Buffalo Translational Consortium News

Doctoral student who received CTSA diversity supplement is co-first author on myelin production study

Posted on 08/25/17 at 03:32 pm
Jessie Polanco (right), recipient of a CTSA diversity supplement, at the 2017 ACTS Translational Science conference.

Jessie J. Polanco, a doctoral neuroscience candidate in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the recipient of a 2016 diversity supplement from UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), was co-first author of a study published August 8 in Stem Cell Reports.

Polanco has been continuously funded by NIH training grants since entering the program in 2014, first through the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) R25 Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, which was followed by this diversity supplement to the CTSA.

The research seeks to understand how myelin production differs in human and mouse cells. Myelin is the fatty sheath that allows nerve cells to communicate with one another. Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases occur when the myelin sheath is damaged.

Most new treatments for MS are first tested in mice, but oftentimes those results don’t hold up in human populations. Thanks to groundbreaking research led by Fraser Sim, PhD, senior author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, investigators now have a method for determining whether findings from mouse models are relevant to the human disease.

 “The CTSA diversity supplement is allowing Jessie Polanco to progress successfully through his predoctoral training, focusing his research on translating knowledge gain in mouse models to human,” said Margarita L.  Dubocovich, PhD, SUNY Distinguish Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “As such,” she said, his work is “significantly advancing the development of potential treatments for MS.” 

The diversity supplement awarded to UB’s CTSA is designed for people from groups underrepresented in clinical and translational science, including individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM, biomedical and health disciplines, those with disabilities, and those from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

UB received a four-year, $15 million CTSA from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in 2015.

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RIA fall seminars series announced

Posted on 08/15/17 at 03:22 pm

Fall seminars explore neuroscience of addiction, PTSD, addiction treatment and adolescent alcohol use

 

The Fall Seminar Series at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions will feature national experts on heavy drinking in young adults, dating violence, financing addiction treatment and tobacco use.

The four-part seminar series is free and open to the public. All seminars take place on Fridays at 10 a.m. on the first floor of RIA at 1021 Main St. on UB’s Downtown Campus.

The Fall Seminar Series kicks off Sept. 8 with a talk by Peter W. Kalivas, PhD, on “Using Tetra Partite Synaptic Plasticity to Treat Addiction.” Kalivas is professor and chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research explores the brain molecules and circuits that underlie addiction, with his research lab conducting studies on the neuroplasticity underlying the development of addiction to drugs of abuse, as well as the learning and memory deficits associated with poor rearing environments.

On Sept. 22, Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, PhD, will discuss “Beyond Self-Medication: Exploring Comorbidity between PTSD and Substance Misuse.” McDevitt-Murphy is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Memphis. Her research focuses on the co-occurrence of PTSD and substance misuse. She has conducted studies to develop interventions for hazardous drinking among veterans and has explored PTSD and substance misuse in both veteran and non-veteran samples. She is a Fellow in the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

The series continues on Oct. 6 with a talk by Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, on “Integrating Unhealthy Alcohol and Other Drug Use and General Health Care: When Best Laid Plans Go Awry.” Saitz is chair and professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health and professor of medicine at BU School of Medicine. His primary areas of expertise include chronic care management and integrated care for unhealthy substance use and other mental health conditions, and integrating substance-related and general health care. He is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and a Distinguished Fellow in the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The Fall Seminar Series concludes on Nov. 3 with a discussion by Karen Farchaus Stein, PhD, RN, on “Who Am I: Current and Future-Oriented Identities as Determinants of Adolescent and Young Adult Alcohol Use.” Farchaus Stein is the Brody Endowed Professor at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Stein’s research addresses health risk behaviors in adolescent and young adult females and focuses on individual differences in identity development as a determinant of these behaviors. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

For more information about RIA’s Fall Seminar Series, contact Kathleen Parks, PhD, at 716-887-3301 or visit http://www.buffalo.edu/ria/news_events/seminars.html.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is partner in the Buffalo Translational Consortium, a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria.   

UB CTSI director: Cuts to science funding have many ripple effects

Posted on 08/14/17 at 10:28 am
Flickr peasap

Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean of clinical and translational research in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and director of the UB CTSI, authored a blog post on the American Federation of Teachers website about how Washington’s anti-science sentiment will hurt research funding for NIH.

He writes: “Not only are we losing research dollars and the life-changing science they can fund, we are losing the best and brightest who could come up with as yet unimaginable solutions to some of our thorniest biomedical challenges.”

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Biomedical informatics gets a boost with $2.5 million grant

Posted on 08/07/17 at 10:31 am
Peter Elkin, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, director of the informatics core of UB’s CTSI, and director of the new training program

 

new five-year $2.5 million grant to the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo will train a new cadre of research leaders skilled in analyzing and interpreting these data.
The funding, known as T15, from the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, supports doctoral and postdoctoral level training for research careers in biomedical informatics and data science. The training programs are designed to meet the growing need for investigators trained in biomedical computing, data science and related fields with applications in health care clinical informatics, translational bioinformatics and clinical research informatics.

A new five-year $2.5 million grant to the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo will train a new cadre of research leaders skilled in analyzing and interpreting big data.

The funding, known as T15, from the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health, supports doctoral and postdoctoral level training for research careers in biomedical informatics and data science. The training programs are designed to meet the growing need for investigators trained in biomedical computing, data science and related fields with applications in health care clinical informatics, translational bioinformatics and clinical research informatics.

“The NLM grant puts the department at the forefront of this rapidly changing field,” said Peter Elkin, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, and director of the new training program. Elkin also is director of the informatics core of UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

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