Month: July 2016

Dr. Stephania Cormier Visits Harbin Medical University

Dr Cormier China 2016 delegation

Representatives from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Harbin Medical University gather to discuss research at the 1st International Harbin Symposium and to formalize scientific cooperation on May 21, 2016. 

In May, Dr. Stephania Cormier, as part of a delegation from The University of Tennessee Heath Science Center (UTHSC), visited Harbin Medical University (HMU) in Heilongjiang province, China to discuss research and establish scientific and institutional collaborations.  Dr. Cormier is the Director of the Louisiana State University Superfund Research Center (LSU SRP) and the leader of Project 2:   Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals Alter Pulmonary Immunologic Homeostasis.   Dr. Cormier is also the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Global Partnerships, the Plough Foundation Chair of Excellence in Pediatrics, the Director of Pediatric Asthma Research Program, and a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Infectious Disease, Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at UTHSC.  Her research focuses on how exposures to environmental factors (i.e. allergens, pollutants, and respiratory viruses) during infancy to leads to predisposition, development of, or exacerbation of respiratory disease as adults.

uthsc and lab

Left:  (L-R) Dr. Weikuan Gu, Dr. Stephania Cormier, Dr. Steven Goodman, and Dr. Steven Youngentob outside of the Harbin Medical University library.  Right:  Drs. Youngentob, Cormier, and Goodman touring the new surgery suites at the Harbin University Cancer Hospital.

The UTHSC delegation also included Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor in the Advanced Practice and Doctoral Study Program, Professor in the Dental Research Center, Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Physiology; Dr.  Steven L. Youngentob, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Professor of Psychiatry; and Dr. Weikuan Gu, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  Researchers from the two institutions began planning in-depth cooperation in cardiopulmonary disease, epidemiology, bioinformatics, and cancer research.  Dr. Cormier discussed internships for trainees interested in studying the effects of combustion derived pollution on cardiopulmonary disease.

conferenc and selfie

Left:  (L-R) Dr. Weikuan Gu, Dr. Stephania Cormier, Dr. Steven Goodman, and Dr. Steven Youngentob outside of the Harbin Medical University library.  Right:  Drs. Youngentob, Cormier, and Goodman touring the new surgery suites at the Harbin University Cancer Hospital.

Harbin Medical University is one of the top-ranked medical schools in China and has cooperative relations with over 40 colleges and universities in 12 countries regions (www.hrbmu.edu.cn).   Harbin is the largest city and the capital of Heilongjiang, a province in the northeastern part of China bordered by Russia.   It is also known as a top tourist city in China, mainly for its winter activities including the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival and alpine skiing.

tigers bigger

The UTHSC delegation visiting Mike VI’s cousins at the Siberian Tiger Park near Harbin.  NOTE:  Mike VI, the current LSU mascot, is a Bengali-Siberian hybrid and is being treated for spindle cell sarcoma at Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  To learn more about Mike VI and his treatment click here.

LSU SRP Research Translation Core Hosts a 4-H University Clover College Track

2016 Clover College "Trackin' Toxins" participants

2016 Clover College “Trackin’ Toxins” participants with LSU SRP RTC Leader Dr. Maud Walsh (front row, left), LSU SRP RTC Coordinator Jen Irving (front row, center) and LSU SRP Undergraduate Trainee Grace LeBlanc (front row, right).

 The Louisiana State University Superfund Research Center (LSUSRP) Research Translation Core (RTC) had a great time hosting a Clover College track during the LSU AgCenter 4-H University, held June 21-24, 2016 on LSU’s campus.  4-H University is an annual event where 4-H members compete in contests, explore careers, and discover new interests.  This year’s 4-H University involved more than 1,600 4-H’ers, 100 AgCenter agents and staff, and 150 volunteers.  Clover College is a hands-on learning experience developed for youth that want to participate in 4-H University but don’t want to compete in the contests.

2016 Clover College "Trackin' Toxins" participants survey lichen communities around the LSU campus.

Lichens don’t like air pollution! 2016 Clover College “Trackin’ Toxins” participants survey lichen communities around the LSU campus.

This year 225 Clover College participants explored tracks on topics such as health professions, fashion, fitness, and environmental science.  The LSU SRP RTC developed and conducted a session entitled “Trackin’ Toxins” where participants could learn how Environmental Health Scientists measure and track pollution in the environment.  Some of the activities in the track included using lichens as biomonitors for outdoor air pollution, learning about sources of indoor pollution, conducting a simulated blood lead test, and identifying aquatic macroinvertebrates.

lead and lego

Left: LSU SRP Undergraduate Trainee Grace LeBlanc helps with a simulated blood lead test.    Right: LSU SRP RTC Coordinator Jen Irving shows participants how to build the reactants (propane and oxygen gas) and products (water and carbon dioxide) of the combustion reaction with LEGOs™.

Research at the LSU SRP focuses on newly-identified pollutant-particle systems called environmentally persistent free radicals, or EPFRs, that are formed by reactions between transition metals and organic material during combustion and thermal processes  The LSU SRP RTC developed the “Trackin’ Toxins” activities to introduce participants to the different disciplines of science that are involved in studying and developing solutions to complex environmental health problems, such as the EPFRs our center studies.  We also wanted participants to understand the basics of air pollution and how they can protect themselves from toxins in our environment.   When asked what the participants would do with the information they learned in their track, one of ours responded “use it to educate other people on the harms of pollution and how to avoid lead exposure.”  We couldn’t have asked for anything more!

macros with gloves

2016 Clover College “Trackin’ Toxins” participants identify aquatic macroinvertebrate samples from the LSU lakes.