Arthur Vandenbark and team find treatment dose for MS is sex dependent

High dose of DRα1-mMOG-35-55 reduces demyelination and leukocyte infiltration in female mice with chronic EAE.

High dose of DRα1-mMOG-35-55 reduces demyelination and leukocyte infiltration in female mice with chronic EAE.

One of the main challenges in treating multiple sclerosis is reversing the effects of accumulated damage to the central nervous system. Damage to myelin, which coats and protects axons, and chronic axonal loss due to the absence of myelin are hallmarks of the disease. Most of the available drugs for MS are anti-inflammatory and used to treat the most common type of MS: relapsing-remitting. It is not clear to what extent these drugs help repair damaged axons and create new myelin sheaths. Repairing or stopping chronic myelin damage may reduce or halt MS progression.

A team led by Arthur A. Vandenbark, Ph.D., used a mouse model of MS to evaluate potencies of a genetic therapy, called pMHC class II constructs, on the progressive form of this MS model. Vandenbark, professor in the OHSU Multiple Sclerosis Center, and his team have previously shown that these pMHC class II constructs may prevent or reverse clinical signs of neuro-inflammatory diseases, including the mouse model of MS.

The research, published May 6 in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, demonstrated that treating the mouse model of chronic MS with these constructs significantly reversed the clinical severity of the disease. The treatment also reduced continued loss of myelin and the associated axonal damage in the central nervous system.

The findings demonstrated that the effective dose of pMHC constructs was sex dependent and might be regulated by estrogen signaling through estrogen receptor alpha, a nuclear receptor that is activated by the sex hormone estrogen. The team identified the importance of the dose of these constructs, particularly when used in future therapies for women with progressive MS. Of the 400,000 people in the United States with MS, most are women.

This work may potentially support the design of future clinical trials using pMHC for treatment of progressive MS.

In addition to Vandenbark and first authors Gil Benedek and Priya Chaudhary, co-authors include Roberto Meza-Romero, Evan Calkins, Gail Kent, Halina Offner, and Dennis Bourdette.

This work was supported by NIH grants AI 122574 (to AAV) and the Merit Award BX000226 (to AAV) through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development.


Reminder: RCR and human subjects training deadline, May 31

Last July, OHSU announced changes in training requirements for the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and protection of human subjects. With the university’s transition to the CITI Program, all researchers who completed their training more than three years ago in the Big Brain system are now being asked to complete updated training through CITI by May 31, 2017. The CITI Program meets NIH standards and is utilized by the majority of academic institutions in the U.S. and the Veteran’s Administration.

Depending on your work, you might need to complete at least one of the following CITI courses by the May 31 deadline.

  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Previously called “RCR for All” in Big Brain. This course is required for anyone involved in research at OHSU.
  • Animal Care and Use (ACU): Working with the IACUC. Previously called “RCR involving Animal Subjects” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by researchers who use animals.
  • Human Subjects Research (HSR): Human Researchers. Previously called “RCR involving Human Subjects” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by researchers conducting research with human subjects.
  • Biosafety/Biosecurity: Working with rDNA/Infectious Agents/Toxins. Previously called “RCR involving rDNA, Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and Infectious Agents/ Biological Toxins” in Big Brain. This course must be competed if you work with recombinant DNA, synthetic nucleic acid molecules in cells, organisms or viruses, infectious agents, or biologically derived toxins.
  • Good Clinical Practices (GCP). Previously called “RCR for FDA Regulated Products” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by researchers conducting human subject research involving FDA regulated products (drugs or devices), clinical trials funded by the NIH or clinical trials with GCP training required by the sponsor.

Changes in Compliance Training

With the ever-changing research regulatory environment, OHSU has instituted a 3-year renewal requirement for the CITI courses listed above, as is the standard at many institutions, to provide updated content and refreshers on regulatory requirements.

If you have previously completed the listed courses in Big Brain, you will be eligible to enroll in a refresher training option once in the CITI system. Similarly, past CITI users are able to associate their existing CITI account with OHSU in order to apply previously completed courses towards OHSU requirements. By linking your OHSU credentials to a pre-existing CITI account, you will be given credit for any equivalent trainings completed in the last 3 years when you register for OHSU training. Please note that the CITI modules do take longer than the old Big Brain modules, so expect to devote at least an hour to each.

When do I have to complete CITI training?

Courses previously completed in Big Brain will be automatically assigned to your Compass account. Based on your past completions, you were either assigned a due date of May 31, 2017 or May 31, 2018. If you are not sure when you are due, you can check your account in Compass for any assigned training and the due date. Failure to complete your training by these dates will result in you being noncompliant in funding set-up processes and block the submission of IRB, IACUC, and IBC protocols on which your education compliance is being managed by OHSU.

You only need to complete courses related to the type of work you do now. If you no longer need to complete a course that has been assigned to you, please let us know by filling out this online form. You can also reply back to, and identify which course no longer applies to you and why. Your Compass transcript will be adjusted accordingly. Please visit the website for more information on training requirements, and contact with any questions.

Faculty honored for contributions to OHSU’s missions

At OHSU, the passion we bring to our work leads to discoveries, educational opportunities, and patient successes that literally change the world. At the heart of our success are faculty members that bring this devotion, creativity, and energy to everything that we stand for. This makes a difference not only in the eyes of other faculty members, but to students and patients as well. It is a great honor to be recognized by fellow faculty members for the many contributions that are sometimes thought as unseen.

Congratulations to this year’s Faculty Senate Awards finalists and winners (highlighted in blue).

Affiliated Units and Institutes
Teaching Award
Robin Champieux, M.L.I.S.
Tawnya Peterson, Ph.D.

School of Dentistry
Excellence Award
Luiz Bertassoni, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Sylvia Nelsen, PhD
Carmem Pfeifer, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Sivaraman Prakasam, Ph.D.

School of Medicine
Service Award
Kara Connelly, M.D.
Karen Eden, Ph.D.
David Jones, M.D.
Christina Milano, M.D.

School of Nursing
Research Award
Lissi Hansen, Ph.D., R.N.
Dena Hassouneh, Ph.D., R.N. A.N.P. P.M.H.N.P, F.A.A.N.
Christopher Lee, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.H.A., F.A.A.N., F.H.F.S.A.

College of Pharmacy
Leadership Award
Gary DeLander, Ph.D.
Theresa Filtz, Ph.D.
Mark Leid, Ph.D.

School of Public Health
Collaboration Award
Elena Andresen, Ph.D.
Dennis McCarty, Ph.D.
John Stull, M.D., M.P.H.

The award categories rotate among the different schools and affiliated units on an annual basis. Nominations are reviewed by committees representing individual units, and final selection is made by the OHSU Faculty Senate. The awards are supported by the OHSU Foundation. The award winners were announced at this year’s Distinguished Faculty Awards luncheon which was held on May 24.

OHSU Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving awards two research grants

The OHSU Center for Women’s Health Circle of Giving, a group of philanthropic women who pool and target their resources to advance women’s health research at OHSU, have announced the recipients of two research grants for 2017.

Award recipient Wei Huang,  Ph.D.

Award recipient Wei Huang, Ph.D.

Wei Huang, Ph.D., (left photo) from the Advanced Imaging Research Center will receive a $125,000 grant. Dr. Huang proposes to develop a safer, faster and lower-cost MRI exam that can detect breast cancer with high accuracy and can be used following positive mammographic findings to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce unnecessary biopsies. His goal is that the MRI exam will be about ten minutes and will not require the need for contrast injections, which currently make MRIs more expensive and unsafe for some women.

Award recipients Kimberly Beatty, Ph.D., and Jim Korkola, Ph.D.

Award recipients Kimberly Beatty, Ph.D., and Jim Korkola, Ph.D.

Jim Korkola, Ph.D. and Kimberly Beatty, Ph.D., both assistant professors of biomedical engineering, OHSU School of Medicine, will also receive a $125,000 grant. They propose to use new molecular technology to investigate drug resistance mechanisms in HER2+ breast cancers. The technology will allow them to tag and track the locations and interactions of breast cancer receptors, in cancer cells. This research could reveal new information about why patient responses to treatment varies and identify new opportunities for treating drug-resistant, HER2+ breast cancers.

Since its founding in 2006, the Circle of Giving has awarded almost $2 million in grants to OHSU researchers doing important work in the field of women’s health. A total of 18 grants have been awarded, including some smaller grants for focused research and equipment. The Circle of Giving is unique in the United States. It is the only giving circle of its kind: focused exclusively on women’s health research.

The Circle of Giving grant is open to OHSU researchers who wish to launch new ideas and innovations in a broad range of women’s health issues. The next grant cycle will begin in December 2017. Please contact Casey Conrad for more information about submission requirements.

NRSA application workshop: Technical components, June 20

If you’re planning to apply for a pre- or post-doctoral NRSA fellowship from the NIH in the near future, we encourage you to attend this workshop to learn about essential, non-research elements of your fellowship application. Topics covered include elements needed for an InfoEd proposal, how to develop a budget, how to manage reference letters, biosketches and PMCID numbers, and elements of a great training plan.

This upcoming workshop is led by Johanna Colgrove, coordinator of the MD/PhD program, Gavin Hamilton, grants and contracts administrator with the Office of Proposal and Award Management, and Rachel Dresbeck, Ph.D., director of Research Development and Communications.

NRSA Application Workshop
Tuesday, June 20
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Biomedical Information Communication Center (BICC), room 124

Open to researchers and administrators. Registration now available on Compass.

Upcoming Research Administration Training and Education classes

RATEClassroom1Research Administration Training and Education (RATE) offers a number of workplace learning resources for the OHSU research community. RATE classes and other research-related workplace learning can be found on the RATE O2 site.

Besides RDA 101: Introduction to Research Administration which is being held this week at the South Waterfront, this season’s classes continue through June.

Consider joining us for these topics:

Federal Grants Management
Wednesday, May 31
1 to 4 p.m.
Center for Health and Healing, 3070 (Room 4)

This course is for administrative staff who manage the financial concerns of federal grants and contracts. Topics include:

  • Policies and audit
  • Costing issues in award administration
  • General award management including committed effort, carry over requests, no cost extensions, and re-budgeting
  • Sub-recipient monitoring
  • Interpreting financial reports and invoices
  • Close out

Enroll via Compass.

NRSA Training Grants
Thursday, June 8
9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location Correction: Center for Health and Healing, 3070 (Room 4)

Specifically designed for administrative staff who assist in the submission of NIH training grant proposals or manage these types of awards, this course will guide you through topics such as:

  • T32 resources
  • Tables and xTract
  • Budgets and set-up
  • Training grant vs. fellowship comparisons
  • xTrain guidance

Enroll via Compass.

If you have questions, please contact Margaret Gardner or Holly McClure of the RATE program.

Researchers: Contribute to the future of the OHSU Website

OHSU research community: you are invited to an open meeting for OHSU community members with an interest in improving lab pages on the OHSU website. The Website Platform Replacement project (WSPR) is creating an opportunity to improve key functionality. OHSU Digital Strategy would like to hear from people about their hopes and dreams for OHSU lab pages. While they cannot promise that every idea will be implemented, they want to understand how lab pages could be better so any modifications are well informed in the interest of better serving OHSU scientists and visitors to their lab pages.

Please join this important session, which will be held Tuesday June 6,  from 12-1 p.m. in Mac Hall 1162.

Demonstration from ProteinSimple, June 13

12036772_934105533346431_8675988888445494822_nChris Brannen from ProteinSimple will be describing two protein platform technologies that could be of interest to OHSU investigators.

Demonstration from ProteinSimple
Tuesday, June 13
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Biomedical Research Building, 381

The first platform is Milo, a single-cell protein immunoblotting system. This instrument allows measurement of protein expression in ~1000 individual cells per run, allowing researchers identify which cells in the cell express each protein and how protein expression varies across the population. While single cell transcript analysis has been available for some time, this is the first commercially available system allowing single cell protein detection. The second platform is Wes, a protein separation and detection system that utilizes capillary nanofluidic immunoassay technology, allowing detection of very low protein levels.

Questions? Contact

Gerlinger Research Award applications due June 4

School of Medicine faculty members are eligible to apply for $10,000 to $40,000 in funding from the Gerlinger Research Award. The award can be used for salary, equipment, or supplies. Preference will be given to research addressing systemic autoimmune or connective tissue diseases. 

Applications are due June 4, 2017.

Presidential bridge funding applications due June 15

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research has released its call for proposals for the FY18 summer OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding Program. Bridge funding is available for established investigators threatened by an imminent lapse in research support. Investigators can request up to $50,000 in funding for one year to help bridge them while they generate data to restore funding. Up to 10 awards may be made this funding cycle.

Awards are available only to OHSU investigators. The PI must be an independent scientist. Independence is defined by: rank at the level of assistant professor or above; committed institutional support such as space and salary; a track record of first-authored or senior-authored publications; a recent history of federal (or similar) funding; and imminently planned or pending application for funding on a national level. Postdoctoral fellows and similar trainees are not eligible to apply.

Applications must include the following:

  • Bridge Funding Request signed by the PI and chair/unit head describing the need for bridge funding, efforts that have already been made to secure funding, how bridge funds will be used to increase the likelihood of funding renewal, and institutional commitment to the PI during the bridging period and beyond (no more than 2 pages).
  • Reviewer comments and priority scores
  • Letter of Support from applicant’s department chair or institute director
  • CV or biosketch
  • Budget

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2017 and must be submitted online via OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP). Guidelines and applications can be found on CAP or OHSU’s internal funding database.

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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