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Adamowicz Presents at 2014 Research Recognition Day

Thumbnail image for Adamowicz.pngGraduate Research Assistant Elizabeth Adamowicz presented at the 2014 Research Recognition Day for the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs.  Her poster was titled "Genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum from western Kenya highland areas prone to malaria epidemics".  The conference, held on May 22, involved all biomedical graduate programs at the University of Minnesota and included a poster session, a 3-minute thesis competition, and keynote speakers.

Shabani Awarded Silver Medal at PRESS

Shabani.jpgGraduate Research Assistant Estela Shabani participated in the Pediatric Research, Education, and Scholarship Symposium (PRESS).  She gave a 3-minute speed talk (3 slides) and presented a poster titled "High levels of erythropoietin are not associated with neuroprotection in Ugandan children with cerebral malaria".  She was awarded the Silver Medal in the Graduate Student Category.  Congratulations to Estela on this outstanding achievement!

Free Nutrition eLecture Resources By Dana Johnson

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Dana Johnson
has recorded two information-packed eLecture resources for the non-profit Adoption Learning Partners. Dr. Johnson's eLectures, "The First Doctor's Visit" and "Why Internationally Adopted Children are At Risk for Malnutrition", are part of a 3-part series of "Bite-sized Tips", and include downloadable PDF resources as well as the lecture recordings.

You can get all three eLectures free with registration at the Adoption Learning Partners website.

Cusick Serves On Tropical and Travel Medicine Panel

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L to R: Drs. Dominic Travis, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi, Sarah Cusick, and Amy Kircher

Panelists Global Pediatrics core faculty, Sarah Cusick, Ph.D., was a presenter and panelist for the Department of Internal Medicine Global Health program's Tropical and Travel Medicine Seminar. The focus of the panel was "The Power of One Health", and the theme of the event was surrounding One Health success stories. Panelists presented examples from non- communicable disease, nutrition and zoonosis. 

Dr. Cusick presented her research focused on iron deficiency and malaria in Uganda.

You can subscribe to the podcast for the monthly Tropical and Travel Medicine Seminar series via iTunes University or download them from this Global Health Medicine webpage.

Dana Johnson Appears In Early Childhood Intervention Video



An interview with Dana Johnson appears this month in an Open Society Foundations video. He and other child development experts discuss the importance of family in a child's survival. Check out the accompanying article here.

From their website, "The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens." 

Bartholomew Ondigo On His PhD Defense

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Bartholomew Ondigo, Ph.D.

Dr. Bartholomew Ondigo has been mentored through his immunology Ph.D. program at Maseno University in Kenya by Dr. Chandy John (U of M) and Dr. Ayub Ofulla (Maseno University).

Dr. Ondigo has been supported through Dr. John's D43 training grant and was also a 2012-13 Fogarty Global Health Fellow. He is now working as a researcher on Dr. John's malaria research studies in Kisumu, Kenya. We congratulate him on his hard work and fine scientific achievements. 

The following piece, "Reflections On My Ph.D. Defense Day" was written by Dr. Ondigo:

"Its over. The time of the dreaded PhD thesis defense has passed." These are the words that passed through my mind after I had just defended.

On 8 August 2013, I had to summarize my four-year research studies to a panel of 12 - 15 faculty members. This panel would determine whether I got the Ph.D. or not (failed).  

After 40 minutes of PowerPoint presentation and 3 hours of questioning by the faculty (making a total of 220 minutes), I achieved my goal.

I was tense, though I had prepared as advised by my supervisors. My thesis was entitled "Validation of a cytometric multiplex assay and examination of antibody responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens in the highlands of western Kenya during a period of low malaria transmission".

All of my supervisors had insisted that for me to pass the defense, I had to read and master the contents of my thesis adequately ("inside out"). I had to prepare myself not to be over-confident and, at the same time, not to show the examiners that I don't "own" the thesis. I was a little bit optimistic that all would go well in the defense since we Ph.D. students all review each other's academic work. 

I gathered the following pointers when preparing to thesis defense, which I am happy to share with fellow students:

  1. Take time to respond to questions asked by faculty members.
  2. As a student often before responding to the question start with the phrase, " Good question."
  3. Before the D-day of thesis defense, plan for a mock presentation among your fellow colleagues in the laboratory. 
  4. On the D-day, defend your work and interpretation - you are the expert.
I am happy to say that the four years spent in the laboratory performing experiments will shape my future global health research endeavors.

Good luck!

Eckerle Presents At MOFAS Conference

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Judy Eckerle, M.D.

IAC staff physician, Judith Eckerle, along with University of Minnesota researchers, Jeffery Wozniak, & Anita Fuglestad, presented a session, "The Role of Nutrition in FASD: Implications for Treatment" on November 14, 2013, as part of the 2013 Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome annual conference.

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Be part of the action with a Doris Duke ICRF program award!

University of Minnesota Medical School students are encouraged to apply for the Doris Duke International Clinical Research Fellowships program (ICRF). These fellowships provide an outstanding opportunity for financial and mentored support for medical students to complete a year of clinical research with University of Minnesota researchers and their collaborators at partner sites in Uganda or Kenya.

Fellows receive a living stipend of $29,000, plus health insurance, research funding, and travel expenses for the duration of the program. Prior clinical and research experience and a clear commitment to global health research will be important criteria in assessing students for the fellowships. Three fellowships will be awarded each year.

Applications are available now and are due on January 14, 2014.

The University of Minnesota's partnerships with Makerere University in Uganda and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Maseno University in Kenya focus on the interrelated areas of infection, nutrition and neurodevelopment. 

Doris Duke ICRF fellows will conduct research in these critical areas of health in low-income countries.  Learn more about research projects and mentors

Students enrolled at any U.S.-based medical school to be eligible for the ICRF.  Questions may be directed to Molly McCoy (mccoy019@umn.edu or 612-624-9749).

Howard Named to AAP Executive Committee

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This past August 2013, our own core global pediatrics faculty, Dr. Cindy Howard, was named to the prestigious Section on International Child Health (SOICH), an executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Her role will include service on the subcommittee that awards I-CATCH grants, small grants that allocate funds for research in community settings for international trainees and child healthcare providers from LMIC. I-Catch grants provide instrumental funding that allow these providers to conduct research projects in their communities. Dr. Howard will help decide which projects get funded and will provide mentorship to grantees.  

The SOICH also publishes a monthly newsletter to pediatrician members of AAP and members of the SOICH to provide that group with the most up-to-date information on global child health issues, and sponsors one full day of global health at the AAP meeting each year.


Congratulations, Dr. Howard!

Howard Publishes In Journal of Pediatrics

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Screen grab of article as it appears on Journal of Pediatrics website

Global Pediatrics faculty, Cindy Howard, was an author on a paper published this month in Journal of Pediatrics. Read the abstract here; further details below.

Pediatric Global Health Education: Correlation of Website Information and Curriculum
Jeffrey P. Yaeger, James H. Conway, Sabrina M. Butteris, Cindy R. Howard, Megan A. Moreno
Published online: 22 August 2013
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.07.005
Journal of Pediatrics