Dr. Fischer Publishes in JCI Insight

Dr. Tony Fischer in Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology recently published an article in JCI Insight titled “Mucus strands from submucosal glands initiate mucociliary transport of large particles”.

Abstract: Mucus produced by submucosal glands is a key component of respiratory mucociliary transport (MCT). When it emerges from submucosal gland ducts, mucus forms long strands on the airway surface. However, the function of those strands is uncertain. To test the hypothesis that mucus strands facilitate transport of large particles, we studied newborn pigs. In ex vivo experiments, interconnected mucus strands moved over the airway surface, attached to immobile spheres, and initiated their movement by pulling them. Stimulating submucosal gland secretion with methacholine increased the percentage of spheres that moved and shortened the delay until mucus strands began moving spheres. To disrupt mucus strands, we applied reducing agents tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine and dithiothreitol. They decreased the fraction of moving spheres and delayed initiation of movement for spheres that did move. We obtained similar in vivo results with CT-based tracking of microdisks in spontaneously breathing pigs. Methacholine increased the percentage of microdisks moving and reduced the delay until they were propelled up airways. Aerosolized tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine prevented those effects. Once particles started moving, reducing agents did not alter their speed either ex vivo or in vivo. These findings indicate that submucosal glands produce mucus in the form of strands and that the strands initiate movement of large particles, facilitating their removal from airways.

El-Shanti Named Division Director of Medical Genetics

It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Hatem El-Shanti as the new Director of the Division of Medical Genetics beginning February 25, 2019. Dr. El-Shanti earned his MD at the University of Cairo, Egypt. He completed a M.Sc. in Genetics and a post-doctoral fellowship at Indiana University, followed by a pediatric residency and a medical genetics fellowship at the University of Iowa. Following his training he spent 10 years on the faculty of the Jordan University of Science and Technology where he served in a number of roles, including Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory, Interim Chairman of Pediatrics, and Medical Director of Princes Rahma Children’s Hospital.

In 2003, Dr. El Shanti returned to Iowa as Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine. In 2007 he was recruited to Qatar as the Managing Director and Principal Research Scientist, Shafallah Medical Genetics Center where he also served as Director of the Diagnostic Molecular Genetics laboratory. Since 2016 he has been Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Jordan School of Medicine.

Dr. El-Shanti is internationally-known for his research on the genetics of a number of disorders of childhood, including autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and autoinflammatory diseases. He is a prolific scientist with over one hundred publications and a long track record of funding from the NIH, Jordan’s national research funding agencies, the Qatar National Research Fund, and various foundations.

I am thrilled that Dr. El Shanti is returning to the University of Iowa and I look forward to his contributions and leadership towards enhancing our excellence in medical genetics. Please join me in congratulating him on his new role and welcoming him to our department. I also want to thank Dr. Val Sheffield for his 21 year tenure as director of the division. Val has created a legacy that will serve the division well into the future.

–Dr. Raphael Hirsch, Professor and Chair, Stead Family Department of Pediatrics; Physician-in-Chief, University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Bell Named 2019 Distinguished Mentor

Dr. Ed Bell was recently named the 2019 Distinguished Mentor Awardee by the College of Medicine. Dr. Bell, Professor of Pediatrics, has an outstanding record of mentoring trainees, faculty and staff at all levels. By his own example and with his guidance and leadership, he has influenced the lives and careers of many scientists and physicians at Iowa and around the world.

The award will be officially presented at the Distinguished Mentor/Mentor Lecturer Celebration on Thursday,, October 17, 2019, at 3:00 PM in the Prem Sahai Auditorium (1110A MERF).

The Distinguished Mentor Award and Distinguished Mentor’s Lecture are made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Daryl Granner, 58BA, 62MS, 62MD, and Nancy Granner, 58BA. Dr. Granner is a distinguished alumnus and Professor Emeritus and Founding Director, F.O.E. Diabetes Research Center, in the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute.

Pediatrics Begins Scribe Pilot Study

The Department of Pediatrics is beginning a pilot study to test the use of scribes in the Pediatric Specialty Clinic and the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Clinic. The pilot will continue for 3-6 months with the goal of determining the impact on both the patient experience and the provider experience, using defined outcome measures. These measures include: provider burnout, time spent completing documentation, coding accuracy, and patient satisfaction. Four faculty in two specialties (endocrinology and developmental and behavioral pediatrics) will participate in the pilot, with the hope that the results will provide data to justify a broader use of scribes beyond the pilot period. The Department will be updated after completion of the pilot study.

Staff Spotlight – Jason Fuerst

Jason is an Admin Services Coordinator in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and recently transferred to the Division from HR where he had been for about 9 months.

I have one older brother who is a classical composer and teaches at Doane University in Nebraska. He received his Masters and DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) from Juilliard. He is married and has twin 17-month old daughters.

I host trivia two nights a week at Old Chicago and Rocky O’Brien’s. I watch movies and binge watch shows, typically comedies. My favorite movie is Inception – I saw it 12 times in the theatre. While I do not play video games much, I do play through the Mass Effect trilogy 1 to 2 times a year.

I am a dorkestra nerd and enjoy listening to classical music while I follow along with the conductor’s score. My dream job would be a timpanist in a symphony orchestra, as I originally went to school for music performance. But my realistic dream job would be a personnel officer (in essence, HR) in a symphony orchestra. I’m currently in the process of saving up to go to grad school for Performing Arts Administration.

The most interesting place I’ve lived is Anchorage, AK for about a year in high school. At the time I didn’t care about nature and the environment and hated it. But now that I’m older, I wish I had appreciated the beauty of Alaska while I was there.

In terms of sports, I love the New Jersey Devils – the only sports team that matters! As Puddy on Seinfeld says ‘Gotta support the team!’.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be 1. Have my massive student loan debt paid off, 2. Live in Canada or the UK 3. To have been old enough to have grown up with U2 in the 80s and see them live on every tour (pre-2000, their albums since 2000 have been mediocre at best).

I’m a big coffee drinker. Growing up I saw my parents drink coffee every morning. Lots of coffee. And I told them I would never drink coffee. I think I am more addicted to coffee today than they have ever been.

Staff Spotlight – Tori Edgerton, BA

Victoria “Tori” Edgerton, BA is an Admin Services Coordinator in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She has been with UI Healthcare for a little over 2 years, and was previously in the Division of Medical Genetics.

My family, which consists of my parents and four younger siblings, live in Hardin County, IA. I try visiting them at least once a month or as often as time allows. My family in Iowa City consists of my two roommates, Emily & Margaret, and our close friend, Kara. We spend our time together watching movies and sports, going on adventures, and cooking & baking.

In my free time, I enjoy going to concerts and sporting events, reading, binge watching Netflix, crafting, and spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy spending time outdoors and going on new adventures! Despite being adventurous, I’ve never broken a bone or had a major surgery.

My dream job would be to work in event planning or management for a professional sports team, a large event venue, or an artist/record company. I feel like event planning or management could connect the best of both worlds (work and fun) for me!

Favorite foods include anything on the grill or Union Jack Flying Tomato Pizza from Wig & Pen.

For sports, many say I’m crazy, but my heart is divided. I cheer for both Iowa and Iowa State, and I can often be found wearing both teams’ colors on CyHawk Gamedays.

Staff Spotlight – Kortney Barrett

Kortney recently started as a secretary in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology.

I live in Cedar Rapids with my husband of 4 years, we have 2 cats that are spoiled beyond belief, and 3 guinea pigs. I have owned Jelly fish in a home aquarium. We moved to Cedar Rapids 6 years ago and we love where we are at!

I love to crochet in my free time, most of the time I just make things for other people and that is fine with me! I also do a lot of pen paling and mail swaps with people around the globe. I love learning about people and where they are at! Some people I have swapped with are from New Zealand, Poland, Italy and Malaysia. I also read a lot, Stephen King is my favorite author and I read just about anything.

My dream job would be a Marine Biologist. I love the water and science and think it would be amazing to be able to combine the both of them!

The most fascinating place I’ve ever visited was Spain/Morocco. I went for a trip in high school. I got to see amazing architecture, try new foods, experience new cultures, and even see a group of gypsys perform. It was an amazing experience and walking through the street market in Morocco was like nothing I have ever seen before.

My favorite food is TACOS! So it’s fitting my favorite restaurant is the El Bajio in Cedar Rapids, they have the best Mexican food I have ever had.

I don’t really follow sports, but in my household we cheer on the Oregon Ducks, Hawkeyes (of course!) and I grew up rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. So I still root for those 3 teams when I do partake in football. And my husband and I enjoy going to Kernels Baseball games during the season.

I have so many favorite books and movies! My favorite book would have to be a tie between Shadow of Night By Deborah Harkness, the Harry Potter Series and The Shining by Stephen King. As for movie I would say between Noises Off, Paris When It Sizzles and Do not Disturb would be my top 3 all time favorite movies, I like the more classic movies.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be: 1. Be able to travel anywhere I wanted, any time I wanted 2. My house to ALWAYS be clean 3. A llama (I really would love to have a llama!).