As a former professor of ophthalmology, medicine, pediatrics and biology, UC’s Provost Santa Ono, PhD, is well versed in research lingo, and appeared to be right at home in the Academic Health Center laboratories that he visited last week while taking a research tour at the colleges of allied health sciences, medicine and pharmacy.
"This feels nostalgic,” Ono remarked while looking through the microscope at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy as second-year pharmaceutical sciences graduate student Dinya Ramchandani explained her slides on the invasion properties of cells within the methylcellulose.
The provost visited two of Pharmacy’s laboratories, those of associate professors Giovanni Pauletti, PhD, and Georg Weber, MD, PhD.
"He is visible as provost and that is important,” said Weber.
Ono also visited the UC Cancer Institute’s comprehensive tissue bank, housed in the first floor of the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies. Hassana Fathallah, PhD, who directs the program, talked about how the tissue banking operation has been transformed into a robust, strictly organized and structured operation to give researchers access to thousands of human tumor specimens—malignant and paired normal tissues, blood and urine—as well as associated clinical data.
"Patients give us a tremendous gift when they choose to donate tissue or other biospecimens. We want to make sure that gift is not wasted by preserving it with best-practice standards and delivering it to the right people,” says Fathallah.
While at the Vontz Center, Ono also stopped by the Vontz Preclinical Imaging Lab where Kati LaSance gave him a tour of the multimodal imaging systems available for use in small animals studies, including 3-D imaging and nuclear medicine techniques like computed tomography, positron emission tomography, single photon emission tomography, X-ray, fluorescence and bioluminescence.
At the College of Allied Health Sciences, Ono toured two newly constructed labs in French East, the Health Studies Exercise Studies Lab led by Daniel Carl, PhD, assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation sciences, and the Nutritional Assessment Laboratory, led by Ruth E. Rosevear Chair of Nutritional Sciences Debra Krummel, PhD.
Several students and volunteers had agreed to be research subjects that morning, including rehabilitation sciences student Mark Gutteridge, who pedaled on an cycle ergometer (a stationary bicycle outfitted with an ergometer, or work measurement device) while fellow students Zach Turner and Matt Archer demonstrated a submaximal VO2 test, which predicts the maximal volume of oxygen Gutteridge could consume, based on a measurement of his oxygen consumption relative to the workload he was completing.
Students also demonstrated a surface electromyography (EMG) test used to evaluate and record the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles during therapy or training.
Next door, nutritional sciences major Ali Baker showed the provost her results on a study covering effects of the fatty acid DHA on overweight pregnant women and their infants. Baker worked with Krummel on the project as part of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) summer program and was one of four UC nominees for the Goldwater scholarship.
"The visit was a great opportunity for Provost Ono to see the type of real-world learning happening on campus for our students,” says Krummel. "They don’t have to go out to a co-op—they are learning professional and research skills as part of the baccalaureate and master’s programs. That’s a huge benefit to UC.”
Provost Ono shared information on Twitter about his medical campus visit. Follow him at twitter.com/ProvostOno.