New Clinic – Genetics Cancer Predisposition Clinic

The new Genetics Cancer Predisposition Clinic was started in April 2018. This is staffed by Dr. Alpa Sidhu in Genetics and Dr. William Terry in Hematology/Oncology, with genetic counselors- Kyle Dillahunt and Karin Panzer. Patients seen in the clinic include (a) Pediatric and adult presymptomatic/asymptomatic hereditary cancer predisposition evaluations, (b) Evaluation for genetic syndromes with an associated oncologic risk, and (c) Treatment and ongoing care of affected pediatric oncology patients with a suspected underlying cancer predisposition syndrome. Providers should contact Kyle Dillahunt or Karin Panzer to make referrals.

Clinic days:

Dr. Sidhu – fourth Wednesday of every month at IRL

Dr. Terry – Monday and Wednesday mornings at SFCH11

Karin Panzer – 2 half-days a month at SFCH11

New Publications from the Lab of Dr. Bassuk

Dr. Alex Bassuk, Division Director for the Division of Neurology, recently had a series of publications come out of his lab. Congratulations to Dr. Bassuk and his team on their record of scholarly activity!

Kousa YA, Zhu H, Fakhouri WD, Lei Y, Kinoshita A, Roushangar RR, Patel NK, Agopian AJ, Yang W, Leslie EJ, Busch TD, Mansour TA, Li X, Smith AL, Li EB, Sharma DB, Williams TJ, Chai Y, Amendt BA, Liao EC, Mitchell LE, Bassuk AG, Gregory S, Ashley-Koch A, Shaw GM, Finnell RH, Schutte BC. The TFAP2A-IRF6-GRHL3 genetic pathway is conserved in neurulation. Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Jan 25. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddz010. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30689861.

Tang PH, Velez G, Tsang SH, Bassuk AG, Mahajan VB. VCAN Canonical Splice Site Mutation is Associated With Vitreoretinal Degeneration and Disrupts an MMP Proteolytic Site. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 Jan 2;60(1):282-293. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25624. PubMed PMID: 30657523.

Machlab DA, Velez G, Bassuk AG, Mahajan VB. ProSave: an application for restoring quantitative data to manipulated subsets of protein lists. Source Code Biol Med. 2018 Nov 12;13:3. doi: 10.1186/s13029-018-0070-0. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30459825; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6233572.

Brueggeman L, Sturgeon ML, Martin RM, Grossbach AJ, Nagahama Y, Zhang A, Howard MA III, Kawasaki H, Wu S, Cornell RA, Michaelson JJ, Bassuk AG. Drug repositioning in epilepsy reveals novel anti-seizure candidates. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. First published: 11 December 2018.

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 :).

Staff Spotlight – Daniel Benton

Dan is a Research Support Specialist in the Pediatric Finance Administration office.

My wife is a Professor of Management and Organizations, emerita in the Tippie College of Business. She continues to teach in the Hong Kong and Italy MBA programs. Our son lives in San Diego and just got his Certified Financial Planner license. My parents were UI professors – I am a university brat.

I was a composer and now a ballet historian/musicologist. I occasionally teach at the UI Senior College and Iowa City Senior Center. In March 19 I will teach “Onegin – from novel-in-verse to opera to ballet” at UI Senior College.

I am currently doing my dream job – I am part time (returned from retirement) looking after Drs. McCray/Sinn/Bassuk/Mathews/Murray grants and finances.

The most fascinating place I’ve ever been is Stockholm, Sweden. The Scandinavians have many things figure out.

Staff Spotlight – Jenna Paternostro, PhD

Dr. Jennifer “Jenna” Paternostro started with the Department in October as a psychologist with the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor.

I am a pediatric psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of youth with chronic health conditions. I hope to expand integrated care efforts at UICH.

I recently moved to Iowa City from Portland, OR with my fiancé and two fur babies. My fiancé was born and raised here in Iowa City, so we are excited to be back close to his family. We are getting married in September on the Columbia Gorge in Hood River, OR!

I love cooking, playing board games, attending trivia nights, and reading (just started the Game of Thrones series!).

I just started pickling last summer and I am eager to perfect my recipe this year!


Congratulations to Noy Vongmoukda, who works in the Insurance Pre-Authorization office, and her family on the birth of her son, Koda Sengchanh Xayasene. Koda was born January 21 at 8:13 AM, weighing 8 lbs, 10 oz.

Dr. Sarah Haskell had a baby girl! Dr. Haskell and her husband, Dennis Firchau, recently had a baby girl – Greta Ann Patricia Firchau, born 1/18/19 at 9:09 AM, weighing 6lbs, 12 oz.

Congratulations to both!!

NICU Featured in Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Article

The NICU was featured in an online article for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. The article, titled “Dysart ‘miracle’ twins, born 18 weeks premature, making history” is about a recent pair of twins in the NICU born at just 22 weeks and one day gestation, among the most premature surviving twins born at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Jon Klein, NICU Medical Director, provided quotes for the article.

Grose and Bonthius Publish on Herpes Zoster

Drs. Chuck Grose (ID) and Dan Bonthius (Neurology) recently had an article published in the Journal of Child Neurology on Severe Herpes Zoster Following Varicella Vaccination in Immunocompetent Young Children. Congratulations Dr. Grose and Dr. Bonthius!

Abstract: Varicella vaccination is now virtually universal in North America, as well as in some European and Asian countries. Since varicella vaccine is a live attenuated virus, the virus replicates in the skin after administration and can travel via sensory nerves or viremia to become latent in the dorsal root ganglia. In some immunized children, virus reactivates within a few months to a few years to cause the dermatomal exanthem known as herpes zoster (shingles). Herpes zoster caused by vaccine virus often reactivates within the same dermatome as the site of the original varicella vaccine injection. We present evidence that occasional cases of herpes zoster following varicella vaccination in immunocompetent children can be as severe as herpes zoster following wild-type varicella. Analysis of the virus in one case disclosed that the vaccine virus causing herpes zoster was a wild-type variant with a mutation in ORF0. With regard to dermatomal localization of the viral eruption, we predict that herpes zoster of the lumbar dermatomes in children is likely to be caused by vaccine virus, because herpes zoster in those dermatomes is rare in children after wild-type varicella. One of the children with herpes zoster subsequently developed asthma, a known risk factor for herpes zoster, but none of the children had an autoimmune disease. Although postherpetic neuralgia is exceedingly rare, children who develop herpes zoster following varicella vaccination are at risk (albeit low) of developing meningoencephalitis and should be carefully observed for a few weeks.