Faculty News Weekly Round-Up: July 21

July 21, 2017 by   |   Leave a Comment

UVA School of Medicine Faculty News Weekly Round-Up
July 21

UVA, Bon Secours to Collaborate on Liver Transplant Care

University of Virginia Health System (UVA) and the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia will collaboratively care for patients at Bon Secours’ facilities in Richmond and Newport News that may need liver transplants at UVA. The Bon Secours facilities include St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.

Under the affiliation agreement, care teams from Bon Secours and UVA will co-manage patients at the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia with liver disease – including those with advanced cirrhosis and liver cancer – who will be evaluated for a liver transplant.

“Through this affiliation, we seek to bring UVA’s expertise to more convenient locations and closer to home for patients throughout the Commonwealth,” said Pamela Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center.

Read more:

• What to Know About the Tick Bites That Can Leave You Allergic to Meat

Outdoor enthusiasts have long been aware of the risk of Lyme disease from tick bites, but it’s only in recent years that people have noticed a strange new allergy to red meat that’s also associated with the insect’s bites. UVA’s Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills is the nation’s primary researcher on this newly discovered allergy and how its culprit, the Lone Star tick, induces it in humans.

Platts-Mills, who heads the UVA School of Medicine’s Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has been researching the steady rise in tick-induced meat allergies for nearly two decades. UVA Today recently sat down with him to learn about the progress of his research and what symptoms readers should be on the lookout for following any tick bites.

Read the UVA Today interview:

Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the UVA School of Medicine.

UVA Stroke Center Earns National Certification as Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center

UVA Health System Stroke Center has earned national certification from The Joint Commission as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center for providing high-quality care.  This certification places UVA in the top two percent for stroke care nationwide, and one of three Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the Commonwealth.

Richard Shannon, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, noted, “In their final debriefing Tuesday afternoon, one Joint Commission surveyor told us, ‘The UVA Health System is already providing comprehensive stroke care to your patients, and your patients love your doctors, your nurses and the entire staff.'”

Shannon is also Louise Nerancy Professor of Health Policy Science at UVA School of Medicine.

• Indestructible Virus Yields Secret to Creating Incredibly Durable Materials

UVA researchers have determined that a virus, Acidianus hospitalis Filamentous Virus 1 – the “Superman of viruses” – is protected by a type of membrane that science has never before encountered. Its outer coat is half as thick as known cell membranes, yet it is amazingly stable. That’s because of the unusual, horseshoe-shaped arrangement of its membrane molecules, providing a small size, yet remarkable durability that scientists might duplicate for many other purposes. For example, it may offer a way to make microscopic particles of medicine shelf-stable, so that they don’t need refrigeration.

“Anytime you find something that behaves really differently, especially something this stable, it’s interesting and potentially useful,” said researcher Dr. Peter Kasson of the UVA School of Medicine. “When you’re doing curiosity-driven science that finds something new, in the back of your mind, you think, ‘Hey, this is really different. What might it be good for?’ And this has many potential applications.”

The researchers have published their discovery in the journal eLIFE.

The following UVA School of Medicine faculty contributed to the study:
Peter Kasson, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics
Xiong Yu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Edward Egelman, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

Read more:

• Could Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatments Lead to Kidney Damage?

Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually damage the organs, new research from the UVA School of Medicine suggests.

Researchers identified the potential problem while studying strange kidney lesions in mice that cannot make the enzyme renin; similar lesions are also seen in human patients with high blood pressure. The researchers determined the lesions are the work of renin cells, which are sometimes targeted in treating high blood pressure.

“To treat hypertension, people use inhibitors of the renin angiotensin system,” explained Dr. R. Ariel Gomez, director of UVA’s Child Health Research Center. “They’ve been in use for quite a bit now, and, for the most part, they’re safe. Our work in mice indicates that complete lack of renin results in vascular lesions. The question is whether aggressive, long-term use of compounds that completely ablate the renin angiotensin system causes any problems in humans. Thus, additional research is needed.”

The researchers have published their findings in the journal Hypertension.

The following UVA School of Medicine faculty contributed to the study:
Silvia Medrano, Senior Scientist, Pediatrics
Maria Luisa Sequeira-Lopez, Professor of Pediatrics
R. Ariel Gomez, Professor of Pediatrics

Read more:

• NBC 29 House Call: Dr. Cynthia Yoshida on UVA’s New Endoscopy Center

Yoshida, MD, is Professor of Medicine at UVA School of Medicine.

Watch the interview:

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

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