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October 12, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 20


Janssen-Heininger Examines Regulating Oxidation Reactions to Treat Lung Disease

Oxygen is critical for the chemical reactions our cells need to survive. The conversion of oxygen to water via oxidation-reduction reactions, or redox—the transfer of electrons from one substance to another—in our cells, is central to basic functions, including metabolism and respiration. Specialized catalysts that function during metabolism and respiration turn oxygen into oxidants, chemical substances that react with other cellular molecules, including proteins. 

However, oxygen can also cause damage leading to illness and death. Some protein oxidations occur at the wrong locations or in the wrong proteins, which can cause metabolic diseases, cancer, chronic inflammation, and permanent scarring of organ tissue, known as fibrosis.

University Distinguished Professor Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, is an expert in the fields of pulmonary fibrosis and redox medicine. Her lab team has discovered new tools for determining oxidation targets, designing precise small molecules to treat lung fibrosis and cancer. The co-founder of the internationally recognized Redox Biology and Pathology Program at UVM, Dr. Janssen-Heininger recently received a Lung Cancer Discovery Award from the American Lung Association to study protein oxidation in the development of lung cancer with the aim of creating a new druggable target for chemotherapy-resistant tumors.

Read the full profile of Dr. Janssen-Heininger and her research.

Pictured above: Cellular, Molecular and Biological Sciences doctoral candidate Maurice Newton (left) works in the lab with Dr. Janssen-Heininger. (Photo: Andy Duback) 

Dr. Crothers in lab

Eradicating Polio: UVM Vaccine Trials Aim to End Disease’s Historical Journey

A Rutland, Vermont physician described the first outbreak of polio in the United States in 1894. Then, in 1980, it was declared eradicated in the United States. Now, 42 years later, the fear of polio has returned to the region.

In the past several months, cases of polio have been reported in New York, the United Kingdom, and Israel, underscoring the need for safer and more effective vaccines. Over the past nearly two years, University of Vermont Vaccine Testing Center researchers have been conducting trials on two experimental polio vaccines poised to help accomplish global eradication.

Polio remains endemic in only two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – where wild type (not vaccine-derived) poliovirus infections are still occurring.

Like SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, poliovirus is an RNA virus. It infects the nervous system, which is why infected persons experience paralysis. But polio is eradicable, says Jessica Crothers, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and lead investigator on the polio vaccine trials, “because it is a human reservoir disease, meaning that it does not naturally infect animals other than humans.”

The first of the two trials, launched at UVM in 2021, was a first-in-human Phase I study of a novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV1,3). Enrollment for that study recently ended and the second trial, which is a modified version of the injectable polio vaccine, launched this fall. Both aim to reduce shedding of the virus into the environment, which then puts unvaccinated individuals at risk of infection.

Read the full article.

Pictured above: Dr. Crothers working in a Vaccine Testing Center lab in the Stafford Building. (Photo: Bailey Beltramo)


Patti O'Brien speaking at conference

A Reflection from Dr. Patti O'Brien: The 25th Annual Women's Health & Cancer Conference

The University of Vermont Cancer Center hosted the 25th annual Women's Health and Cancer Conference at UVM's Davis Center on September 30. In celebration of the event's 25th anniversary, Patti O'Brien, M.D., a retired Larner College of Medicine faculty member who organized the first conference in 1997, provides a reflection on the founding and evolution of the conference over the past two-and-a-half decades. Watch the video.

In recognition of Dr. O'Brien's contributions, the Courtney and Victoria Buffum Family Foundation established the Patti O’Brien, MD Women’s Health and Cancer Fund to support the conference every year through a $1 million endowment. The Buffam Foundation board of directors awarded this grant to honor the late Vicki Buffum, whose advocacy aimed to help women and cancer patients get support in every way possible.

Pictured above: Video image of Dr. O’Brien speaking at the Women’s Health and Cancer Conference. 

Join Us purple call out button

Join UVM Athletics at the next two Rally Against Cancer games benefitting the UVM Cancer Center! In addition to the thrill of watching UVM Men's Soccer and UVM Women's Swimming & Diving, there will be screening information & giveaways for attendees. Wear your lavender as a show of support!

  • October 18, 2022, 7 p.m. - UVM Men's Soccer vs. Dartmouth
  • November 5, 2022, 11 a.m. - UVM Women's Swimming & Diving vs. Maine
Find more info at

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Accolades & Appointments

Steve Goldman and Gordon White
Steve Goldman, M.S. (top left), and Gordon White (bottom left), have been named co-interim directors of Larner College of Medicine Technical Services (COMTS), following the departure this past summer of former Assistant Dean for Technology Jill Jemison, M.B.A., and former Assistant Director Darcy Pientka’s move to UVM’s Enterprise Technology Services. Goldman joined the COMTS team full time in 2009, taking over full responsibility for the Larner College of Medicine Application and Database environment. He was one of the original architects of COMTS, working on the Competitive Computing (now Xerox) consulting team beginning in 1997. Goldman holds a master’s in information technology project management from George Washington University. White directs enterprise services and support, managing the delivery of the information technology services provided by the infrastructure, support and AV teams of COMTS. He first joined the COMTS staff in 2006 as a student technology advocate. White graduated from the University of Vermont and holds several industry certifications including Microsoft and ITIL.

Amalia Dolan and Kelli Kauffroath

The UVM Dana Medical Library, located on the concourse in the Larner Learning Commons in the Medical Education Center, recently welcomed two new research and instruction librarians to their staff: Amalia Dolan, MLIS (top left), provides support for clinical programs; Kelli Kauffroath, MLIS, RN (bottom left), heads up the library's education programs. Read more about Dolan and Kauffroath.

Laura Greene
Laura Greene, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and interim assistant dean for admissions, recently accepted an appointment as program director of the Pathology Residency Program, effective July 1, 2023. She will assume the role from Scott Anderson, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, who has served as program director since 2009.

Illustration of human head with colors surrounding it
The UVM Autism Collaborative recently received two awards totaling $350,000 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support rural autism research. The funds will support two projects that focus on outreach within Vermont's autism community and organizations that represent diverse stakeholders including the Vermont Family Network, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, and All Brains Belong VT. Melissa Marotta Houser, M.D.'12, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine, is founder and executive director of the Montpelier, Vt.-based nonprofit All Brains Belong and will be a partner on the projects. Read more about the grants.

Katie Huggett

Kathryn Huggett, Ph.D., assistant dean for medical student education and director of The Teaching Academy, received the Distinguished Career Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Scholarship from the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE). This scholarship recognizes an IAMSE member who has a distinguished record of educational scholarship, including educational research and dissemination of scholarly approaches to teaching and education. Candidates must demonstrate greater than 10 years of educational scholarship. Dr. Huggett received the honor at the 26th Annual IAMSE Meeting in Denver, Colo., in June 2022.

Deborah Kamin Mukaz

Debora Kamin Mukaz, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in medicine, published a Comment, titled Black In Cardio: promoting diversity and representation in the cardiovascular field," in Nature Reviews Cardiology. In addition, she was also featured in “Ici et Ailleurs,” a Congolese magazine. Learn more about #BlackInCardio.



Wettersten N, Mital R, Cushman M, Howard G, Judd SE, Howard VJ, Safford MM, Hartmann O, Bergmann A, Struck J, Maisel A. Growth hormone concentration and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: The REasons for Geographic And Racial Disparities in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Atherosclerosis. 2022 Oct;359:20-26. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2022.09.004. Epub 2022 Sep 14. PMID: 36155327.

Oet MA, Brahma V, McGrath J, Galvin JA. AAMR syndrome in a 22-month-old and literature review. Ophthalmic Genet. 2022 Oct;43(5):658-660. doi: 10.1080/13816810.2022.2068046. Epub 2022 May 23. PMID: 35607266.

Nolan JE 3rd, Sundet AD, Kagan BD, Lake TJ, Krag MH, Lunardini DJ. The positive prediction of single photon emission computed tomography/ computed tomography (SPECT/CT) in the outcome of intervention for cervical facet pain. Spine J. 2022 Oct;22(10):1622-1627. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2022.04.021. Epub 2022 May 7. PMID: 35537654.

McClain IJ, Rooney DM, Tabin GC. Intraocular pressure screening during high-volume cataract surgery outreach in Ethiopia. BMC Ophthalmol. 2022 Oct 5;22(1):397. doi: 10.1186/s12886-022-02618-1. PMID: 36199054; PMCID: PMC9533624.

Parekh TM, Helgeson ES, Connett J, Voelker H, Ling SX, Lazarus SC, Bhatt SP, MacDonald DM, Mkorombindo T, Kunisaki KM, Fortis S, Kaminsky D, Dransfield MT. Lung Function and the Risk of Exacerbation in the β-Blockers for the Prevention of Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Trial. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2022 Oct;19(10):1642-1649. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202109-1042OC. PMID: 35363600; PMCID: PMC9528740.

Jones JR, Tsai MH, Nguyen TT. Thinking in Bets: The Difficult Airway Algorithm. Anesth Analg. 2022 Oct 1;135(4):e27-e29. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000006165. Epub 2022 Sep 15. PMID: 36108200.

Adrianzen-Herrera DA, Shastri A. Unrelated Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant in Relapsed/Refractory AML: Widening the Yellow Brick Road. Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 3;28(19):4167-4170. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-1881. PMID: 35876635.

Schulz JA, West JC, Hall JP, Villanti AC. Disparities in Tobacco Use by Disability and Type: Findings From the 2019 National Health Interview Survey. Am J Prev Med. 2022 Oct;63(4):552-563. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2022.05.004. Epub 2022 Jun 23. PMID: 35753866; PMCID: PMC9509433.

Adrianzen-Herrera D, Sparks AD, Shastri A, Zakai NA, Littenberg B. Geographic disparities in cardiovascular mortality among patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: A population-based analysis. Cancer Epidemiol. 2022 Oct;80:102238. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2022.102238. Epub 2022 Aug 12. PMID: 35970010.

Franchi F, Schneider DJ, Prats J, Fan W, Rollini F, Been L, Taatjes-Sommer HS, Bhatt DL, Deliargyris EN, Angiolillo DJ. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics profiles of a novel phospholipid-aspirin complex liquid formulation and low dose enteric-coated aspirin: results from a prospective, randomized, crossover study. J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2022 Oct;54(3):373-381. doi: 10.1007/s11239-022-02687-5. Epub 2022 Aug 29. PMID: 36036856; PMCID: PMC9421621.

Lee I, Schold JD, Hehir MK, Claytor B, Silvestri N, Li Y. Re: Diagnosing myasthenia gravis in older patients: Comments and observations. Muscle Nerve. 2022 Oct;66(4):E24-E25. doi: 10.1002/mus.27695. Epub 2022 Aug 15. PMID: 35916254.

Krishnan AM, Gadela NV, Ramanathan R, Jha A, Perkins ME, Metersky ML. A Comparative Analysis of Catheter Directed Thrombolysis with Anticoagulation Alone or Systemic tPA in Acute Pulmonary Embolism with Cor Pulmonale. J Intensive Care Med. 2022 Oct;37(10):1336-1343. doi: 10.1177/08850666221083241. Epub 2022 Mar 14. PMID: 35285742.

Rose M, Clarke P, Pike AH, Zvara P, Schrøder HD, Hejboel EK, Qvist N, Ellebæk MB. Endoscopic Injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A in the Piglet Esophagus Is Safe and Feasible but Did Not Result in any Significant Structural Changes 3 Days after Injection. Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2022 Oct;32(5):460-464. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1745783. Epub 2022 Jun 10. PMID: 35688448.

Schroeder LF, Dei-Adomakoh Y, DeStigter K, Idigbe EO, Flanigan J, Ekpale PMA, Adjei E, Roa L, Wilson ML, Horton S. Rational design of an essential diagnostics network to support Universal Health Coverage: a modeling analysis. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022 Oct 1;22(1):1224. doi: 10.1186/s12913-022-08558-2. PMID: 36183079; PMCID: PMC9526922.

Perry H. Editorial Comment: Prolonged Resolution of COVID-19 Vaccine-Related Axillary Lymphadenopathy Necessitates a Long Imaging Follow-Up Interval. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2022 Oct;219(4):567. doi: 10.2214/AJR.22.28019. Epub 2022 Jun 1. PMID: 35642766.

Sundet A, Nelms NJ, Michelson JD. Donning Gloves Before Surgical Gown Cross-contaminates the Assistant. Arthroplast Today. 2022 Sep 19;17:142-144. doi: 10.1016/j.artd.2022.08.009. PMID: 36158460; PMCID: PMC9493291.

Chmielewski M, VanNostrand J, Hollander M. Fever and Pleuritic Chest Pain in a 16-year-old Girl with Ulcerative Colitis. Pediatr Rev. 2022 Oct 1;43(10):586-589. doi: 10.1542/pir.2021-004937. PMID: 36180542.



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The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
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