Gowda receives 2017 Young Investigator Award

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Dr. Chadrika Gowda with her mentor, Dr. Sinisa Dovat.

It’s been fewer than four years since Dr. Chandrika Gowda completed her fellowship with Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children’s Hospital, but she already has been recognized as one of the nation’s top young medical researchers.

Now an assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine, Dr. Gowda is a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Young Investigator Award from The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO), an annual award that recognizes excellence in research in the field. (more…)

April 12, 2017 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Newly-designed library illustrates modern education’s transformation

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Spaces the encourage interactions and collaboration, private meeting rooms, individual work areas and an open, bright design are some of the features of the new Harrell Health Sciences Library, Research and Learning Commons.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Third-year medical students Nathan Wong, Anne Chen and Wilson Chan munched on lunch as they talked through their notes in a group study room at the Harrell Health Sciences Library, Research and Learning Commons at Penn State College of Medicine.

To study better, they could grab a marker and write on the white board walls of the room, turning them into one large study guide with great visibility. Or they could pull up a PowerPoint presentation from class on the large screen on another wall.

“These are good spaces for students to study together; there were none here before,” Chen said. “Now the library accommodates different types of study styles. There are still cubicles if you are a self-learner, but if you are a group studier, like us, you can use one of these new rooms.”

“Our old library was old looking; this is much more a place where you want to come,” Wong said. (more…)

March 29, 2017 at 9:23 am 1 comment

Compassion + Science: Addiction research at Penn State College of Medicine

66769 LE 2By Heidi Lynn Russell

The conversation always starts the same way: “My son…” “My daughter…” “My grandchild…. has a drug problem.”

And for years, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine have been trying to solve a yearning question from people whose hearts are breaking:

“Why can’t they stop?”

But research now underway may finally unveil an answer – and some hope. Behind all of the science that goes on in sterile campus laboratories – behind the studies of rats and brain cells and clinical findings – is an understanding that many people, including those struggling with drug use, don’t always see:  Addiction to opioids alters a person’s brain chemistry, robbing them of the ability to make free-will decisions, says Dr. Sue Grigson, professor of neural and behavioral sciences. (more…)

March 23, 2017 at 7:28 am Leave a comment

Penn State Colorectal Diseases Biobank links genetics and colorectal cancer

 By Heidi Lynn Russell

What if your family’s DNA could become the blueprint for your very own precise and personalized treatment for colorectal cancer? Or, better yet, what if it could be used to help doctors screen you earlier for the disease, before it has a chance to strike?

This isn’t a science-fictional, futuristic ideal. Cutting-edge research at Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State Colorectal Diseases Biobank is revealing how genetics play a role in treating this disease. (more…)

March 15, 2017 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Culinary Medicine: Teaching the importance of nutrition in medical school

By Jade Kelly Solovey

During future physicians’ four years in medical school, they expect to be exposed to many different environments. They become acquainted with the emergency room, operating room, delivery room and every other room in between. Instructors at Penn State College of Medicine hope to help their students become familiar with one more room-the kitchen.

Fourth year medical students at the College now have an opportunity to participate in a Culinary Medicine course to learn cooking and nutrition basics, which they can then pass on to patients. Culinary Medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.

(more…)

March 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Researcher sees exercise as important aspect of cancer recovery

A photo of Kathryn Schmitz, arms crossed, leaning against shelves of exercise equipment

Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D.

By Jade Kelly Solovey

In a second floor, 300 square foot chemotherapy infusion suite in Penn State Cancer Institute are some dumbbells, some stretchy bands, two treadmills, a recumbent bike, a weight bench, some physical therapy tools, and a raised mat. It’s not much and it’s not very big, but for researcher Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., it’s what she wanted.

“What I asked for and got in coming to Penn State Cancer Institute was the exercise medicine unit in an oncology clinical setting,” Schmitz said. She needed it for her work.

With the help of an experienced master trainer, this is where she and her team plan to make exercise part of the standard of care for cancer patients as they research the role of nutrition and exercise in cancer treatment and recovery. She has several clinical research studies underway or in development. (more…)

March 2, 2017 at 8:16 am Leave a comment

Four Diamonds celebrates 40-year partnership with THON

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Charles and Irma Millard

By Ashley Davidson

When Penn State students hit the dance floor for THON this Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Bryce Jordan Center, they’ll celebrate the culmination of a year-long fundraising effort that’s expected to raise millions of dollars — and mark the 40th anniversary since THON named Four Diamonds its sole beneficiary. But it’ll be an exceptionally bittersweet moment for Four Diamonds’ founders Charles and Irma Millard, who can’t believe how far the partnership has come.

They founded Four Diamonds in 1972 after their 14-year-old son, Christopher, lost his three-year battle with cancer at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (Read more about the history of Four Diamonds here.) Five years later, Four Diamonds forged the relationship with THON (formally called the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon), which catapulted the organization’s fundraising efforts and ultimately grew it into the nationally recognized philanthropy it is today. (more…)

February 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm 1 comment

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