Dr. Anna Huttenlocher has been selected as a recipient of the UW 2020 Award!
The goal of the UW2020 initiative is to stimulate and support highly innovative and groundbreaking research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This initiative seeks to fund research projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study as well as projects that require significant development prior to the submission of applications for external funding. This initiative seeks to support collaborative, multidisciplinary, multi-investigator research projects that are high-risk, high-impact, and transformative as well as those that require the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.
Dr. Huttenlocher's project, "Engineering Leukocytes Generated from Human iPS Cells to Treat Human Disease," could lead to groundbreaking new clinical interventions for patients with neutropenia (an abnormally low level of neutrophils, a common type of white blood cell), antibiotic resistant infections, diabetes, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. It relies on the development of cutting-edge techniques for generating neutrophils and macrophages from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and engineering iPSC lines that are more efficient at clearing infections or, in the future, have anti-tumor functions.
An increasing number of patients treated with chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation develop neutropenia and are at risk for severe infections. Many of these bacterial and fungal infections are due to drug-induced neutropenia and are resistant to current antimicrobials. There is an increasing problem with drug resistance making it difficult to combat bacterial and fungal infections. The ability to specifically target and limit different types of inflammation by generating specific pro or anti-inflammatory innate immune cells represents a potentially exciting target for diverse human diseases including infection, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and cancer.
The project will use CRISPR gene editing to generate a panel of iPS cell lines that lead to the production of neutrophil and macrophage populations that are expert killers of microbial pathogens.
The objective of these studies is to learn what signals are required for certain cells of the immune system, namely a type of T lymphocyte that has not yet been well studied called gamma-delta T cells, to control lymphomas. We know from experiments performed in test tubes that human gamma-delta T cells are able to kill a variety of human tumors, but we don't know what signals activate them to do this or what processes they might use to control tumors in a patient's body. Once we discover what is required for human gamma-delta T cells to control lymphomas, we will be able to identify those lymphoma patients whose cancers have the required signals for the gamma-delta T cells to be an effective cancer treatment.
The ultimate goal of this research is to be able to administer gamma-delta T cells to patients with lymphoma, as part of a strategy to cure their cancer. We are currently at the stage of learning what basic molecular signals are required for this approach to be effective. Before the long-term goal can be realized it will of course be necessary to also do safety studies to make sure that the gamma-delta T cells do not cause other problems. Nevertheless, because the gamma-delta T cells studied here can readily be grown in the clinic from blood samples obtained from essentially any healthy donor, and this involves using only inexpensive off-the shelf drugs (no genetic modification), we expect that this approach could be rapidly developed for clinical use.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has determined that military personnel who have been exposed in the course of duty to chemicals like Agent Orange or to radiation are at increased risk for the development of blood cancers, including lymphomas. These studies are expected to lead to development of a cost-effective way to treat lymphomas of military personnel.
On Friday, February 10, 2017, a quorum of Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department Faculty members voted unanimously in support of the following statement:
The Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology’s mission is to provide comprehensive scientific instruction to students, conduct novel and meaningful research, and offer consultation in microbiology and immunology as they relate to human disease. Our progress toward these goals would not be possible without the expertise and diversity of our visiting international students and researchers. Therefore, the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology stands in opposition to the recent executive order on immigration and any further orders that might impede the vital contributions of our international scholars.
Adam Schaenzer, a graduate student in Dr. Sauer's lab has been awarded a PhRMA Foundation predoctoral fellowship titled “A Pharmacologic Approach to Characterize the Role of Stk1 in Beta-Lactam Resistance of Staphylococcus aureus.”
The fellowship will start June 1, 2017 and runs for 18 months. Pharmacology/toxicology awards support career development activities of scientists embarking on research that integrates information on molecular or cellular mechanisms of action with information on the effects of an agent observed in an intact organism, in experimental animal or clinical studies or both.
Dr. Andy Mehle was recently awarded a NIH RO1 grant titled, “Mechanisms of influenza transmission bottlenecks: impact on viral evolution.” The grant's Lead Principal Investigator is Dr. Tom Friedrich from the Department of Pathobiological Sciences.
Avian in uenza viruses like H5N1 and H7N9 do not frequently infect humans, but when they do, they cause serious disease and death. So far, such viruses have not evolved the ability to be easily transmitted between humans, but if they do, they could cause a major pandemic. We have shown that in uenza virus transmission between mammals is associated with a drastic reduction in viral genetic diversity—a bottleneck. This project aims to understand the viral and host factors that in uence this bottleneck and determine how bottlenecks a ect the ability of in uenza viruses to jump from from birds to mammals.
Congratulations Dr. Sofia De Oliveira on being selected as one of the first Cancer Research Institute/Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellows!
The Cancer Research Institute/Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation Fellowships and Grants are the first research awards designated to help understand the potential role for immunotherapy in treating patients with this type of liver cancer.
Cancer immunotherapy is a new approach to treating cancer that has been proven to benefit patients with a variety of cancer types, including melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, kidney cancer, head and neck cancer, and others. This treatment approach harnesses the immune system’s natural ability to protect the body against cancer.
“Through this funding, we seek to stimulate interest in this rare type of cancer and spur discoveries that may ultimately lead to lifesaving new immunotherapies for FHC patients,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute.
Congratulations to Dr. Arindam Mondal for his new position at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. IIT-Kharagpur is one of the leading public institutes for higher education and research located in India, and Arindam will be joining the School of Bioscience, as an assistant professor.
Currently, Arindam is an assistant scientist in Dr. Andrew Mehle’s laboratory and his primary research interest is to understand the molecular mechanism by which influenza viruses assemble their replication machinery and identification of the host factors that play major regulatory role in this process. Arindam completed his PhD from India and worked as a postdoctoral research associate at University of Virginia, before joining UW-Madison.
We wish him all the best for his future endeavors!
Congratulations to Dr. Judy Smith who recently received a R21 grant to explore the effect of the asthma risk polymorphism on human leukocyte responses to immune stimuli!
Polymorphism (variation) at the 17q21 locus has one of the strongest genetic associations with childhood asthma identified to date. Increasing evidence suggests one of the genes at this locus, ORMDL3, regulates the inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness at the heart of asthma. In this proposal we will investigate how 17q21 polymorphisms and altered ORMDL3 expression regulates the function of human blood cells that accumulate in the lungs during asthma.
Judith A. Smith, MD, PhD, earned her medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago and completed her residency at the Childrens Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of the VCRGE, faculty and staff sifted through 134 proposals from across campus. Reviewers identified ambitious, early stage research ideas and infrastructure investments to jump-start innovative interdisciplinary research projects.
The projects, underwritten by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and spanning the disciplines, were reviewed by 87 faculty from across the university. Funded projects include 72 faculty and academic staff investigators from eight schools and colleges. Final selections were made by the UW2020 Council, a group of 16 faculty from all divisions of the university.
The goal of UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative is to support projects that could ultimately transform a field, solve a long-standing problem, contribute to social policy or launch a key new technology. We think we’re off to a fantastic start.
—Marsha Mailick, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
Two UW-Madison faculty elected to National Academy of Medicine
MADISON, Wis. — The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced today that two prominent researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison are among the 2015 class of new members.
Drs. Anna Huttenlocher and Ned Kalin have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. In their primary role as members, the researchers will provide expert scientific advice to the nation that will help shape policies, inform public opinion and advance the pursuit of science, engineering and medicine.
“Anna Huttenlocher and Ned Kalin are national leaders in their respective fields, and this huge honor and recognition is well-deserved,” said Dr. Robert N. Golden, dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “They represent the finest qualities of our faculty – creativity and innovation in science, dedication to teaching and mentoring, and a deep-rooted commitment to service. The people of Wisconsin should be proud that their School of Medicine and Public Health includes outstanding academicians like Drs. Huttenlocher and Kalin.”
Huttenlocher, a practicing pediatric rheumatologist, is recognized internationally for her pioneering studies of cell migration and alterations of cell migration in human diseases.
She was trained at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, and the University of California-San Francisco. She joined the faculty of UW-Madison in 1999 and in 2006 moved her basic research lab to the department of medical microbiology and immunology. In the summer of 2012 she became the director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, which combines a medical education and PhD-level graduate research training.
A well-respected researcher, Huttenlocher has been a prominent supporter of research responsibly using fetal cells. She and Michael Sussman of the UW Biotechnology Center co-authored a letter in August, signed and supported by more than 675 fellow UW faculty members, emphasizing the value of such research.
Kalin is the chair of psychiatry and director of the HealthEmotions Research Institute. A practicing psychiatrist and researcher, Kalin has focused on pre-clinical and clinical investigations into how brain activity, environmental factors and genetics contribute to fear, anxiety and depression in children.
He was trained at Thomas Jefferson Medical College, UW Hospital and Clinics and the National Institutes of Mental Health. He recently received the Anna-Monika Prize at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s 28th annual conference for his major scientific contributions to the understanding of neurobiological mechanisms of depression.
Kalin’s work has been particularly valuable in uncovering the biology of childhood anxiety, a contributing factor in many lifelong problems such as substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
Professor emeritus Susan Skochelak, formerly of the department of family medicine at UW-Madison, was also elected to the NAM. She is now a vice president for medical education at the American Medical Association in Chicago.
The NAM was originally the Institute of Medicine, which was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected to the NAM by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health.
Congratulations to Matthew Hoyer (Jeniel Nett's lab) and Marc D'Antonio (JD Sauer's lab) for receiving prestigious Hilldale Undergraduate Research Awards for the 2015-16 academic year! Way to go!
The Microbes in Health and Disease Training Grant Steering Committe has made its FY16 trainee decisions. The process was difficult, due to the high caliber of all applicants.
Please congratulate the following individuals who will be MHD trainees for the coming year:
Predoctoral Trainees: Liz Caine (Osorio lab), Grischa Chen (Sauer lab), Laura Felley (Gumperz lab), and Tony Neumann (Suen lab)
Postdoctoral Trainees: J Muse Davis (Huttenlocher lab) and J Scott Fites (Klein lab)
Sabrina Koehler, a postdoc in the McFall-Ngai lab, submitted a photo of a European beewolf to the UW's 2015 "Cool Science Image" contest, and won! Sabrina's image, along with 10 other still images and 1 video, were selected as winners of this annual competition. See all winning images at: http://whyfiles.org/2015/2015-cool-science-image-contest-winners/
At its February 18, 2015 meeting, the SMPH Tenure Track Promotions Committee approved MMI's recommendation for promotion of Joe Dillard to the rank of Professor with tenure. The promotion will become effective July 1, 2015.
If you see Joe, congratulate him!
JD Sauer and Caitlin Pepperell recently received WI Partnership New Investigator grants! Dr Sauer's project is titled "Characterization of the Role of PASTA Kinases in Beta-lactam Resistance". Dr Pepperell's project is titled "Understanding M. Tuberculosis Evolution Within and Between Hosts".
Congratulations to JD and Caitlin for receiving these awards!
The Arthritis Foundation of Dane County will award the Foundation’s Community Impact Leadership Award to Dr. Anna Huttenlocher at the Women Inspiring Change luncheon on October 1 at the Madison Concourse Hotel.
The Arthritis Foundation said that Huttenlocher was chosen for the award based on her work in juvenile arthritis, experience in the field of pediatric rheumatology and emphasis on giving back to the community.
“I have been inspired by many women,” said Dr. Huttenlocher. “To be able to give back to the community, help inspire other women and girls and influence change in any facet of life is an honor.”
Besides working with children with arthritis, Huttenlocher is a professor in the departments of medical microbiology and immunology and pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the UW Medical Scientist Training Program. Her research focuses on understanding the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate directed cell migration and inflammation.
2014-15 "Microbes in Health and Disease" traineeships have been awarded! Please congratulate the following individuals:
Adam Bailey, predoctoral trainee, David O'Connor lab;
Grischa Chen, predoctoral trainee, Sauer lab;
Laura Felley, predoctoral trainee, Gumperz lab;
Julia Schwartzman, predoctoral trainee, Ruby lab;
J Scott Fites, postdoctoral trainee, Klein lab; and
Jonathan Lenz, postdoctoral trainee, Dillard lab.
More information about the trainees, as well as the MHD training program, can be found at: www.mhdtg.net
Two MMI postdocs were recently awarded NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowships! Kiel Nikolakakis (Ruby lab) and Emily Rosowski (Huttenlocher) lab will soon become Postdoctoral Fellows! Please congratulate both Kiel and Emily on their success!
Great news! The "Microbes in Health and Disease" training grant was funded by NIH for another five years! Drs. Bruce Klein (Director) and Heidi Goodrich-Blair (co-Director), and staff members Alicia Hamilton, Betty Weiss, Sara Fleming and Renae Fenrick were involved in the competitive renewal (and resubmission), and should all be thanked for their considerable effort.
Dr. Bok, a Senior Scientist and Research Professor in the Keller lab, received good news - the NIH SBIR Phase 2 proposal submitted by Intact Genomics, Inc, UW-Madison and Northwestern University was awarded. Dr. Bok is serving as PI for the UW-Madison portion of the project. When you see Dr. Bok, congratulate him!
We are extremely pleased to announce that Margaret McFall-Ngai was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in the section of Microbial Biology.
To quote from the NAS website, "Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive."
Please congratulate Margaret the next time you see her!
Minaliza Shahlapour, a MMI undergraduate major working in the Welch lab, was selected to receive a 2014 Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship. Congratulations to Mina and Rod!
Congratulations to Mary Rood, a Genetics PhD student in Caitlin Pepperell's laboratory, for receiving a 2014 NSF graduate research fellowship. NSF received more than 14,000 fellowship applications and made only 2,000 awards. If you see Mary, please congratulate her! And also congratulate Dr. Pepperell, as BOTH of her grad students now hold NSF fellowships!
A big congratulations to Dr. Marcel Wuethrich, Senior Scientist in the Klein lab, for receiving the UW's 2014 Academic Staff "Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research - Independent Investigator". Way to go, Marcel!! More information on Marcel's award, as well as the rest of the UW's 2014 academic staff awards, can be found at the link below.
Congratulations to Tatum Mortimer, a MDTP student in Caitlin Pepperell's laboratory, for receiving a 2014 NSF graduate research fellowship. NSF received more than 14,000 fellowship applications and made only 2,000 awards. If you see Tatum, please congratulate her!
Pui-ying Lam's artwork (this year, a video animation) is selected as a winner in the UW's 2014 Cool Science Image Contest. You may recall that a photo of Penny's was selected as a winner in last year's contest! Check out her video at:http://whyfiles.org/2014/2014-cool-science-image-contest-slideshow/ And congratulate Penny - you can find her in the Huttenolocher lab!
The Microbial Sciences Building houses the following UW-Madison organizations:
The Microbial Sciences Building is accessible to the general public 7am-7pm, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), although public access to Floors 3-6 is restricted after 5pm. On weekends and holidays, access is limited to those individuals holding after-hours access privileges.
Sabrina Koehler, a postdoc in Margaret McFall-Ngai's lab, submitted a photograph of a European beewolf to the UW's "2015 Cool Science Image" contest - and it was selected as a winner! See the image, as well as the other 10 still images and 1 video at: http://whyfiles.org/2015/2015-cool-science-image-contest-winners/
Sabrina Koehler, a postdoc in the McFall-Ngai lab, submitted a photo of a European beewolf for the UW's "2015 Cool Science Image" contest and won! Sabrina's image, along with 10 other still images and 1 video, were selected as winners in the annual competition. To see all images, go to: http://whyfiles.org/2015/2015-cool-science-image-contest-winners/
The four predoctoral and two postdoctoral trainees for the Microbes in Health and Disease Training Grant year starting July 1 2015 have been selected; the decisions were difficult, as all of the applications received were stellar. Please congratulate the following individuals for their success:
Predoctoral Trainees: Liz Caine (Osorio lab), Grischa Chen (Sauer lab), Laura Felley (Gumperz lab) and Tony Neumann (Suen lab)
Postdoctoral Trainees: J Muse Davis (Huttenlocher lab) and J Scott Fites (Klein lab)