Read about MCIRCC Associate Director, Robert Dickson, MD and learn about the man behind the white coat.
Read about MCIRCC Associate Director, Robert Dickson, MD and learn about the man behind the white coat.
Congratulations to the new 2018 Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Awardees:
Renuka Tipirneni, MD - The Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award
Hallie Prescott, MD - The Carol A. Kauffman MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award
Robert Dickson, MD - The Bruce C. Richardson MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award
The Department of Internal Medicine is creating a total of 15 early career endowment awards, three annually, by the close of FY2023. Each is valued at $250,000 and is named after a current or former faculty member to be held by the incumbent for one 5-year cycle, so as long as they do not hold another endowment. Awards are competitively assigned to junior faculty at the Assistant Professor level (any track) that are within 5 years of their terminal residency/fellowship/post-doctoral training.
A reception honoring the senior faculty who lent their names as well as the inaugural awardees will be on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the Kelley Conference Room from 4:30-5:30pm.
Scott VanEpps, MD, PhD, FACEP is the newest MCIRCC Associate Director. As an Associate Director, he will provide feedback and guidance to ensure that MCIRCC achieves its strategic goals, and will help facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations between members.
Dr. VanEpps is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Engineering. He has been an active MCIRCC member since MCIRCC's launch and was one of MCIRCC's original Sepsis Grand Challenge grant recipients. His scientific work in critical care is at the juncture of biomaterials and bacteriology/infection. His collaboration with fellow Associate Director Robert Dickson, MD, via MCIRCC, has resulted in an R-21 award and Joint Institute pilot grant on bacterial detection and typing. VanEpps is working to develop a new generation of antimicrobials.
VanEpps' PhD is in Bioengineering, working closely with collaborators in the Biointerfaces Institute. We're sure that his fluency in medicine and engineering - in addition to his leadership - will be key in MCIRCC establishing and leading additional transformative collaborations across campus.
Describe your research and the accomplishments you're most proud of.
My research is focused on life-threatening infections with particular emphasis on medical device related infection. We are developing technologies for rapid diagnosis of bloodstream infection, novel materials to prevent bacterial contamination of medical implants and environmental surfaces within the hospital, new classes of antimicrobials based on nanomaterials, and strategies for in situ treatment of biofilm related infections. I am most proud that for each of these projects, I have encouraged team members to escape their individual silos and pool our expertise in medicine, chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering. Our innovations are a product of breaking these barriers.
How do you foresee your role within MCIRCC changing or growing now that you're an associate director?
I have spent my life at the interface. As an undergrad, I was in the college of engineering and the college of arts and sciences. In graduate school, I pursued an engineering PhD in addition to medicine. Now I find myself in the medical school and the college of engineering and a member of the “Biointerfaces Institute.” I pride myself on speaking the language of medicine, biology, and engineering. I believe my role will be to facilitate the breaking of the “language barrier” between these specialties. When experts in disparate fields can actually communicate, the activation energy for new innovation is greatly reduced. This is the definition of a catalyst and my intention for this position at MCIRCC.
What advice do you have for other MCIRCC members who want to become more involved?
All of the problems that can be solved by a single scientist working alone in a laboratory have been solved. The tough problems, the ones whose solutions will have meaningful impact cannot be solved in isolation. These solutions are in reach for those with the courage to step outside the confines of their silo, department, or field and build lasting cross disciplinary relationships. So, for those with interest, by all means participate. Specifically, subscribe and read the MCIRCC newsletters, come to the MCIRCC events, reach out to the catalyst team members, and don’t be afraid to leave the comforts of your office. I am a hardcore introvert. If I can do it…so can you.
Tokcan's award will fund her research of "A novel tensor similarity score for the classifications of cardiac index."
Get to know an MCIRCC Associate Director, Albert B. Prescott Professor Kathleen Stringer, PharmD.
Kayvan Najarian, PhD was interviewed by Medium for a series examining the lives and journeys of prominent Iranian-Americans who have made seminal contributions to their fields of endeavour that have led to significant achievements.
Heming Yao was recently awarded the 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Yao was nominated by Kayvan Najarian, PhD, her mentor from the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics.
The award recognizes participation and leadership in efforts that extend beyond the laboratory, broadening the impact of either research or scientific education. This can include starting a company, patenting a product or procedure, or the creation of educational programming. Awardees receive recognition and $500.
Yao is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and works in Dr. Najarian’s lab. The most recent project she is involved in is Drowsiness Detection by Video Processing. Yao is working with industry collaborator DENSO, a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components,to develop a real-time face localization and drowsiness detection system using videos recorded by an in-car camera. Ultimately, the technology would be embedded into the driver-assistance system and facilitate safe driving. Yao has been working on creating novel advanced machine learning algorithms for the detection of human affective states/drowsiness and has a key role in filing a patent.
“Heming’s ability to create novel algorithms while considering their applications in the real-world has been an exceptional trait that is greatly admired by my group as well as our industry partners,” said Dr. Najarian. “In particular, Heming has been truly exceptional in working with our industry collaborators, which has resulted in multiple commendations by our industry partners.”
Yao has successfully applied her methods to other applications including the automated detection and assessment of hematoma in traumatic brain injuries.
Researchpalooza, an annual Michigan Medicine Ice Cream Social on August 8th that is organized by the Medical School Office of Research, is a fun opportunity for 91 exhibiting organizations of the Medical School to display what makes them an integral part of the Michigan Medicine machine.
This year, members of our MCIRCC Catalyst Team brought their A-game, earning the event’s Most Spirited Award and a $50 Zingerman’s gift card, determined by input from last year’s winner (Medical School Office of Regulatory Affairs) and Ann Curtis, the Medical School Office of Research’s Director of Marketing Communications. Their criteria included looking for an organization that came up with an engaging activity (not necessarily expensive) and is having fun interacting with attendees.
While providing valuable information to passersby is ultimately the main objective, our team also wanted to share a nostalgic, yet MCIRCC applicable, experience with everyone who visited the table.
Enter, tabletop “Operation MCIRCC.”
Throughout most of the event, there was a real “buzz” around our large-scale version of the classic Operation game using a magnetic wand to remove large magnetic body parts. It didn’t seem to make a difference whether the surgeon playing was actually experienced in the OR, the threat of the buzzer going off during removal made for many steady hands. We’re sure that our science/ER themed music playlist could’ve only helped, too. Think “Bad Medicine” (Bon Jovi) and “Urgent” (Foreigner).
The reoccurring response to the game – “I haven’t played this in years.” The candy participation prize (with the promise of more in exchange for the removal of more body parts) seemed to bring out everyone’s inner child and several actual children with the youngest being only a few years old.
MCIRCC Team members who encouraged players (ok, there was some bantering, too) included: Sue Wozniak – Events Specialist, Denise Poirier – Administrative Specialist, Megan VanStratt – Director of Marketing & Communications, Raysha Simon – Marketing & Communications Specialist, and Meagan Ramsey – Proposal Development Unit Manager.
For a good time – and some funded and promoted research, you know where to go!
What sparked your interest in working for MCIRCC?
I was drawn to MCIRCC for two primary reasons. First, my work in the Proposal Development Unit allows me to be involved in the entire proposal development process, and I look forward to helping with everything from strategic planning to proposal submission. Second, I find it so energizing that MCIRCC focuses on bringing many people together from different disciplines to develop transformative solutions in critical care and on actually getting those solutions out into the world to save and restore patients during medical emergencies. This is important and exciting work, and I am very happy to be part of the MCIRCC team.
What specific projects are you most excited about tackling?
I am excited to help MCIRCC members with any proposal they are pursuing, but I am especially excited to help develop large, complex proposals (e.g., program projects, center grants). I am also excited to help with proposals that focus on developing innovative, life-saving products and technologies so we can get them to market faster. Finally, my professional passion lies in substantive grant editing, so I am very excited to help members ensure the technical pieces of their proposals are clear, concise, cohesive, and persuasive through comprehensive editing. My scientific background and strong proposal writing and editing skills allow me to provide input on strategic messaging as well as a critical review from the perspective of a non-subject-matter-expert (which many of your reviewers will likely be).
What would you like MCIRCC members to know about the Proposal Development Unit?
The Proposal Development Unit can do a variety of things to help you submit a competitive proposal, including finding funding opportunities and strategic positioning. We can also help significantly with proposal planning and development (e.g., creating writing and submission timelines, requirements checklists, and writing templates; drafting supporting documents; coordinating with your research administrator; providing writing, editing, and graphics expertise). The most important thing is that you reach out to me early—as soon as you know you might want to submit a proposal (or even if you just have an idea but aren’t sure of the appropriate sponsor). I am here to help in any way I can, but during busy periods when I am at maximum capacity, it might be difficult to accommodate late requests—so again, contact me ASAP!
Share something interesting about yourself that might otherwise not come up in conversation.
I recently bought a fixer upper house that is constructed out of an old Quonset hut. The Quonset hut originally served as a military barracks during World War II, and it was later moved to its current location to become a home (with a normal exterior built around the Quonset shell). For the past year, we have spent all our spare time on extensive renovations. The house—which used to be very dingy, dated, and cramped—is now a beautiful blend of industrial, contemporary, minimalist, and mid-century modern styles. My favorite features are the open concept curved white walls, the exposed curved metal beams, the polished concrete floor, the bathroom wall covered in tiny grey hexagon tiles, and the mid-century modern furniture and fixtures. The house is not quite finished, but we are getting close! Next, we will renovate our outdoor patio area, create some curb appeal, and make some trails in the woods next to the house.
In 2018, do hospital leaders even know how Code Blue teams should be optimally designed and deployed to tackle in-hospital cardiac arrests? MCIRCC member Brahmajee Nallamothu recently led a research team to assess response to cardiac arrest at nine hospitals.
When University of Michigan researchers started getting spontaneous hugs from nurses while testing their system that monitors the autonomic nervous system of hospital patients and predicts problems, they knew they were on to something.
Congratulations to the six traumatic brain injury (TBI) teams whose projects have been funded this year thanks to the continued generosity of the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation!
Dan is a part of MCIRCC’s newest team of data scientists. He focuses on implementing big data processing pipelines and designing machine learning models.
Pneumonia has been around for centuries and remains a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expense today.
The most commonly used method for identifying respiratory pathogens in pneumonia - bacterial culture - was first developed in the 1880s. Though there have been many breakthroughs in our treatment of pneumonia - such as antibiotics and mechanical ventilation - our clinical identification of respiratory pathogens still relies on the time-consuming culture-based techniques. In response, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has expressed a critical need for rapid, accurate identification of pathogens in pneumonia.
Leading the team that is stepping up to the plate is Robert Dickson, MD, an Associate Director of MCIRCC and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. His work as principal investigator of Rapid Pathogen Identification in Pneumonia Using Real-time Metagenomics and Ultrasensitive PCR has the potential to transform the way pneumonia is diagnosed, and was recently awarded $428,875 in NIAID R21 funding over two years.
The project utilizes ultrasensitive PCR detection techniques for quantifying lung bacteria, as well as a new-to-market palm-sized DNA sequencer called the MinIon (developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Oxford, UK) for real-time pathogen identification.
This powerful combination could potentially tell clinicians which bacteria are present in the lungs (“who’s there?”) as well as the total bacterial burden (“how much?”) in less than four hours, and for less than $100. In addition, clinicians may also be able to use bacterial genetic information to rapidly determine antibiotic resistance and optimal antibiotic selection. Current culture-based techniques require 24-72 hours to provide this information.
“For the past decade, the University of Michigan has been a field-leader in the study of the microbiome, using bacterial gene sequencing to study the bacterial communities in our bodies. But until recently, these molecular techniques were too slow, expensive, and labor-intensive for clinical use,” explains Dr. Dickson. “Our study team has recently shown that by using recent advances in these DNA-based techniques, we can identify the pathogens that cause lung infections within hours rather than days or weeks.”
Dickson partnered with Scott VanEpps, MD, PhD from Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, John Erb-Downward, PhD from Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Duane Newton, PhD from Pathology and the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory to bring together a powerhouse of clinical diagnostics and research expertise.
By accelerating the identification of respiratory pathogens, optimizing administration of appropriate antibiotics, and minimizing unneeded antibiotic use, Dickson and his team will improve the treatment of lung infections creating a timeless win for tackling pneumonia.
The MCIRCC Marketing team has grown! Raysha joined the team earlier this month and specializes in creative storytelling, design, and thoughtful audience engagement.
The Board of Regents at its May 17 meeting approved recommendations for new appointments and promotions for regular associate and full professor ranks, with tenure and/or promotion of faculty on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The promotions are presented below by school, in alphabetical order.
College of Engineering
James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.
Kayvan Najarian, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, without tenure.
College of Pharmacy
James J. Moon, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.
Anna A.S. Schwendeman, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, with tenure.
Colin R. Cooke, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.
Michael Gaies, associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases, with tenure.
Scott Hummel, associate professor of internal medicine, with tenure.
Theodore J. Iwashyna, professor of internal medicine, with tenure.
James J. Moon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, without tenure.
Kayvan Najarian, professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, with tenure; and professor of emergency medicine, without tenure.
Clinical and research track promotions
The following U-M clinical professor track promotions and research professor track promotions were promoted to the Board of Regents May 17.
Neeraj Chaudhary, clinical associate professor.
This month MCIRCC welcomes Chris Gillies to the data science team. Chris is an expert in working with researchers to develop web applications and tools to suit each project.
Rooted in research, a Michigan Medicine clinic aims to help intensive care unit patients receive proper follow-up care and prevent readmissions.
After close observation and treatment in an intensive care unit, patients who have fought through their critical illness are sent home to continue recovery.
But then what?
For many patients, they may not be prepared for the recovery process following an ICU admission.
“It’s interesting, because we all celebrate when a patient survives a severe critical illness and is able to go home, but really that’s only half of the battle,” says Jakob McSparron, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Michigan Medicine. “The next step is thinking about follow-up care and how to help them recover effectively and keep them from being hospitalized again.”
And it’s why a new clinic at Michigan Medicine was established to aid in that recovery process.
The University of Michigan Post ICU Longitudinal Survivor Experience Clinic (U-M PULSE) is one of just a few such clinics in the country. Set up to provide multidisciplinary care, it allows patients to be seen by a pharmacist, social worker and physician in the same visit.
This month, we hear from a member of Kayvan Najarian's lab, Mohsen! He joined the team earlier this year and is an expert in all things mathematics and models.