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Autoimmune diseases affect millions of people in the United States. According to estimates from the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, there are over 50 million Americans living with autoimmune diseases, which translates to 1 in 5 people. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease in Western countries. A number of factors have been linked to the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, including diet, microbiota and environmental toxins. Over the past twenty years, Ms. Margaret (Peggy) Heppelmann has actively pursued a personal course of study regarding factors contributing to the rise of chronic inflammatory diseases in Western countries, especially among young females. A key aspect revealed by her review is the dearth of scientific inquiry into this area due to a lack of funding. Peggy hopes that by establishing this fund, Dr. Mangalam’s research will provide a new perspective on underlying factors contributing to the increased incidence of these chronic diseases.
Dr. Shailesh K. Shahi (Faculty Associate) received an American Association of Immunology (AAI) Early Career Faculty Travel Grant to attend the upcoming annual AAI meeting in Washington D.C. In addition, Stephanie Peterson received an AAI Trainee Abstract Award and Ti-Ara Turner received an AAI Trainee Poster Award to attend the same meeting. Stephanie and Ti-Ara are graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology. All three are working in the laboratory of Dr. Ashutosh Mangalam.
Kimberly Fiock successfully defended her doctoral thesis in early April and became the first student to graduate from the Experimental Pathology Ph.D. Program. Kimberly’s thesis is entitled Drivers of Astrocytic Tau Pathology in 4R Tauopathies. She performed her dissertation work in the laboratory of Dr. Marco Hefti where she used a combination of human tissue and human-derived stem cell models to answer questions about how the tau protein contributes to different types of neurodegenerative diseases.
Mallory Shin is awarded a Fall, 2023 Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship. The Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship is awarded to students to recognize their distinguished academic achievements and to provide protected time for research. Mallory is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience working in the laboratory of Dr. Marco Hefti.
Dr. Kai Rogers, a second-year pathology resident, has been awarded a grant entitled “Exploring functional changes in peripheral T-lymphocyte populations in patients undergoing extracorporeal photopheresis” from The Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS).
Words from our new Co-Chiefs: "It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted by our co-residents and faculty to fill the chief resident role. We follow in the footsteps of past chiefs working in tandem with residency leadership to build a longstanding tradition of excellence. We are excited to work closely with our dedicated faculty and amazing co-residents to enhance the resident experience at Iowa and to advance our national reputation."
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, led by Dr. Natalie Shaw, have found that a toxic protein made by the body called DUX4 may be the cause of two very different rare genetic disorders. For patients who have facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), or a rare facial malformation called arhinia, this research discovery may eventually lead to therapies that can help people with these rare diseases. Their latest publication is the subject of a February 17, 2023 NIH press release ( https://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2023/february17/index.cfm ).
Drs. Legge and Waldschmidt, along with key collaborators, previously documented the ability of intranasally administered nanoparticle-based influenza vaccines to induce both homologous and heterologous protection against IAV infection. The current project will further optimize the nanoparticle-based influenza vaccine designed for intranasal administration.
Dr. Bing Li, the Endowed Professor in Cancer Immunology Research in the Department of Pathology, has been appointed Director of the newly formed Iowa Cancer and Obesity Initiative by the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Bing Li is the most recent recipient of a Bridge to the Cure Award from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). The Bridge to a Cure initiative is designed to support members of the FOEDRC to accelerate promising research aimed at the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment and/or prevention of diabetes.