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RB2

UK’s new research facility will target Kentucky’s health concerns

Lisa Cassis

Lisa Cassis, PhD, UK vice president for research

Written by Lisa Cassis, PhD, UK vice president for research.

If you’ve driven along Virginia Avenue in Lexington, toward the main UK campus, you’ve probably seen the steel skeleton of the new research building under construction. This is Research Building 2, or RB2, a precious resource and a vehicle for UK to reduce the health disparities that most impact Kentucky.

This building will house researchers that focus on the following health disparities: cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and substance abuse. These conditions have a major adverse impact on the health of Kentuckians, contributing to death rates from each disease that rank within the top 11 states in the nation.

RB2 will enable multidisciplinary research that approaches these disparities from numerous fields and perspectives healthcare researchers (both basic and clinical), public health, behavioral sciences, agriculture outreach and extension, economics, and engineering working in close proximity and collaboratively to develop solutions to these complex problems.

This $265-million building (funded half from the state of Kentucky, half from university resources, including private gifts) is scheduled to open in summer of 2018.

Thoughtful design and collaboration

The design of this modern research facility embodies a lifestyle that reduces health disparities, including a healthy food choice restaurant, a room to house bicycles for travel to and from the facility, and prominent staircases to encourage physical activity.

Within the laboratories, the design and focus comes with a specific scientific underpinning: Much of discovery today, whether at the cellular or community level, happens at the intersection of disciplines. By placing investigators together in “neighborhoods,” this facility is designed to foster discovery and collaboration so that what happens in the course of basic research can be translated to answers and solutions at the community level.

When researchers who are working on the same problem say, cancer but from different angles (economics, biomedicine, public health), work next to each other in a single building, it facilitates communication and promotes new avenues for problem solving. Through this design, the project will improve the lives of Kentuckians by providing modern space that lends itself to multidisciplinary research that is needed to address entrenched health problems.

Tackling Kentucky’s worst problems

While each of these major diseases influence citizens across the Commonwealth, they are of immense concern to our citizens residing in rural Appalachia, a region with some of the most pronounced rates of chronic diseases in the country.

A recent report from the University of Washington showed rates of death from cancer in the United States dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2014. However, these gains were not distributed equally across the country. Clusters of high mortality were found in many states, including Kentucky.

Four main factors are thought to drive these disparities: socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, quality of available healthcare and prevalence of risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and lack of physical activity. The Appalachian region of Kentucky experiences a perfect storm of these factors driving disparities.

A primary focus of research within the new building will be determining factors that drive more disease risk and burden in Appalachia, and developing preventive and therapeutic approaches that are optimized to have greater benefit to those living in this region.

Harnessing our strengths

RB2, the Biological Biomedical Research Building and the Lee T. Todd Jr. Building will be linked in complex, to further foster collaborative and multidisciplinary research. The connecting conduit building, serving as the spine of the complex, has been named the Appalachian Translational Trail, as it will house the nucleus of translational researchers who bring together all disciplines.

The real power of research is realized in bringing different groups of experts together, and in order to tap into that power, we applied a multidisciplinary approach to the planning of this new building. We began by aligning our work with the goals of UK’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. These goals invest in UK’s existing strengths and areas of growth in selected focus areas that benefit and enrich the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth; recruit and retain outstanding faculty, staff and students; improve the quality of the research infrastructure across campus; and strengthen engagement efforts and translation of research. The planning and implementation of RB2 touches on each of these goals.

The health disparities we are targeting are areas of current UK strength in research and healthcare. We have strong individual investigators across all colleges at UK, as well as existing collaborative research centers that can bring intensified focus in these areas. We’ve tapped these experts, based on thematic areas in each of these health disparities, to use data to evaluate our current resources and identify areas in which we could strategically invest to expand resources and hire new investigators, who will most likely be housed within RB2, to make the biggest impact for Kentucky.

By growing our research enterprise to focus on the most critical health needs of Kentucky, we can translate basic science findings to clinical practice and to the community to fight these devastating health disparities and improve the quality of life for Kentuckians. We thank Kentucky legislators for their support of RB2, and we will do everything in our power through this precious resource to make that difference.


Next steps:

basic research

Cuts to basic research funding could threaten the health of Kentucky

Written by Jay Blanton, executive director of UK Public Relations & Marketing.

Colorectal cancer incidence rates have declined by 25 percent in Kentucky in less than 10 years. Death rates have dropped by 30 percent.

Why?

Among other reasons, screenings have increased significantly, led by University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare researchers along with changes in state policy.

It’s one example of the impact that basic scientific research combined with outreach into communities can have in Kentucky. Basic scientific research is at the cornerstone of each innovation and, led by UK, it’s making a difference across Kentucky.

“Everything that we do came from a research question that was originally asked by someone either in the U.S. or internationally, so it impacts every part of our day-to-day lives,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research, who is nationally known and funded for her research in metabolic and obesity-associated diseases.

“Screening for colorectal cancer, for example, is a practice that most of us probably assume is routinely applied according to clinical guidelines. However, research makes a difference by asking the question: Is the screening routinely applied? And if not, then why, and how can we increase screening for this condition?” Cassis said.

Researchers at universities across the country have expressed concern over a recent proposal for next year to cut funding for biomedical research by nearly 20 percent.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, recognizes the value of research and recently supported an increase in the budget of the National Institutes of Health by $2 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year.

McConnell and Kentucky Congressmen Andy Barr and Hal Rogers also were vocal supporters last year of the 21st Century Cures Act, which authorized federal funding increases for research on Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and opioid abuse  all issues of concern for Kentuckians. And McConnell and Barr reaffirmed their support for UK’s research efforts recently during a news conference to announce $11.2 million in federal funding to launch a new Center for Cancer and Metabolism at UK.

Nevertheless, the threat of cuts looms large and would, if enacted, hamper UK’s ability to continue to make progress in addressing the state’s health disparities, as well as threaten thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars annually in economic impact for Kentucky.

Specifically, Cassis and UK President Eli Capilouto recently cited several economic and health statistics regarding the impact in Kentucky of federal funding for basic scientific research:

  • With the proposed reduction of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for next year, an estimated 219 jobs at UK alone would be cut, with an effective loss of 339 jobs across the Commonwealth.
  • UK’s research enterprise has an annual economic impact of more than $580 million and more than 8,000 jobs.
  • Increasing research activity by just 15 percent means an additional nearly $90 million in economic impact and nearly 220 jobs.
  • Institutions in Kentucky earn $163.6 million ($92.4 million earned by UK) of NIH’s $26.4 billion in funding. At an estimated 13 jobs per $1 million in NIH awards, this support generates 2,886 intra/interstate jobs and has an estimated $431.6 million economic impact in Fiscal Year 2016.
  • The proposed cuts would significantly hamper UK’s ability to conduct research – and provide advanced medical healthcare – related to challenges where Kentucky is among the nation’s leaders in incidence rates for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and death from opioid abuse. The CDC estimates hundreds of lives are lost in Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District every year due to these largely preventable illnesses.
  • The National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides funding to 112 land-grant institutions in the U.S. to support: agriculture, food safety, agribusiness, bioenergy, 4-H, youth development and family consumer sciences.
  • One in six patents in agriculture science nationally grew from land-grant university research.
  • Six of the 10 major vaccines currently used to protect against equine infectious diseases were developed by faculty in UK’s Department of Veterinary Sciences.

Capilouto said UK’s goal with basic scientific research is to translate it as quickly as possible into treatments and solutions for communities across the Commonwealth.

“What we want to do is get the very best of our research quickly to the bedside,” Capilouto said. “We want to be able to take what we’ve learned and translate it quickly to a community to make a difference. We systematically and successfully do that at the University of Kentucky because of our capacity, our depth.”

“We can’t cut back on the pace of progress now,” Capilouto said. “Doing so threatens Kentucky’s future.”

Watch the video below to learn more about the impact basic research has on the health and wellness of Kentucky.


Next steps:

molecular tumor board

Watch: Our new TV spot highlights precision cancer care at Markey

Our new TV spot tells the exciting story of how the UK Markey Cancer Center is using precision medicine to target cancer treatment to patients’ unique cancer cells. Watch the video below and learn more about how we’re harnessing the power of advanced medicine to find the best treatment for each patient.

Treating cancer at the molecular level

The future of cancer treatment is fighting the disease at the level of an individual gene, breaking down a diagnosis by analyzing each patient’s unique genetic characteristics. At Markey, our Molecular Tumor Board is leading this fight, bringing personalized, precision medicine to patients across Kentucky.

The Molecular Tumor Board, which is made up of more than a dozen leading clinicians and scientists, meets monthly to review individual cancer cases from across the Commonwealth, diving deep into patients’ genetic information, then collectively tailoring a precision treatment specifically for them.

Tailoring a precision treatment

Dr. Jill Kolesar

Dr. Jill Kolesar

“It’s well accepted that cancer is chiefly a genetic disorder,” says Dr. Jill Kolesar, a founding member and co-director of Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board. “The first genome that was sequenced took 13 years and $2.7 billion dollars. Now we can sequence a genome in an afternoon.”

Such significant advances in technology have helped spur precision medicine, but have also created large quantities of genetic information, Kolesar said. It’s up to the Molecular Tumor Board to interpret that vast amount of data and apply it to an individual’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Susanne Arnold

Dr. Susanne Arnold

Medical oncologist Dr. Susanne Arnold, Markey’s associate director for clinical translation and member of the Molecular Tumor Board, is helping lead this individualized approach to cancer treatment. A precision approach to diagnosis and analysis is the future of care, she said.

“You take a biopsy and do the genomic analysis, called next-generation sequencing, which helps us understand exactly what happened with that cell that resulted in cancer,” she explained.

But what might sound like a routine test in modern medicine is much more remarkable in these particular cases.

“Molecular medicine is actually discovering the information about a unique cancer in a specific person at a precise point in time,” she said. “Pinpointing this allows us to understand why it happened, why our treatment did or didn’t work, and how we can potentially stop (the cancer).”

In short, these tests allow for a remarkably detailed understanding of what goes wrong in cancerous cells. And that sort of comprehensive knowledge helps the tumor board choose the best treatment from among the many options available at Markey.

How the molecular tumor board works

Markey’s Molecular Tumor Board is not the first of its kind, but it is the first in Kentucky. And that’s significant, given the unprecedented rates of cancer across the state, most notably in the rural, eastern parts of Kentucky.

With the board meeting twice monthly, oncologists across the state can reach out for a recommendation for therapy based on their patient’s molecular signature.

There are more than a dozen scientific specialties represented on the board, and more than 300 years of experience in total. All of this is applied to a single patient as cases are presented to the board, and the inclusion of each patient’s own physician in the process ensures an intimate understanding of that patient’s condition and outlook.

Each patient’s cancer will be tested for all genetic mutations that are known to cause cancer, regardless of what type of tumor the patient has. The tumor board then uses the results of that test to choose possible treatment options that target the genetic mutations. Each mutation is evaluated for FDA-approved therapies for the patient’s tumor type, FDA-approved off-label therapies and any clinical trials available related to the patient’s specific mutations.

Taking into consideration the available treatment options, the Molecular Tumor Board will make a recommendation based on the best possible outcome for the patient.

For a single patient, for all of Kentucky

As more tumor boards are established across the country and more cases are reviewed, a bank of information will be available to doctors to help them determine the best course of action for patients with similar cases.

“Everything we discover is designed to help you, and by sharing this information in an anonymous way, it can help people across the country suffering with cancer. We’re all being connected through this process, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful story to tell,” Arnold said. “Imagine you are ‘Anne’ from Pikeville, Kentucky, but behind you is your doctor, the Markey Cancer Center, other NCI-designated cancer centers, the National Cancer Institute … and ‘John’ in New York City, who has the same mutation as you. The six degrees of separation suddenly disappear, and ideally you each benefit from the experience of the other.”

Dr. Mark Evers

Dr. Mark Evers

That is the crux of Markey’s ambitions: an individualized approach to each patient, but on a large scale. In an open letter released at the end of 2016, Dr. Mark Evers, director of Markey, made public a goal of the organization: to significantly reduce cancer incidence and mortality across the state, and the region, by the year 2020. It’s a lofty aspiration, but initiatives like the Molecular Tumor Board position Markey for success.

As Kolesar said, “When researchers and clinicians at the Markey Cancer Center decide something is going to benefit patients, like the Molecular Tumor Board, they say, ‘Let’s do it.’”

This team spirit spans the entire organization. Kolesar noted the collegiality and support for accomplishing goals at UK HealthCare.

“Dr. Evers, says, ‘You just tell me what you need, and we’ll make it happen, because that’s what we think the patients of Kentucky need,’” she said.

Such sweeping change, especially when it comes to issues as complicated and extensive as healthcare, rarely happens quickly. But a series of small successes, over time, can have an enormous ripple effect. The experts who make up the Molecular Tumor Board understand this, and it’s their reason for participating in and offering their time to such programs.

“By understanding the genetic makeup of our patients and their tumors, we can then help to direct their therapy,” Evers said.

The future of advanced medicine

Treatment options at UK HealthCare are more abundant than ever before. The Early Therapeutics Clinical Trials Center focuses on increasing patient access to phase I and phase II clinical trials will also have a major impact for Markey patients.

“[Previously,] if patients in Kentucky needed an earlier-phase clinical trial, they would have to go out of state,” said Kolesar, explaining the advantage of the initiative.

These early-phase studies can offer patients new treatment avenues for cancers that have proved difficult to target using standard therapies. Essentially, it allows Markey to participate in the development of new and novel treatments while offering patients first access.

Being at the forefront of medicine means incredible discovery, but for every breakthrough, there are new unknowns. This uncharted territory is a product of advancement and a reason for optimism.

“Do we have a therapy for every gene that’s broken? No. But we do have therapies for genes that are broken in non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer and a growing list every day. They are defined by their gene signature and by the gene that’s broken. That’s called targeted therapy,” Arnold said.

The hope is that this sort of targeting can be applied to all types of cancer, and Markey’s patients could be among the first to benefit.

“The Power of Advanced Medicine” is more than a slogan. It’s a guiding principle and a reminder that UK HealthCare prioritizes discovery in the name of our patients.


Next steps:

  • Markey is Kentucky’s only NCI-designated cancer center, providing world-class cancer care right here in the Commonwealth. Learn more about why patients choose Markey for their cancer treatment. For a second opinion or appointment, call Markey at 859-257-4488 or 866-340-4488 (toll free).
  • Learn more about the power of advanced medicine at UK HealthCare.
UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart Institute is at the forefront of regenerative medicine, putting us on the verge of a potentially world-changing breakthrough that doesn’t just treat damage, but actually heals the heart itself.

The story behind our new Power of Advanced Medicine TV spot

What happens when a world-class surgeon and a renowned researcher have an idea for a revolutionary new way to heal the heart? Our exciting new TV spot tells how the Power of Advanced Medicine could change life after heart attack. Watch the video at the end of this post!

A revolutionary treatment to heal the heart

Using a patient’s own bone marrow cells, we can now regenerate healthy heart muscle after a heart attack. It’s as complicated as it sounds, and it’s equally profound in the realm of regenerative medicine.

Explore how the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute is at the forefront of regenerative medicine, putting us on the verge of a potentially world-changing breakthrough that doesn’t just treat damage, but actually heals the heart itself.

It all started in a hallway

The genesis of this project was nothing short of fortuitous. Because UK HealthCare is one of the few institutions where clinical, research and other expertise are housed under the same roof, a chance encounter becomes more likely. Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif, a cardiologist at Gill and regenerative medicine researcher, ran into cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Michael Sekela, and the idea took off from there.

“You cannot do this type of research as a single person. It’s a huge deal and a huge commitment, from the leadership in the university and in the hospital and the medical school. Everyone works well together, everyone is supportive this makes it an ideal place for someone like me and for this type of therapy. It’s not just one physician or one scientist. It’s a whole system,” Abdel-Latif said.

What is the problem we’re solving?

There’s more to a heart attack than the event itself. When you have a heart attack, the heart suffers irreparable damage—the symptoms of which will reveal themselves for years after. These symptoms, commonly known as heart failure, are what we’re aiming to solve.

Instead of managing treatment for the remainder of a patient’s life, we’re using precision, regenerative medicine to heal the damaged tissue. This not only improves the functional capacity of a patient’s most vital organ, it significantly improves one’s quality of life. It’s here we believe this treatment will have its most profound and far reaching effects.

What is regenerative medicine?

The field of regenerative medicine is exciting, but not new. The first successful regenerative therapies such as bone marrow and organ transplants took place in the seventies. But new technologies and information have opened doors for treatments that seemed novel only months ago.

In short, regenerative medicine has the potential to fully heal damaged tissues and organs, offering solutions and hope for people who have conditions previously determined as beyond repair.

“What’s good about UK is that we are able to offer this therapy to our patients early, before it becomes a standard of care,” Abdel-Latif said. “So patients at UK will have access to this therapy through clinical trials. They will have access to this therapy before anyone else.”

How does this procedure work?

“What we’re trying to do is focusing a specific area of regrowing blood vessels to heart muscle that doesn’t have enough blood flow,” Sekela said. “And theoretically, what we’re doing is taking something that should turn into scar tissue, and let that be muscle. And if we can do that, it’ll explode this field in cardiovascular surgery and in cardiovascular medicine.”

Who is this procedure for?

Eventually, everyone. Because we’re still in the early days of this therapy, only certain, qualifying patients will have access to it. But the prevailing theory is that all patients suffering from severe heart failure will qualify for this procedure within a few years. And down the road, those suffering from more mild cases could have their symptoms addressed as well.

What is the potential impact?

This procedure could easily help millions of people. In the U.S. alone, there are billions of dollars being spent on care for heart failure patients. These types of therapies will not only improve lifestyle and life expectancy for patients with severe heart disease, but will have a profound economic impact as well.

If this procedure is successfully implemented, it could do more than change cardiovascular treatment it could shift a cornerstone in medicine itself.

How long before this is standard procedure?

Experts estimate it that regenerative therapies like this one will be the standard of care within five to 10 years. There is a litany of factors that could play into this, such as governmental influence, the pace of clinical trials, and funding. Nevertheless, regenerative medicine is undoubtedly seeing advancements by the day and UK HealthCare is at the forefront.


Next steps:

Kentucky's best hospital

What it means to be Kentucky’s best hospital

We’re no stranger to No. 1 rankings at the University of Kentucky. Last week, we added another first-place finish to our resume – UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital was named Kentucky’s best hospital in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospital rankings.

This is a tremendous honor for all of us here at UK HealthCare, but we’re most proud of what it means for our patients. Being ranked as the top hospital in Kentucky is further proof that when you come to UK HealthCare, you can feel confident you’re in good hands. Our goal is not to win awards; it’s to deliver the highest-quality care to every patient, every day.

UK HealthCare is Kentucky’s No. 1 hospital. But we’re so much more than that.

We are 9,000 people – physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals – all dedicated to providing the most advanced, most effective care available, not just in Kentucky but anywhere.

We are physicians and other medical professionals trained in the most sophisticated, most up-to-the-minute medical techniques so that no Kentuckian, no matter how sick they are or how rare their illness, needs to go far from home for the treatment they need.

We are a Level 1 trauma center, ready every minute of every day to treat even the most serious injuries when they come through the door. And a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, caring for the tiniest and sickest newborns – and giving them a chance not just to live, but to live normal, productive, happy lives.

We are nurses providing care for every patient, every time that’s so good it has received Magnet status, the highest recognition available in the nursing field.

We are educators in our six health professions colleges teaching the next generations of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, spreading the highest standards of care like ripples to the future.

We are researchers working to discover treatments and cures not yet even imagined.

And we are a network of partnerships and outreach locations throughout the state, so that world-class care is always close to home.

UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine.

And all of that power is here for you.

To learn more about our No. 1 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report, visit our website.

Best hospital in Kentucky

UK HealthCare named Kentucky’s best hospital

UK HealthCare’s Albert B. Chandler Hospital has been named Kentucky’s best hospital in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals rankings released Aug. 2. It also is the only hospital in the state rated as High Performing in cancer.

In addition to being named the top hospital in Kentucky, UK HealthCare is ranked 45 nationally in Geriatrics. In addition to cancer, we are considered High Performing in five other specialty areas: Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology.

UK HealthCare also ranked as high performing – the highest rating ‒ in eight out of nine types of common adult procedures and conditions. Those conditions are: heart bypass surgery, heart failure, abdominal aortic aneurysm, colon cancer surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer.

“This acknowledges the exemplary work of our health care team in providing the highest quality patient care in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “We are committed to being one of the premier academic medical centers in the country and dedicated in serving those who need complex medical care without ever having to travel far from their home.”

To be recognized as a Best Hospital this year, a hospital had to have been categorized in the American Hospital Association annual survey database as a general medical-surgical hospital and had to earn either at least one national ranking in the 12 data-driven specialties or at least four ratings of “high performing” across the 12 specialty rankings and nine rated procedures and conditions.

“This honor belongs to our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Dr. Phillip K. Chang, UK HealthCare chief medical officer. “Every day and every night, they go above and beyond to make sure our patients get the best possible care.”

The U.S. News Best Hospitals analysis includes multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient-outcome and care-related factors, such as patient safety and nurse staffing.

In February 2016, UK HealthCare achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. This designation factors into the U.S. News rankings and contributed to this year’s score.

“Our entire interprofessional team is proud of our Magnet designation and its impact and significance for UK HealthCare and the patients we serve,” said Collen Swartz, UK HealthCare chief nursing executive. “The team’s work has been exemplified in the production of superb clinical outcomes as well as excellence in patient- and family-centered care, and they are well deserving of this recognition based on their hard work, commitment and scientific approach to care across the continuum.”

UK HealthCare has seen the number of patients who are 75 or older nearly double in the past 10 years. This volume and the level of care for these patients attributed to the national ranking in geriatrics. Additionally, the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare are home to the only National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded Alzheimer’s disease center in Kentucky, the prestigious UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the Commonwealth.

“Our goal is to provide the safest and highest quality patient care to those who come to us from every county in Kentucky, as well as from many other states, by providing them the expertise of integrated, multidisciplinary teams working to solve the most complex health issues,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “I congratulate our entire UK HealthCare team on this tremendous accomplishment and commend their work and dedication to patient care in the Commonwealth

To read the complete U.S. News rankings for 2016-17, visit http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals.

UK assistant professor has been awarded a $65,000 grant to support new UK research on coloboma, a leading cause of blindness in children.

UK researcher uses zebrafish to study eye disorder

UK Assistant Professor of Biology Jakub Famulski has been awarded a Career Starter Grant by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. The $65,000 grant will support Famulski’s new UK research on coloboma, a leading cause of blindness in children. The eye abnormality occurs before birth and involves missing tissue in or around the eye.

Famulski and his collaborators recently discovered a new type of coloboma, superior coloboma, which occurs in the top of the eye. But the underlying cause of most coloboma cases remains unknown.

To better understand the disorder, Famulski and UK graduate students Kristyn Van Der Meulen and Nicholas Carrara will use zebrafish as a model to study how coloboma occurs in the eye’s early development. With zebrafish, the team can easily and efficiently observe, manage and change cells in the laboratory.

“For a junior faculty member like myself, this grant is not only great financial help, but also confirmation that scientists in the community value this work, which I hope will help patients suffering from this disorder,” Famulski said.

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, incorporated in 1956, works to improve vision through research, education and supporting access to care. Since its beginning, the foundation has awarded more than $23 million in grants to pediatric ophthalmology research. Thanks to this most recent grant, new UK research can help Famulski make a difference through the power of advanced medicine.

The Power of Advanced Medicine

Introducing The Power of Advanced Medicine

How powerful is advanced medicine?

At UK HealthCare it is seriously powerful. Life-changing powerful.

Today we are launching a new campaign built around our message of The Power of Advanced Medicine. Showcasing UK HealthCare’s role as Kentucky’s leading academic medical center, the campaign will help you better understand who we are and the groundbreaking work we do.

From treating the most complex medical diagnoses to blazing new trails related to research and innovation, we’ll show you some of the amazing things that happen at UK HealthCare every day.

The campaign kicks off with a 30-second TV commercial featuring several of our programs and initiatives including orthopaedics, cancer and Alzheimer’s research, as well as the new Sports Medicine Research Institute.

We’ll share more great stories as we move forward, but for now you can be among the first to experience The Power of Advanced Medicine by visiting ukhealthcare.com/powerof.