Faculty News Weekly Round-Up: April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017 by   |   Leave a Comment

UVA School of Medicine Faculty News Weekly Round-Up
April 28

Artificial Pancreas Benefits Young Children, Trial Shows

A pilot study among young children with Type 1 diabetes found that a University of Virginia-developed artificial pancreas helped study participants better control their condition.

Enrollment is also under way for pivotal clinical trials providing the final tests for the artificial pancreas for people with Type 1 diabetes ages 14 and older.

Several faculty of the UVA School of Medicine contributed to the study, including, from the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences:
Marc Breton, PhD, Associate Professor.
Boris Kovatchev, PhD, Professor.
Daniel Chernavvsky, MD, Assistant Professor.

Mark DeBoer, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, also contributed.

The results of the study have been published online in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

Read more at NBC29:…/uva-artificial-pancreas-benefits-you….

• UVA’s Excellence in Cancer Treatment Nets $15 Million Grant

University of Virginia Cancer Center has again been honored as one of just 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers for its work researching new and better cancer treatments.

Renewal as an NCI-designated cancer center includes a five-year, $15 million grant to support research, recruitment of faculty, education and clinical trials. The previous five-year grant from NCI helped UVA recruit 10 new researchers as well as provide seed funding to launch new research projects that were then able to earn additional grant money from external sources.

“The successful renewal is the result of the efforts of multiple teams working together. This is a tremendous testament to our ability to work collaboratively across multiple clinical, administrative and educational departments,” said Thomas P. Loughran Jr., MD, Director of UVA Cancer Center.

In addition to directing the Cancer Center, Loughran is a professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology and Oncology.

• Sudhir Wins Mentoring Award from UVA School of Medicine

Amita Sudhir , MD, recently received the annual peer-nominated Alpha Omega Alpha – Anne L. Brodie Teacher’s Teacher Award. This award recognizes medical school faculty who do an excellent job of mentoring students, residents and colleagues to become clinical educators.

Sudhir is an associate professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

• Shah Receives Teaching Award at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting

Binit Shah , MD, received the A. B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award at this week’s American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. The award recognizes excellent teachers for their contributions to improving neurology now and in the future.

Shah is an assistant professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology.

• Miller Wins Career Award from the Virginia Orthopaedic Society

Mark Miller , MD, won a career award at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society.

Miller is a professor and the division head of the UVA School of Medicine’s Division of Sports Medicine within the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

• Battling Infectious Diseases with 3-D Structures

An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Virginia, has determined the 3-D atomic structure of more than 1,000 proteins that are potential drug and vaccine targets to combat some of the world’s most dangerous emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
This milestone effort, funded by two five-year contracts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), totaling a budget of $57.7 million, represents a decade of work by the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in partnership with these institutions:
University of Chicago
University of Virginia School of Medicine
University of Calgary
University of Toronto
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
UT Southwestern Medical Center
J. Craig Venter Institute
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
University College London

UVA’s Contributions
University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers, led by Wladek Minor, PhD, have created several tools that have been critical to the success of the project. The HKL-3000 software suite has been used to determine 3D structures of several hundred proteins targeted by the CSGID. As part of overseeing data management within the project, the UVA researchers have developed a database that has collected hundreds of thousands of experimental results, creating a foundation for ensuring reproducibility of experiments. The analysis of the data has uncovered previously overlooked aspects of protein preparation which may affect reproducibility. The researchers at UVA have also created a widely used tool for validating metal-binding sites present in protein structures.

Anyone in the scientific community interested in requesting the determination of structures of proteins from pathogens in the NIAID Category A-C priority lists or organisms causing emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, can submit requests to the Center’s web portal. As part of the services offered to the scientific community, the CSGID can also provide expression clones and purified proteins, free of charge.

Minor is a professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics.

UVA Finds Way to Dramatically Accelerate Research into Cancer, Genetic Diseases

A new technique developed at the University of Virginia School of Medicine will let a single cancer research lab do the work of dozens, dramatically accelerating the search for new treatments and cures. And the technique will benefit not just cancer research but research into every disease driven by gene mutations, from cystic fibrosis to Alzheimer’s disease – ultimately enabling customized treatments for patients in a way never before possible.

“Every patient shouldn’t receive the same treatment. No way. Not even if they have the same syndrome, the same disease,” said UVA researcher J. Julius Zhu, PhD, who led the team that created the new technique. “It’s very individual in the patient, and they have to be treated in different ways.”

Zhu and his team have described the technique in an article published in the journal Genes & Development.

Zhu is an associate professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology.

Xi Kang, a research associate in the Department of Pharmacology, is also an author on the paper.

• NBC29 Interviews Dr. Ken Brayman About Robotics at the UVA Transplant Center

Kenneth Brayman , MD, PhD, FACS, spoke with Steve Rappaport of NBC29 about how robotics is being incorporated into surgery at the UVA Transplant Center.

Brayman is a professor in the UVA School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. He is also Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery.

Did we miss something? If you have UVA School of Medicine faculty news to share, please email

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