RESEARCH ISSUE JANUARY/FEBRUARY Also Inside: Cancer Biology Research at LSU SVM. Double-Teaming GI Disease. Parasitology Research in Thailand

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1 RESEARCH ISSUE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 Also Inside: Cancer Biology Research at LSU SVM Double-Teaming GI Disease Parasitology Research in Thailand

2 LETTER FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR RESEARCH AND ADVANCED STUDIES Faculty and student research that leads to new knowledge and its application to practical problems is a central characteristic of great universities. This is the first objective of the LSU Flagship Agenda, an essential part of economic growth, and a reason why LSU has become a Top Tier University. Active research laboratories are vital for the growth and maintenance of quality graduate programs, and graduate students add intellectual energy to the research laboratory; the two are inseparable. Since its inception, the LSU SVM has had extramurally funded, internationally recognized research programs. With the turn of the century a conscious effort was made by the SVM leadership to make research and in particular scholarship sponsored by extramural grants and contracts an increased priority. Research faculty are selected for their scholarly activity in biomedical research and potential for funding from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Science Foundation, and animal health foundations such as the Morris Animal Foundation and the Grayson Jockey Club. Acquisition of extramural research grants and contracts has increased three-fold over this time. Currently grants and contracts held by SVM faculty total more that $35 million (87% of this is from federal agencies). In 2008, 90 grant applications were submitted for a total of $29.2 million. Two of our three departments Pathobiological Sciences and Comparative Biomedical Sciences are consistently listed in the top 10 departments within the University based on research expenditures. Our faculty have broad impact on the regional research enterprise and collaborate with the LSU Colleges of Basic Sciences, Agriculture, and Engineering; the Pennington Biomedical Research Center; the LSU Health Science Centers; and the Tulane Health Science Center. Two of our faculty serve as principal investigators on multi-institutional grants from the NIH. The Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research [CEIDR] ($9.6 million) and the IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence [INBRE] ($17 million) are funded through the National Center for Research Resources. We hold NIH training grants with the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC) for first- and second-year DVM students, and graduate veterinarians in experimental pathology and medicine and the TNPRC are part of the CEIDR. Our research strengths can be categorized into Infectious Disease, Cancer Biology and Therapy, and Molecular Medicine. The latter group is a collection of laboratories that work on cell and molecular biology aspects of a number of human diseases. While each of these categories touches animal as well as human health, the Equine Health Studies Program is a single-animal-species-centered research program in the SVM. I hope that this issue of the La Veterinaire opens a window on the current level of quality, excitement, and energy that exists in the SVM research program. LSU SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE ADMINISTRATION Dr. Peter F. Haynes Dean Dr. Thomas R. Klei Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies Dr. Joseph Taboada Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs Dr. David F. Senior Associate Dean for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives Ernie Tanoos Assistant Dean for Finance and Administrative Services School of Veterinary Medicine Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana Administration Small Animal Clinic Large Animal Clinic

3 ON THE COVER Scientific Investigation Enhances All Areas of LSU Veterinary School In addition to educating future veterinarians and providing veterinary medical care to patients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the LSU SVM is also a premier biomedical research facility. Cutting-edge, well-funded research enhances all aspects of the SVM and ultimately benefits communities around the world. Full story on page 2. COVER PHOTO: Image of fish gills magnified 200 times using the SVM s scanning electron microscope. Ronald Thune, PhD, head of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, investigates infectious diseases of aquatic animals. ABOVE: Heart tissue magnified 62,700 times using the SVM s transmission electron microscope. Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, studies how the brain affects cardiovascular function. Page 10 Page 14 Page 18 TABLE OF CONTENTS Research at the LSU SVM... 2 Cancer Treatment Studies...10 Faculty and Staff...12 Life at the LSU SVM...13 Double-Teaming GI Disease...14 A Moment in History...16 Parasitology Research in Thailand...18 Alumni Profiles...19 Alumni Tracks and Baby Vets...21 Advancement...22 Ginger Guttner Editor Kathleen Harrington Writer and Webmaster La Veterinaire is published by the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Public Relations. Communications should be addressed to Editor, La Veterinaire, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, or sent via to

4 Fish gills magnified 6,948 times on the SVM s scanning electron microscope, a high resolution environmental microscope with improved image resolution and contrast engineered to provide maximum data imaging and microanalysis from all specimens, with or without preparation. Scientific Investigation Enhances All Areas of LSU Veterinary School Currently in the LSU SVM, fundamental research is being publications. The SVM also offers MS and PhD programs and conducted on cancer, cardiovascular disease, herpes virus a combined DVM/PhD program for exceptional students with a infection, coronavirus infection, E. coli infection, neurologic passion for research. disease, retinal disease, uveitis, renal disease, intestinal disease, fungal infections, and laminitis. Findings are The extraordinary growth of the extramurally funded research often directed from theory to application in either human or program reflects the continued focused investments in facility veterinary medicine. Because many of the studies elucidate the and technologic infrastructure, and the recruitment and fundamental, often sub-cellular, mysteries of these processes, retention of quality faculty scientists. the results have relevance to the health of both people and animals. Comparative Biomedical Sciences Formed in 2000 by combining the departments of Veterinary Such is the intensity of research activity buildup since 2000, Anatomy and Cell Biology with Veterinary Physiology, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the SVM graduate Pharmacology, and Toxicology, CBS has been consistently faculty sixth in the nation based on their productivity index ranked in the top 10 departments for research productivity on as measured by grant acquisitions, rate of citation, and 2

5 the LSU campus with a ranking as high as fourth. The common thread that unites the department s research is cell and molecular biology, said Gary Wise, PhD, department head. Our research is diverse and impacts human medicine; it is relevant at all levels. More importantly, our emphasis on research has gained significant national recognition for the School, which in turn increases scholarship, the quality of the science, hiring of talented faculty with their own funding, and improved teaching, said Dr. Wise. This in turn enhances the participation of our veterinary students and does wonders for the graduate program. This spring, CBS will have 24 graduate students, which is a huge increase. Good research faculty attract the best graduate students, which helps us continue to improve our research. One of CBS s strengths is its cancer biology group, which includes gene therapy utilizing electroporation, gene therapy utilizing adenoviral vectors, DNA repair, and prostate cancer. Another emerging strength is in cardiovascular physiology. Additional areas of research that will have direct applications to advances in understanding human and veterinary patient care and wellbeing include diabetes and the role of calcium channels in regulating insulin release; multiple sclerosis and the role of specific proteins in T-cell activation; and alcoholism and the action of alcohol on signal transduction pathways. Other areas that utilize cell and molecular techniques are in development and physiology. Developmental areas include studies on the molecular basis of tooth eruption; studies on the molecular genetics of deafness in Dalmatians and other breeds; and, analysis of zebrafish development in relation to environmental health science. Finally, the development and anatomy of the bowhead whale is being elucidated, and the functional anatomy of its digital end organs is being studied. Research in Comparative Biomedical Sciences Dr. Fakhri Al-Bagdadi: diagnostic ultrastructural changes in lymphocytic leukemia transferred from bovine to other species. Dr. Steven Barker: analytical toxicology and the neurochemistry of hallucinogens. Dr. Hermann Bragulla: morphology and development of skin and cornified structures (e.g., claws); baleen in whales; whale ears. Dr. Jim Catallo: biomass (sewage sludge, waste forest and food matter, agricultural wastes) and air toxics. Dr. Henrique Cheng: cellular and molecular signals that control insulin secretion and how they impact diabetes. Dr. Ji-Ming Feng: molecular regulations of calcium signal in T-cells and their roles in autoimmune diseases. Dr. Marxa Figueiredo: cancer biology with a focus on gene therapy strategies for prostate and head and neck cancers. Dr. Joseph Francis: brain mechanisms regulating cardiovascular function. Dr. Daniel Hillmann: development and anatomy of the bowhead whale. Dr. Yu-Ming Kang: central nervous system mechanisms involved in cardiovascular regulation. Dr. Kevin M. Kleinow: mechanistic and applied aspects of aquatic animal toxicology, physiology, and pharmacology. Dr. Shisheng Li: DNA damage and repair mechanisms. Dr. Shulin Li: novel gene therapy for treating malignancy and other severe genetic diseases. Dr. Arthur Penn: role of inhaled air pollutants in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Dr. Inder Sehgal: mechanisms for prostate cancer metastasis. Dr. George Strain: deafness, epilepsy, experimental neurology, and the autonomic nervous system. Dr. Gary Wise: molecular basis of tooth eruption. Dr. Shaomian Yao: molecular regulation of bone resorption and bone formation. Dr. Masami Yoshimura: molecular and cellular biological aspect of the regulation of cyclic AMP signal transduction. 3

6 Scientific Investigation continued Veterinary Clinical Sciences The Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) instructs veterinary students, interns, and residents in the art and science of veterinary medicine, undertakes clinical research for the benefit of both animals and humans, and provides specialized care for animal patients from Louisiana and surrounding states. VCS supports graduate programs at the MS and PhD levels, and the SVM offers a joint DVM/PhD program. Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, investigates how the brain affects cardiovascular disease. Pathobiological Sciences Formed in 2000 by combining Veterinary Microbiology & Parasitology, Veterinary Pathology, and Epidemiology and Community Health, PBS is currently ranked #1 in research productivity of all departments on the LSU campus. PBS s research emphasis is on infectious diseases, with strong programs in viral and bacterial pathogenesis, immunity and resistance to infectious agents, vector-borne diseases, and the use of Geographic Information Systems to study disease distribution and risk factors. With an MS program and a more recently established PhD program, VCS faculty are engaged in a wide variety of research endeavors with major funding in equine laminitis and orthopedics. VCS graduate students have made their mark with Dr. Joanne Tetens receiving the LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Science, Engineering, and Technology; and, further, Dr. Gary Sod twice received both the Mark S. Bloomberg Resident Research Award from the Veterinary Orthopedic Society and the ACVS Research Publication Award for his innovative orthopedic research. Research conducted by VCS faculty and students primarily relates to the animal disease, though some research has implications in human medicine as well. Ongoing research in glaucoma and oncology are two examples in which scientific Close association with the National Hansen s Disease Center (with its internationally recognized programs exploring tuberculosis and leprosy), the Pennington Biomedical Research Facility, and the Tulane National Primate Research Center provides additional opportunities for collaborative research and graduate training. Several of PBS s faculty hold joint appointments in the Veterinary Science Department of the LSU Agricultural Center, and the aquatic animal disease faculty work closely with the LSU Aquaculture Research Station faculty. PBS provides instruction in both the professional veterinary curriculum and graduate studies in bacteriology, clinical pathology, epidemiology, immunology, pathology, parasitology, and virology. Graduate opportunities for both MS and PhD programs are available in the wide range of research arenas. PBS also offers three-year residency programs in anatomical and clinical pathology and laboratory animal medicine. Kevin Macaluso, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, investigates tick-borne rickettsial diseases. 4

7 Research in Pathobiological Sciences Dr. David Baker: parasitic and infectious diseases of Dr. John B. Malone, Jr.: use of earth-observing laboratory animals. satellite imagery and geographic information systems (GIS network on snail borne infections) to evaluate the Dr. Doo-Youn Cho: developmental pathology, suitability of the environment for disease agents. dermatopathology and nervous system pathology. Dr. Christopher Mores: mechanisms by which Dr. Shafiqul Chowdhury: molecular virology and arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) persist in, emerge recombinant vaccine technology of bovine herpesviruses from, and expand to particular ecologies, transmission (BHV). cycles, and regions. Dr. Richard Cooper: immune system of aquatic Dr. Timothy Morgan: E. coli O157:H7 and the species. effects of the host inflammatory response on Shiga toxin Dr. Hollis Cox: staphylococci of dogs and cats. absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Philip Elzer: bacterial pathogenesis focusing on host-parasite interactions and immunity. Dr. John Hawke: emerging infectious diseases of cultured marine and freshwater fish. Dr. Samithamby Jeyaseelan: pulmonary inflammation and antibacterial host defense. Dr. Thomas Klei: immunopathogenic and regulatory mechanisms involved in human filariasis and nematodes of horses. Dr. Konstantin Kousoulas: molecular biology and pathogenesis of herpesvirus and coronaviruses. Dr. Fang-Ting Liang: pathogenesis of Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease. Dr. Marlene Orandle: comparative pathology and host factors contributing to the development of gastrointestinal disease. Dr. Daniel B. Paulsen: bovine respiratory disease (shipping fever). Dr. Jeff Sirninger: gene therapy of cystic fibrosis. Dr. Rhett Stout: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Dr. Ronald L. Thune: infectious diseases of aquatic animals, particularly channel catfish and hybrid striped bass. Dr. William J. Todd: vaccines to prevent clinical diseases caused by obligate intracellular bacteria. Dr. Kevin Macaluso: tick-borne rickettsial diseases and how the interactions between arthropods and rickettsiae facilitate pathogen transmission. advancement may benefit human health. In many areas the research being conducted enables us to offer cutting edge treatment to our patients. For example, research in renal disease has made LSU one of only three Schools of Veterinary Medicine to offer hemodialysis and one of only two to offer renal replacement therapy. Collaboration between faculty in VCS and other departments often helps to translate the results of basic research into practical applications. For example, cardiovascular research and oncology are two areas with strong collaborative endeavors. Equine Health Studies Program The EHSP is a premier equine biomedical center that conducts leading-edge research of equine diseases, instructs professional veterinary students and veterinarians in advanced studies programs, and enhances the continuing education of the horse-owning public and private equine practitioners. The goal of the EHSP is to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities for critically ill and injured horses and optimal clinical service. The EHSP conducts cutting-edge research that directly affects the horse-owning community. 5

8 Scientific Investigation continued The Equine Health Studies Program in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences uses organ baths for vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle physiology and pharmacology studies. In 2007, Dr. Susan Eades and co-investigators received one of only two awards from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to study laminitis; this grant was created in memory of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Laboratory for Equine Comparative Orthopedic Research This laboratory is specifically designed and equipped for translational orthopedic research from the molecular/genetic level to the structural biomechanical level. Areas of research include hip dysplasia, orthopedic devices, cranial cruciate disease, joint disease, shock wave therapy, and orthopedic disease. LECOR facilitates a strong association between clinical and basic orthopedic research for advancement of orthopedic knowledge across species and disciplines. Equine Orthopedics and Biomechanics The EHSP has developed a solid research program that has led to the development of numerous orthopedic implants designed specifically for equine use, which is critical for the advancement of fracture repair. The EHSP is unique in that it is the only school of veterinary medicine in the country that is designing and testing equine specific orthopedic implants. Equine Reproduction Laboratory The Theriogenology (Reproduction) Laboratory has complete facilities for the evaluation and processing of semen for transport or storage. The laboratory collaborates with the Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory, which is part of the Reproductive Biology Center of the LSU Agricultural Center. This facility has the capabilities for assisted reproduction techniques as intracytoplasmic sperm injection and nuclear transfer. Collaborative studies also involve the Audubon Center for Research in Endangered Species. Equine Molecular Biology Research Laboratory This laboratory is equipped to support the molecular biology aspects of research conducted by EHSP investigators. This laboratory performs basic, cutting-edge research to explain the molecular basis of disease with a view to improved clinical approaches; trains scientists and students at all levels; and develops new instruments and methods in molecular biology. Research Training Undergraduate Students Each year, undergraduate students are mentored by SVM faculty as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Louisiana Biomedical Research Network programs. 6

9 Research in Veterinary Clinical Sciences Dr. Mark Acierno: renal diseases, Dr. Cheryl Hedlund: tracheal hypertension, and glomerulonephritis. collapse, brachycephalic syndrome, mast cell tumors, and laryngeal paralysis. Dr. Frank Andrews: gastric ulcer disease, neurological diseases, and Dr. Giselle Hosgood: Cushings disease in horses. epidemiology, wound reconstruction, skin grafts, and gastrointestinal effects of nonsteroidal medication. Dr. Daniel Burba: equine arthritis, cartilage healing, and laser surgery. Dr. Jill Johnson,: cell culture Dr. Renee Carter: corneal epithelial models of disease and clinical defects, retinal degeneration, and ciliary epidemiology using GIS, GPS, and cleft collapse. remote sensing tools. Dr. Ann Chapman: Salmonellosis. Dr. Susanne Lauer: fracture Dr. Anderson da Cunha: healing, external skeletal fixation, interaction of the Vanilloid receptor physical rehabilitation, cementless total (TRPV1) with the pain pathway. hip replacement, gait analysis, and intervertebral disc disease. Dr. Susan Eades: gastroenterology, vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle Dr. Jose Len: effects of centrifugation physiology, laminitis, and neonatology. on equine sperm and in vitro fertilization in horses. Dr. Susan Eddlestone: canine ehrlichiosis. Dr. Mandi Lopez: biomechanics, medical device design, canine cranial Dr. Bruce Eilts: equine infertility, cruciate disease, canine hip dysplasia, assisted reproduction, canine infertility, motion analysis, and equine orthopedics. and canine population control. Dr. Sara Lyle: placentitis, infertility, Dr. Lorrie Gaschen: vascular and assisted reproductive technologies imaging and ultrasound of the in the mare. gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. Dr. Rebecca McConnico: Dr. Frederic Gaschen: chronic equine colonic inflammatory disease, intestinal diseases, food intolerance and pharmacology, and stress in transported food allergy, gastrointestinal motility, and wild horses. nosocomial (or hospital) infections. Dr. Mustajab Mirza: long bone Dr. Amy Grooters: pythiosis, fractures, performance limitation lagenidiosis, zygomycosis, and molecular identification, and gastrointestinal mycology (fungal diseases). disease in the horse. Dr. Colin Mitchell: gastrointestinal motility and orthopedic disease. Dr. Javier Nevarez: crocodilian medicine and aquaculture. Dr. Dale Paccamonti: mare infertility, equine pregnancy and parturition, and stallion semen preservation. Dr. Laura Riggs: laminitis and acute inflammation. Dr. Daniel Rodriguez: Interventional radiology. Dr. Keijiro Shiomitsu: angiogenesis, radiation sensitizer, and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. Dr. Gary Sod: large animal orthopedics. Dr. Ashley Stokes: cardiovascular physiology and equine laminitis. Dr. Eric Storey: glaucoma, inherited retinal disease, and equine recurrent uveitis. Dr. Keith Strickland: echocardiography, heart failure therapy, and sudden cardiac death. Dr. Thomas Tully: nutritional research (avian). Dr. Sunil Vasanjee: pathogenesis of cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Dr. C. S. Venugopal: smooth muscle physiology. Summer Scholars Program The Student Summer Research Program provides students with a mentored research experience. The program is jointly supported by Merck/Merial and a National Institutes of Health training grant. The LSU SVM has received full funding from Merck/Merial since this program was expanded in Only about half of all veterinary schools receive funding for this program from both Merck/Merial and the National Institutes of Health, and the LSU SVM is one of those schools. Advanced Studies Students The SVM graduate program is an essential component and the lifeblood of the overall research program. Maintaining a solid base of 60 graduate students, the graduate program continues 7

10 Scientific Investigation continued to enhance all aspects of the SVM research program. Our graduates are taking leadership roles in academia and industry, nationally and internationally. Facilities and Equipment Distribution of total active research funding through extra-mural grants and contracts by scientific category Wildlife Research 0.49% Small Animal Research 0.41% Research Training 8.19% Other 0.74% Six core facilities, including the Microscopy Center, the FACS Equine Research 6.23% Infectious Disease laboratory, the Cell and Organ Culture Cancer Biology laboratory, the BSL-3 laboratory for select agents, the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and the Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, provide unique Molecular Medicine 25.77% Infectious Disease 46.53% Molecular Medicine Equine Research Small Animal Research Wildlife Research Research Training Other services and equipment for faculty. Microscopy Center Within CBS, the Microscopy Center, directed by Dr. Xiaochu Wu, houses a superb array of equipment that includes a laser capture microdissection microscope, a confocal microscope, transmission and scanning electron microscopes, a fluorescent microscope, and a wide array of other imaging instrumentation. Analytical Systems Laboratories Federal 87% The Analytical Systems Laboratories consist of the Laboratory for Drug Residue Studies, the Equine Medication Surveillance Laboratory, and the Analytical Systems Laboratory, all under the direction of Dr. Steven Barker. The Laboratory for Drug Residue Studies provides instrumentation and expertise for the performance of drug and biological molecule pharmacokinetics, metabolism, tissue distribution and analytical method development. The Equine Medication Surveillance Laboratory screens over 8,000 urine and blood samples per year and has developed sophisticated methodology for detection and confirmation of drugs and their metabolites. The Analytical Systems Laboratory houses advanced mass spectrometry and other analytical equipment that is used to support the research of the SVM faculty and graduate students. Cancer Biology 11.65% Distribution of total active research funding through extra-mural grants and contracts by source of funding State 10% Inhalation Research Facility Foundation 0.3% Industry Other 0.42% 2% An Inhalation Research Facility directed by Dr. Arthur Penn enables studies to be conducted on the effect of various pollutants and other substances on a variety of diseases, including asthma and cardiovascular diseases. Aquatic Toxicology Laboratories Federal State Foundation Industry Other The Aquatic Toxicology laboratories include state-of-theart aquatic animal holding, rearing, exposure, surgical and preparative areas. 8

11 Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine The Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (BioMMED) is engaged in innovative research to determine the molecular basis of various diseases as well as to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. BioMMED provides centralized access to state-of-the-art equipment and advanced training in molecular and cell biology. BioMMED oversees three NIH:NCRR funded research cores: The Non-Human Primate Laboratory Core, the Molecular Biology and Immunology Core Laboratories, and a Louisiana undergraduate institution molecular and cell biology training core. BioMMED is comprised of five service-oriented centralized core laboratories: 1) GeneLab; 2) Cellular and Non-Invasive Whole Animal In Vivo Imaging Laboratory; 3) Bioinformatics, Computational, and Visualization Laboratory; 4) Viral Vector Laboratories; 5) Protein and Antibody Production and Purification Laboratory. Flow Cytometry Facility Flow cytometry is a process in which individual cells or biological particles are labeled with fluorescent markers and pass in single file through a fluidic stream. While in the fluidic stream the cells are hit by a laser beam resulting in emitted scattered visible light and fluorescence detection. Physical and chemical properties of cells or particles are subsequently analyzed. Flow cytometric analysis has been performed on cellular elements, chromosomes, tumor cells, bacteria and fungi. Immunophenotyping, cell cycle analysis, apoptosis studies, and measurements of cellular function are examples of its applications. Gene Probes and Expression Systems Laboratory GeneLab undertakes specific research and training projects that require expertise in gene cloning, PCR, DNA sequencing, cdna library construction, gene expression, and other molecular methods. Computer analysis of DNA sequences as well as consultation on molecular biological research is provided. Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine The Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine ( DLAM) serves as a central administrative division for the operation of two research animal holding facilities the SVM Laboratory Animal Medicine Facility and the Life Sciences Animal Care Facility. DLAM purchases, maintains, and cares for all teaching and research animals housed within these two facilities. The animal care facilities, equipment, and program are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International. DLAM s objective is to maintain a fully accredited animal care program supporting teaching, research, and service. Congratulations to Faculty in The Millionaire Club! In the last five years, these individuals have brought into the School of Veterinary Medicine over $1 million each in extramural grants and/or contracts. The sums vary from $1.2M to $11.8M. Steven A. Barker, MS, PhD, professor of veterinary physiology, pharmacology, and toxicology in Comparative Biomedical Sciences Joseph Francis, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, associate professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences Samithamby Jeyaseelan, DVM, PhD, assistant professor in Pathobiological Sciences Konstantin G. Kousoulas, MS, PhD, professor of veterinary virology in Pathobiological Sciences Shisheng Li, MS, PhD, assistant professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences Shulin Li, MS, PhD, professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences Kevin R. Macaluso, PhD, assistant professor in Pathobiological Sciences Alma F. Roy, MS, PhD, assistant professor of veterinary microbiology and parasitology in Pathobiological Sciences Gary E. Wise, PhD, professor and head of Comparative Biomedical Sciences Masami Yoshimura, BSc, MSc, DSc, assistant professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences 9

12 Research Shulin Li, MS, PhD, professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, uses gene therapy and eletroporation to destroy cancer cells. He is also the editor of Electroporation Protocols: Preclinical and Clinical Gene Medicine (2008), shown here. SVM Researchers Making Advances in Cancer Treatment Studies Once upon a time, research done at veterinary medical schools may have been limited to investigating diseases and abnormal conditions of animals, but those days are long past. Today veterinary schools are at the forefront of ground-breaking advances that can benefit not only companion or farm animals but can improve the lives of humans as well. It s an exciting concept new treatments for some of the most devastating forms of human cancer emerging from the laboratories of the School of Veterinary Medicine. According to the SVM s four cancer biology researchers, their work has very real potential for doing just that. Electroporation is a technique used to facilitate the delivery of a substance into tumor cells by applying an external electrical pulse, he said. Dr. Li went on to explain that the pulse temporarily causes the cells to become more permeable, allowing the substance to penetrate more easily. Dr. Li s treatment regimen consists of a five-minute procedure in which he first injects the tumor with a combination of bleomycin (a chemotherapy drug that causes tumor cell death) and IL12- encoding plasmid DNA (which stimulates the immune system), then applies the electric pulses to enable the drug-dna cocktail to infiltrate the tumor. Dr. Shulin Li, professor in Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS), whose work is currently supported by three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, is working on a new approach to the treatment of cancer. Using a technique developed with experimentally induced squamous cell carcinomas in mice, Dr. Li has had some success in treating dogs with oral cancer, one of the most common cancers occurring in dogs. These tumors often grow deeply into the tissues of the mouth and jaw bones and many types have the potential to spread quickly to other parts of the body. Surgery has been the usual treatment option, sometimes followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Li s research is on electroporation-assisted chemo-gene therapy as a minimally invasive means of treating cancer. With this treatment, Dr. Li said, not only does the anticancer drug affect only the tumor cells, but the body s immune system were recruited to the malignancy to induce anti-tumor immune response and anti-tumor immune memory. Induction of anti-tumor immune memory is the key to preventing tumor recurrence. Dr. Li has applied his technique to six dogs that had primary or recurrent oral tumors, three of which have been cured. This treatment has the potential to treat other species as well. The dogs were treated in collaboration with the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital s Cancer Treatment Unit, which is under the direction of Dr.Tracy Gieger, assistant professor of veterinary oncology and radiation oncology. The SVM s Cancer Treatment Unit treats approximately 300 patients each year. 10

13 Dr. Konstantin Gus Kousoulas, professor of virology in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences and director of the Division of Biotechnology & Molecular Medicine (BioMMED), and members of his research team have been working on a form of cancer treatment known as oncolytic virotherapy, which uses a virus that has been engineered to lyse, or destroy, cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Dr. Kousoulas and his team are working with Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV- 1), the same virus that causes fever blisters and cold sores in humans, modifying it to potentially treat breast cancer. HSV-1 causes cold sores by invading and killing normal cells; the Kousoulas group s research efforts are directed toward adapting the virus so it selectively replicates only within cancer cells, thus destroying them while leaving neighboring healthy cells unaffected. The group s first efforts resulted in the creation of the OncSyn virus, which they used to successfully treat both human breast cancer tumors implanted into nude mice and mouse breast cancer tumors in immunocompetent mice. The OncSyn virus spread throughout a tumor by causing the cells to fuse and die. OncSyn is an much improved version of a similar HSV-1 virus, NV1020, which was shown to effectively treat liver cancer in animal and human phase I and II trials by MediGene, Inc. Currently, Dr. Kousoulas and his team are working on a modification of the original OncSyn called OncSynA. One big problem in cancer, said Dr. Kousoulas, is that when a tumor forms, it has its own brain it forms its own blood supply through angiogenesis, and it suppresses T-cells, which are a key part of the body s immune function, in the region of the tumor. OncSynA, the new virus, not only infects cancer cells and kills tumors when injected into them, but it also Konstantin G. Kousoulas, MS, PhD, professor of virology in Pathobiological Sciences and director of BioMMED, and his research team have been working on a form of cancer treatment known as oncolytic virotherapy. it expresses specific gene elements that overcome T-cell suppression, causing better recognition of the tumor cells by the immune system. Immune cells become primed and spread throughout the body where they may be able to eliminate metastatic tumors in other areas. We hope this will one day lead to what will be, in effect, a vaccine against breast cancer, Dr. Kousoulas said. Dr. Kousoulas anticipates having OncSynA ready by the end of 2009 to start Phase I human trials in an initial group of three to four patients to evaluate toxicity. His research is supported by the grant Novel Cancer Treatment Modalities from the Louisiana Governor s Biotechnology Initiative. He also receives funding from the pilot fund of the Louisiana Cancer Consortium, the Louisiana Gene Therapy Consortium, and a NIH R01 grant. Dr. Marxa Figueiredo, assistant professor in CBS, is researching gene therapy modalities for prostate and head and neck cancer. She uses an adenovirus as a vehicle to deliver a therapeutic gene into prostate tumors to target metastatic Marxa Figueiredo, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, investigates gene therapy modalities for prostate and head and neck cancer. Inder Sehgal, DVM, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, investigating the mechanism and therapies for human prostate cancer metastasis. 11

14 Faculty and Staff Dr. Kristina Porthouse has joined the faculty as an instructor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences. She received her DVM from the LSU SVM in 2000 and completed a pathology residency here in In 2004, she received her MS degree from the Department of Pathobiological Sciences. Her thesis was entitled, Early Tissue Migration of and Host Response to Brugia pahangi in Gerbils. Dr. Porthouse will teach gross anatomy and histology to Year I students. Cancer Research continued forms of the disease. Like Dr. Kousoulas, she has engineered the virus to affect only cancer cells, not normal ones. The human gene P27 is a known tumor-suppressor, but when a prostate cancer begins to grow, it usually shuts down P27. But when the gene is put back into a tumor, it acts as a brake, causing the death of the cancer cells, she noted. Dr. Figueiredo has created a transgenic mouse model for examining the role of epigenetic changes on cell cycle regulation and prostate cancer progression and has inserted the P27 gene into an adenovirus that carries it into the tumor. Dr. Figueiredo has confirmed that when this P27 gene is inserted into an adenovirus and the virus is injected into a tumor, it causes cell death and slows the growth of the tumor. Her future work will be aimed at enhancing the anti-tumor effects of the adenovirus, and she hopes to expand to dog and cat models as well as entering human trials in the future. LSU SVM Mourns Loss of Long-Time Staff Member Dr. Alvaro Celedon, teaching associate in the Equine Health Studies Program of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, passed away suddenly on Saturday, November 1. Dr. Celedon was an employee of the Department of Veterinary Sciences for a few years prior to coming to work in Veterinary Clinical Sciences in February Alvaro was a veterinarian in his home country of Nicaragua before moving to the United States. He was instrumental in the teaching of Year 4 veterinary students who rotated through the equine service. Alvaro s kind manner, big smile and huge heart will be sorely missed by those in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital & Clinics and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. A memorial service was held on November 6 in Baton Rouge, La. Alvaro is survived by his wife, R. Aleen G. Celedon; daughter, Ivonne Aleen Celedon; son, Tirso Oliver Celedon; granddaughter, Helena Marie Celedon; eight sisters and a brother. Memorial donations can be made to Disabled American Veterans Memorial Program, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH Dr. Figueiredo is also an adjunct faculty member of the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center, in New Orleans, La. Her research at SVM is funded by a fiveyear NIH-NCI K01 transition grant for junior investigators. Dr. Inder Sehgal is an associate professor in CBS investigating the mechanism and therapies for human prostate cancer metastasis. He has been focused on the role of the urokinase receptor on promoting successful metastasis and is trying to define, through both in vitro studies and using a mouse model, how this happens. I have worked with human mesenchymal stem cells to target those to urokinaseexpressing prostate cancers, he noted, so there is a potential use for stem cells in my future research. From a more therapeutic standpoint, he has been collaborating with Drs. Kousoulas and Shulin Li, another cancer researcher in his department. He has shown that some of Dr. Kousoulas s oncolytic herpes viruses are very effective in killing proliferating human cells in mice. Dr. Sehgal plans to expand this research to use the death of primary cancer cells as a means of inducing immunologic memory to inhibit metastases. His research is supported by an NIH R15 grant. 12

15 Life at the LSU SVM On October 31, the LSU SVM hosted its annual Fall Family Picnic. In honor of Halloween, fourth-year veterinary student Carmen Perez-Pierce turned her family into the Flintstones! Pictured here are (from left to right) the dog Turk, Ruby Pierce (in stroller, age 10 months), Adam Pierce, the dog J.D., Carmen Perez-Pierce, and Estrella Pierce (age 2). Fourth-year veterinary students Mitzi Clark (left) and Doty Kempf (right), along with fourth-year student Liz Hughs (not pictured) assisted Dr. Wendy Wolfson at the Walker Animal Shelter in Walker, La. The LSU SVM offers a shelter medicine course for veterinary students who have started their clinical rotations. Veterinary students made the most of the rare 3 snowfall in Baton Rouge, La., on December 11. Photo courtesy of Dr. Joseph Taboada, associate dean for student and academic affairs. The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine bestowed Distinguished Alumnus Awards to Dr. Debra Sellon (LSU 1983) and Dr. Mary Louise Martin (LSU 1982). Dr. Martin s award was presented by Dean Peter F. Haynes (right) to Dr. & Mrs. Jim Bob Ourso, Dr. Martin s brother-in-law and sister. Dr. Martin lost her life in the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, If you have photos of your time at the LSU SVM and would like to share them, please contact Ginger Guttner, coordinator of public relations, at or 13

16 Veterinary Teaching Hospital Drs. Lorrie and Frédéric Gaschen, associate professor and professor, respectively, in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, often work together investigating chronic intestinal diseases in companion animals. Colin, a standard poodle, belongs to Yani Magee, a fourth-year veterinary student. Double-Teaming Gastrointestinal Disease The Gaschens share more than a last name; they also share a common clinical and research interest and often work together to investigate chronic intestinal disease in companion animals, particularly dogs. The Gaschens have worked together on intestinal problems of dogs and cats since 2001 and have continued to work in collaboration with each other and with other SVM researchers since joining the LSU SVM in Dr. Frédéric Gaschen is a professor of companion animal medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) and section chief for companion animal medicine in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Clinics (VTH&C). He is a boardcertified small animal internist whose main research interests center upon the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic gastrointestinal diseases of dogs and cats, food intolerance and food allergy, and disorders of gastrointestinal motility. Dr. Lorrie Gaschen is an associate professor of veterinary diagnostic imaging in VCS and is the diagnostic imaging service chief for the VTH&C. She is a board-certified in diagnostic imaging, and her research interests are vascular imaging and ultrasound of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. Chronic enteropathies in dogs and cats are often characterized by persistent or intermittent diarrhea and/ or vomiting, and their diagnosis and treatment can be challenging. The usual approach consists of modifying the diet and prescribing various drugs, including antibiotics and anti-inflammatory substances. However, some animals may not respond to this initial approach and require a more precisely targeted treatment that necessitates more advanced diagnostic investigations. In dogs, chronic diarrhea can be caused by a number of different conditions. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of these and occurs with some frequency, but differentiating it from adverse reactions to food (such as food allergy) or disorders affecting the intestinal flora is often a challenge. Finding minimally invasive means of establishing the cause of chronic enteropathies and monitoring the effects of therapy has been the focus of the Gaschens research. Dr. Lorrie Gaschen has been using Doppler ultrasound to compare the gastrointestinal blood flow in dogs with diarrhea caused by food allergies to that of normal dogs and those that have diarrhea caused by other conditions. Non-invasive ultrasound studies can determine the direction, velocity, and 14

17 turbulence of blood flow. Dr. Lorrie developed the protocol for using this technique to evaluate gastrointestinal blood flow in dogs in studies at North Carolina State University in 2001 using a colony of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers with proven food allergies. Dr. Lorrie looks at the blood flow in the celiac and cranial mesenteric arteries using Doppler ultrasonography before and after a dog is fed; if the dog is allergic to the food, there will be an exaggerated vasodilation response (possibly caused by histamine release) in those two arteries that is faster and more prolonged than that seen in normal dogs. She is also collaborating with Dr. Sandra Merchant, professor of veterinary dermatology in VCS, to compare the intestinal blood flow in dogs having diarrhea caused by food allergies with that of food-allergic dogs that show skin lesions instead of diarrhea. One of Dr. Frédéric s areas of expertise is endoscopy, which he uses to examine the gastrointestinal tracts of animals with chronic enteropathy and take biopsy specimens for histopathologic examination. Companion animal medicine veterinarians meet every other week with LSU SVM pathologists for in-depth case discussions, going over histopathological and clinical findings of dogs and cats with gastrointestinal diseases and the biopsy specimen sampled. Dr. Frédéric is also studying the use of the SmartPill as another means of assessing gastrointestinal motility in dogs. This wireless, ingestible medical device about the size of a large vitamin pill is equipped with ph, pressure, and temperature sensors and has recently received FDA approval for use in people to help diagnose motility disorders of the GI tract. In humans, the patient swallows the pill in the doctor s office then goes about his or her daily activities; as the SmartPill travels through the stomach and intestines, it transmits data to a small receiver worn on a belt or lanyard. After the pill has exited the intestine, the receiver is returned to the doctor where the data are downloaded to a computer and analyzed. In dogs, the SmartPill is given orally with a meal. The receiver is incorporated into a vest the dog wears for the duration of the procedure, usually about two days. From the data collected by this device, it is possible to calculate gastric emptying time and intestinal transit time. The Comparative Gastroenterology Society (CGS) has funded the Gaschens research with two grants in support of Summer Scholars students. The first, conducted by Dr. Frédéric and Christopher Mole (Class of 2009) in the summer of 2007, was entitled Evaluation of the SmartPill capsule for assessment of gastric emptying time, and small bowel, colonic, and whole gut transit time in dogs, and was aimed at validating the accuracy of the SmartPill in dogs. They found that the motility data collected by the device correlated well with those obtained from ultrasound evaluation performed by Dr. Lorrie. In the summer of 2008 a second grant from the CGS funded a project by Josh Hobbs (Class of 2010), called Doppler analysis of gastrointestinal blood flow in dogs: Investigations in food allergic patients and role of glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) in postprandial splanchnic vasodilation. Dr. Lorrie was the faculty mentor on that study, and Dr. Frédéric was a co-investigator. Dr. Frédéric has recently begun two new studies with Dr. Carol Boillat, a graduate student from Switzerland, using the SmartPill to evaluate whether a dog s size influences gastrointestinal motility. This trial will ultimately involve a large number of dogs that range in size from 45 to 150 pounds. The Gaschens have a number of plans for future collaboration to address clinically relevant problems with clinically based (instead of laboratory-based) research. The techniques we use allow us to study the physiology and pathophysiology of gastrointestinal diseases non-invasively, said Dr. Lorrie, so that we can use clinical patients in addition to research animals. This will give us significantly more data to help assess the applicability of these techniques for general use in veterinary gastroenterology. We regularly see dogs with gastrointestinal motility disorders in our hospital, added Dr. Frédéric. Currently, it is often difficult to obtain a precise diagnosis in these cases using established methods, and we hope that SmartPill and the other techniques we are investigating will make it possible to more efficiently help affected dogs. 15

18 A Moment in the History of Veterinary Medicine In memory of Dean Emeritus Everett D. Besch There is a growing national need to increase the numbers of veterinarians that choose careers in biomedical research. This need is not only in the areas of pathology, laboratory animal medicine, and public health, but also in broader aspects of integrative biology and the use of animal models in mechanistic as well as translational medical research related to human disease. The uniquely broad understanding of veterinarians in comparative physiology and pathology, when coupled with additional research training, prepares them for such careers. This is consistent with the concept of One Medicine that has been rediscovered and uniformly accepted in recent years. One of the most successful strategies recognized to promote careers in this area among veterinarians is to expose them as students to significant, meaningful, exciting experiences focused on biomedical research. The LSU SVM has promoted biomedical research directed at human and animal disease since its inception, and the faculty played a large part in encouraging students to endeavor in research. The first student research program was organized by the Dean s office in 1978 and was supported by funds from the USDA. When those funds were no longer available, the faculty kept an unofficial program going by working with students on an individual basis using their own research resources. In 2000, Merck/Merial expanded a smaller existing summer research program culminating with a symposium. LSU has been a major participant since the program that time, and in 2006 the symposium was organized by the LSU SVM and held on the LSU campus. The symposium was the largest to be held since, with more than 280 attendees, and was the first to concurrently host the NIH National Center for Research Resources meeting of training grant directors. This conjoining of researchers and program directors was so successful it has become standard practice. Rebecca Karo McConnico (LSU 1987) did her student research proejct in 1985 under the direction of Dr. Ralph Beadle, professor emeritus. Her research project was entitled, Evaluation of glycopyrrolate as a bronchodilator in horses with COPD. Dr. McConnico is now an associate professor in the LSU SVM s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, 16

19 The Summer Scholars Program provides veterinary students with an opportunity to conduct a short-term independent research project in an environment of discovery provided by an active laboratory and mentor. The program spans the natural life of a research project. It is designed to afford the student the opportunity to help plan the studies to be conducted, conduct a literature review, develop a research proposal (during the fall and spring), conduct the experiments, and present the data as they evolve, in discussions, in a formal 15 minute presentation, and as a poster at the national symposium and at the LSU SVM Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day. While these projects are designed to be completed during the summer, students have the opportunity to continue their work during elective blocks during the second, third, and fourth years of the veterinary curriculum. Student Research Projects at the LSU SVM in the 1980s Steven Gustavson (LSU 1985 [right]), did his student research project in 1982 under the direction of Dr. Daniel Hillmann. His research project was entitled, Microcirculation of the normal dermal lamellae covering the third phalanx of the thoracic limb of the horse. The Summer Scholars Program has been funded continually since 2000 by grants from the Merck- Merial Veterinary Medical Student Research Scholars (MMRS) program. These were matched equally by SVM funds. Fifty-seven students were supported by MMRS- SVM funds between 2000 and The current NIH T35 grant was funded in 2003 and the first students participated in the summer of During the first four years of the five year program, 32 students were enrolled as NIH scholars. In the past two years, two additional students were funded by competitive grants from the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) and two were funded in the past two years by the Comparative Gastroenterology Society (CGS). Awards for the MAF and CGS require matching funds to ensure that these students are awarded stipends equivalent to those of NIH scholars. Susan Searcy Strain (LSU 1984) did her student research project under the direction of Drs. William Henk and Thomas Klei. Her research project was entitled, SEM localization and characterization of surface antigens of Strongylus vulgaris. Since 2000 the SVM has had 92 students matriculate through the program. In this time period, 53 students have received their DVM degrees with the rest still in the process of completing the DVM degree requirements. Of these, one entered a DVM/PhD program, completed her degree, and is a research assistant professor; three are in PhD programs; three have entered Laboratory Animal Residency Programs; and 13 have entered other specialty residency programs. There were 16 students in the program in Tedman Vance (LSU 1988 [left]) did his student research project under the direction of Dr. T.G. Snider, III (right) and Dr. J.C. Williams (not pictured). His research project was entitled, Electron microscope evaluation of the rabbit stomach mucosal lesions associated with Ostertagia ostertagi inoculations. 17

20 Student Research Natalie Luli Petersen (second from left), John B. Malone, Jr., DVM, PhD (third from left), and a group of Thai parasitology graduate students at one of the sampling sites in the Thai village of Phookam Bau, where feces were collected from cats that live at a monastery. LSU Veterinary Student Conducts Parasitology Research in Thailand Nathalie Luli Petersen, a second-year veterinary student, visited Khon Kaen University in northern Thailand from June 7-July 28 to investigate the prevalence of parasites in dogs and cats. I mainly focused on Opisthorchis viverrini, which is a liver fluke that infests dogs, cats, and humans as their final host, said Petersen. Opisthorchiasis causes an obstruction of the biliary tract in humans. It is characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, jaundice, and ascites (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity). The collaborative project of the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Parasitology at Khon Kaen University. spans the snail and fish, intermediate hosts of the fluke. by eating infected fish that has not been cooked, which is common in Thai cuisine, said Petersen. Dogs and cats are thought to play a role in human reinfection by acting as a reservoir for the parasite. If left untreated, this parasite can cause cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts), which is currently not curable. When not taking samples in the village, Petersen learned how to examine parasites under a microscope at Khon Kaen University. I also got to shadow Thai veterinary students to see how they do things, added Petersen. The people were really wonderful and helpful. Petersen collected fecal samples from dogs and cats in a nearby village and examined them for parasites. Patients positive for Opisthorchis viverrini infestation were noted and their locations were recorded. Students in the LSU SVM s Department of Pathobiological Sciences will correlate the data compiled by Petersen so that a geographical model can be constructed to try to find a pattern of infection. How will finding a pattern of infection help people in Thailand? In Thailand, dogs, cats, and humans ingest the parasite Petersen took a course at the LSU SVM entitled, Veterinary Medicine in International Development, which is taught by John B. Malone, Jr., DVM, PhD, professor of veterinary parasitology. This course helps students develop overseas summer studies proposals. I ve always liked traveling, and after taking Dr. Malone s course, I decided to do a summer study, said Petersen. This summer project gave me the opportunity to see Asia while conducting research that can potentially help thousands of people. 18

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