Awards in the news

News outlet logo for hourdetroit.com.png

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

Donors, fundraising professionals, and volunteers will shine at the 2018 Philanthropy Day Awards. Hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter, the awards recognize the works of local philanthropists. Among the Wayne State University recipients are: Allan Gilmour, former Wayne State University president and former CFO of Ford Motor Co., George W. Romney Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteerism; Tracy Utech, associate vice president for principal gifts, Dr. John S. Lore Award for Outstanding Fundraising Executive; and Detroit Feedback Loop, founded in 2017 by Wayne State University students Nicholas Ang and Camilla Cascardo, Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy.
News outlet logo for legalnews.com.png

Peter Hammer named inaugural Taubman chair at Wayne Law

Professor Peter J. Hammer, director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School, has been named the Law School’s inaugural A. Alfred Taubman Endowed Chair. Hammer, who joined the Law School faculty in 2003, is a leading voice on economic and social issues impacting Detroit and the nation. He has spent more than 25 years engaging in matters of human rights law and development in Cambodia. Hammer is an expert on domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. The $1.5 million endowed chair is part of a $3 million gift from the late A. Alfred Taubman in 2006 that led to the construction of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights building at Wayne Law.
News outlet logo for dailytribune.com.png

Andy Appleby to receive Ilitch School's Executive of the Year Award

If Andy Appleby shared one tip with aspiring entrepreneurs this would be it said the CEO and commissioner of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, who was recently named this year's winner of the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business Michigan Executive of the Year Award. "Be willing to take a risk and be willing to support that risk with unending work ethics," added Appleby, who will be honored at the school's 38th Annual Recognition and Awards Program at the Detroit Athletic Club, Oct. 15. "It's a nice award to win. It is even more special given the enormous impact Mr. Ilitch had in our sports and entertainment profession over the years," Appleby said, during an interview at General Sports and Entertainment, taking place almost 20 years, to the day Appleby took one of the biggest risks of his life.
News outlet logo for dbusiness.com.png

WSU’s graduate supply chain program ranked among top 25 in the country

Wayne State University’s graduate global supply chain management program is among the nation’s top 25, according to Gartner, a leading industry research company that releases rankings every other year. Ranked No. 17, WSU is a new entrant alongside the University of Minnesota, the University of Southern California and the University of Washington. Offered through the Mike Ilitch School of Business, Wayne State’s global supply chain management program prepares students with in-depth knowledge about global challenges and the critical links in the value chain of goods.

Wayne State’s ‘Pure Michigan’ research impacts health around the world

The National Institutes of Health’s two-month social media campaign, “NIH in Your State,” is an initiative focused on reminding the public about NIH’s impact on the health of citizens in each state through federally funded research. The state of Michigan is highlighted on June 18. In fiscal year 2017, Wayne State University received $85 million in awards from the NIH to support its research efforts. Examples of NIH-funded research at Wayne State include: PERINATOLOGY RESEARCH BRANCH (PRB) Wayne State University is home to the Perinatology Research Branch, a part of the Division of Intramural Research that conducts research to understand the mechanisms of disease for obstetrical complications and develop diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies to reduce infant and maternal death. Seminal contributions of the PRB in recent years include: • The use of progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in women with a short cervix, which can reduce the rate of preterm birth by 40 percent and save the U.S. health care system $500 million to $750 million annually. • Identified the first biomarker for unexplained fetal death – a condition for which there was no biomarker or method of prevention in the third trimester. Through the work done in Detroit, a biomarker has been discovered that identifies 80 percent of late fetal deaths with a 10 percent false-positive rate based on a simple blood test. This may lead to better assessment, and a randomized clinical trial to prevent fetal death in patients at risk is being planned. • Described the fetal inflammatory response syndrome, a condition that affects unborn babies of mothers with premature labor, and is akin to an adult systemic inflammatory response. This multi-systemic disorder can cause neuroinflammation and fetal cardiac dysfunction, and the finding is a major conceptual breakthrough in the understanding of prematurity, and why premature babies are at risk for cerebral palsy. • Made pioneering advancements in fetal endoscopic surgery, such as the first case of twin arterial perfusion syndrome (New England Journal of Medicine), the first fetal cystoscopy (Lancet), laser ablation of posterior urethral valves (Lancet) and the development of a patch to treat the rupture of membranes after amniocentesis or surgical procedures (Lancet). • Invented intelligent navigation sonography, and in particular, fetal intelligent navigation echocardiography, which can be used for the screening of congenital heart disease, the most frequent congenital anomaly by organ system, often undiagnosed before birth. Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network The Wayne State University School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine is one of only 11 institutions in North America awarded the National Institutes of Health’s the Strategies to Innovate EmeRgENcy Care Clinical Trials Network, or SIREN designation. The collaboration executes pre-hospital and acute care clinical trials, recruits and retains difficult to reach emergency care patients and collaborates with investigators from major U.S. population centers, health care systems and academic environments. SIREN serves as the clinical recruitment arm for major acute care NIH and Department of Defense research trials. The network hubs select and provide oversight to satellite clinical sites, known as “spokes,” which facilitate access to even larger patient populations for enrollment in clinical trials. The primary spokes in the Wayne State University hub include the University of Michigan, Beaumont Health, the Henry Ford Health System, St. John Health System, Spectrum Health System and Vanderbilt University. Others spoke sites may join the Detroit hub in the future. Read more. Obsessive-compulsive disorder Wayne State University School of Medicine researchers discovered that the chemical glutamate plays a major role in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). David Rosenberg, M.D., the Miriam L. Hamburger Endowed Chair of Child Psychiatry and professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, collaborated with researchers at the University of Michigan, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and University of Toronto/ Hospital for Sick Kids. This international team discovered that the chemical glutamate plays a key role in children with OCD. OCD is a debilitating neuropsychiatric condition that affects approximately 1 percent to 3 percent of the population worldwide. As many as 80 percent of all OCD cases begin in childhood and adolescence. In the study, children with OCD had abnormal glutamate levels in key brain regions that were reversible with effective treatment. Learn more. Neonatal study Lowering an infant's body temperature to about 92 degrees Fahrenheit within the first six hours of life reduces the chances for disability and death among infants who failed to receive enough oxygen or blood to the brain during birth, a Wayne State University School of Medicine study found. The study led to the standard practice of cooling such infants to protect them immediately after birth. Learn more. African-American cancer study Wayne State University and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute have launched the nation’s largest study of African-American cancer survivors to better understand disproportionately high incidence and mortality rates from cancer and its impact on this specific patient population. The study is funded with a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. The Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors, or Detroit ROCS, study will include 5,560 cancer survivors to better understand major factors affecting cancer progression, recurrence, mortality and quality of life in African-American cancer survivors. African-Americans continue to experience disproportionately higher cancer incidence rates than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. They are also diagnosed with more advanced-stage disease and experience higher cancer mortality rates than other groups. Learn more. Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors Funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the NIH has established the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State. CURES is situated in the heart of Detroit, with the goal of understanding the integrated health impacts of environmental exposures to complex chemical and non-chemical contaminants in Detroit’s urban landscape. CURES is focused on establishing a cleaner and healthier living and working environment in the city of Detroit and throughout the region. “Modern-era” diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes compromise the quality of life of residents living in an industrialized urban environment such as Detroit and are a consequence of dynamic interactions among an individual's genetic and epigenetic make-up, nutritional status and environmental stressors, which affect key cellular networks causing disease. Learn more. Researching hearing loss in Detroit firefighters During responses to fires or other hazardous events, firefighters may be exposed to, inhale or ingest toxic gases, vapors or particles. In particular, heavy metal exposure – such as lead and cadmium – is a major public health issue with firefighters in postindustrial cities such as Detroit. Cadmium, a poisonous metal that has been used to electroplate materials to protect them from corrosion, was heavily used in the automobile industry and is a major source of contamination in Detroit. In addition, over 90 percent of buildings in Detroit were built prior to 1980 and are likely to contain lead-based paints. One adverse health outcome associated with long-term environmental exposure to lead and cadmium is hearing loss. With the help of funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the NIH, Wayne State is researching gene-environment interactions to determine the association between environmental exposure to lead and cadmium and hearing loss in Detroit firefighters. The goal of the study is to apply knowledge from the study to human remediation studies in this vulnerable population, and identify preventative measures that will protect firefighters and others from hearing loss caused by environmental exposure. Learn more. Antibiotic resistance Wayne State’s Department of Biological Sciences is using NIH funding to identify novel antibiotic targets that will open the door to new antibiotic treatments where bacteria have become difficult to treat or even resistant to antibiotics currently available. Learn more. Bacterial endophthalmitis An award from the National Eye Institute of the NIH is working to develop new ways to treat bacterial endophthalmitis – a severe inflammation of the interior of the eye caused by bacteria that enter the eye following trauma or surgery, particularly cataract surgery. The Wayne State team aim to identify novel pathways and new means to treat these blinding ocular infections by determining how cellular metabolism of immune cells impacts their ability to kill pathogens and mount protective immune responses to defend the eye from infection. Learn more. Cystic Fibrosis An award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH is aiding a team of researchers at Wayne State University to develop an immunoscreening library derived from sarcoidosis tissue that can differentiate Cystic Fibrosis-specific antigens from healthy controls and lung cancer patients. Their creation of the T7 Phage Library may have utility in developing molecular therapy in addition to being useful in diagnostics and forecasting response to therapy for Cystic Fibrosis. Learn more. Improving MRI contrast agents An award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the NIH is assisting researchers in Wayne State’s Department of Chemistry to develop innovative contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging that will fill a void in current diagnostic medicine. The contrast agents will allow for earlier detection of traumatic brain injury, cancer, heart disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis that will aid research focused on treating these diseases. This will lead to higher success rates and better monitoring of therapeutic treatments, significantly advancing the nation’s capacity to protect and improve health. Learn more. These are a sampling of the many research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health at Wayne State University. To learn more about research at Wayne State, visit research.wayne.edu/. Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.

Researchers examine the role of glutamate in aging cognitive diseases

Jeffrey Stanley                                Naftali Raz As people around the world live longer, the prevalence of age-associated cognitive disorders is growing. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), for which advanced age is the most significant risk factor, currently defies all therapeutic efforts. Experts argue that identifying the onset of this progressive disease as early as possible will advance the fight against its devastating effects. A research team at Wayne State University hopes to give clinicians tools for identifying the early signs of impending disease by measuring subtle deviations in the way the brain modulates its chemistry during the formation of new memories. Their research project, “Task-related modulation of hippocampal glutamate, subfield volumes and associative memory in younger and older adults: a longitudinal ¹H FMRS study,” was recently awarded a two-year, $423,500 grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. The study, led by Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences in Wayne State’s School of Medicine, and by Naftali Raz, Ph.D., professor of psychology in Wayne State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of the Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience Program in the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State, will use a noninvasive technique called  functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS) to characterize memory function based on the modulation of the brain’s most common neurotransmitter, glutamate, in real time, as study participants engage in a memory task. Stanley and Raz will examine changes in glutamate within the hippocampus — one of the brain regions that is critical for memory — during creation of new associations between pictorial stimuli and their location.  “Studying glutamate, sometimes called the brain’s light switch, will help us better understand the brain chemistry behind basic memory processes,” said Raz. “Most of what we know about glutamate changes with age, and its relations to memory comes from animal models and measurements of stationary levels of glutamate in humans. The fMRS technique perfected by Dr. Stanley will allow us to examine age difference and age-related changes over time in task-related glutamate modulation, in intact human participants.” The research team will acquire a structural MRI of the whole brain, a high-resolution scan of the hippocampal body, and a ¹H fMRS of the hippocampus during formation of associations between common objects and locations in healthy, young and older participants. An important feature of this study is a one-year follow-up that will help gauge the rate of change and individual differences in change over time in a fundamental memory-related brain process, while avoiding potentially misleading conclusions based on cross-sectional comparisons of age groups. The investigators believe that the results of this study will lay the foundation for intervention aimed at mitigating cognitive decline. The grant number for this National Institutes of Health project is AG059160. Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.

Community Health Pipeline expands programming

  The Community Health Pipeline, a research and outreach program led by Noel Kulik, Ph.D., CHES, received funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for a second year. The award is worth $262,784. “We are thrilled to learn that the Michigan Health Endowment Fund has continued to invest in our food justice and food access work with youth in the community,” said Kulik, who is an assistant professor in the Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies (KHS) at Wayne State’s College of Education. “The funding for year two will allow us to expand our program reach to include all youth in the city of Detroit, strengthen our relationships with current partners and help us broaden our relationships to include the HUDA Clinic, Generation with Promise, Project Healthy Community, and University of Detroit Mercy’s chapter of Campus Kitchen.” Kulik’s project will continue to support Detroit high school students as they become agents of change in the areas of food systems, health equity and food access. The Community Health Pipeline includes five pillars — education, experience, apprenticeships, leadership and career development — that build upon each other. Participants learn about making healthy food choices and apply their knowledge by purchasing local produce at farmers markets. Later, they complete paid internships related to food production, handling and marketing; community engagement; nutrition education; and programs supporting food security. During the fifth pillar, Wayne State University students mentor the youth as they identify a food-related health issue in their community and design community health interventions. By the time they have completed the project, the high school students have a better understanding of community health careers and the college application process. In its second year, the Community Health Pipeline has partnered with Connect Detroit’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent program and the Detroit Health Department to create the first food and nutrition track for youth employment within the city. This collaboration will provide paid training to approximately 150 Detroit high school students for seven weeks in July and August. Opportunities for youth include growing, harvesting and selling produce at Drew Farm; providing support through healthy cooking demonstrations and education via farmers markets at Wayne State University, Sowing Seeds Growing Futures, Community Health and Social Services Center, The Henry Ford, Banglatown and Eastern Market; promoting Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program; providing enrichment activities at United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Meet Up and Eat Up sites; and more. The Community Health Pipeline will also expand education initiatives and include social entrepreneurship, skill development and community health career exposure to engage youth and encourage community economic development. For the Community Health Pipeline, Kulik works with Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health and Community Impact and professor and assistant dean of the KHS, along with KHS assistant professors Rachael Dombrowski, Ph.D., and Whitney Moore, Ph.D. “I am excited about the success the Community Health Pipeline had in its first year,” said McCaughtry. “I am looking forward to its expansion this year to reach more youth with college access and career-training, and to collaborate with additional food-system organizations throughout the city.”  Last year, the Community Health Pipeline reached an estimated 4,600 students through its nutrition education and experience at Detroit farmers markets and urban farms. In October 2017, the Community Health Pipeline launched a college and career readiness program to provide high school students information on how to apply to college, FAFSA, and scholarships. The two finalist teams presented their work at the Detroit Food Policy Council conference in March 2018.   About the Center for Health and Community Impact The mission of the Center for Health and Community Impact is to improve community health and vitality through leadership and advancement of research, programs and policies for healthy living. The Center works with community partners to develop and lead culturally relevant, evidence-based and sustainable programs that transform the heathy living opportunities for families, neighborhoods and organizations to promote a holistic approach to health and social equity across the lifespan. Through its efforts, educators, clinicians, practitioners, evaluators, researchers and community leaders at Wayne State University advance health and social equity at local, regional and national levels. The center’s programs have directly impacted more than 150,000 youth and families and 500 educators and health practitioners across 350 community organizations. For more information, visit coe.wayne.edu/centerforhealthandcommunityimpact.  About the College of Education For more than a century, the Wayne State University College of Education has prepared effective urban educators who are reflective, innovative and committed to diversity. Its Teacher Education Division boasts one of the most comprehensive, well-established programs in the country, and all four academic divisions offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in nearly 30 program areas, including learning design and technology, leadership and policy, kinesiology, sport administration, education evaluation and research, health education and educational psychology, and counseling. To learn more, visit coe.wayne.edu.     About Wayne State University Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering nearly 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students. For more information, visit wayne.edu.  About the Michigan Health Endowment Fund The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. More information about the Michigan Health Endowment Fund can be found at mhealthfund.com. About the Michigan Fitness Foundation The Michigan Fitness Foundation strives to cultivate a culture of health to transform the status quo and improve the health of all Michiganders. Its mission is to inspire active lifestyles and healthy food choices in the places we live, work and play. The Michigan Fitness Foundation focuses on increasing access to healthy food and low-cost physical activity opportunities, expanding nutrition and physical education, and shaping places to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Learn more at michiganfitness.org. About Connect Detroit and Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the name City Connect Detroit by local foundation and civic leaders, Connect Detroit today helps Detroit-area nonprofit organizations and governments work together to solve local problems. This organization mobilizes much-needed funding so these groups and its constituents can be empowered to reach common goals for the greater good of the community. Connect Detroit has tackled and continues to pursue collaboration opportunities surrounding a variety of issues affecting children, youth and families. The nonprofit has been instrumental in creating platforms and partnerships for community health and community development initiatives, too. To date, the organization has managed and led more than four-dozen community change initiatives and mobilized more than $140 million in support of this work. Several Connect Detroit-driven initiatives became self-sustaining and grew into standalone initiatives outside of Connect Detroit. For more information, go to connectdetroit.org.

Constraints on policy learning after disasters

Communities attempt to learn from experiencing disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, but often those lessons do not lead to policy changes that could reduce future risks. With the help of a $55,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Kristin O’Donovan, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, will explore the limits on policy learning about disaster mitigation after a community has experienced a disaster. O’Donovan will also seek to understand why one community may be more vulnerable to a disaster than its neighbor. According to O’Donovan, local governments often attempt to engage in learning about how to reduce future disaster risks, but find it difficult to see change enacted. Her project will aim to identify the constraints on and proponents of policy learning after disasters. Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017, presents a unique case for understanding the limits on policy learning because of the range of communities it affected in southeast Texas. O’Donovan and her team will collect data through interviews with local government officials — mayors, emergency managers and city planners— in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. “How local governments consider information and make decisions about future disaster risk is critical to understanding vulnerability,” said O’Donovan. “This research is exciting because it will shed new light on why some communities may be more vulnerable to a disaster than others. What we learn has the potential to help communities bounce back more easily after disasters. “ Research will focus on the types of sources a community looks to for information, whether the information received is credible and whether local government officials tend to be myopic in their approaches. The project, Constraints on Policy Learning After Disaster, was funded by NSF’s Rapid Response Research grant program. The award number is 1763218.          Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.

Wayne State searches for new directions to treat Barth syndrome

The Barth Syndrome Foundation recently announced awardees from its 2017 grant cycle. Miriam Greenberg, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University and a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a one-year, $50,000 grant for the project, “Cardiolipin activates pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) – a potential new target for treatment of Barth syndrome.” Barth syndrome (BTHS) is a rare and life-threatening, X-linked genetic disorder that primarily affects males and is passed from mother to son; women who are carriers do not show symptoms of the disorder. Fifty percent of children born to a mother who is a carrier will inherit the defective gene, and all daughters born to an affected man will be carriers. BTHS is caused by a mutation in the tafazzin gene that results in decreased production of cardiolipin, an essential lipid for energy metabolism. BTHS causes cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle; neutropenia, a reduction in the number of white blood cells; hypotonia, reduced muscle tone; undeveloped skeletal muscles and muscle weakness; delayed growth; decreased stamina; physical disability; and methylglutaconic aciduria, an increase in an organic acid that is characteristic of abnormal mitochondrial function. Greenberg and her team will test the hypothesis that cardiolipin (CL) deficiency results in a deviation of the metabolic pathway for energy production, specifically due to decreased activity of the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH).   “We aim to reveal a new direction for BTHS treatment based on activation of PDH and/or supplementation of deficient metabolites,” said Greenberg. “The outcome of our study may reveal a new direction for Barth syndrome treatment based on activation of PDH and/or supplementation of deficient metabolites.”        Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.