Center of Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease and Immunity
- Patient Recruitment
- COVID-19 Research Recruitment Flyer
ETSU and VA collecting blood samples for COVID-19 research
**Update (August 10, 2020)**
The Institutional Review Board has approved recruitment among patients who are greater than 14 days from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
JOHNSON CITY (August 3, 2020) – East Tennessee State University and the James H. Quillen
Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home are seeking patients who have recovered
from COVID-19 to donate a sample of their blood to be used for current and future
“We want to recruit as many recovered patients as possible who are willing to donate to our biorepository,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, principal investigator and division chief of infectious, inflammatory and immunologic diseases at ETSU Health. “People who give us their blood are giving us an opportunity to see what a successful immune response to this virus looks like. We need to look at these successes to discover how to treat and prevent the disease in others.”
To qualify for the research study, participants must be at least 18 years old, be in recovery for more than six weeks from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, sign an informed consent form, submit to a blood draw, and answer a few health-related questions. Participants do not need to be a veteran to participate. The typical appointment takes less than 30 minutes, and participants will receive a $25 Walmart gift card. In addition, they will receive the results of a free COVID-19 antibody test.
All of the blood samples will become part of a biorepository, which is a storage bank of cellular material that is frozen and cryopreserved to use at a later time. The biorepository is housed at the VA.
One blood sample can be used for a myriad of current and future research studies. For example, cellular material from the biorepository is currently being used in a study by Dr. Zhi Q. Yao, professor in the ETSU Department of Internal Medicine and director of both the Center of Excellence for HIV/AIDS and the Hepatitis (HCV/HIV) Program, Department of Veterans Affairs.
Yao’s study, which was recently funded by the American Diabetes Association, explores the impact that COVID-19 and diabetes have on each other.
“Dr. Yao’s study is one of the first to utilize the new biorepository, and there will be many more to come,” Moorman said. “Participants who donate are giving a gift that can be vastly multiplied.”
For further details or to set up an appointment to discuss participation in the research study, contact James L. Adkins, clinical research coordinator, at 423-430-2443.
Courtesy of WJHL:
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University seeks participants who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 experiencing symptoms 90 days after recovery for a new study.Researchers aim to survey those known as “long haulers,” people who experience lingering symptoms after having had COVID-19.... FInd the full story here.
2021 Quillen College of Medicine Medical Student Symposium Returns to In-Person Presentations with Record Number of Students
Now in its 20th year, the Quillen College of Medicine Medical Student Summer Research Symposium has weathered the pandemic well. While last year the symposium carried on as a virtual event, this year students and their faculty mentors returned to Stanton-Gerber Hall on September 27th to present posters describing the research they participated in over the summer of 2021.
A record number of students participated in the program this year. 43 second-year medical students designed, implemented, and presented research projects under the auspices of COM faculty. A group of faculty and graduate students then served as judges for two categories: Clinical/Population Health and Basic Science research. Awards were given for the top five presentations in each category. The winners were:
Clinical/Population Health Posters:
1st Place: Katie Callerhorn – “Preliminary Findings from Qualitative Interviews about Transgender Healthcare Experiences in South Central Appalachia” – Mentor: Dr. Abbey Mann (Family Medicine) 2nd Place: Summer Shore – “Correlation between rising Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) rates and increased buprenorphine prescriptions in Southern Appalachia” – Mentor: Dr. Martin Olsen (Obstetrics and Gynecology) 3rd Place: Andrew Hicks – “Drug-Related Death Trends in and around East TN” – Mentor: Dr. Chris Hauch (Pathology) 4th Place: Alex Condra (above, left) – “Examining COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Students, Professors, and Faculty” – Mentor: Dr. Abbey Mann (Family Medicine) 5th Place: Maria Schulz and Nancy Sharkawy (At right) – “Glycemic Control During a Pandemic: Exploring the Utility of Telehealth for Patients with Diabetes” – Mentor: Dr. Tom Kincer (Family Medicine)
Basic Science Posters:
1st Place: Hunter Cobble – “Establishing an ex-vivo model of hippocampal excitation and seizure-like activity in Scn1b-/- mice” – Mentor: Dr. Chad Frasier (Biomedical Sciences) 2nd Place: Nausheen Siddiqui – “The Effects of Chronic Stress on CNTF/UCN3 in the pBNST and Hypothalamic PVN in mice” – Mentor: Dr. Cuihong Jia (Biomedical Sciences) 3rd Place: Nicole Ceausu – “α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor regulates macrophage migration during chronic inflammation and control the development of atherosclerosis” – Mentor: Dr. Valentin Yakubenko (Biomedical Sciences/ CIIDI Member) 4th Place: Noah Rutherford – “Dendritic Spine Density in an Animal Model Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder” – Mentor: Dr. Michelle Chandley (Biomedical Sciences)5th Place: Luke Bullock – “The role of metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 in the associative properties of nicotine in a heritable rodent model of drug abuse vulnerability” – Mentor: Dr. Russ Brown (Biomedical Sciences/ CIIDI Member)
CIIDI member Dr. Aaron Polichnowski of the Department of Biomedical Sciences has spearheaded this event for several years. He stated: “Special acknowledgment should be given to Dr. Bill Block for financially supporting students during the summer, the Chairs of the eight COM Departments for financially supporting the monetary awards and award certificates for the winning poster presentations, the faculty mentors for their time and efforts in mentoring students, the faculty and graduate student judges for their time and effort in evaluating the poster presentations, and Crystal Maupin, BMS Business Manager, for overseeing the administrative aspects of the program.”
The following faculty who mentored students in their work for the 2021 Student Symposium are CIIDI members:
Divya Agarwal and Olivia Knoll
Title: Postpartum Mental Health in Opioid Use Disorder Women Mentor: Dr. Darshan Shah (Pediatrics)
Is Weaning of Buprenorphine Safe for Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder? Mentor: Dr. Darshan Shah (Pediatrics)
Title: Screening Candida albicans agglutinin-like sequence (Als) and heat shock 70 (Ssa) mutants for Chlamydia trachomatis binding Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Hall (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Histone Deacetylases 1 and 2 are essential for retinal pigment epithelial homeostasis Mentor: Dr. Mark Kleinman (Surgery)
Title: Liver Specific Vitronectin Expression in Female Vitronectin -/- Mice Correlates with Brain Injury Size after Stroke Mentor: Dr. Matt Keasey (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Design, molecular cloning and expression of integrin αD mutants for the functional analysis of integrin ligand binding properties Mentor: Dr. Valentin Yakubenko (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Does Integrated Management of Opioid Use Disorder Affect Outcomes of NAS Diagnosis: Results of Preliminary Data Mentor: Dr. Darshan Shah (Pediatrics)
Title: PBMCs from sepsis patients maintain their ability to produce IL-1β and IL-17 in response to Candida albicans stimulation Mentor: Dr. Tammy Ozment (Surgery)
Title: If Hypoxia Contributes to the AKI-CKD transition, Where is the Hypoxia? Mentor: Dr. Aaron Polichnowski (Biomedical Sciences
Title: How do ketone bodies extend the lifespan of C. elegans? Mentor: Dr. Patrick Bradshaw (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Effects of Nicotinamide Riboside and Beta-Hydroxybutyrate on C. elegans Lifespan Mentor: Dr. Patrick Bradshaw (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Production of NRF2 and p62 in EBV Latency Mentor: Dr. Shunbin Ning (Internal Medicine)
Title: Renal Hemodynamics and Function in Conscious, Salt-Resistant Rats Mentor: Dr. Aaron Polichnowski (Biomedical Sciences)
Title: Synthesis, purification, and characterization of glucopyranosyl monosaccharide subunits Mentor: Dr. David Williams (Surgery)
For more information about the Quillen College of Medicine Medical Student Summer Research Program, please visit https://www.etsu.edu/com/research/student-research.php. A complete list of students who were selected to compete in the 2021 symposium can be found at here.
Young Investigators Selected for Presentations and Honors at 2021 Shock Society Annual Conference
Dr. Kun Yang (pictured at middle) and Dr. Min Fan (pictured on the right) were each selected to make presentations at the 2021 Shock Society meeting, which was held virtually October 11 – 15. In addition, Dr. Yang and Dr. Fan each received travel awards from the organization. Only 40 of these awards were made nationwide. Dr. Yang was also selected to receive a Research Investigator Fellowship from the Shock Society.
Dr. Yang’s presentation, “Macrophage HMGB1 Lactylation by Lactate During Sepsis,” described the manner in which increased serum lactate levels correlate with severity and mortality of sepsis, making lactate a critical biomarker for sepsis diagnosis and prognosis. He says, “We recently made a novel finding that lactate promotes high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) release from macrophages during sepsis. Notably, mechanistic study reveals that lactate not only induces HMGB1 acetylation, but directly modifies HMGB1 via lactylation to promote HMGB1 release. Importantly, inhibition of lactate uptake or lactate/GPR81 signaling significantly protects against polymicrobial sepsis in mice. Our findings highlight that lactate/GPR81 signaling could be a potential therapeutic target to combine sepsis.”
In addition, the $22,000 Research Investigator Fellowship was presented to Dr. Yang during the annual conference. The fellowship is to support a postgraduate research fellow in research areas related to trauma, shock, and sepsis. Research topics may vary from basic cellular responses to clinical outcomes, and translational research and clinical applications are encouraged. Dr. Chuanfu Li (pictured above left), Professor in the Department of Surgery, will serve as Dr. Yang’s research mentor for this fellowship.
Dr. Yang’s study, “Novel Role of Lactate in HMGB1 Lactylation and Vascular Barrier Dysfunction During Sepsis,” will focus on the deleterious role of lactate in vascular injury during sepsis. He describes his new study: “We have reported that lactate promotes HMGB1 acetylation, lactylation and release via exosome secretion from macrophages. In addition, exosomal HMGB1 disrupts VE-cadherin complex on endothelial cells, leading to increased vascular permeability in sepsis. We will further explore the underlying mechanisms of vascular injury induced by exosomal HMGB1 during sepsis. These findings will be of great importance to expand our understanding of vascular injury in sepsis.” He will present his study findings at next year’s Shock Society conference.
Dr. Min Fan was selected as a finalist to present in the NIA competition on October 15 for the New Investigator Award for her abstract “Lactate Impairs Vascular Integrity by Decreasing VE-cadherin Expression via GPR81 Dependent Signaling in Sepsis.” She states: “My study showed that Lactate disrupts VE-cadherin integrity by activating calpains and decreasing HSPA12B, leading to vascular permeability in sepsis. Inhibition of lactate receptor GPR81 protects sepsis induced vascular permeability.”
Dr. Kun Yang and Dr. Min Fan are postdoctoral fellows with Dr. Chuanfu Li’s lab in the Department of Surgery. Kun Yang received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati in 2018. Min Fan received her PhD from ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine in 2021. They are CIIDI members. Please join us in congratulating them on their selection for presentations and awards from the Shock Society.