or the next Apple. Self-employment is a form of startup. The challenge is nurturing a startup so it grows with high value jobs.

Local governments and the Arizona Commerce Authority see major value with growing Arizona startups into enterprises. Chris Mackay, economic development director in Chandler says, “There’s staying power when a business is local. It’s connected to the local community and if the economy falters, the owners are more willing to keep going locally as opposed to closing up shop.” That local staying power is one reason Mackay says Chandler makes big investments in growing future enterprises.

Planting the seeds

Arizona’s new economy needs startups to scale up into enterprises. Those growing small businesses become hiring employers offering high value jobs paying home-buying income. Government policy supporting businesses that can scale up is based on simple economics.

Businesses with more than 20 employees, says the Small Business Administration, generate two of three Arizona paychecks. Those same businesses cut checks for more than 70 percent of Arizona’s private payrolls. The value in 2012 was over $100 billion.

All new businesses are “startups,” but not all startup businesses will be entrepreneurial enterprises. “There is no relation between starting a business and starting a company,” says Dr. Daniel Isenberg, Professor of Entrepreneurship Practice and founding executive director of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project in Boston. “Ninety percent of companies formed don’t grow high value jobs.”

Isenberg says that the difference between a start-up and enterprise is a matter of scale. He is an international advocate for scaling a business to grow as opposed to opening a business. An entrepreneur, he points out, is a business founder with a large company that just happens to be small right now.

Arizona State University, as the new American university, is at the cutting edge of helping turn ideas into enterprise. Recently, the college joined the elite ranks of schools offering a stand-alone degree in entrepreneurship. It’s on that list with Harvard Business School, Babson, and University of Texas. Its goal is getting new businesses that can grow into the market.

Locally grown

ASU says more than 70 percent of its W.P. Carey School of Business MBA graduates remain in Arizona. Keeping these graduates in state provides the human resources necessary to building new enterprises fueling the future economy.

“Starting a company — as opposed to just starting a business — is hard work,” says Isenberg. “An entrepreneur looks at the business and sees it growing. It’s a time of sleep deprivation, hard work, and endless pitches.” Few startups achieve quality growth—less than ten percent, he believes. “The golden triangle of a growing enterprise,” he continues, “is cash, customers and people.”

“An entrepreneurial endeavor isn’t limited to startups,” Isenberg emphasizes. “University research, family businesses, mature companies, all can be turned into a growing enterprise. Most startups tend to stay small.” The key to the economic contribution of startups in Arizona is scalability. He is adamant about it, “Ambition is not a dirty word. A business founder without ambition does not significantly contribute to overall economic growth.”

“There are a number of entrepreneurial success stories arising from a new direction for an existing, mature business,” Isenberg reports. Sometimes it takes a new owner with a vision; sometimes the existing management team finds a new direction. It can be a license from a university, a new product, or an innovative use of an existing product. Entrepreneurship can occur anywhere in a business’ lifecycle.”

Bringing ideas to market

Arizona colleges are on that licensing bandwagon. Entrepreneurs complain that it takes years to license patents or transfer technology from most universities. In ASU’s Office of Knowledge and Enterprise Development, the Arizona Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator — first project of its type in the world — slashes technology transfer time from years to months. The AZ Furnace is a joint venture of ASU, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Dignity Health. Funding partners include the Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, and additional support from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

“There are hundreds of patents sitting on shelves at universities that could be in the market earning money for creators, colleges and businesses,” enthuses Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group in OKED. “We started a program to get patents into the market quickly.” The startups selected for incubation in AZ Furnace are either entrepreneurs in search of an idea to market or idea-creators ready to market through a business entity. The fledgling enterprises are capital-ready in 12 months or less.

Enterprise starts with a leader and a vision. The scale of the vision is what makes the difference, says Isenberg. The vast majority of business owners are thinking of a model that gets them to the point that they’re putting money in the bank. He says, “Entrepreneurs are thinking of a model that finds smart people, willing customers and puts the cash to back into the enterprise.”

“Angels invest in businesses they understand or CEOs they respect,” says Broome. “There’s a need for more of that in the Valley. We’re just not seeing the next Apple or Google evolving here.”

Gaining visibility

“The biggest challenge about getting angel and venture money is visibility,” says Brandon Clark, region coordinator for Startup Arizona.  “If you’re a promising digital startup locally, it’s a little harder to get noticed nationally being from a region not known for its digital startups.  That’s starting to slowly shift.” National publications, FastCompany and Entrepreneur Magazine, have eyed Arizona as an emerging technology region.

The development opportunity for the small business is capital. Combine the “Broome Factor”—known businesses; known leaders—with the large number of startups, and there are too many funding requests heading towards too few checkbooks.

What makes early investors open pocketbooks to startup businesses is scalability. Businesses with potential to grow create the greatest return on investment for the angels. “It’s also makes a difference to the local economy,” says Isenberg. “Local policymakers need to change their focus from ‘startup’ to a ‘high value growth business’.”

Cities like helping scalable startups — and provide resources that build success. There’s a loyalty factor when the business grows; it typically remains in the hometown that helped it succeed. This is important to Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Surprise. These five cities have specifically invested in incubators and accelerators to nurture and graduate businesses achieving market traction. Chandler, Phoenix and Tucson have involvement with collaborative workspaces — Gangplank and Co+Hoots — as well.

While an employee or two in a collaborative workspace works well for a while, the time comes when a move up is needed. Clairvoyant, an enterprise and analytics startup now in Chandler Innovations started with Gangplank. “We grew from four employees in March to 12 in April,” smiles Amber Anderson, a firm partner and its business developer. “We needed a place to meet with clients and work with a growing team.” Still self-funded, the growing entity plans to hit 20 employees by January.

Mackay explains, “We help a company like this grow and hope that as it expands it continues to locate in Chandler.” To that end, the city is working with landlords in its Price Corridor to offer “teenage” space that lets a business move from the heavily subsidized rents and back office support of the incubator into its own place—without too much sticker shock.

Support from cities

The difference by which startup is accepted into a city’s incubator is the ability to scale up from the garage to commercial space; from one employee to more than 20. Chandler and Mesa are looking for businesses with this capacity. Innovations gives lab and office space to businesses that have formed entities — LLCs, corporations, partnerships — and a business plan. Mesa’s new Technology Accelerator is planned with a similar focus, but is looking for businesses at an earlier stage. Surprise’s Arizona TechCelerator wants to shepherd a business to the angel investor stage.

In Surprise, scalability is one of the criteria to be accepted into Arizona’s oldest incubator. The TechCelerator is looking for businesses offering something outside the box or creating a new niche. “The company has to be started before we’ll consider them,” says Julie Neal, the economic development coordinator for the city’s enterprise. “They need a mentor, a plan and have to know where they are going.”

“Scaling up is difficult,” says Isenberg, “but doing it right defines the difference between the successful entrepreneur with a growth business and a startup that just stays small. Marketplaces are competitive. The startup has to acquire customers. That means overcoming inertia or changing buyer behavior. While established companies are cruising on their business platforms, the startup has to hire people, start a company, raise money, and all the while, it’s competing in the marketplace. That’s tough work.”

After incubation, the business must gain market traction. At this phase, the fledgling enterprise has product going out and customers paying for it. The kinks are being smoothed, and it’s time to move up to the next stage and grow. Isenberg says that the high growth criterion is simply 20 percent annual increases in sales or staff for five years.

Getting capital

To make this leap requires high levels of capital — the checks venture capitalists cut. The biggest challenge in Phoenix is that there are few sources for local venture capital. The venturists hang out in places like Silicon Valley, Boston, San Diego and Seattle. “There are even a couple of funds with deep ties to the Valley,” worries Clark, “but they have very little involvement in local startups.”

Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, had to travel out of town for his venture capital. “At one time, I was told that a fund wouldn’t cut a check for a firm in Phoenix because we didn’t have the workforce for success,” he says. “That’s no longer true; venture funds are seeing that there is a real climate for success in the Valley.”

Another resource for a growing business is the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “Growing Your Arizona Business” services. The quasi-public agency provides mentorship, regulatory assistance, access to incentive programs and site selection. It also works as a liaison connecting the growing business with other business resources. The agency mentors businesses in accessing federal procurement and grant opportunities as well as serving as an entrée to international trade.

Overall, the major resource in Arizona for start-up businesses is the universities. Anemic legislative funding for the schools causes their efforts to help to face the same struggles growing businesses face. Their efforts to improve Arizona’s long-term economy are stymied by a declining source of capital.

“ASU is underfunded,” complains Barry Broome. “The school has done an amazing job despite being financially crippled by budget cuts. It’s suffering from a lack of resources to take its programs to scale.” “Scalability” is applicable to the business-development programs at the universities and other public agencies just as it is for growing enterprises.

“Getting money for those programs is the top job for the next governor,” predicts Broome.
Opportunity in Arizona will come from the core of businesses growing today. They will create the jobs for the new economy and drive economic success for the next generation.

bioscience

Renowned Bioinformatician Joins UA

Yves A. Lussier, MD, FAMCI, a professional engineer and physician-scientist who conducts research in translational bioinformatics and personal genomics, has joined the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Lussier will serve as UA professor of medicine; associate vice president for health sciences and chief knowledge officer for AHSC; associate director for cancer informatics and precision health for the University of Arizona Cancer Center; and associate director, BIO5 informatics, for the UA BIO5 Institute. He assumed his new duties Dec. 2.

Dr. Lussier is an international expert in translational bioinformatics and a pioneer in research informatics techniques including systems biology, data representation through ontologies and high-throughput methods in personalized medicine. At the UA, he will lead efforts to fully develop novel programs in biomedical informatics, computational genomics and precision health. Dr. Lussier will provide critical leadership in efforts to advance precision health approaches to health outcomes and healthcare delivery and in the development of big data analytical tools and resource services in support of the University’s clinical research and service missions.

“I’m extremely pleased to have Yves join the University of Arizona,” said Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences. “Yves and his team of computational specialists bring much needed expertise and program capacity in informatics, sequence analysis, genomic annotation and computational biology that will accelerate translational research activity across campus and throughout the state.”

Anne E. Cress, PhD, interim director of the UA Cancer Center, noted that “the integration of genomics with clinical information is the key to innovative approaches to provide ‘tomorrow’s medicine today’ for cancer patients. The addition of Dr. Lussier to the Cancer Center will greatly strengthen our clinical research efforts in cancer informatics and the delivery of personalized treatment plans.”

Fernando D. Martinez, MD, director of the UA BIO5 Institute, shared his enthusiasm for Dr. Lussier’s recruitment. “Informatics bridges the five core disciplines – agriculture, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and science – of BIO5. Dr. Lussier and his team will advance the Institute’s interdisciplinary, collaborative research efforts to successfully create solutions to the grand biological challenges.”

Dr. Lussier comes to UA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he was professor of medicine, bioengineering and biopharmaceutical sciences, and assistant vice president for health affairs and chief research information officer for the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Prior to his tenure at UIC, Dr. Lussier was associate director of informatics for the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as co-director of biomedical informatics for the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)-funded Institute for Translational Medicine (2006-2011). From 2001-2006, Dr. Lussier was an assistant professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine at Columbia University in New York.

Dr. Lussier’s research interests focus on the use of ontologies, knowledge technologies and genomic network model to accurately individualize the treatment of disease and to repurpose therapies. He has National Institutes of Health funding for a clinical trial that repositioned a combination therapy, he also bioinformatically predicted and obtained biological confirmation of several novel tumor suppressor microRNAs, including the first one underpinning the oligo- vs poly- metastasis development of cancer.

His research has been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has authored 130 publications and delivered more than 100 invited presentations in precision medicine, systems medicine and translational bioinformatics, including 14 opening conference keynotes.

A Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, Dr. Lussier is a member of numerous governance, technology transfer, scientific and editorial boards, including the American Medical Informatics Association, International Society for Computational Biology, Society for Clinical and Translational Science, American Society for Cancer Research, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Society for Human Genetics.

heart

Sweitzer Named Head of UA Sarver Heart Center

Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, a board-certified advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and physiologist, will become director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and chief of the Division of Cardiology in the UA College of Medicine, Department of Medicine, effective March 1, 2014, announced Steve Goldschmid, MD, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

“It is very clear that Dr. Sweitzer has a passion for professional excellence and delivery of high-quality cardiovascular care, combined with a curiosity that drives collaborative scientific discovery,” Dr. Goldschmid said.  “She also displays a deep commitment to seeking ways to improve. She personifies the UA’s ‘Never Settle’ vision – a vision that guides our strategic planning at the College of Medicine.”

Currently, Dr. Sweitzer is an associate professor of medicine and director of numerous programs, including clinical research, quality, and the heart failure and cardiac transplant programs (interim director) at the University of Wisconsin Cardiovascular Medicine Division in Madison. She also directs the cardiovascular medicine and heart failure and cardiac transplant fellowship programs there.

“Dr. Sweitzer is nationally recognized for her strong leadership and experience in clinical research. These unique talents will help her build impactful bridges between the clinical and basic science enterprises, and increase discovery in the areas of translational and personalized cardiovascular medicine,” said Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, senior vice president for health sciences and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Sweitzer has a clinical research program focused on the interaction of the dysfunctional heart muscle in heart failure with the vasculature and kidneys to better understand how to improve symptoms and organ function in heart failure patients.  She has done extensive work on the physiology of heart failure with preserved systolic function, a disease that disproportionately affects elderly women. She has led and collaborated on numerous studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health as well as studies supported by industry and academic sponsors. She also has served on numerous NIH committees and currently serves as a member of its Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Science Study Section and the American Heart Association’s Cardiac Biology and Regulation Committee.

“I believe in the mission of the current leadership of the University of Arizona, the College of Medicine, and The University of Arizona Health Network. Together, we are able to provide the highest level of unique advanced and specialized service to patients with heart disease in Tucson and the Southwest  and to support other cardiovascular and primary care providers in the region. The leadership at UA, combined with the strong faculty already in place, offer tremendous opportunity to grow the division’s regional and national presence and increase its prestige and recognition. I plan to build the cardiovascular division so that we will provide consistently excellent and comprehensive advanced and specialized cardiovascular disease services. As an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, my focus has always been on providing the best care to the sickest patients with heart disease,” said Dr. Sweitzer.

“Dr. Sweitzer’s expertise will have a huge impact on the future advances that come from the Sarver Heart Center. Her experience as a translational researcher will be extremely valuable in terms of boosting collaboration between Sarver Heart Center members who have a strong basic science focus on cardiovascular diseases and those who understand the clinical advances that are within our grasp. We are grateful for the support we received from both the College of Medicine and The University of Arizona Health Network for making this recruitment possible,” said Carol C. Gregorio, PhD, director of the Molecular Cardiovascular Research Program and head of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the UA College of Medicine, who has served as interim director of the Sarver Heart Center since July 2013, following the retirement of Dr. Gordon A. Ewy, who served as director since 1991. Dr. Gregorio also chaired the director search committee.

“I am looking forward to the unique opportunity to lead both cardiology and cardiovascular research efforts, coupled with a successful center of excellence in the UA Sarver Heart Center. The potential to make a significant impact is far greater than most cardiology opportunities. This is largely due to the tremendous legacy of Dr. Gordon Ewy. His amazing work in both research and public outreach, saving lives and increasing understanding and awareness of cardiovascular disease is an awe-inspiring and motivating legacy. The Sarver Heart Center and the talented and dedicated staff are poised to be a real force in the Tucson community as well as the regional Southwest for improvement of care disparities and cardiovascular disease awareness, and large-scale preventive heart disease efforts,” said Dr. Sweitzer.

breast.cancer

UA Study Targets Latinas with Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Latinas, but patients often have limited access to resources to help them cope psychologically.

A research study to evaluate the impact of low cost telephone-delivered counseling on quality of life for Latinas with breast cancer and their supporters is being led by Terry A. Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, professor and division director of community and systems health science at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and a member of the UA Cancer Center.

Dr. Badger received funding from the American Cancer Society to conduct the Telephone Health Education and Support Project, which is open nationwide to eligible participants and their supporters, who can include spouses, family members or friends.

“Latinas are a growing and particularly vulnerable population with regard to breast cancer, because they tend to be diagnosed at later stages, to be sicker, and, in particular, have fewer easily accessible resources to deal with their psychological distress,” said Dr. Badger. “Untreated distress is associated with poorer health outcomes, so we designed a study to offer support for this distress that could easily be accessed by these patients.”

The study is comparing two groups, each composed of women and their designated supporters. One group of women and their supporters receives a counseling-focused intervention and the other receives an educationally-focused intervention. The interventions are delivered by specially trained professionals in a 30 to 40 minute telephone call once a week for eight weeks.

“In our research, we have found over and over that the supporter has as much if not more psychological distress than the survivor themselves,” said Dr. Badger. “This makes it critical that we provide services to both the Latina and her supporter.”

Christina Castro, a 58-year-old mother of three from Tucson, decided to participate in the study with her husband after she was diagnosed with breast cancer seven months ago.

“The call once a week was something to look forward to,” said Castro. “It was really easy to talk to someone who wasn’t a family member, but someone who would just listen to me. Being at home really helped make it comfortable, and it was set up at a time that was convenient for us. The calls were both comforting and empowering. I would definitely encourage others to do it.”

“We have participants from all over, including Yuma, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada,” said Dr. Badger. “Research team members call participants in the evenings or on weekends, whenever it’s convenient for the patient and their partner. We can deliver this intervention anywhere as long as participants have access to a telephone.”

To learn more, call 1-866-218-6641 or email Maria Figueroa at mcf2@email.arizona.edu or Dr. Badger at tbadger@email.arizona.edu.

Z-SSH-M-0020

UA, SynDaver Announce Collaboration

Medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix has received a big boost with the latest in simulation technology from SynDaver™ Labs – and the city will get an economic boost as well.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix Dean Stuart D. Flynn, MD, and SynDaver™ Labs’ President Christopher Sakezles, PhD, on Wednesday, announced an exclusive collaboration between the medical school and Tampa, Fla.,-based SynDaver™ Labs. Sakezles said it could create up to 1,000 jobs over the next several years.

“We are bringing SynDaver to the forefront of medical education,” said Teresa Wu, MD, an emergency room physician at Maricopa Medical Center and faculty member of the college. “We are developing a team of practitioners that is going to help enhance medical education and improve patient safety.”

The announcement was during in an exclusive demonstration event at the Arizona Center for Simulation and Experiential Learning, on the fourth floor of the Health Sciences Education Building on campus.

“This collaboration places our college on a trajectory as a national leader among elite medical schools in simulation technology,” Dr. Flynn said. “We are ensuring medical education is not just on the cutting edge, but visionary in preparing our students to serve for the decades to come.”

Developed by SynDaver Labs, the teaching tools helps in anatomy and physiology instruction for medical and other health-related education. The company manufactures the world’s most sophisticated synthetic human tissues and body parts.

“This is all about medical education and reducing the cost of health care in general,” said Sakezles, the founder of SynDaver™ Labs. “Simulation is one of the ways we are going to do that. This particular technology is transformational. It’s been in the works for about two decades now.”

The technology is used to replace live animals, cadavers, and human patients in clinical training and surgical simulation.

“SynDaver models are unique and they are one of the best in the country, they were actually developed to allow medical students the opportunity to practice procedures and to develop skills they normally would have to do on patients in the past,” Dr. Wu said. “But now they have these task trainers that are realistic and life-like that they can practice their procedures on prior to doing it on a live patient.”

The simulation center is a new, state-of-the-art endeavor that combines technology with healthcare-focused education. Students get to learn the difficulties faced every day in the medical world, no matter how much experience they have. The simulation lab can be set up to encompass a wide variety of situations, training the students for the world they will soon enter in real patient care.

Placenti_Frank

Squire Sanders Partner judges ethics competition

Squire Sanders Partner Frank Placenti served as a judge in the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management’s 11th Annual Collegiate Ethics Case Competition.

The event allows local business leaders and professionals to help students from more than 30 business colleges to reason through a thought provoking business ethics case, with this competition raising students’ awareness of the importance of corporate social responsibility.