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November 10, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 22

Firestone Medical Research Building

Larner Community & Supporters Celebrate Opening of Firestone Medical Research Building

The atmosphere was bright and celebratory, despite a mix of gray skies, sun and a cool wind, at the October 27 grand opening and dedication of the Larner College of Medicine’s  Firestone Medical Research Building. Attendees at the dedication ceremony included donors; leaders from across the college, the University of Vermont and the UVM Health Network; medical alumni, faculty, staff, students and research trainees; and community and business leaders. Also present were representatives of architects Payette Associates and Black River Design and the main contractor for the building, Vermont-based PC Construction.

The event marked the conclusion of a two-year-and-twenty-nine-day journey, which started during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many construction projects across the state had halted and when biomedical research on the SARS-CoV2 virus at Larner was operating in high gear.

Larner alum Steve Firestone, M.D.’69 launched the building process with a lead gift made in memory of his mother and his father, Dr. Frederick Firestone. The senior Dr. Firestone had received medical training in Vienna, Austria, in the 1930s, made his way to the United States, completed his medical internship, and joined the U.S. Army during the Second World War, where he served in Europe as a battalion surgeon and earned two Silver Star Medals. After the war, he opened a modest medical practice, where his wife, Bobbie, worked alongside him as a nurse, and they served their community for many years.Read the full article about the Firestone Building Grand Opening.Pictured above: Dean Page welcomed attendees to the grand opening of the Firestone Medical Research Building. (Photo: David Seaver)

UVMCC Convergence

UVM Cancer Center Brings VT High Schoolers, International Experts to Campus for "Convergence" Event

On October 24 to 27, the University of Vermont welcomed 100 students from five local high schools to join cancer research experts from around the country and throughout the world to participate in “Cancer Convergence,” a national event focused on discussing the interdisciplinary techniques used to advance cancer treatment. The conference was co-hosted by the UVM Cancer Center and the National Science Foundation-sponsored Cancer Convergence Education Network, founded by acclaimed Institute of Advanced Study cancer researcher Arnie Levine, Ph.D.The event consisted of 24 lecture-discussions during four days, with participation from faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees at the university. In addition to UVM faculty, presenters included researchers from the University of Cambridge (England), Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dana Farber, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

As part of the activities, the high school students attended a half-day “Careers in Cancer” event on October 24. They broke into small groups and interacted with world-renowned scientists to learn about career pathways in cancer research. The students also visited several of the university’s cancer research labs to meet researchers and view demonstrations. 

“Integrating interdisciplinary approaches to cancer research ... is prompting new questions, setting new research directions, and providing researchers with new technologies that are already leading to new cancer treatments and cures,” said Randall Holcombe, M.D., M.B.A., director of the UVM Cancer Center.Link to the full article about UVM's "Convergence" event.Pictured above: Katie Queen (center), a UVM Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences graduate student, leads high school students from Vermont’s Essex, South Burlington, Winooski, Burlington, and Champlain Valley Union high schools on a tour of the Stumpff Lab during the Cancer Convergence event. 

From left to right, Dr. Galbraith, the Vermont Lung Center's Stephanie Burns, who received the Clinical Research Coordinator Award; and Dean Page.

Celebrating Research Excellence at the College

The Larner College of Medicine celebrated and recognized the accomplishments of faculty, students, and staff who contribute to expanding knowledge through research at the three-day 2022 Dean’s Celebration of Excellence in Research.
The series of events, which launched on October 31 with the Graduate Student Research Showcase, also featured “The State of Research at the College and Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards” on November 1, the 2022 Research Laureate Lecture by Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., UVM Distinguished Professor and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, on November 2, and a three-day poster display highlighting postdoctoral research and Larner core research facilities. 

Speakers at the State of Research at the College and Dean's Excellence in Research Awards event included Larner College of Medicine Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., UVM Vice President for Research Kirk Dombrowski, Ph.D., Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research Richard Galbraith, M.D., Ph.D., and Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Training Christopher Berger, Ph.D.In closing the state of research and awards event, Dr. Galbraith admitted that, during his many years and positions in research at the College of Medicine and the university, “the extraordinary became ordinary”; however, after taking on interim roles as co-director of the UVM Cancer Center and senior associate dean for research, “the ordinary became extraordinary again ... Do not take for granted the things that you do, because they are extraordinary,” he told attendees.Link to the full Celebration of Excellence in Research article, including a list of awards and respective awardees.Pictured above: (left to right) Dr. Galbraith, the Vermont Lung Center’s Stephanie Burns, who received the Clinical Research Coordinator Award; and Dean Page. (Photo: David Seaver)

Dr. Zigmund sits amidst monitors showing low-dose CT lung cancer screening images.

More Vermont Patients Getting Screened for Lung Cancer

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month — an opportunity to highlight the importance of screening for the third most common cancer in the United States, and the leading cause of cancer-related death among both men and women. The disease has long vexed physicians and public health advocates focused on reducing mortality rates and health care costs.When Beth Zigmund, M.D., associate professor of radiology, stepped into her current role as director of lung cancer screening at The University of Vermont Medical Center in 2021, she already knew that one of her top priorities would be to enhance the hospital’s efforts to identify and treat lung cancer cases as early and effectively as possible.

Lung cancer screening is available to people ages 50 and older who have smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes per day for 20 or more years. Evidence supporting the positive impact of annual lung cancer screening for people who fall into these categories is very strong, but, according to Dr. Zigmund, “for a variety of reasons, patients just don’t get screened.”

In fact, nationwide, screening rates for lung cancer are very low, according to a recent study led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), which found that out of 8.5 million eligible adults between the ages of 55 and 80, roughly 560,000 are screened each year – that’s fewer than one in 15 eligible people. At about 15 percent, Vermont’s lung cancer screening rate outstrips the national average, but “we're still missing the vast majority of people who are eligible for screening,” says Zigmund. To improve screening rates, Dr. Zigmund worked with a team of Epic analysts to build a system for collecting and displaying lung screening data that can help clinicians better identify patients who might be eligible for UVM Medical Center’s Lung Cancer Screening Program. Data collection is under way at  UVM Medical Center and UVM Health Network–Central Vermont Medical Center, with plans to expand the program to patients and communities across all of UVM Health Network’s service area. 

Read the full article.Pictured above: Dr. Zigmund sits amidst monitors showing low-dose CT lung cancer screening images.

Student Voices Banner

Stephen Foley

Quote Marks I now have clarity about the message I received about the hidden curriculum while entering clerkships – it means medical students have everything to prove and nothing to lose."

-Stephen Foley (pictured, at left), Class of 2024 medical student, in a UVM Larner Med blog post, titled, "Embracing What I Learned from the “Hidden” Curriculum in Medicine."

Save the Date

You are invited to the investiture of Bruce Tranmer, M.D., as the inaugural holder of the Raymond M. P. Donaghy Professorship in Neurosurgery.

Monday, December 5, 2022, 5:00 p.m.
Hoehl Gallery, Health Science Research Facility, 1st floor

This event will also be livestreamed on Zoom at:

Green graphic that reads

Accolades & Appointments

Lisle, Donlevy

Monika Donlevy orthopaedic specialty advising coordinator, presented at the National Resident Matching Program annual conference held in Coronado, Calif., on October 6–8, 2022. The presentation, titled “Building a Visiting Student Educational Scholarship Program for URiM and Create a Pipeline to Residence,” explained how the Larner Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation implemented a scholarship to host visiting medical students who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM) for a Visiting Student Elective. This elective, a four-week acting internship designed for fourth-year medical students pursuing a career in orthopaedics, engages visiting students in a range of inpatient and outpatient orthopaedic cases at the UVM Medical Center. The elective serves as a pipeline for medical students to residency, and subsequently, to faculty appointments at the Larner College of Medicine. The scholarship, created in 2022, aims to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply to the UVM Medical Center orthopaedic residency program and provide mentorship and networking for fourth-year URiM students. Three students received the scholarship in 2022 and participated in a rotation at Larner: Naomi Kelly, a Class of 2023 medical student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Rita Somogyi, a Class of 2023 medical student at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine; and Alexandria Debasitis, a Class of 2023 medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Pictured at left (left to right): Monika Donlevy, Naomi Kelly, Dr. Lisle.

Laurel Wreath

The Department of Emergency Medicine has announced the receipt of two new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants: 

  • A five-year, $3.75-million, Medication Assisted Treatment-Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) grant; Roz King, M.S.N., RN, program manager for research in emergency medicine, is project director for the grant titled “Start Treatment and Recovery” (STAR). Co-investigators include Daniel Wolfson, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine; Miles Lamberson, AEMT; Sanchit Maruti, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry; Richard Rawson, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry; Elly Riser, M.D., assistant professor of medicine; John Brooklyn, M.D., clinical associate professor of family medicine; Kyle DeWitt, Pharm.D.; Blake Porter, Pharm.D.; and Nicholas Aunchman, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine.
  • A one-year, $200,000 Rural Emergency Medical Services (REMS) Training grant. The Vermont REMS Training Program is a collaboration of the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Larner College of Medicine, and four rural Vermont EMS Districts, Ellen Stein, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, is principle investigator. Kate Soons, M.S.N., RN, and Chris McCarthy, AEMT, have been brought on as lead course instructors for the program, bringing with them over 50 years of combined EMS training experience, and a reputation as two of the most respected and successful EMS-educators in the state. The program goals include providing no-cost, high-quality, geographically accessible EMT training that includes novel EMS-specific training on mental health and substance use disorder. The program aims to educate and certify 96 new EMTs in rural Vermont. 

In addition, Christian Pulcini, M.D., M.Ed., M.P.H., assistant professor of emergency medicine, is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) K23 award. The project aims to optimize an advanced emergency care planning tool for infants with medical complexity, using an implementation science approach. This career development award from the NIH and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is intended to study infants with medical complexity, a medically vulnerable population with high rates of Emergency Department and inpatient utilization. This work will also focus on disparities in care (notably among rural populations), and adverse emergency health outcomes.

Yvonne Janssen-Heininger
Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., UVM Distinguished Professor and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, recently received a Lung Cancer Discovery Award from the American Lung Association (ALA) to study protein oxidation in the development of lung cancer with the aim of creating a new druggable target for chemotherapy-resistant tumors. The Lung Cancer Discovery Award is for highly meritorious research projects with the potential to significantly improve and transform diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms, foster innovation, use novel approaches, and/or accelerate progress in lung cancer research that improves patient care and helps save lives.

Christian Pulcini

Christian Pulcini, M.D., M.Ed., M.P.H., assistant professor of emergency medicine, received the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine Ken Graff Young Investigator award, which supports a research project that addresses issues pertinent to the acutely ill or injured child. Dr. Pulcini’s project is titled “Eliciting Emergency Medicine Physicians’ Perspectives and Opinions on the Content, Format, and Challenges in Uptake of an Emergency Care Planning Tool for Infants with Medical Complexity.” Established in memory of Ken Graff, M.D., a talented young pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physician and investigator who died in an avalanche in 1995, the award aims to support young investigators in their pursuit of quality PEM/Emergency Medical Services for Children-related research. 

Uribe and Garcia
The UVM chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was recognized as the Chapter of the Year at the 2022 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM conference held October 27 to 28, 2022, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Former UVM SACNAS Chapter President Natalia Aristizábal Uribe, M.S., a Gund Graduate Fellow and Ph.D. student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and current UVM SCANAS President Paola Peña Garcia, a doctoral candidate in the Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program, accepted the award on behalf of the UVM chapter. The UVM SACNAS Chapter was formed in 2019 with 10 graduate student members and has since grown to more than 130 members. Read more about UVM SACNAS . Pictured at left: Natalia Aristizábal Uribe (left) and Paola Peña Garcia at the SACNAS awards ceremony.



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Karbhari N, Thomas AA. Clinical management of brain tumors in pregnancy. Curr Opin Oncol. 2022 Nov 1;34(6):691-697. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000894. Epub 2022 Sep 27. PMID: 36170169.

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Tariq K, Cullen E, Getz SA, Conching AKS, Goyette AR, Prina ML, Wang W, Li M, Weston MC, Luikart BW. Disruption of mTORC1 rescues neuronal overgrowth and synapse function dysregulated by Pten loss. Cell Rep. 2022 Nov 1;41(5):111574. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111574. PMID: 36323257.

Danaher M, Faucett SC, Endres NK, Geeslin AG. Repair of Quadriceps and Patellar Tendon Tears. Arthroscopy. 2022 Nov 1:S0749-8063(22)00692-2. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2022.10.034. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36332853.

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Mokhtech M, Miccio JA, Johung K, Cecchini M, Stein S, Narang AK, Herman JM, Kunstman J, Haddock MG, Anker CJ, Jabbour S, Hallemeier CL, Jethwa KR. Multiagent Chemotherapy Followed by Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Versus Conventional Radiotherapy for Resected Pancreas Cancer. Am J Clin Oncol. 2022 Nov 1;45(11):450-457. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000947. Epub 2022 Oct 21. PMID: 36318696.

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Shukla GS, Pero SC, Mei L, Sun YJ, Krag DN. Targeting of palpable B16-F10 melanoma tumors with polyclonal antibodies on white blood cells. J Immunol Methods. 2022 Nov;510:113362. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2022.113362. Epub 2022 Sep 26. PMID: 36174735.

Woolford SJ, Resnicow K, Davis MM, Nichols LP, Wasserman RC, Harris D, Gebremariam A, Shone L, Fiks AG, Chang T. Cost-effectiveness of a motivational interviewing obesity intervention versus usual care in pediatric primary care offices. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022 Nov;30(11):2265-2274. doi: 10.1002/oby.23560. PMID: 36321279.

Amartey J, Okagbue C, Saccoh A, Buffonge S, Francois A, Tcheandjieu C, Mitchell S, Tyrrell DJ, Kamin Mukaz D. Black In Cardio: promoting diversity and representation in the cardiovascular field. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2022 Nov;19(11):717-718. doi: 10.1038/s41569-022-00774-x. PMID: 36127463.

Brucato A, Wheeler A, Luis SA, Abbate A, Cremer PC, Zou L, Insalaco A, Lewinter M, Lewis BS, Lin D, Nicholls S, Pancrazi M, Klein AL, Imazio M, Paolini JF. Transition to rilonacept monotherapy from oral therapies in patients with recurrent pericarditis. Heart. 2022 Oct 31:heartjnl-2022-321328. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2022-321328. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36316102.

Forstein AR, Kolb N, Hehir MK. Patient masking adherence at an academic neuromuscular center during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022 Oct 21:1-2. doi: 10.1017/ice.2022.188. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36268598.

Yang FA, Lee TH, Huang SW, Liou TH, Escorpizo R, Chen HC. Upper limb manual training for children with cerebral palsy: A systematic review and network meta- analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rehabil. 2022 Nov 4:2692155221137698. doi: 10.1177/02692155221137698. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36330696.

Kohan J, Mangan J, Patel A. Access to Reconstructive Hand Surgery in the United States-Investigating the Obstacles: A Scoping Review. Hand (N Y). 2022 Nov 1:15589447221131853. doi: 10.1177/15589447221131853. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36317809

Baekelandt J, Chuang L, Zepeda Ortega JH, Burnett A. A new approach to radical hysterectomy: First report of treatment of cervical cancer via vNOTES. Asian J Surg. 2022 Oct 29:S1015-9584(22)01501-9. doi: 10.1016/j.asjsur.2022.10.067. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36319544.



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