Inspired Together: A cancer survivor’s journey from patient to Boston Marathon runner

By Carolyn Kimmel

If someone had told Tim Harner a year ago that he would run in the Boston Marathon this month, he likely would have laughed – or cried— because the number one item on his bucket list seemed so unattainable.

Yet on April 17, he crossed the finish line of one of the nation’s top races, living the message that he wants to give other cancer survivors: “Never give up hope. Live life; don’t let life live you.”

Harner, a lifelong runner, was just 29 years old when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that progresses rapidly. His diagnosis in November 2015 began a journey that would challenge his resolve to live but ultimately transform his life. (more…)

April 26, 2017 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Gowda receives 2017 Young Investigator Award

Dovat_and_Gowda_in_Lab_03-29-2017_02

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

Library_11-08-2016_01

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

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