WVU Medicine Cabinet News Stories

WVU School of Medicine team examines the dangers and potential of nanomaterials

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After a decade of rapidly growing industrial use, unimaginably tiny particles surround us everywhere, every day, in everything we do. Used in the manufacturing of cosmetics, clothing, paints, food, drug delivery systems and many other familiar products we all use daily, little is known about the effects these materials have on health. A research team led by Timothy R. Nurkiewicz, Ph.D., associate professor in the WVU School of Medicine Department of Physiology  and Pharmacology and researcher in the Center for Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences, is finding inhalation of engineered nanomaterials negatively impacts gestational development in animal models. Dr. Nurkiewicz is internationally recognized as a leader and pioneer in this growing area of toxicology, and the WVU studies are the first formal investigations of their kind. “We already know microvascular function is negatively impacted by breathing nanomaterials,” Nurkiewicz said, summarizing his research program’s discoveries over the previous years. “Microscopic blood vessels cannot dilate after nanomaterial inhalation, so crucial blood flow to our various organs is impaired.” “We considered the greater ramifications of this risk on various human health outcomes, and came to the alarming realization that the impact of these exposures on maternal and fetal health is essentially unknown,” he continued. “If fresh, oxygenated blood isn’t reaching a mother’s uterus, how is fetal development affected? Our initial studies revealed maternal nanomaterial exposures during gestation results in fewer and smaller offspring.” Research showed that litters of animals exposed to nanoparticle aerosols were smaller in size and in the weight of each individual offspring. This indicates that offspring were lost during development, and those that remained had less than ideal conditions to develop. As Nurkiewicz and his team go forward, they will identify safe nanomaterials, the underlying mechanisms contributing to their initial observations, the genetic impacts and what the maternal exposure limits are. These groundbreaking observations are unique to the work of the team members. They have already published their initial findings in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of the premier obstetrics and gynecology journals in the country. “To our knowledge, we are the first to report that maternal inhalation of manmade nanomaterials creates a hostile gestational environment capable of impacting fetal health,” Nurkiewicz said. “The hope is that with more study, this can be avoided by determining exactly what a safe level of exposure is. Nanotechnology has so many potential benefits to offer our future collective public health, but as any toxicologist will tell you, it’s frequently a thin line between a therapeutic dose and a toxic one.” Widespread industrial use of nanomaterials is a relatively new innovation, only becoming common in manufacturing over the past decade. In addition to the dangers posed to fetal development, unregulated amounts of nanoparticles in the environment are now known to affect us at the cellular level, and the genetic consequences could be at the root of the greatest public health crises, including heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. “We’re starting to notice that some of these things we can’t see around us may have a contributing effect to diseases and conditions genetically passed down in families,” Nurkiewicz said. “We have always considered many of these controllable by behavior modification, but we’re getting some insight into why this could be an uphill battle and more difficult for each successive generation.” Collaborating with Nurkiewicz on this project are Vince Castranova, Ph.D., at the National Institute for Occupational Health; Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, Ph.D., in the WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy; and John Hollander, Ph.D., in the WVU Department of Exercise Physiology. The team’s ongoing research is supported by a four year, $1.2 million competitive grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, grant number ES015022.   [...]

Second annual poker ride to benefit Bonnie’s Bus

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Motorcyclists will have an opportunity to help fight breast cancer during the second annual Bonnie’s Bus Benefit Poker Ride in Pine Grove on Saturday, Sept. 21. The 120-mile poker ride will benefit Bonnie’s Bus, a digital mammography center on wheels that offers digital mammograms and breast care education to women in West Virginia. “This year’s ride is called ‘Moving for Mammograms,’ so that people will understand what Bonnie’s Bus is used for,” said Tammy Workman, who spearheaded the first poker ride in appreciation of the mammogram she received on Bonnie’s Bus last year when it visited her community.   Registration is $10 per person and will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Grove Good Time Grille restaurant in Pine Grove, which will serve a buffet breakfast for $5.99.    Workman, a dual member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion Riders (ALR), worked with her ALR chapter to map the bike route, which will begin at the restaurant with stops at the American Legion posts in Moundsville, Powhatan Point and Hannibal in Ohio, and New Martinsville, before ending at Shooter’s Saloon in Pine Grove around 5 p.m. There will be a 50-50 drawing and raffles at each of the stops. A silent auction will be held at Shooter’s all day with bidding ending at 6 p.m. Workman and her friend Tina Rush, who owns Shooter’s and The Grove Good Time Grille, came up with a new idea to benefit this year’s auction.   “The Grille will host a vendor and craft show called Shop for a Cause Day on Nov. 2, and anyone who wants to set up a table will be asked to donate an item that we can raffle at the auction,” Workman said. “We’re also asking those vendors to donate a smaller item for our ‘Build a Basket for Bonnie’s Bus’ that we will raffle before Christmas.” Last year’s poker ride to benefit Bonnie’s Bus raised more than $2,000 in spite of it being a cold and rainy day.   “This year’s event will happen, come rain or shine,” said Workman. “Cancer doesn’t quit, and neither do we.” Thanks to Workman’s advocacy of Bonnie’s Bus, Debbie Fox, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of West Virginia, and her husband Rocky Fox, commander of the Sons of the American Legion Detachment of West Virginia, have decided to support Bonnie’s Bus as their special project for July 2013 to July 2014. Everyone is welcome to join in the event whether they ride a motorcycle or not. For more information on the ride and how to support the event, call 304-815-2308 or 304-266-8905. The Bonnie Wells Wilson Mobile Mammography Program is a service of WVU Healthcare and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.   [...]

WVU public health researcher examines link between discrimination and drug abuse

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A study about the correlation between discrimination and drug abuse by [...]

WVU School of Medicine’s Li receives prestigious award

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the second time in three years, [...]

Dr. Judith Buff Memorial Scholarship Fund created for coal miners’ daughters

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A half million dollar endowment providing scholarships for female students enrolled at the [...]

WVU pathology student trains laboratory staff in Botswana

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Alejandra Meza, a first-year student in the [...]

New dual degree at WVU injects business knowledge into public health

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The healthcare field requires an increasing amount of business knowledge, which is why West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics and School of Public Health have partnered to create a dual degree program that will infuse business into the field of public health. The Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health (M.B.A./M.P.H.) dual degree program will provide students the opportunity to obtain two degrees in two years. Housed within the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership at the WVU School of Public Health, students will embark on their M.P.H. studies the first year and then enroll in the M.B.A. portion in the College of Business and Economics the second year. After completion of their M.B.A. studies, they will apply their public health and business knowledge in an internship environment. Upon successful completion of the internship, students will be awarded the M.B.A./M.P.H. dual degree. WVU provost Michele Wheatly is excited by the new program. “Dual-degree programs like this offer our students both the skills and the certification they really need to pursue a career. This program will graduate flexible, highly-employable young people who have had the opportunity to work with faculty across the WVU campus and to learn to ‘think outside the box’ as the best leaders do,” Wheatly said. “The mission of the WVU School of Public Health is to improve the health of West Virginians through innovation and leadership in education, research and service,” said Jeffrey Coben, M.D., professor and interim dean, School of Public Health. “The M.B.A./M.P.H. dual degree embodies the skills required for today’s public health fields. Public health leaders and practitioners who achieve the dual degree will gain a broader perspective of the costs and benefits of prevention and other lifestyle choices that can provide lasting health solutions for all West Virginians.” Gilbert Ramirez, Dr.P.H., senior associate dean for Academic Affairs and Educational Effectiveness at the WVU School of Public Health, said the rigorous demands of today’s health care industry can best be addressed through partnerships such as this one. “Population health is far too complex to be solved by single disciplines — it requires collaborations and partnerships and if we can instill individuals with competencies from multiple disciplines, then they will be empowered to do more,” Ramirez said. The dual degree program will consist of 74 credit hours, and students will apply and be admitted to both programs before starting the program. “This dual degree will ‘turbo charge’ the skill set of each student in the program,” said Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, College of Business and Economics. “The infusion of business knowledge into the public health curriculum will help open a lot of doors in the global marketplace and allow our graduates to really make their marks in the important field of public health.” This is the sixth dual degree program in which WVU’s business school has collaborated. Other partnerships have included M.B.A. degrees in the colleges of Law, Physical Activity and Sport Science, Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry. “The dual degree M.P.H. program provides the opportunity for students to earn two full master’s degrees, M.B.A./M.P.H. in a streamlined program,” said Rachel T. Abraham, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, founding director and chair, C.M.E./C.E. Continuing Education Program and Dual Degree M.P.H. Programs. “Students will gain understanding of the breadth and depth of public health to integrate with the business disciplines, understanding of best business practices that can be applied to address the complex challenges of healthcare with the ability to synthesize business and population-based approaches in disease prevention and health promotion and make a difference for the public’s health in West Virginia.” For more information on the M.B.A./M.P.H. program, please visit http://publichealth.hsc.wvu.edu/pages/ or www.be.wvu.edu. For More Information: Patrick Gregg, College of Business and Economics, 304-293-5131, patrick.gregg@mail.wvu.edu Amy Johns, WVU Health Sciences Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087, johnsa@wvuhealthcare.com [...]