NIH grant to investigate gene therapies used for muscle disorders
With a new five-year $3.8M grant from the NIH, Dr. Roland Herzog and the Gene and Cell Therapy program will investigate the effects of muscle-directed gene therapies and test alternative treatment options for degenerative muscle disorders like Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
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Training more physician-scientists
The Indiana Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) received $4.6 million in renewed NIH grant funding to sustain and expand its efforts of training the next generation of physician-scientists and engineers through the next five years. Join us in congratulating all the Wells Center faculty and students involved with the program.
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Team Wells Updates
Summer Interns welcomed at Wells CenterOver the summer, the Wells Center welcomed more than 40 high school and undergraduate student interns for 8-weeks of immersive research experiences among our IU School of Medicine experts. On July 26th and 27th, interns from the Wells Center Summer Internship and Medical Physician Engineers, Scientists and Clinicians Preparatory (MPESC-Prep) programs presented topics they researched during their internships. We were impressed by their discoveries and presentations! > Meet some of the interns
Caroline Symmes LaboratoryThis past year, IU President Pamela Whitten and the IU Naming Committee approved the naming of Dr. Karen Pollok’s lab at the Wells Center as the “Caroline Symmes Laboratory.” The official naming ceremony took place in March with members from the Riley Children's Foundation and friends and family of the Caroline Symmes Children's Cancer Endowment in attendance. In June, the Pollok research team hosted the Caroline Symmes Teen Board in the lab for an interactive tour and presentation. Funding from the Caroline Symmes Children's Cancer Endowment supports research that fosters the development of safe and efficacious therapies for children, adolescents and young adults with metastatic cancers. David and Libby Symmes established the Endowment as a response to the severe need for research funding in pediatric oncology and to honor their daughter Caroline who passed away when she was 5 from Wilms Tumor Disease. Learn more about the Caroline Symmes Children's Cancer Endowment
2023 IU-CCEH WorkshopThe annual IU Cooperative Center of Excellence in Hematology (CCEH) workshop took place June 27-29. This year, the program welcomed 22 students from the CCEH, MPESC-Prep, Wells Center Summer Internship, and MOSIAC Crispus Attucks High School programs to learn about the latest hematology techniques and research from our experts at IU.
The cardiac developmental biology research group recently hosted their annual weekend retreat in Bloomington, Indiana. The retreat consisted of internal guests with four external world-class speakers including Dr. Frank Conlon from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Irfan Kathiriya from the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Thomas Brand from Imperial College London, and Dr. Joseph Yost from the University of Utah.
Members from the diabetes research group attended the 9th annual Diabetes Symposium hosted by the IU School of Medicine's Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases on Friday, August 4th at the NCAA Hall of Champions. More than 120 attendees joined to learn about the latest breakthroughs in diabetes research and to hear from this year’s keynote speakers, Dr. Sonia Caprio from Yale School of Medicine and Dr. Alan Attie from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Faculty PromotionsPlease join us in congratulating the following Wells Center faculty members for their recent promotions:
- Michael Davis, PhD, promoted to associate research professor
- Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD, promoted to full professor
- Benjamin Landis, MD, promoted to associate professor
- Hongxia Ren, PhD, promoted to associate professor
Welcome to the Wells Center
Help us extend a warm welcome to the newest members of Team Wells who have joined us since May 2023:
Samardeep Singh Gurudatta
Discovery in Action
Congratulations to Grant and Award Recipients
Wells Center members have received a vast number of grants and awards in recent months. A select few are highlighted below.
- Olivia Bednarski | 2023 ASTMH Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene)
- Moanaro Biswas, PhD | “Development of a cellular therapy product with single specificity and improved persistence to prevent immunity to biotherapeutics” (NIH – National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)
- Wade Clapp, MD | “Identifying and Testing Molecular Therapies for Schwannoma” (U.S. Department of Defense)
- Linda DiMeglio, MD | “Immune Tolerance Network” (Benaroya Research Institute At Virginia Mason)
- Matthew Durbin, MD | “SHROOM3 is a Novel Cause of Congenital Heart Disease" (NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)
- Benjamin Gaston, MD, & Brittney-Shea Herbert, PhD | “Indiana Medical Scientist/Engineer Training Program” (NIH - National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
- Renzhi Han, PhD | “Development of gene editing based therapy for cardiovascular diseases” (University of Michigan) / “ANO5 in Muscle Health and Disease” (NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute) / “Base editing of ASGR1 for cardiovascular disease” (NIH – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)
- Roland Herzog, PhD | “Mechanism of immune response to muscle-directed AAV gene transfer” (NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
- Heba Ismail, PhD | “The gut microbiome in children with type 1 diabetes with obesity and novel mechanism of action of metformin” (Pilot & Feasibility Award – Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases)
- Mark Kelley, PhD, & Melissa Fishel, PhD | “Metabolic flux analysis and PDX models to understand therapeutic vulnerabilities following inhibition of Ref-1 redox signaling in pancreatic cancer” (NIH – National Cancer Institute)
- Jenna Koenig | 2023 Jack & Fay Netchin Medical Student Summer Fellowship (American Brain Tumor Association)
- Amelia Linnemann, PhD | “Beta Cell Heterogeneity in the Interferon Alpha Response” (NIH - National Institute Of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney)
- Dan Peltier, MD, PhD | “Long noncoding RNA-mediated regulation of T-cell alloimmunity” (NIH - National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)
- Steven Rhodes, MD, PhD | “Targeting SOX11-FAK mediated immune exhaustion in NF1-associated malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST)” (U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity)
- Emily Sims, MD | 2023 Showalter Scholar (Grace M. Showalter Trust)
- Jason Spaeth, PhD | “Chd4 controls endocrine progenitor cell fate in vivo” (Pilot & Feasibility Award – Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases)
- Ngoc Tung Tran, PhD | “Develop a Preclinical Model for Gene Therapy of Fanconi Anemia Group C” (U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity)
- Weidong Xiao, PhD | “Advancing CNS drug delivery via epigenetic modulation” (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center)
- Nathan VanDusen, PhD | “Development of tools for rapid systematic refinement of in vivo gene editing technologies” (NIH – National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
- "A genomic data archive from the Network for Pancreatic Organ donors with Diabetes." Published in Scientific Data. Contributing IU author: Carmella Evans-Molina
- "A Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study in Infants with Congenital Heart Defects Demonstrates High Diagnostic Yield of Genetic Testing but Variable Evaluation Practices." Published in Genetics in Medicine. Contributing IU authors: Matthew D. Durbin, Lindsey R. Helvaty, Ming Li, Sara Fitzgerald-Butt, Gabrielle C. Geddes, Benjamin M. Helm, Alexis McEntire, Dana K. Mitchell, Benjamin J. Landis, Stephanie M. Ware
- "APE1/REF-1 as a novel molecular target for IBD treatment." Presented at Digestive Disease Week 2023. Contributing IU author: Mark Kelley
- "Cardiac imaging and biomarkers for assessing myocardial fibrosis in children with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy." Published in American Heart Journal. Contributing IU author: Stephanie M. Ware
- “Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers provide evidence for kidney-brain axis involvement in cerebral malaria pathogenesis.” Published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Contributing IU authors: Andrea L. Conroy, Dibyadyuti Datta, Adnan Gopinadhan, Kagan A. Mellencamp, Chandy C. John
- “Chemical modification of AAV9 capsid with N-ethyl maleimide alters vector tissue tropism.” Published in Scientific Reports. Contributing IU authors: Patrick L. Mulcrone, Anh K. Lam, Dylan Frabutt, Junping Zhang, Roland W. Herzog, Weidong Xiao
- “Disruption of FBN1 by an Alu Element Insertion: A Novel Genetic Cause of Marfan Syndrome." Published in European Journal of Medical Genetics. Contributing IU authors: Benjamin M. Helm, Amanda M. Smith, Kelly. Schmit, Benjamin J. Landis, Stephanie M. Ware
- “Distortion of journal impact factors in the era of paper mills.” Published in Molecular Therapy. Contributing IU author: Roland W. Herzog
- "Establishment and characterization of patient-derived xenograft of a rare pediatric anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (PXA) bearing a CDC42SE2-BRAF fusion." Published in Scientific Reports. Contributing IU authors: Nur P. Damayanti, M. Reza Saadatzadeh, Erika Dobrota, Josue D. Ordaz, Barbara J. Bailey, Pankita H. Pandya, Khadijeh Bijangi-Vishehsaraei, Harlan E. Shannon, Anthony Alfonso, Kathy Coy, Melissa Trowbridge, Anthony L. Sinn, Angela M. Richardson, Mark S. Marshall, Alex Lion, Michael J. Ferguson, Karl E. Balsara, Karen E. Pollok
- “Factor VIII Trafficking to CD4+ T cells Shapes its Immunogenicity and Requires Several Types of Antigen Presenting Cells.” Published in Blood. Contributing IU authors: Radoslaw Kaczmarek, Annie R. Pineros, Paige E. Patterson, Thais B. Bertolini, Jameson Born, Sreevani Arisa, Matthew C. Arvin, Malgorzata M. Kamocka, Michelle M. Martinez Irizarry, Kenneth W. Dunn, Maite Munoz-Melero, Moanaro Biswas, Mark H. Kaplan, Amelia K. Linnemann, Roland W. Herzog
- "Genetic Testing Guidelines Impact Care in Newborns with Congenital Heart Defects." Published in Journal of Pediatrics. Contributing IU authors: Matthew D. Durbin, Lindsey R. Helvaty, Manyan Huang, Ming Li, Daniel Abreu, Gabrielle C. Geddes, Benjamin M. Helm, Benjamin J. Landis, Alexis McEntire, Dana K. Mitchell, Stephanie M. Ware
- “Impaired Reorganization of Centrosome Structure Underlies Human Infantile Dilated Cardiomyopathy.” Published in Circulation. Contributing IU authors: Matthew D. Durbin, Rachel Schot
- “Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Pediatric Faculty Research Workforce: Call to Action.” Published in Pediatrics. Contributing IU author: Danielle E. Soranno
- "Lipid droplet-associated lncRNA LIPTER preserves cardiac lipid metabolism." Published in Nature Cell Biology. Contributing IU authors: Lei Han, Dayang Huang, Shiyong Wu, Sheng Liu, Cheng Wang, Xiongbin Lu, Hal E. Broxmeyer, Jun Wan, Lei Yang
- "NFX1-123: A potential therapeutic target in cervical cancer." Published in Journal of Medical Virology. Contributing IU authors: Sreenivasulu Chintala, Maura A. Dankoski, Rachel A. Katzenellenbogen
- "Plant cell-based drug delivery enhances affordability of biologics." Published in Nature Biotechnology. Contributing IU author: Roland W. Herzog
- "RAS Signaling Gone Awry in the Skin: The Complex Role of RAS in Cutaneous Neurofibroma Pathogenesis, Emerging Biological Insights." Published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Contributing IU author: Steven D. Rhodes
- “Screening and Prevention of Type 1 Diabetes: Where Are We?” Published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Contributing IU author: Emily K. Sims
- “Single cell RNA analysis of the left–right organizer transcriptome reveals potential novel heterotaxy genes.” Published in Scientific Reports. Contributing IU authors: Helen M. Bellchambers, Amruta R. Phatak, Maria B. Padua, Hongyu Gao, Yunlong Liu, Stephanie M. Ware
- “Stromal Interaction Molecule 1 Maintains β Cell Identity and Function in Female Mice through Preservation of G Protein-Coupled Estrogen Receptor 1 Signaling.” Published in Diabetes. Contributing IU authors: Paul Sohn, Madeline R. McLaughlin, Preethi Krishnan, Wenting Wu, Chih-Chun Lee, Tatsuyoshi Kono, Carmella Evans-Molina
- “Target Product Profile for Cutaneous Neurofibromas: Clinical Trials to Prevent, Arrest, or Regress Cutaneous Neurofibromas.” Published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Contributing IU author: Steven D. Rhodes
Kudos and Recognition
- Carmella Evans-Molina, PhD, MD, was presented with her 2023 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award at this year’s ADA Scientific Sessions. After the awards ceremony in June, Dr. Evans-Molina presented her lecture, "The Ailing Beta Cell in Diabetes—Insights from a Trip to the ER."
- Linda DiMeglio, MD, and Emily Sims, MD, were guests on the Healthcare Triage podcast to discuss recent discoveries in type 1 diabetes research.
- Linda DiMeglio, MD, was featured in an article about the panel she joined at ADA's 83rd Scientific Sessions called "The New Normal—Perspectives on Treatment and Trials as Immunotherapies Enter the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Landscape."
- Radek Kaczmarek, PhD, was interviewed by the Video Journal of Hematological Oncology to discuss the future state of gene therapies for hemophilia and the challenges associated with adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy for patients with hemophilia.
- Radek Kaczmarek, PhD, and Roland Herzog, PhD, recently published a high-impact article in Blood that shed light on the underlying causes of negative immune responses to Factor VIII treatments, providing valuable insights that could lead to more effective and safer hemophilia A treatments in the future.
- Rachel Katzenellenbogen, MD, was featured by the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center's Race to Beat Cancer campaign for her work focused on HPV-related cancers.
- Reuben Kapur, PhD, received IUPUI’s 2023 Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., MD, Research Scholar Award
- Mark Kelley, PhD, and Timothy Corson, PhD, were issued a U.S. Utility Patent Grant titled "Targeting Ocular Diseases With Novel APE1/REF-1 Inhibitors"
- Benjamin Landis, MD, was featured in a story by Riley Children's Foundation about his Department of Defense grant to study coarctation of the aorta which brings hope to Riley kids like Carlie Evans.
- Karen Pollok, PhD, was interviewed by Fox59 in Indianapolis to share an update on research made possible thanks to Tyler Trent’s stem cell donations.
- Karen Pollok, PhD, and her lab received a special visit from author Connie Radovanovic from Columbus, Indiana. Connie and her husband Rod donated proceeds raised from her children’s book "Innocence and Wisdom of My Little Seeds” to pediatric cancer research.