The University of Arizona Health Sciences


Making Precision Medicine a Reality: Genomics Researchers Discover Road Map to Disease Origin

TUCSON, Ariz. – Researchers are one step closer to understanding the genetic and biological basis of diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis – and identifying new drug targets and therapies – thanks to work by three computational biology research teams from the University of Arizona Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University.

The researchers’ findings – a method demonstrating that independent DNA variants linked to a disease share similar biological properties – were published online in the April 27 edition of npj Genomic Medicine.

“The discovery of these shared properties offer the opportunity to broaden our understanding of the biological basis of disease and identify new therapeutic targets,” said Yves A. Lussier, MD, FACMI, lead and senior corresponding author of the study and UAHS associate vice president for health sciences and director of the UAHS Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics (CB2).

The researchers...

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The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has seen many advances and accomplishments s

Shaping the Future of Medicine: The College of Medicine – Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has seen many advances and accomplishments since it was founded in 1967, and this publication—Shaping the Future of Medicine [PDF]—captures the history and highlights of the College and each of its departments.

Within the pages of the COM – T report, you’ll learn …

which artificial body part was the developed here and recognized as one of the nation’s 10  most important medical advances in 1976; how a single photon of light may eventually help prevent and treat a disease with no current cure; about new technology that shows fine details of breast tissue without added radiation to breast cancer patients;

and much, much more about the people, programs and ground-breaking research at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson!

The James E. Dalen Distinguished Lecture for Health Policy Presents Dr. Victoria Maizes, Internationally Recognized Leader in Integrative Medicine, May 6

Victoria Maizes, MD, executive director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and professor of clinical medicine, family medicine and public health, will present the James E. Dalen Distinguished Lecture for Health Policy titled, Wellness in Action: Integrative Medicine Meets Public Health.”

The free lecture is open to the public and will be held Friday, May 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., in DuVal Auditorium at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.

In Tucson and nationwide, a remarkable set of initiatives, ranging from school-based mindfulness programs to community gardens are being implemented and producing meaningful change. Dr. Maizes will describe these exciting developments as well as the UA Center for Integrative Medicine programs that can enhance well-being and improve the health of our society.

Dr. Maizes is internationally recognized as a leader in integrative medicine. She stewarded the growth of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine from a small...

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UA Physician and UA Med Student Embark on ‘Bike Listening Tour’ to Learn What Rural America Thinks about the Affordable Care Act

Jane Erikson for the UA College of Medicine – Tucson

When the Affordable Care Act is in the news, it’s usually politicians or prominent health-care policy “wonks” doing the talking.

Paul Gordon, MD, MPH – professor and former chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson – wants to know what other folks have to say; specifically, those who live in rural America, where their voices seldom are heard beyond town lines.

On Thursday, April 21, Dr. Gordon will fly to Washington, D.C., and pick up his bicycle and gear, which he shipped ahead. On Friday, April 22, he will begin a two-month bicycle tour from the nation’s capital to Seattle, stopping daily to learn what people think of what is commonly called “Obamacare.”

He’s not looking for physicians or people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), although he will not exclude them from being interviewed. He will not disclose what he thinks of the ACA, and he will not try to correct anyone who makes an inaccurate statement about the Act.

He simply wants to hear and record...

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Second Annual ‘Eat Dessert First Day,’ April 21, Honors Memory of Dana Morgan and Raises Funds for Pediatric Cancer Research

The second annual Eat Dessert First Day (EDFD) takes place on Thursday, April 21, to honor the memory of pediatric cancer patient Dana Morgan; to celebrate family and friends; and to raise funds for childhood cancer research at the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center

Scott and Michelle Morgan created Eat Dessert First Day in honor of their daughter Dana, who passed away on Jan. 22, 2015, at the young age of 10, from complications associated with treatments intended to eradicate leukemia. Dana would have turned 12 on April 21.

On April 21, participants eat dessert first for lunch or dinner while celebrating the presence of family and friends in their lives,” said Dana’s mom, Michelle.

In addition to eating dessert first on April 21, EDFD participants are encouraged to donate $12 or more to support the pediatric cancer research program at the UA Steele Center, a Center of Excellence within the...

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UA Sarver Heart Center Minority Outreach Health Advocate Wanda Moore Says Knowledge is Power in Regard to Heart Disease

As an African American woman who heads the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Community Coalition for Heart Health Education, Wanda Moore is very aware that she is in one of the highest risk groups of dying from heart disease. She also believes and advocates that lifestyle risk factors are manageable.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, heart disease disproportionately afflicts African American women, killing about 50,000 each year. For Moore and her committee members, knowledge is power and the good news is women can lower their heart disease risk by as much as 82 percent by addressing these risk factors:

Smoking – about one in five African American women smokes. After one year of quitting, heart disease risk drops by more than half.High blood pressure (hypertension) – about 37 percent of African American women have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke and heart failure. Healthful eating, including low salt intake, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and moderate alcohol consumption can help, plus taking medication if prescribed.

“Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and inactivity are risk...

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UA Health Sciences Leaders Among Phoenix Magazine’s Top 25 `Maestros of Medicine’

Two University of Arizona Health Sciences leaders were named “Maestros of Medicine” in the April edition of Phoenix Magazine and its listing of “the 25 most influential people in Valley health care.” The magazine recognized the “trailblazing, passionate and empowered individuals dedicated to keeping the Valley at the vanguard of medical science.”

Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, and Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, FACEP, FAHA, were nominated by a panel of impartial experts in Arizona’s health care sector, including researchers, clinicians, executives and academics.

Dr. Garcia is the UA senior vice president for health sciences, professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and the Merlin K. DuVal, MD, Endowed Chair for Leadership and Innovation. An elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Garcia is an internationally noted physician-scientist, health administrator, scholar and educator. He also is a leading authority on the genetic basis of lung disease and the prevention and treatment of inflammatory lung injury.

A key member...

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‘Entrepreneurial Drug Hunter: A Trek for Breakthrough Medicines at the Academic-Industrial Interface’

EVENT: ‘Entrepreneurial Drug Hunter: A Trek for Breakthrough Medicines at the Academic-Industrial Interface’

Tomi K. Sawyer, PhD, will share inspiring stories of his journey from UA graduate student to leader of a team of more than 100 scientists in the Peptide Drug Hunter Network at Merck Research Laboratories.

DATE/TIME:  THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 4-5 P.M. (reception follows)

LOCATION: Drachman Hall, Room B111
1295 N. Martin Ave., Tucson

More than 35 years ago, a young graduate student at the University of Arizona invented a molecule that ultimately became a drug approved to treat a rare but debilitating disease affecting skin pigmentation. Today, Tomi K. Sawyer, PhD, is a “drug hunter” leading a team of more than 100 scientists in the Peptide Drug Hunter Network at Merck Research Laboratories in Boston.

On Thursday, April 21, 4-5 p.m., Dr. Sawyer will share inspiring lessons learned from his career as a versatile and accomplished medicinal chemist. The free presentation, “Entrepreneurial Drug Hunter: A Trek for Breakthrough Medicines at the Academic-Industrial Interface,” is...

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We’re Taking Red Steps to Rise above Heart Failure

The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Advanced Heart Failure cardiologists take steps every day to prevent and treat heart failure. Today, we’re part of the “Red Steps Challenge” to #RiseAboveHF with the Heart Failure Society of America #HFSA.

Heart Failure by the Numbers

6 Million – number of people in the U.S. with heart failure

250,000 – number of people who die from heart failure each year

50 percent – likelihood a person will die after 5 years of diagnosis

What Is Heart Failure?

Contrary to what its name suggests, heart failure does not mean that the heart suddenly stops working. Instead, heart failure occurs as a result of weakened heart muscle. Injury to the heart such as damage caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure or abnormalities in a heart valve are all causes of muscle weakening. Each of these creates damage that causes the heart to work harder in order to continue the blood flow to the body. Unfortunately, heart failure often is not recognized until its later stages, where it is most commonly referred to as congestive heart...

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UA Physician-Scientist Tackling Neurogenerative Disorders With Novel Stem Cell Technology

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common age-related neurological disorder that affects about 1.5 million people in the United States alone. Although drugs and surgical approaches that alleviate PD symptoms are available, no treatments exist to slow or prevent the progression of the disease. One major roadblock in developing such disease-modifying treatments has been an inadequate understanding of how PD develops.

That soon may change, as University of Arizona physician-turned-researcher Lalitha Madhavan, MD, PhD, is studying novel stem cell biology and its applications toward understanding and treating neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Madhavan, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and head of the UA Stem Cells and Neurodegeneration Lab, always dreamed of being a physician. After completing medical school, for several years she was involved in clinical practice where she supported the care of patients with degenerative brain diseases like...

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