UABSO In the News

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  1. Campaign for UAB launches three new TV spots
    Campaign for UAB launches three new TV spots
    On the heels of reaching the halfway point of its ambitious $1 billion fundraising goal, UAB’s compelling “Give Something, Change Everything” TV spots highlight diverse initiatives.

    With three little words — “Let’s do this” — new television spots for The Campaign for UAB: Give Something, Change Everything encourage viewers to see themselves as part of a team that can forge opportunities, spark creativity, devise solutions, create cures and transform ideas into businesses.

    The :30-second spots, which will air through Thanksgiving in the Birmingham market, have a decidedly local origin. They were filmed on campus and produced by The Campaign for UAB co-chair Theresa Bruno using local talent, and the score for the spots was created by jazz guitarist and UAB artist-in-residence Eric Essix. UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D., and School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President of Medicine Selwyn Vickers, M.D., each make an appearance.

    The new spots are complemented by an online advertising campaign illustrating ways gifts can: change lives through education and outreach, build a better world through innovation and entrepreneurship, advance knowledge through discovery and creativity, and accelerate breakthroughs through research and patient care.

    “There are many ways you can increase UAB’s extraordinary impact by supporting this campaign, and these spots show several important initiatives you can accelerate through support,” UAB President Ray L. Watts said. “When you give to UAB, you help us change our community and our world for the better, whether by finding the cure for a disease, enabling a bright young person to go to college or lighting the spark for a new innovation.”

    The timing of this advertising campaign coincides with the approaching one-year mark of the public phase of the $1 billion comprehensive campaign, which recently surpassed the halfway mark of $500 million. The campaign will run through 2018.

    That UAB affects more than 60,000 jobs statewide, has an annual economic impact exceeding $5 billion, and is responsible for educating students and making groundbreaking discoveries, as well as saving and improving lives, provides a unique opportunity for The Campaign for UAB.

    “There is truly something everyone can passionately support at UAB, and these spots give just a taste of some of those diverse opportunities,” said UAB Vice President Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D. “A list of available funds can be searched on the campaign’s What do you want to change today? Web page, and we can work with donors to identify new opportunities that fit their interests.”

    To learn more about The Campaign for UAB: Give Something, Change Everything, follow its progress or give, visit uab.edu/campaign.

  2. UAB researcher granted $1 million to study deadly bacteria passed to babies from 25 percent of mothers
    UAB researcher granted $1 million to study deadly bacteria passed to babies from 25 percent of mothers

    Group B Streptococcus, when passed from mother to newborn during birth, is the leading cause of sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis.

    narayana sthanamNew research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry will study the transmission of a bacteria that up to 40 percent of healthy women carry, which becomes deadly when passed on to infants during birth.

    Narayana Sthanam, Ph.D., professor of structural biology in the Department of Optometry, has been awarded a four-year, $1 million R01 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to further Group B Streptococcus research.

    GBS is the leading cause of sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in a newborn’s first week of life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “Even after extensive preventive screening and treatment of expecting mothers, GBS infects a considerable percentage of neonates, as around 25 percent of mothers pass the GBS pathogen to infants during birth,” Sthanam said. “It becomes responsible for significant neonatal mortality around the world, and no vaccines are available against GBS infections.”

    This new research, “Complement evasion by Group B Streptococcus,” will address how GBS escapes the mother’s complement system, which helps to clear disease-causing pathogens like GBS from the host.

    GBS is the leading cause of sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in a newborn’s first week of life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “The complement system is our first line of defense against invading pathogens,” Sthanam said.

    Sthanam adds that this study will also address how to use the knowledge of GBS interactions with complement proteins as an aid for a quick and reliable diagnosis of GBS infection, and for therapeutic intervention.

    “The complement system is a major effector arm of innate and adaptive immunity against invading pathogens,” Sthanam said. “Upon activation, it facilitates rapid elimination of the pathogen, but sometimes becomes complicit and cooperates in its survival leading to life-threatening infections. A credible explanation of how GBS escapes from the human complement will provide the needed input for a therapeutic intervention.”

  3. Bolton to return to UAB as VP for Financial Affairs and Administration
    Bolton to return to UAB as VP for Financial Affairs and Administration

    After leaving UAB in 2011 to hold a senior leadership position in academic medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, G. Allen Bolton Jr. has been selected through a national search to replace the retiring Richard Margison.

    Allen-BoltonAfter a national search, the University of Alabama at Birmingham has named G. Allen Bolton Jr., MPH, MBA, as vice president for Financial Affairs and Administration.

    In his new role, which he will assume on Oct. 1, Bolton will lead UAB’s Financial Affairs and Administration, which supports the education, research and patient-care missions and activities of the institution, primarily through divisions including Business and Auxiliary Services, Facilities, Financial Affairs, Human Resources, Risk Management, Faculty and Staff Benevolent Fund, UAB Police Department and the University Compliance Office.

    Bolton has worked for the last three years as senior vice president for Finance and Administration and chief operating officer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Prior to that, he gained extensive academic medical center experience at both UAB and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

    He is a two-time graduate of UAB with master’s degrees in public health and business administration. During his 19 years at UAB, Bolton held positions of increasing responsibility before leaving in 2011. He served as executive administrator of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as senior associate dean for Administration and Finance at the UAB School of Medicine.

    “It is an honor to have been selected to serve as UAB’s next vice president for Financial Affairs and Administration,” Bolton said. “I am grateful to President (Ray) Watts and the search committee for inviting me to ‘come home’ and join UAB’s leadership team in this important role at a critical time in the institution’s history.”

    Bolton was director of the Greater Dallas Injury Prevention Center of Parkland Health and Hospital System, a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a public health educator and statistical analyst in the Health Promotion Section of the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment.

    UAB President Ray L. Watts points to Bolton’s unique status as someone who has had external and internal experience, a combination that brings great value to the institution.

    “Based on his qualifications and experience, Allen is the right person at the right time for this vital leadership position,” Watts said. “He joins us with the institutional knowledge of an internal candidate who has built a tremendous reputation across campus, as well as with a wealth of external experience that brings fresh perspectives.”

    In his new role, which he will assume on Oct. 1, Bolton will lead UAB’s Financial Affairs and Administration, which supports the education, research and patient-care missions and activities of the institution, primarily through divisions including Business and Auxiliary Services, Facilities, Financial Affairs, Human Resources, Risk Management, Faculty and Staff Benevolent Fund, UAB Police Department and the University Compliance Office.

    Bolton’s familiarity with UAB bolstered his interest in the position. 

    “Taking the opportunity to work with Dr. Watts and to serve the faculty, staff and students of this great institution was an easy decision to make,” Bolton said. “It is a distinct and humbling privilege to be able to serve UAB in this role, and I look forward to the meaningful and exciting work that we will do together.”

    Bolton consistently held faculty appointments earlier in his career, and he has published 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He also has been active in extramurally funded grants, serving as project director or co-principal investigator of grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and various national foundations.

    “Because of my experience in both finance and academic administration, I understand this unique environment, which makes this an ideal fit,” Bolton said.

    Bolton served on the Editorial Board of theJournal of Research Administration and has been active in a number of national professional societies, including the Association of Academic Health Centers, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the Association of American Medical College’s Group on Business Affairs and Group on Institutional Planning, and the Society of Research Administrators.

    Bolton has also served on many UAB committees, as well as on national and international committees of the World Health Organization, the Association of American Cancer Institutes, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Association of Academic Health Centers.

    A search committee chaired by UAB Vice President Shirley Salloway Kahn was assembled when UAB’s current Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration Richard Margison announced his retirement in March after 16 years with UAB; Margison will serve through August.

    Bolton is active in the community, having played significant roles in teen wellness, behavioral risk factor surveillance, child safety seat legislation, the American Cancer Society, Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America, and Habitat for Humanity. Bolton, or teams on which he served, has won numerous awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Association of Public Hospitals and the American Hospital Association.

    Bolton and his wife, Lisa, have been married for almost 29 years and have two grown children — a daughter in Birmingham who is attending classes at UAB, and son and daughter-in-law in Nashville. After a 26-year career as an IT professional, Lisa Bolton volunteers for The Ronald McDonald House, The Wisconsin Humane Society and a regional performing arts center in Milwaukee. The Boltons were longtime residents of Hoover before moving to Milwaukee in 2011.

  4. Optometry research associate’s study recognized at national conference
    Optometry research associate’s study recognized at national conference
    The work of Roy Joseph, Ph.D., was chosen as one of the top 3 percent of abstracts submitted at ARVO 2014.

    RoyJoseph sUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry research associate Roy Joseph, Ph.D., was recently recognized as having one of the top 3 percent of abstracts submitted at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting.

    Joseph’s abstract, Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Normal and Keratoconus Corneal Fibroblasts using Viral- and Non-Viral Methods, was named an ARVO 2014 Emerging Trends and Hot Topics abstract, representing the newest and most innovative research being conducted in the various specialties.

    The research is focused on keratoconus, a disease of the cornea that causes visual degradation and the inability to focus a clear image onto the retina; it can eventually require corneal transplantation, which Joseph says occurs in one in 2,000 people.

    Joseph explains that corneal tissues are composed of collagen fibers laid in layers, sandwiching keratocyte cells. In culture, keratocytes normally become fibroblasts or scar cells. Joseph believes keratocyte abnormalities play a pivotal role in keratoconus.

    "Our research utilizes reprogramming factors inducing these fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, by viral and non-viral methods. Using a variety of agents, these stem cells are then converted back into true corneal keratocytes,” Joseph said. “This conversion in tissue culture allows for a wealth of studies to further unravel the cellular mysteries in keratocytes from keratoconus.”

    Joseph, who works in the laboratory of Om P. Srivastava, Ph.D., says his work is a “disease-in-a-dish” approach that could be a source for better understanding of corneal disease progression and correcting the genetic defects from this disease.

  5. Pediatric optometry resident receives award
    Pediatric optometry resident receives award
    Jessie Dinkel, O.D., has been awarded the Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Award, intended to promote the practice and development of the field.

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    University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry pediatric optometry resident Jessie Dinkel, O.D., has received a Johnson & Johnson Vision Care 2014 Residency Award, according to the American Optometric Foundation.

    Dinkel is one of three to be awarded the Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Award, which is intended to promote the practice and development of the field of pediatric optometry by providing incentives and support to talented optometric residents who demonstrate a passion and commitment to practice, research and education in the field of children’s vision.

    The 2014 residents selected were carefully chosen by peer review members from the American Academy of Optometry Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies, and the Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry Section; each receives $2,750 toward his or her graduate education that includes a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2014 in Denver to be held Nov. 12-15.