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Date: Monday, November 3, 2003

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COM, Children's Land $25.2 Million Third Frontier Grant

The COM and Children's Hospital Medical Center have received a grant of $25.2 million from the State of Ohio's Third Frontier Project to create a Wright Center for Innovation.  The grant, one of the largest in the two institutions' histories, will fund a Center for Computational Medicine.  The Center - expected to create 203 new jobs and have a $240 million economic impact - will bring together world-class physicians, researchers and commercial partners.  Technologies developed at the Center will enable scientists to achieve discoveries that, in the near term, will improve the ability to fight the causes of hearing loss, cardiac disease, asthma, diabetes and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.  In the longer term, discoveries will fight obesity, psychiatric illness and cancer. 


Whitsett Named to Institute of Medicine

Jeffrey A. Whitsett, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics at the COM and director of the Divisions of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology at Children's Hospital Medical Center, has been selected for membership into the Institute of Medicine, making him one of just 1,382 members.  Dr. Whitsett's research focuses on pulmonary medicine, and he has made groundbreaking contributions in the identification of surfactant proteins and the elucidation of their structures, functions and regulation.  His research contributed in making surfactant protein replacement a routine treatment for respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. 


Finkelman Honored by AAAS

Dr. Fred D. Finkelman, Director of the Division of Immunology within the Department of Internal Medicine at the COM, has been awarded the distinction of American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Fellow.  Dr. Finkelman was elected for his fundamental studies of how cytokines regulate host responses to infectious agents, particularly the mechanisms by which interleukin-4  (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) terminate gastrointestinal nematode infections.  His observations have caused several pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop agents that block IL-4 and/or IL-13 as treatments for asthma and other allergic diseases. 


LCME Site Visit Successful

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) - the body that provides accreditation for medical schools across the nation every seven years - conducted its COM site visit last week, and we're glad to report that things went very well.  Five LCME members were at the COM from Sunday through Wednesday, and preliminary feedback was consistent with areas of improvement already identified by the COM.  The LCME summary should be available in mid-November with the final accreditation decision coming in February.  The COM has been preparing for the LCME visit for more than 18 months, and many faculty members have served on an exhaustive list of committees and subcommittees; we appreciate all your hard work.  We'd also like to single out Ward Bullock, M.D., Laura Wexler, M.D., Andy Filak, M.D. and Donna Corday for special thanks.


Dean' Discovery Fund Winners Chosen

The recipients of the first round of research support via the Dean's Discovery Fund have been announced.  They include five translational research initiatives, two grants in geriatrics, one in health disparities and one in patient safety. Support for two conferences and one medical student research training grant, as well as three shared instrumentation grants, were also awarded.  The submitted applications covered broad ranges of topics but were uniformly exceptional.  The enthusiasm of the faculty, both as Principal Investigators and reviewers, is greatly appreciated.


UCP Move to Walnut Hills

As was noted in the 10/25 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, UC Physicians will soon be moving up to 300 positions from the COM to its new Walnut Hills location.  UCP's purchase of the Walnut Hills facility and this subsequent move is part of the overall COM construction master plan and is designed to free up much-needed space at the COM.  The UCP move should begin around December 1. 


Williams, Collaborators in Science

Dr. David Williams from Children's, along with some collaborators, has three research articles and one commentary in the October 17 issue of Science.  The commentary by Dr. Williams and Dr. Chris Baum highlights the new challenges facing gene therapy. In the same issue of Science it was shown convincingly that two of 10 patients with a fatal immunosuppressive disorder treated with gene therapy with the gene expressing the gamma chain for the interleukin-2 receptor developed a T cell leukemia. This was because of the insertion of the retroviral vector near the promoter of the proto-oncogene LMO2.  "Insertional oncogenesis" was originally thought to be a very unlikely event, but this study confirms this is not the case.  Drs. Williams and Baum stress the need for the development of new vectors and better safety profiles.


Queen City 101

"Air Mail" was invented in 1912 when pilot Paul Peck flew a Wright biplane over Cincinnati and dropped a bag of mail over Coney Island to Frank Beatty, assistant to the Cincinnati Post Office Superintendent.

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