August Thoughts

Convocation is coming up in a week, signaling the formal start of the CWRU academic year, but things are already gathering momentum. Our new medical students have begun Block 1 and our physician assistant students have had their anatomy final exam. Our bioethics masters program is headed for record enrollment. A new certification in nutrition for health professionals is off to a fast start with more than 20 enrollees in its initial course. We continue to attract superb students into our MS in physiology, and our new PRIME program for post-baccalaureate students who have decided on medical school and need the additional work, is getting started. In short, the educational programs are humming.

Research, too, is off to a fast start. Renewals of the SPORE grant in GI cancers with Sandy Markowitz as PI and BETRnet for esophageal disease with Amitabh Chak at the lead have been awarded. Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, under the direction of Stan Gerson, is planning for its NCI Cancer Center Support Grant-renewal site visit. Several of our promising technologies are receiving funding investments in the for-profit sector. Rodeo Therapeutics, whose CWRU principals are Sandy Markowitz and Stan Gerson, is being supported by Accelerator Inc., a biotechnology investment and management company. Rodeo’s lead drug aids engraftment of stem cells and reduces the time of vulnerability of leukopenia in animals during stem cell transplants.

On the nanotechnology front, Nicole Steinmetz has garnered no fewer than four NIH grants in support of her stunning technology on plant viruses as vehicles for drug delivery and for enhancing immune killing of tumor cells.

Drs. Gulani, Pahwa, Schiltz, and Ponsky in our departments of radiology, population and quantitative health sciences, and urology collaborated in a demonstration that magnetic resonance fingerprinting scans of prostate cancer can reduce morbidity and cost of diagnosis and treatment.

Our research faculty members continue to produce fascinating and useful discoveries. Kurt Lu reported that high doses of vitamin D temper sunburn and attracted national attention. The GI division, under the direction of Fabio Cominelli, reported that certain fats in the diet could alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

All of this and it isn’t even the official start of the academic year for the University! Just think what we’ll do when school is formally in session.