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UC researcher collaborates in gene-editing study in HIV patients

Wed, August 14, 2019

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, is the local principal investigator on a study called TRAILBLAZER, which stands for T-Cell Reinfusion After Interfering With Lymphocyte Binding Location of AIDS Virus Through Zinc-finger-nuclease Elimination of CCR5 Receptors. The study will pinpoint and alter a specific gene in people with HIV. The hope is that process will lower the amount of HIV in the person’s body, and could possibly lead to the development of a cure for HIV.

White coats and words of wisdom for new UC medical students

Tue, August 13, 2019

CINCINNATI—Stay curious. Remain humble. Never forget that wearing the White Coat is a privilege. A wise sage offered this advice to new medical students during the 24th annual White Coat Ceremony held by the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine Aug. 9 at Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. “I highly recommend pursuing what makes you curious,” said Tiffiny Diers, MD, associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. “Whether it is in what you are studying, in a patient story or career opportunities that come your way, curiosity and exploration yield discovery.” “The expansion of your own knowledge, what you can bring to your patients, and ultimately to our field, these are also antidotes to burnout in a challenging profession helping you to maintain a sense of meaning and engagement in your work,” said Diers. Diers, associate program director for the UC Internal Medicine Residency Program and a UC Health physician, offered the keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony. Her message was aimed at one of UC’s largest medical classes in recent years, and the most racially and ethnically diverse ever. The College of Medicine welcomed 185 newly admitted medical students during the ceremony. Each member of the class of 2023 was presented with a white coat symbolizing entry into the medical profession. UC College of Medicine alumni, faculty and staff provided the coats as a gift. The white coat is also a symbol of the patients the students will treat and the compassion, honesty and caring to which the students should always aspire. College of Medicine Interim Dean Andrew Filak Jr., MD, and UC President Neville Pinto also offered welcoming remarks to the class. “President Pinto has dubbed the university’s strategic direction ‘Next Lives Here’,” explained Filak. “Powered by knowledge, ideas and minds, Next Lives Here amplifies our core missions of teaching, research and service—from preparing faculty to teach tomorrow to pioneering the next cure to solving human-centered problems in the far corners of the globe. It is a culture that is owned, not rented and it is changing the way we live, work and learn. You are what is ‘Next’ for the College of Medicine. Our next class, our next generation of physicians, our next medical leaders who will impact the world.”

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Latest News

UC researcher collaborates in gene-editing study in HIV patients

Wed, August 14, 2019

Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, is the local principal investigator on a study called TRAILBLAZER, which stands for T-Cell Reinfusion After Interfering With Lymphocyte Binding Location of AIDS Virus Through Zinc-finger-nuclease Elimination of CCR5 Receptors. The study will pinpoint and alter a specific gene in people with HIV. The hope is that process will lower the amount of HIV in the person’s body, and could possibly lead to the development of a cure for HIV.

White coats and words of wisdom for new UC medical students

Tue, August 13, 2019

CINCINNATI—Stay curious. Remain humble. Never forget that wearing the White Coat is a privilege. A wise sage offered this advice to new medical students during the 24th annual White Coat Ceremony held by the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine Aug. 9 at Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. “I highly recommend pursuing what makes you curious,” said Tiffiny Diers, MD, associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. “Whether it is in what you are studying, in a patient story or career opportunities that come your way, curiosity and exploration yield discovery.” “The expansion of your own knowledge, what you can bring to your patients, and ultimately to our field, these are also antidotes to burnout in a challenging profession helping you to maintain a sense of meaning and engagement in your work,” said Diers. Diers, associate program director for the UC Internal Medicine Residency Program and a UC Health physician, offered the keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony. Her message was aimed at one of UC’s largest medical classes in recent years, and the most racially and ethnically diverse ever. The College of Medicine welcomed 185 newly admitted medical students during the ceremony. Each member of the class of 2023 was presented with a white coat symbolizing entry into the medical profession. UC College of Medicine alumni, faculty and staff provided the coats as a gift. The white coat is also a symbol of the patients the students will treat and the compassion, honesty and caring to which the students should always aspire. College of Medicine Interim Dean Andrew Filak Jr., MD, and UC President Neville Pinto also offered welcoming remarks to the class. “President Pinto has dubbed the university’s strategic direction ‘Next Lives Here’,” explained Filak. “Powered by knowledge, ideas and minds, Next Lives Here amplifies our core missions of teaching, research and service—from preparing faculty to teach tomorrow to pioneering the next cure to solving human-centered problems in the far corners of the globe. It is a culture that is owned, not rented and it is changing the way we live, work and learn. You are what is ‘Next’ for the College of Medicine. Our next class, our next generation of physicians, our next medical leaders who will impact the world.”

UC researchers say early puberty in girls may be the new big...

Wed, July 10, 2019

CINCINNATI—Adolescent girls who reach puberty at an earlier age may also have a greater chance of developing migraine headaches, according to new research from investigators at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. “We know that the percentage of girls and boys who have migraine is pretty much the same until menstruation begins,” says Vincent Martin, MD, professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine and director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute. “When the menstrual period starts in girls, the prevalence goes way up, but what our data suggests is that it occurs even before that.” The findings will be presented by Martin at the American Headache Society 61st Annual Scientific Meeting Saturday, July 13, in Philadelphia. Nationally, about 10 percent of school age children suffer from migraine, according to the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF). As adolescence approaches, the incidence of migraine increases rapidly in girls, and by age 17, about 8 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have experienced migraine, the MRF reports. Martin and a team of researchers were part of a longitudinal study looking at 761 adolescent girls from sites in Cincinnati, New York and the San Francisco Bay area. The girls ranged in age from 8 to 20 and study took place over a 10-year period beginning in 2004. Girls enrolled in the study at age 8-10 were examined during study visit every six to 12 months. Researchers determined when they showed initial signs of thelarche (breast development), pubarche (pubic hair growth) and menarche (start of menstrual periods). Girls answered a headache questionnaire to find out if they suffered from migraine headache, no migraine or probable migraine—the latter is defined as meeting all the diagnostic criteria for migraine except one. The average age at which they completed the survey was 16. Of those surveyed, 85 girls (11 percent) were diagnosed with migraine headache while 53 (7 percent) had probable migraine and 623 (82 percent) had no migraine, according to Martin, also a UC Health physician specializing in migraine. Researchers found that girls with migraine had an earlier age of thelarche (breast development) and the onset of menarche (menstrual periods) than those with no migraine. On average breast development occurred four months earlier in those with migraine while menstruation started five months earlier. There was no difference in the age of pubarche (pubic hair development) between those with migraine and no migraine. “There was a 25 percent increase in the chance of having migraine for each year earlier that a girl experienced either thelarche or menarche,” says Susan Pinney, PhD, professor in the UC Department of Environmental Health and lead investigator on the study. “This suggests a strong relationship between early puberty and the development of migraine in adolescent girls.” The age of onset of thelarche, pubarche or menarche did not differ between those with probable migraine and no migraine, says Pinney. Previous research suggests that migraine often starts with the onset of menstrual cycles during menarche in adolescent girls. But this study looks at earlier stages of puberty such as thelarche and pubarche, explains Martin. “To suggest the origins of migraine may occur actually before menstrual periods begin is pretty novel,” says Martin. “At each of these stages, different hormones are starting to appear in girls. During pubarche, testosterone and androgens are present, and during thelarche, there is the very first exposure to estrogen. Menarche is when a more mature hormonal pattern emerges. Our study implies that the very first exposure to estrogen could be the starting point for migraine in some adolescent girls. It may be the Big Bang Theory of migraine.” So is there anything that one can do to prevent an early puberty? “Studies suggest that childhood obesity is associated with early puberty,” says Martin, who is also president of the National Headache Foundation. “Keeping your weight down might prevent the early onset of puberty. Future studies will need to be done to determine if strategy will decrease also the likelihood of developing migraine.” Other co-investigators in the study include Frank Biro, MD, UC professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Cincinnati Children’s pediatrician, Jun Ying, PhD, professor in the UC Department of Environmental Health, and Hao Yu, biostatistician, UC Department of Environmental Health. Funding for this research came grant U01ES026119 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and grant 1R03HD094236 of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Cincinnati Enquirer speaks with UC College of Medicine...

Wed, June 26, 2019

The Cincinnati Enquirer highlighted a $1.7 million National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant awarded over a three-year period to Jason Blackard, PhD, to conduct an omics analysis of synthetic opioids and HIV. Blackard, an associate professor in the UC Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Digestive Diseases, says opioids and HIV encourage one another and not in a good way. Jennifer Brown, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, a co-investigator on the study, also spoke with the Enquirer. You can read the full news release here.

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