National involvement and new grants

Next week, we will celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Postdoctoral scholars play a critical role in our successful research program and represent the future of advance scientific knowledge. APOM is fortunate to have 6 stellar postdocs: Drs. Corwin Butler, Yoshio Funahashi, Jessica Hebert, Hung Nguyen, Steve Sullivan and Sarah Zerimech.

Spreading Good

Drs. Dayle Hodge and Angele Theard partnered with Building Blocks 2 Success, a local STEM initiative for under-represented students, to hold a two-day session to introduce pathways to medical careers and the cardiovascular system. The event was part of a grant entitled “A Pathway to a Career in Medicine: The Change That We Seek”, sponsored by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. The sessions included the use of medical instruments, a relay race to explain the utility of vital signs, a knowledge assessment of the cardiovascular system, bovine heart dissection, conversations about healthy lifestyles, as well as a roundtable discussion on overcoming adversity on the way to the success in the medical field. 


Dr. Kirk Lalwani was appointed as Co-Chair of the Problem-Based Learning Discussion Track (PBLD) for the 17th World Congress of Anesthesiologists.  This event was canceled in 2020 in Prague because of the pandemic and was held virtually during the first week of September this year. He also presented a PBLD at the meeting entitled “Case study: A 5-year-old with a History of "Feeling Walls" and Nocturia for Resection of a Suprasellar Tumor”. 

The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) has awarded Dr. Lisa Osborne-Smith, CRNA, of Fellow of the AANA (FAANA) – a recognized hallmark of leadership and professionalism in the profession and science of nurse anesthesiology. Congratulations Lisa! 


Congratulations to Sierra Smith, who was recently awarded a NIH R36 dissertation grant for her studies “MiR-193a-5p as a Regulator of Intersectin1-short and Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis in Alzheimer's Disease.” Sierra is a rising 3rd year student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program and is pursuing her PhD studies in the Saugstad lab. Sierra submitted her application to NIH in response to the Funding Opportunity Announcement: Aging Research Dissertation Awards to Increase Diversity. The R36 applications are competitive and support dissertation research costs of students in accredited research doctoral programs in the United States. Way to go Sierra!

Congratulations to Sarah Catherine Baker, who successfully passed her PhD qualifying examination on July 14th. Sarah Cate is a rising 2nd year student in the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and is pursuing her PhD studies in the Saugstad lab. She successfully defended her proposal “Investigating Exosome Biogenesis in Niemann Pick Disease Type C” to her committee, in spite of numerous technical challenges encountered in a hybrid in-person/WebEx meeting. Actually, she nailed it! Congratulations also to Sarah Cate for being accepted as a trainee on the NIH/NIA T32 grant “Neuroscience of Aging, Neurodegeneration, and Alzheimer’s Disease,” led by PI Dr. Henryk Urbanski. 

Congratulations to Dr. Ursula Sandau for her publication “Toward a Better Understanding of Inflammatory Microvesicles in Alcohol Use Disorder” published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research (July 22, 2021). In their letter to the editor, Dr. Sandau and co-author Dr. Jennifer Loftis, director of the Methamphetamine Research Center at OHSU and the Portland VA Medical Center, suggested that experiments in future studies aimed to investigate the role of extracellular microvesicles in pro-inflammatory responses to ethanol include are subjected to a more rigorous characterization of extracellular vesicle preparations, consistent with “Minimal Information for Studies of Extracellular Vesicles” recommendations published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles in 2018. 

Congratulations to Dr. Julie Saugstad and colleagues for their publication “Cerebrospinal Fluid MicroRNA Changes in Cognitively Normal Veterans with a History of Deployment-Associated Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” This study was done in collaboration with investigators at OHSU, the University of Washington, the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle. This article is the first to be published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience Research Topic - Traumatic Brain Injury and Neurodegeneration: Bridging the Gap (September 9, 2021). The study showed that both traumatic brain injury and deployment result in persistent changes in cerebrospinal fluid miRNA levels that are relevant to known miRNA-mediated Alzheimer’s disease pathology, and which may reflect early events in the processes leading to Alzheimer’s disease.