News

Welcome to the rising MS1 class "Science Superheros"

Last night at the retreat the rising MS1 class introduced themselves as the "Science Superheros!" We are so excited to welcome you to the Pitt/CMU MSTP and we can't wait to see what you accomplish...

Evaluation of Therapies for Peripheral and Neuraxial Opioid-induced Pruritus based on Molecular and Cellular Discoveries by Eileen Nguyen

Opioids are a mainstay of treatment for pain worldwide. Pruritus, a common side effect of opioids, is a patient dissatisfier that limits their use in many clinical settings. Both parenteral and...

Strategies for Achieving Gender Equity and Work–Life Integration in Physician-Scientist Training by Shohini Ghosh-Choudhary

Substantial gender inequities persist across academic medicine. These issues are not new: Recent evidence still points to a chilly climate for women in academic medicine, including those in...

MSTP Student Picnic

What a weekend! We finally were able to convene as an MSTP with a beautiful picnic outdoors at the wonderful Mellon Park @TheFrickPgh! It was great to see so many new and familiar faces! We look...

Michael Granovetter is awarded the American Epilepsy Society's Early Career Fellowship

Congratulations to Michael Granovetter for receiving the American Epilepsy Society Predoctoral Research Fellowship!

Joshua Tashman PhD Thesis Defense titled Moving FRESH Towards the Clinic: In-Process Quality Control of Patient-Specific ECM Scaffolds

Tissue engineering utilizes our understanding of biomechanics, biomaterials, and biology to build tissues and organs from scratch for diagnostics and therapeutics. This approach has been leveled...

Compensatory hepatic adaptation accompanies permanent absence of intrahepatic biliary network due to YAP1 loss in liver progenitors by Laura Molina

Molina et al. demonstrate that loss of Yap1 in developing livers leads to absence of intrahepatic bile ducts, preventing bile secretion from liver to small intestines. Yap1 knockout mice are small and jaundiced and exhibit adaptation via altering bile acid transport and metabolism, but they eventually die around 8 months of age.

Edgar Aranda-Michel's Defends his thesis

Please join Pitt/CMU MSTP for Edgar's Thesis Defense titled "Towards patient specific direct cardiac compression" on June 28th at 1pm.

Join Zoom Meeting...

Graft IL-33 regulates infiltrating macrophages to protect against chronic rejection by Gaelen Dwyer in The Journal of Clinical Investigation

From the article in The Journal of Clinical Investigation: Alarmins, sequestered self-molecules containing damage-associated molecular patterns, are released during tissue injury to drive innate...

Congratulations to Eileen Nguyen!

Eileen Nguyen took 1st place in the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology 2020 Virtual meeting in Best Basic Science Category. Congratulations, Eileen!

Clinical Investigation: Only Economic Analysis of Mandated Protocolized Sepsis Care in New York Hospitals By Donald Bourne in Critical Care Medicine

Abstract

Objectives: 

Initial evidence suggests that state-level regulatory mandates for sepsis quality improvement are associated with decreased sepsis mortality. However,...

Co-Director, Russell Schwartz,PhD, Named Head of CMU’s Computational Biology Department

PITTSBURGH— Martial Hebert, dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, has named Russell Schwartz the new head of the Computational Biology Department, effective July 1....

Divergent Neural Pathways Emanating from theLateral Parabrachial Nucleus Mediate DistinctComponents of the Pain Response by Michael Chang in Cell Press

From the Article In Cell Press: The lateral parabrachial nucleus (lPBN) is a majortarget of spinal projection neurons conveying noci-ceptive input into supraspinal structures. However,the...

Behavioral economics-A framework for donor organ decision-making in pediatric heart transplantation by Alison Bulter in Pediatric Transplantation

From the article in Pediatric Transplant: The high discard rate of pediatric donor hearts presents a major challenge for children awaiting heart transplantation. Recent literature identifies...

Maxwell Wang receives The Hertz Fellowship

Maxwell Wang was selected for one of the most prestigious awards of its kind, the Hertz Fellowship. This Fellowship supports five years of graduate research and the freedom to pursue innovative...

Philip Mannes received the 2020 Medical Student Research Grant: Discovering Molecular Imaging

Congratulations to Philip for being awarded the 2020 Medical Student Research Grant: Discovering Molecular Imaging funded through the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Tolani Olonisakin Defended her Thesis

Congratulations to Tolani for successfully defending your thesis!

Uncharacteristic Task-Evoked Pupillary Responses Implicate Atypical Locus Ceruleus Activity in Autism by Michael Granovetter in The Journal of Neuroscience

From the article in The Journal of Neuroscience: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized partly by atypical attentional engagement, reflected in exaggerated and variable responses to...

A neural network for online spike classification that improves decoding accuracy by Deepa Issar in Journal of Neurophysiology

From the article in Journal of Neurophysiology: Separating neural signals from noise can improve brain-computer interface performance and stability. However, most algorithms for separating neural...

Congratulations to Maria Ly

Maria Ly successfully defended her Thesis on February 24, 2020. Congratulations Maria!

Engineering Bromodomains with a Photoactive Amino Acid by Engaging ‘Privileged’ tRNA Synthetases by Philip Mannes in Chemical Communications

From the article in Chemical Communications: Site-specific placement of unnatural amino acids, particularly those responsive to light, offers an elegant approach to control protein function and...

Gabby Gilmer presents her poster at PRiSM

Gabby Gilmer presented her poster titled "Evaluation Of Serum Relaxin Concentrations And Knee Valgus After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction" at the 7th Annual PRiSM Meeting in Glendale,...

Co-director, JoAnne Flynn, published a groundbreaking study about TB in Nature

The tuberculosis vaccine has been around for nearly 100 years, but isn’t predictably effective against the deadly disease as currently administered....

Treg-inducing microparticles promote donor-specific tolerance in experimental vascularized composite allotransplantation by James Fisher in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States

Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) is an emerging field that is particularly beneficial for select amputees and patients with devastating soft tissue loss that is not amenable to...

Liver 'organ on a chip' in Experimental Cell Research by Colin Beckwitt

From the article in Experimental Cell Research: The liver plays critical roles in both homeostasis and pathology. It is the major site of drug metabolism in the body and, as such, a common target...

The Zebrafish Cytochrome b5/Cytochrome b5 Reductase/NADH System Efficiently Reduces Cytoglobins 1 and 2: Conserved Activity of Cytochrome b5/Cytochrome b5 Reductases during Vertebrate Evolution in Biochemistry by Matthew Amdahl

From the article in Biochemistry: Cytoglobin is a heme protein evolutionarily related to hemoglobin and myoglobin. Cytoglobin is expressed ubiquitously in mammalian tissues; however, its...

Cutaneous TRPV1+ Neurons Trigger Protective Innate Type 17 Anticipatory Immunity in Cell by Jonathan Cohen

From the article in Cell: Cutaneous TRPV1+ neurons directly sense noxious stimuli, inflammatory cytokines, and pathogen-associated molecules and are required for innate immunity against some skin...

Markers of glutamate and GABA neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex of schizophrenia subjects: Disease effects differ across anatomical levels of resolution by Samuel Dienel in Schizophrenia Research

From the article in Schizophrenia Research: Cognitive dysfunction in individuals with schizophrenia is thought to reflect, at least in part, altered levels of excitatory and inhibitory...

Financial Implications of 12-Month Dispensing of Oral Contraceptive Pills in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in JAMA Internal Medicine by Colleen Judge-Golden

From the article in JAMA Internal Medicine: Based on the outcomes of this model, adoption of a 12-month dispensing option for oral contraceptive pills may support reproductive autonomy and improve...

Predictors of increased costs following index adult cardiac operations: Insights from a statewide publicly reported registry in Journal of Cardiac Surgery by Edgar Aranda-Michel

Background

The aim of this study was to identify hospital‐level predictors of increased cost following index adult cardiac operations in a statewide registry.

...

FGFR4 overexpression and hotspot mutations in metastatic ER+ breast cancer are enriched in the lobular subtype by Kevin Levine

From the article: Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is an understudied subtype of breast cancer that requires novel therapies in the advanced setting. To study acquired resistance to endocrine...

Endovascular management of spontaneous rupture of the left subclavian artery by Edgar Aranda-Michel

From the article: Spontaneous rupture of the left subclavian artery is a rare condition that requires immediate surgical intervention. A 21‐year‐old man with a history of membranoproliferative...

Hypoalbuminemia in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement: culprit or surrogate? in Journal of Thoracic Disease by Edgar Aranda-Michel

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is an area of rapid advancement in cardiac surgery. Through subsequent randomized controlled trials, its indications have broadened and its use...

Aperture and Suspensory Fixation Equally Efficacious for Quadriceps Tendon Graft Fixation in Primary ACL Reconstruction: A Systematic Review by Raphael Crum

From the article: This review is aimed to compare suspensory and aperture quadriceps tendon autograft femoral and tibial fixations in primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R), and...

Temporal Dynamics of Shape Processing Differentiate Contributions of Dorsal and Ventral Visual Pathways by Elliot Collins

From the article: Although shape perception is primarily considered a function of the ventral visual pathway, previous research has shown that both dorsal and ventral pathways represent shape...

Is Schimmelpenning Syndrome Associated with Intracranial Tumors? A Case Report. by Michael Chiang

In the article: Schimmelpenning syndrome is a rare, well-defined constellation of clinical phenotypes associated with the presence of nevus sebaceous and multisystem abnormalities most commonly...

mTOR inhibition affects Yap1-β-catenin-induced hepatoblastoma growth and development by Laura Molina

From the article: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common pediatric liver malignancy. Around 80% of HB demonstrate simultaneous activation of β-catenin and Yes-associated protein 1 (Yap1). The...

Baseline and follow-up activity and functional connectivity in reward neural circuitries in offspring at risk for bipolar disorder by Heather Acuff

From the article: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious psychiatric illness with demonstrated abnormalities in reward processing circuitry. Examining this circuitry in youth at familial risk for BD...

Bridging large-scale neuronal recordings and large-scale network models using dimensionality reduction by Ryan Williamson

From the article: A long-standing goal in neuroscience has been to bring together neuronal recordings and neural network modeling to understand brain function. Neuronal recordings can inform the...

White matter – emotion processing activity relationships in youth offspring of bipolar parents by Heather Acuff

Background

Early detection of Bipolar Disorder (BD) is critical for targeting interventions to delay or prevent illness onset. Yet, the absence of objective BD biomarkers...

Exclusive use of fixed pressure valves for cerebrospinal fluid diversion in a modern adult cohort by Michael Chiang

Background:

There is extensive debate on the role of fixed pressure shunts in the adult population. Most studies assessing fixed pressure valves do not consider the...

Electrophiles modulate glutathione reductase activity via alkylation and upregulation of glutathione biosynthesis by Soma Jobbagy

From the article: Cells evolved robust homeostatic mechanisms to protect against oxidation or alkylation by electrophilic species. Glutathione (GSH) is the most abundant intracellular thiol,...

Statin drugs to reduce breast cancer recurrence and mortality by Colin Beckwitt

From the article: Epidemiologic studies have, variably, shown the concomitant use of statin drugs to be beneficial to cancer outcomes. Statin drugs have been FDA approved for three decades for the...

Statins attenuate outgrowth of breast cancer metastases by Colin Beckwitt

BACKGROUND:

Metastasis in breast cancer foreshadows mortality, as clinically evident disease is aggressive and generally chemoresistant. Disseminated breast cancer cells...

The Association between Mental Health Disorders and History of Unintended Pregnancy among Women Veterans by Colleen Judge-Golden

BACKGROUND:

Women Veterans have high rates of mental health disorders and other psychosocial factors which may render this population particularly vulnerable to negative...

Evolving systems biology approaches to understanding non-coding RNAs in pulmonary hypertension by Lloyd Harvey

From the article: Our appreciation of the roles of non-coding RNAs, in particular microRNAs, in the manifestation of pulmonary hypertension (PH) has advanced considerably over the past decade....

Targeting the EMT transcription factor TWIST1 overcomes resistance to EGFR inhibitors in EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer By Zachary Yochum

From the article: Patients with EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have significantly benefited from the use of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). However, long-term efficacy of...

Mitochondrial metabolism in pulmonary hypertension: beyond mountains there are mountains by MIranda Culley

From the article: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a heterogeneous and fatal disease of the lung vasculature, where metabolic and mitochondrial dysfunction may drive pathogenesis. Similar to the...

Hepatocyte-Derived Lipocalin 2 Is a Potential Serum Biomarker Reflecting Tumor Burden in Hepatoblastoma by Laura Molina

From the article: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most common pediatric liver malignant tumor. Previously, we reported co-activation of β-catenin and Yes-associated protein-1 (YAP1) in 80% of HB....

Aiming for the target: Mitochondrial drug delivery in traumatic brain injury by Andrew Lamade

From the article: Mitochondria are a keystone of neuronal function, serving a dual role as sustainer of life and harbinger of death. While mitochondria are indispensable for energy production, a...

Distinct neural processes for the perception of familiar versus unfamiliar faces along the visual hierarchy revealed by EEG by Elliot Collins

From the article: Humans recognize faces with ease, despite the complexity of the task and of the visual system which underlies it. Different spatial regions, including both the core and extended...

Alterations in cortical interneurons and cognitive function in schizophrenia by Samuel Dienel

From the article: Certain clinical features of schizophrenia, such as working memory disturbances, appear to emerge from altered gamma oscillatory activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Given...

Cell‐Lineage Tracing in Zebrafish Embryos with an Expanded Genetic Code by Wes Brown

From the article: Cell‐lineage tracing is used to study embryo development and stem‐cell differentiation as well as to document tumor cell heterogeneity. Cre recombinase‐mediated cell labeling is...

Fighting Bacterial Pathogens in the Lung: Platelets to the Rescue? by Tolani Olonisakin

From the article: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an extracellular Gram-negative, bacterial, opportunistic pathogen that exploits immunocompromised hosts. Although it is notorious for its ability to...