Dr. Harris Featured in Dermatology Focus for Vitiligo Research

Dr. Harris

Affecting about one percent of the population, vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that results in the depigmentation of skin over time. Most commonly associated with famed musician Michael Jackson, who claimed to have been diagnosed with the disease, vitiligo currently has no cure. In the latest issue of Dermatology Focus, Medical Center dermatologist John Harris, MD, PhD, is featured for his research efforts in which he and his team are using both mice and human tissues to identify the cellular and molecular components that lead to an autoimmune response that destroys melanocytes in the skin, resulting in vitiligo. Read the full article.

Medical School Seeks Participants for Asthma Study

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at the Medical School that compares two programs designed to increase asthma control and improve quality of life. If you are interested and eligible to participate in the study, you will be randomly assigned to one of the two programs. Each involves coming to eight, weekly 2½-hour classes, one all-day class on a weekend day, and some time spent on home assignments. An assessment of your asthma control and lung function will be completed before you start the classes, and again at six, 12 and 18 months after your initial visit. The assessments involve completing questionnaires at home, using a peak flow meter for two weeks, and having lung function tests done in the pulmonary clinic. Participants will be compensated for their time. If you are interested and would like more information, email Dante Simone or call 508-856-8384.

Physicians: PACE Award Application Deadline Is July 31

The July 31 deadline for Medical Group physicians to apply for the Prize for Academic Collaboration and Excellence (PACE) Award is fast approaching. Initiated last year, the award supports the engagement of Medical Group physicians in cutting-edge research, encourages interdepartmental collaboration and showcases our commitment to academic excellence. Award recipients will be chosen based on merit, collaboration and growth opportunity, and will receive $200,000 over two years to support their research. Learn more about the award and how to apply. Email Max Rosen, MD, or Shlomit Schaal, MD, with questions. Read Telegram & Gazette story to learn more.

Dr. Keaney Collaborates with WPI on Blood Vessel Research

Dr. Keaney

A Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) research team is using vascular tissue engineering techniques to create vessels that exhibit characteristics of vascular conditions such as aneurysms and blockages. John Keaney Jr., MD, chief of cardiovascular medicine, is collaborating with the research team. The anticipated outcome is to provide scientists a better way to try new medications and speed up treatments. In a recent WPI news brief, Dr. Keaney said, “One of the hallmarks of making advances in medicine is to have models of the diseases so you can develop new treatments. Testing medicines and procedures in patients is both risky and time consuming. Having models that accurately reflect what is happening in patients’ bodies is very advantageous.” Read more about the research.

Physicians: It’s Time to Apply for the PACE Award!

Pictured, from left, are previous PACE Award winners Drs. Fisher and Muehlschlegel with award chairs Drs. Schaal and Rosen.

All Medical Group physicians are invited to apply for the Prize for Academic Collaboration and Excellence (PACE) Award. Now in its second cycle, the award supports cutting-edge research between departments and showcases our commitment to academic research with a $200,000 prize awarded over the course of two years. Winners will be chosen based on merit, collaboration and growth opportunity. New this year: Runners-up from year one can resubmit; one of the principle investigators must be an assistant or associate professor; and remember to align to True North. The deadline for submission is July 31. Learn more about the award and how to apply. Email Max Rosen, MD, or Shlomit Schaal, MD, with questions. Read Telegram & Gazette story.

Get Gift Basket Raffle Tickets to Support Colorectal Cancer Research

The Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery is coordinating a gift basket fundraiser raffle for the UMass Memorial Colorectal Cancer Fund. Basket themes include museums, movies, martinis, wine, car care and men’s items. In addition, you can participate in a silent auction for a seven-day Maine trip to Kennebunkport and fishing charter from Wells. Sleeves of 23 tickets are $20. Stop by the Memorial Campus cafeteria Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, 11:30 am to 1 pm, for a chance to win! Want to participate but cannot travel to the Memorial Campus? Contact Cheryl Ferriter: Email or call 508-334-5432.

Support Pancreatic Cancer Awareness through the Gift of Pansies

Participate in the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance (PCA) 13th annual Pansies for Progress campaign to help raise awareness and find a cure for this devastating disease. PCA sends 100 percent of its donations directly to support pancreatic cancer patient care, groundbreaking research and clinical drug trials at our Cancer Center and the Medical School. To place your order, complete the order form. The deadline to order is Monday, April 2. PCA volunteers will deliver the pansies April 9 to 13. The price of each five-inch plant is $5. Checks are payable to: PCA/UMMF. Learn more about how you can participate in this effort. Email pansies@pancreaticalliance.org or call 508-873-3600 for additional information.

Congratulations to Physicians Who Received First-ever PACE Awards!

Dr. Fisher

Dr. Muehlschlegel

The Medical Group is pleased to announce the winners of the Prize for Academic Collaboration and Excellence (PACE) Award! The $200,000 prize goes to the Improving Care Transitions project by Kimberly Fisher, MD, medicine, and Susanne Muehlschlegel, MD, MPH, neurology. They will identify and develop effective strategies for improving care transitions from the hospital to home by identifying a more comprehensive range of factors and strategies associated with high performance. There were also five runners-up which the Medical Group will work with to identify potential sources of additional support for their projects. Learn about the PACE award.

Pet Therapy Study Reveals Benefits for Patient Interaction

Jaedyn, one of our pet therapy canines

Most dog owners will tell you that their pet always manages to put a smile on their face even in the toughest of times. New findings from a recently released study, that included the Children’s Medical Center, seems to back up that claim. In a press release, American Humane, a nationally focused organization, unveiled results from its Canines and Childhood Cancer Study, that focused on the effects of animal-assisted therapy in pediatric oncology. The American Humane results show that regular visits from a therapy dog can provide significant psychosocial benefits to children undergoing treatment for cancer, as well as their families. Our Medical Center has had a pet therapy program for the past 12 years. Read Worcester Business Journal article.

Dr. Aronin Featured in Boston Herald on Neurological Disease Research

Dr. Neil Aronin

A breakthrough technique could be on the horizon that may silence a gene for Huntington’s disease, a devastating and progressive neurological illness. Locally, similar research is being done that could impact other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Neil Aronin, MD, chief, Division of Endocrinology, was quoted in a recent Boston Herald article about research being done at the Medical School. He is working on two gene-silencing techniques. “That’s exciting because, in theory, there’d be one treatment and that might be enough for a lifetime,” he said. Read the story.