Dr. Timothy Szczykutowicz was recognized as an influential faculty member by the Leaders in Engineering Excellence and Diversity (LEED) Scholars Program in the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Engineering. Szczykutowicz was recognized by LEED Scholar Elliott Janssen-Saldivar, one of Szczykutowicz’s undergrad research assistants. They worked together on several projects and Janssen-Saldivar chose Szczykutowicz as the Engineering faculty member that most positively influenced his undergraduate career. Szczykutowicz and Janssen-Saldivar worked together on two published papers and a conference proceeding. “A Wiki-Based Solution to Managing your Institution’s Imaging Protocols” was published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology in 2016, and “A Wiki Based CT Protocol Management System” was published in Radiology Management in 2015. The conference proceeding was titled, “The Correlation Between Table Height and Patient Size in CT: A Simple Way to Properly Position Patients,” and was presented at the 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine annual meeting. Janssen-Saldivar was a key member of Szczykutowicz’s group, contributing to the work that made a CT protocol wiki a reality at UW Health and for community radiology affiliates. The LEED Scholars Program is a scholarship program designed to attract academically talented women and students from groups underrepresented in engineering. Janssen-Saldivar received a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science and will continue on to graduate school.
Madeline Poranski Takes on Patient Advocacy Role at NACFC, Former UW Research Assistant Madeline Poranski presented a poster at the 2016 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (NACFC) in Orlando, Florida. Madeline, who herself has cystic fibrosis (CF), had the opportunity to present at the conference through her work with Dr. Scott K. Nagle on a CF lung disease severity project. The presentation revolved around her work analyzing lung perfusion MR images and comparing them to ventilation MRI and clinical lung function measures. “While I previously did not have a lot of experience with radiological research or medical physics,” Madeline noted, “I have always been interested in cystic fibrosis research and was thrilled to be able to contribute to this project.” After she had been accepted as a presenter at the conference, Madeline and her mother were invited to participate in a patient/parent panel where healthcare professionals who were new to cystic fibrosis care could hear from the parents of children with CF. The panel allowed the healthcare workers to become better acquainted with the disease in how it impacts the daily life of those living with it. As the oldest patient on the panel, Madeline had a different, more positive, perspective on life with CF. The parents and patients discussed their positive and negative experiences with CF healthcare professionals and gave them advice regarding how to ensure patients receive great care while maintaining a high quality of life. “For the first time I realized how valuable sharing my experiences and insight can be to the CF community. The healthcare professionals appreciated hearing our experiences and advice, and I think I also gave some of the other CF parents hope for their younger children to lead relatively normal lives. I never really thought I had a story to share, CF has always just been a part of my life, but I really enjoyed it and hope to have more opportunities to do so in the future.“ Currently, Madeline is contributing to a CF Foundation project focused on helping to increase adherence to treatment plans by sharing her personal experiences with CF healthcare teams and discussing their impact on her compliance to medicine and therapies. “The goal is to change the way CF teams discuss adherence with patients, so that instead of solely focusing on medications, caregivers and patients and their families can collaborate to find a treatment plan that works for both parties,” Madeline explained.
Dr. JP Yu, MD, PhD has received a 2016 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. This foundation, formerly known as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), awards grants to individuals whose research they believe could help alleviate suffering caused by mental illness. This past year, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awarded nearly $13.7 million in support of the Young Investigator Program to support the work of promising young scientists with innovative ideas in mental health research. Dr. Yu’s project, funded under the New Technologies grant category, is entitled "Diffusion Tensor Imaging and Behavior Correlates in a Disc1 Model of Schizophrenia" and utilizes a new genetic rat model of schizophrenia that Dr. Yu developed here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since the initial discovery of Disc1 almost 15 years ago, numerous studies have uncovered compelling evidence that the biological pathways involving Disc1and its protein network play pivotal roles in the pathologies relevant to schizophrenia, autism, and mood disorders. A leading motivation for studying Disc1 is to ultimately develop more effective therapeutic interventions than those that are currently available. While the Disc1 protein itself might not be a viable drug target, understanding the molecular pathways that Disc1mediates has already begun to uncover new pathways and targets that are responsive to pharmacologic intervention. Dr. Yu’s lab, with their new Disc1 knockout model, aims to unpack the neuroimaging and behavioral features of Disc1 to better understand its contribution in the neuropsychopathogenesis of schizophrenia and to establish a platform to explore pharmacologic interventions which may ameliorate a major mental illness.
Dr. Jeffrey Kanne has been selected by the American College of Radiology (ACR) as the first Champion in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Choosing Wisely Champions program. This award is part of a nationwide initiative by the Choosing Wisely program to recognize physicians who are reducing unnecessary medical tests and procedures in their medical practice. In his time at UW, Dr. Kanne has focused on reducing unneeded radiographs through efforts such as working with specialists in other departments and promoting the use of the ACR Appropriateness Criteria, several of which he helped to create. Read more about Dr. Kanne’s award at the American College of Radiology
The Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology Laboratory (mi.wisc.edu) had another successful year at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting in San Diego this past June. They received multiple awards, including two Cai Group members, Christopher G. England and Shreya Goel, receiving Travel Awards to attend the meeting. There were only 15 Travel Awards given this year (another awardee from UW-Madison was Hector Valdovinos, a graduate student in Medical Physics). In addition, Reinier Hernandez and Sixiang Shi also each received a UW-Madison Conference Presentation Funds Student Research Travel Grant to attend the meeting. There are many Young Investigator Award (YIA) Symposiums at the SNMMI Annual Meeting, where the highest-scored abstracts were chosen to compete in the symposium. Three of the Cai Group abstracts were chosen to compete in three different YIA Symposiums, and Christopher G. England received a 1st place in the Cardiovascular Council YIA Symposium. At the meeting, the Chinese American Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (CASNMMI) had a competition for a Young Scientist Award, and a former Cai Group postdoc Haiming Luo, now a postdoc at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, received the 2nd place prize for his work performed in the Cai Laboratory. Sixiang Shi and Haiming Luo both received the SNMMI Alavi-Mandell Award for their 2015 publications in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, official journal of SNMMI. At the SNMMI Annual Meeting there are several summary sessions and highlight lectures where leaders in the field summarize the best abstracts presented at the Annual Meeting. Many of the Cai Group abstracts were presented in the highlight lecture, which covers a diverse scope of research areas including oncology, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Additionally, Professor Cai himself co-organized and co-moderated four Continuing Education sessions, all of which were well attended.