Staff Spotlight – Dr. Joseph Glykys

Dr. Glykys is in the Division of Child Neurology, and just started in January 2019 as Clinical Assistant Professor.

I recently joined the Division of Child Neurology in January 2019. I am a physician-scientist studying the inhibitory system of the brain and how neurons control their volume and chloride concentration with the aim of improving the treatment of pediatric seizures and neonatal seizures in particular.

I met my wife Cecilia in Venezuela during our medical studies. We have two wonderful daughters, 10 and 8 years old, who are the joy to our lives.

In my free time I enjoy playing board games with my daughters, spending time with my family, watching soccer, and fixing things at home.

My current job is my dream job. Trying to figure out how the brain works, doing experiments, helping kids and families with neurological problems, and teaching the new generation of scientists/child neurologist is a dream come true.

Growing up in Venezuela was a true adventure. Balancing the difficulties at every stage of living there and enjoying the warm people and weather was a fascinating mixture.

My favorite meal is Lasagna. I am blessed to have a wife with excellent cooking skills that is now being passed on to my daughters.

My favorite sports team is Manchester United!!

My favorite book is Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortazar. Favorite movie is the original Star Wars.

I love philosophy and spending time in reflective though about simple things and concepts of life.

Staff Spotlight – Richard Van Rheeden

Richard Van Rheeden is the Cytogenetics Lab Supervisor in the Division of Medical Genetics and has been in that role for 16 years.

My wife is Rebecca Blair (professor in the Rhetoric Department). We make our home with two Old English Sheepdogs, Charlotte and Piper.

In my free time I like to restore and ride old motorcycles.

My dream job would be to work at a race track to have the opportunity to talk with drivers, rider and mechanics.

The most fascinating place I’ve lived was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia supervising the lab at King Faisal Specialist Hospital.

My favorite meal is Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas at “Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese” in London.

My favorite sports team is the US ISDE team (International Six Days Enduro); and my favorite book is ‘The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck.

If I had three wishes they would be:

  • To be twenty again but know what I know now
  • Strolling through Hyde Park on a summer day
  • Recreate Robert M. Pirsig’s trip on a Honda CB77

I own more books than tools, unless you also count a book as a tool.

Staff Spotlight – Brynna Van Wyk

Brynna is an ARNP in the Division of Nephrology, Dialysis, and Transplantation.

I work in Pediatric Nephrology primary in the inpatient setting. My career at Iowa began in 2008 as a staff nurse in the PICU. In 2011, I joined Pediatric Nephrology as an advanced practice provider.

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Lance, since 2005. We’ve been blessed with two children – Bentley (age 6) and Layna (age 3). The newest addition to our family is a golden doodle puppy named Dodger.

In my free time I like to be outdoors – go for a hike or a good walk. I also enjoy catching up with friends, and going on little adventures with my family.

My favorite book would be any historical fiction and sometimes I enjoy a good biography.

Fun fact: I wanted to be a nurse since I was in kindergarten, and by the time I was in high school I worked the 3-11pm shift as a nursing assistant in our local hospital.

Staff Spotlight – Melody Hobert-Mellecker, BSN, RN

Melody has worked with the Iowa Newborn Screening Program in the Division of Medical Genetics for about 5 years, but has been with UI Healthcare 29 years, including 6 years with DRG Assurance, and 18 years with Psychiatry inpatient units.

I’ve been married to Marty since July 1989 — love at first sight on a blind date! I have 3 grown children: Meghan (26), NA in Adult BMT unit — recently married to Pete; she has a daughter Sophie, age 11; Pete has a son Leon, age 4; together they are expecting grandbaby #3 in July 2019. Mark (24), who lives in Madison WI but travels the US for work; soon to be married to McKenzie (April 2019); they have a lovely dog Zeus; Morgan (23 on Valentine’s Day) NA in level 10 SFCH; she and her boyfriend Blake have an exuberant husky name Benny. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsillar cancer in 2015. I have never depended on my children more — they were all amazing, strong people and I was so blessed to have them. In 2017 he had heart valve replacement surgery and again…my kids were my rock. They made me laugh, they let me cry…they made sure I always had wine!

In between working on a certificate in Public Health (trying out graduate school before I commit to the Master’s!), I spend most of my time quilting, gardening, and reading…although there isn’t a craft yet that I haven’t liked…currently working on scrapbooking the trips my husband and I have been taking since we became empty nesters (Italy twice, Maui in between). I also like to go to Cardinal’s baseball games and NASCAR races with the family!

We also love traveling to Italy. Our first trip we went to Rome and then to Pompeii/Naples for a day. Our second trip we visited Venice, Cinque Terre (all 5 towns!), Assisi, Rome, and Florence. Venice was pure magic!! My favorite meal is a dish I learned about in Rome — cacio e pepe. It is the simplest dish consisting of nothing more than pasta and a sauce made with butter, water, cracked black pepper, and pecorino cheese! I love it so much I learned to make it so I can have it whenever I want to!

I’m currently in my dream job with the Iowa Newborn Screening Program. I get to come to work every day knowing that today could be the day I get to help save a baby’s life or prevent serious disability. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

My favorite set of books is The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I have read every single one of them at least 15 times…they never lose their magic! Favorite movies are Joe vs. the Volcano (Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan), Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Whoopi Goldberg), and anything Disney!

I also love playing video games — the Legend of Zelda games are my all time favorites!

I don’t make wishes…I have been blessed with a life beyond my wildest dreams…to wish for more seems ungrateful.

Staff Spotlight – Samantha Marcellus, BS

Sam is a Clinical Trials and Data Management Research Assistant in the Division of Medical Genetics.

I work in the Division of Medical Genetics and facilitate research for a variety of investigators in the Division. I serve as a middle man between our staff, our patients, the industry sponsors of the trials, and HawkIRB. One day I could be writing a consent form and the next day I could be coordinating travel arrangements for our patients. Every day is a new adventure. We currently have 6 (soon to be 7) open clinical trials and 8 rare disease registries that I help coordinate. I started as a student clerk four and a half years ago entering data while I was pursuing and undergraduate degree at the University. Then I transitioned into a Research Assistant role shortly before graduation. I continued as a part-time Research Assistant while working on my MPH in Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. After graduation I was able to transition into a full time research role to continue working with our genetics patients.

My dream job would be working in Newborn Screening. I originally became interested in Public Health after learning about the Newborn Screening program while working as a student clerk in Medical Genetics. It’s amazing how much you can change the course of a child’s life while they are only a few days old. I got a small taste of working with Newborn Screening data while working on my Practicum (capstone) project to complete my MPH. I fell in love with how much data is available and the real and meaningful changes we can make using newborn screening data.

I grew up in a small town in Nebraska with my parents, Matt and Tina. As an only child I am very close with both of my parents. My father is a nuclear chemist and technical support specialist at the nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. I unfortunately did not inherit his love and skill in chemistry. My mom is a 4th grade teacher and is retiring in May! I am very excited that we will be able to see each other more after her retirement. Recently, my parents have developed a love for the sport of curling. If you need any curling fun facts, we are the place to go! The other member of my family is my 10 year old black lab mix, Colt. He is my study buddy, walking pal, and he has mastered puppy dog eyes to get his way. His interests include swimming, his purple squeaky stuffed animal, chasing my roommate’s dachshund Dobby, and destroying Kleenex boxes.

In my free time I like to read, play with my dog, and have board game weekends with my friends. Currently I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series because the books will always be better than the movies. My friends and I have reached a super nerdy board game status. One weekend we spent three straight days playing through the legacy version of Betrayal at the House on the Hill. We started having board game weekends 7 years ago and have no plans of stopping! It’s a great chance to catch up with each other and play something we enjoy. I also play on my church softball team during the summer. We are currently the “Grace B Team,” but I’ve proposed renaming our team “The Sharks.”

During undergrad, I had the opportunity to live in Paris, France for 9 weeks for a short-term mission trip with Cru (a student ministry). We lived in the suburb Ivry-sur-Seine and took the train into Paris to talk with students every week day. I learned so much about French culture, the views of students from a variety of countries and cultures, and developed lasting relationships with both my colleagues and French students. The French get two hours for lunch and spend the entire time talking with their friends and family. It was eye opening and enlightening to routinely take 2 hours of our day to check-in with the students and other team members. On the weekends we were able to travel to breathtaking locations such as the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the beaches of Normandy, and many more.

Locally, the bacon cheese fries from Wig and Pen are possibly the best appetizer in the world. While not healthy, they are a special treat when my friends from college into town. Heading over to Wig and Pen is always one of our first orders of business.

The US National Softball Team and the Gryffindor Quidditch squad are tied for my favorite sports team. I played fastpitch softball for almost ten years and have friends on the US and Canadian national teams. It’s exciting to see women I’ve played with, and against, for many years shining on the world stage. The Gryffindor Quidditch team is also at the top of their field. No one can catch the golden snitch quite like Harry Potter. I’d like to think that as a former catcher I’d excel at being a Keeper if I would have attended Hogwarts.

Favorite movie? Why pick a favorite movie when the book is always better? My favorite book is the Paper Towns by John Green. It tells the story of four teens who go on an adventure to find their friend Margo who disappeared but left behind clues for her best friend to follow her. Throughout the odyssey of trying to locate Margo all five teens learn things about them selves that they never expected. I related to Margo in that she was desperate to leave her home town. Only years after leaving my home town have I come to appreciate the times I had there. In the book one of the main characters realizes that “The town was paper, but the memories were not.” It was comforting to know that others have felt the same way and I can appreciate the memories while the town can fade away.

If I were granted three wishes I would wish for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, an end to global warming (the drastic shifts in weather are brutal!), and my own private library.

Fun Fact: One summer in undergrad I worked at Chick-Fil-A in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and was once the Chick-Fil-A Cow at a high school graduation. I handed out coupons to families of the graduates and accidentally scared a few small children. The moral of the story is don’t go to the bathroom during the morning staff meeting or you will be volunteered to be the cow while you’re gone!

Staff Spotlight – Lauren Jordan, MPH, CHES

Lauren is a Clinical Trials and Data Management Research Associate in the Division of Medical Genetics.

I work in the Division of Medical Genetics and facilitate research for a variety of investigators in the Division. I serve as the coordinator between our staff, our patients and the industry sponsors of the trials and HawkIRB. My day consists from working on regulatory documents, drafting informed consents for studies, entering in patient data in the many different databases, all the way to working with patients to set up their next in-clinic visit and their travel arrangements to get to the appointment. There is not a day that something new is not occurring or there is problem that I have to solve. We currently have 6 (soon to be 7) open clinical trials that I coordinate along with 8 rare disease registries I assist with coordinating. This is my first position with UI Healthcare and I started this job December 2018.

I am originally from Spring Grove, Illinois ( the town with the “world’s largest” corn maze) which is about 3 and 1/2 hours from Iowa City. I currently live in Davenport, IA with my fiancé, Chase VanOpdorp. I have a younger brother, Alec, he currently is the pitcher for the Rebels Baseball Club Inc., in Canberra, Australia. My parents Michelle and Dean Jordan still live in Spring Grove, with our family goldendoodle, Ami James Jordan (who is named after the famous tattoo artist Ami James) and come to Iowa to visit often.

Even though I grew up in the suburbs of Northern Illinois and I am just a hop, skip and jump from Wisconsin I love the teams of Chicago (besides the White Sox). Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks

In my free time I like to workout, spend time with family and friends. Now that I am engaged, spare time is filled with planning our September 2019 wedding, house hunting (which is accompanied by watching a lot of HGTV, where we think we are going to be the new Chip & Joanna). Also like to binge on Netflix series, followed by the ever so basic “reality” television shows such as The Bachelor, The Real Housewives series. We can’t forget about the 15 season of Grey’s Anatomy where I completed my “residency” and I now considered myself a doctor. I also love to dance, and danced for 21+years, so there is rarely a time where I am not dancing around the house or the office.

While obtaining my undergraduate and graduate degrees I quickly found that research peaked my interest especially women’s health and reproductive health, which in turn laid the ground work for my career in research. After graduating with my Master of Public Health, I was able to start my career in research and to make it even better it was in women’s health and reproductive health. So my dream job would be a Research Director in women’s health and reproductive health, conducting investigator initiated studies as well as participating in clinical trials and registries.

I have been to a few different fascinating places, France, England and Honduras and all of them are fascinating in their own ways. I went to France and England my senior year of high school through a program the school offered. This was exciting to see these two countries with my best friend and our close friends. I traveled to Honduras with a medical mission team during my first summer in grad school. This was my first medical mission trip and was one that I will be ever grateful for the experience and the memories I made while there.

As far as a favorite food, I love the ‘Gold Rush’ pizza at Harris Pizza in Bettendorf, IA. I’m a sucker for anything with cheese and garlic.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be 1. That medical bills would not burden people to seek and obtain the proper medical care they so desperately need. 2. That women’s reproductive autonym would be upheld in our courts without opposition 3. To be a witch, so I can wave my wand to do tasks that I don’t want to do such as the dishes, laundry, packing, and driving just to name a few.

My favorite movie is Backdraft (I know pretty much all the lines of the movie).

Fun fact: I have ran and finished 2 St. Louis Go! Half Marathons

Staff Spotlight – Joanna Reichert

Joanna is a Revenue Cycle Representative and works in the Pediatric Insurance Authorizations office.

I have done the “same” job for almost twelve years. I have five grown children and eleven grandchildren. They are all local, and I see them all regularly at Sunday night supper.

I am also a massage therapist, so I see a few clients every week.

My husband and I also farm. As we have gotten older, my husband and I enjoy traveling. Two years ago we went to Alaska, and cruised the Inside Passage.

Staff Spotlight – Mary Schlapkohl, ARNP

Mary is currently the pediatric BMT clinic specialty nurse in the Division of Hematology/Oncology.

I have worked here for 34 years (total). Have also worked as a staff nurse, assistant nurse manager, and pediatric BMT clinic specialty nurse (current role since 1992).

I have 2 grown children. Nick works in supply chain management for Ruan Trucking Company in Des Moines; Sara works as a child life specialist/event planning in the Children’s Hospital here. My husband, Bill, works for MidAmerican Energy.

I love spending time with my family, reading, and watching sports.

I recently visited Ireland in October of 2018 – amazing scenery and wonderful people.

Staff Spotlight – Carol Johnson

Carol is the Program Coordinator for the Iowa Newborn Screening Program (administered through the Iowa Department of Public Health) in the Division of Medical Genetics.

I have been in Pediatrics and the Division of Medical Genetics since 1992. I started out as the administrative support person for our Cytogenetics Laboratory. In 1998, I became the administrative support person for the division after Dr. Val Sheffield took over as the Division Director. In 2011, I became the follow up coordinator for the Iowa Newborn Screening Program.

In terms of dream jobs, as corny as this sounds, my job in newborn screening is pretty amazing. I get to be a part of saving babies lives. That’s pretty awesome! My other dream job would be to work in a bookstore or in a craft store.

I have been married for 37 years (to the same guy!). We have two daughters and three granddaughters. Being a grandparent is the BEST THING EVER!

I read – a lot. I read, on average, about 62 books/year. I also scrapbook, stamp, and play with mixed media projects.

The most interesting place I have visited is New Orleans. The culture, food, lifestyle and weather is very different there. Someday I hope to travel outside the US.

My favorite food is pasta, and I love cheering on the Hawkeyes, Bears or Cubs.

The most interesting place I have visited is New Orleans. The culture, food, lifestyle and weather is very different there. Someday I hope to travel outside the US.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be for good health for my family, good health for me; and have enough money to live comfortably, travel, and give some to charities

Fun fact: my parents were 48 and 45 when I was born – which I joke explains a lot about me 🙂

Staff Spotlight – Tiffany Rickertsen, ARNP, FNP-C

Tiffany is an ARNP in Pediatric Neurology.

I was a staff nurse first and now nurse practitioner. As a staff nurse, I worked in PICU and PACU And before that I work in the IVF lab as a lab technologist.

My husband works for the Iowa Athletics department and is in charge of all the club seating and event operations for the stadiums. Our daughter, Sydney is 19 and is a sophomore at the U of I studying business and marketing. Our middle child, Brayden, 16 is a sophomore at Solon High School. Brayden is very involved in sports, plays for Perfect Game baseball league and is an avid runner (sprinter). My youngest, Dayne is 9 and attends 3rd grade in Solon and he is an electronics guru often helping his teachers with their tech problems.

I love to watch my kids participating in their sporting events. My favorite sport to watch is baseball and track. I love to be doing anything that involves water- boating, fishing, evening sunset cruises with friends. I also love to garden and travel. And of course, I love to watch and attend anything that involves the Hawkeyes.

My dream job would be to work outside for a landscaper/greenhouse as I love to work with my hands.

I would have to say Hawaii has been my favorite vacation spot thus far. I also love seafood of any kind. Shells in Tampa, Florida is my favorite spot for seafood.

My favorite movie is Silence of the Lambs.

If I was granted 3 wishes, they would be health for my family, success for my children, and to retire early.

Fun fact: I was on the dance team in college :).