Assessing Atherosclerosis with Ultrasound; Big Peace–Lessons from the Nobel Prize; The Program for Advanced Cell Therapy

Explore the Unknown!   
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For July 14, 2021             Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité  🇫🇷      
Hi WN@TL Fans,
During my high school years, several friends of my grandparents suffered from arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. It did not sound good but I was not too clear about what was bad about it.  Something about high blood pressure, and clogging the vessels, and lowering cholesterol, and limiting salt in the diet, and heart bypass surgery, and roto-rooter surgery of arteries, and stents that looked like the springs from a click pen.  It  was all a mash in my mind.  Besides, I had the heart of a 17-year-old cross-country runner: I was long on distance and short on attention span.
In college I ended up studying plants, including their sclerenchyma, parenchyma and collenchyma. Plants had vessels and veins which could be clogged, but no arteries and ergo no arteriosclerosis.
Moving into my 30’s I noticed a shift in the terminology:  more and more often I read and heard the word “atherosclerosis”.  It seemed a high-faluting version of ‘arteriosclerosis.’  I knew what ‘arterio’ stood for, but what was an ‘athero’?  In any event, I conformed my speech to what I heard others speak:  I stopped saying “arteriosclerosis” and started using ‘atherosclerosis,’  thinking the latter was the new-and-improved version of the former.
That is, until last week, when I went to look up the causes of the decline and demise of the term ‘arteriosclerosis.’  Come to find out, arteriosclerosis is alive and kicking, and even more astonishing to me, ‘atherosclerosis’ is apparently a subset of arteriosclerosis, one that includes arteries with internal plaques that impede the flow of blood.
In 2021, as my 17th year fades in memory, and as I slog through my 7th decade, I’m much more attuned to my venal & arterial vascular plumbing.  I would like to keep my lumens nice and numen:  shiny clean and clear.  Nevertheless, this spring I had to have my first angiogram.  I remember almost nothing of the procedure:  the sedation was superb. I’m still astonished that the doc could thread a catheter from my arm up to and into the blood vessels of my heart.  Happily, the news was mostly good.
If I’m lucky, maybe I won’t need another catheter in my vasculars for a long while. Furthermore, I’m thinking that if I’m really lucky, the doc might be able to skip the catheter next time.  With that hope in mind, this week at WN@TL I’m looking forward to finding out if cardiologists might soon be able to get an insightful picture through ultrasound.

On July 14 Catherine Steffel will share her research in “Assessing Atherosclerosis with Ultrasound: A Quantitative Approach.”

Description:  Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death worldwide. Throughout my PhD, I worked to improve the ways that doctors can non-invasively and inexpensively see the atherosclerotic plaques that cause some of these strokes and other harmful health events. The ultimate goal of this research is to give clinicians an inside look at which plaques are vulnerable, which will help doctors identify people who are more likely to have a stroke years before an adverse health event occurs. During this talk, I will be discussing the results of the ultrasound imaging studies I performed during my time as a PhD student in the Department of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Bio:  Dr. Catherine Steffel has spent her entire academic career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, receiving her bachelor’s degree in physics in 2014, her Master’s degree in medical physics in 2017, and her PhD in medical physics in January 2021. In addition to receiving prestigious grants from the National Institutes of Health, she has accepted over 20 honors and awards for her research and other work. In spring 2021, Catherine was named a UW-Madison Notable Graduate for founding the Research Showcase at the Wisconsin State Capitol — during the annual showcase, graduate students and postdocs share their research with Wisconsin State legislators, staffers, and the public. Though she started working as a University Relations Specialist in the Department of Biochemistry earlier this month, her time as a graduate student in the Department of Medical Physics will always be near and dear to her heart. When she isn’t reading or writing, Catherine can be found going on walks around Madison, cooking, watching post-apocalyptic TV shows, or looking for new hobbies to pursue.


• WISL Award for Communicating PhD Research to the Public: 
• Medical Physics in General: 
On July 21 Solon Simmons of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University will discuss his current book project entitled “Big Peace: How to Change the World,” on the meaning and making of peace and the impacts of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Description:  Everyone loves the concept of peace, but no one agrees on just what it means. The field of international relations was established in the aftermath of the WWI to provide a way to resolve conflicts peacefully, but quickly became a vehicle for projecting American power around the world after WWII. The shadow of nuclear war helped to promote a Journal of Conflict Resolution, which was established in 1957, but it now publishes mainly on the causes of war. For more than a century the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Oslo has attempted to award the person who has done “the most or best to advance fellowship among nations” with what we call a peace prize, but still we bitterly disagree on what peace might mean. This is a problem because we now face challenges on a global scale from climate change to cyberwar to great power nationalism to global pandemics that will require our collective use of our moral imagination on a scale not seen since the gilded age of the nineteenth century when the peace prize was invented.
In this project I build on the history of these attempts of the Nobel Committee to celebrate and promote peace by examining the words and deeds of the 135 Nobel Peace laurates. Projecting the lessons of these remarkable examples into the future, we discover that if we would fight for peace today, we will have to learn to deal with the internal tensions in the concept that point us to at least three big questions:
1) If you want to change the world, what is your primary objective? Are you trying to build trust between adversaries, tell the truth about past wrongs, repair the damage of abusive power, or bring people together?
2) Where do you begin? Peace has to be for everyone, but you have to start somewhere and with somebody. Do you work primarily with leaders and decision makers, moving from the top down?  Perhaps you are cynical of elites and want to go straight to the people, building mass movements, change on the ground and shifts in public opinion, moving from the bottom up? But have you thought of what it would mean to break with both of these metaphors, turning to the creation and support of with networks of professional actors with shared agendas? This would be change from the middle out.
3) What is the root of the problem you are trying to solve? Are you concerned most about stopping the violence, mayhem and physical insecurity that comes from war and social disorganization? Perhaps  you would stand against the arbitrary power of oppressive governments and human rights abuses? Are you most concerned about the role of selfish elites and economic exploitation both within the countries of the global north and/or between the rich and poor countries? Or maybe you worry most about hate, racism, and threats to identity and diversity? We all care about all of these things, but they are distinct and overlapping concerns that feed on different institutional networks of social power.
If you care about the future of the politics of peace and want to act to bring the world into some kind of moral order, you will have to provide your own answers to these three big questions that generations of scholars and activists have tried to answer, only to leave the questions to us in this increasingly dangerous world. The towering examples of the Nobel laureates provide us at least with models of what form those answers must take. In the Big Peace project I try to learn from these examples and share the lessons with you.   
Bio:  Solon Simmons is a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution who specializes in American Politics. Solon is a Sociologist, with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an undergraduate degree in the History of Science from the University of Chicago. 

His research is focused on the role of ideas, ideologies and intellectuals in public confrontations, formal politics and violent conflict. He specializes in the study of narrative, radical disagreement, reconciliation, and discourse analysis. He is the author of several books, including his most recent, “Root Narrative Theory and Conflict Resolution:  Power, Justice and Values.”

On July 28 Ross Meyers will speak on “Living Pharmaceuticals for First-in-Human Clinical Trials.”  He will give an overview of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Program for Advanced Cell Therapy and discuss currently active clinical trials and advanced cell therapies in development.
Bio:  Ross O. Meyers, PhD is Director of Cell Manufacturing, University of Wisconsin-Madison Program for Advanced Cell Therapy (PACT), School of Medicine and Public Health, Carbone Cancer Center.  He is also Principal Instructor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacy Professional Development, Applied Drug Development

Dr. Meyers contributes expertise in GMP Biomanufacturing, drug product quality testing oversight, and documentation preparation and review to PACT. He led the Waisman Biomanufacturing Quality Control program operations at UW-Madison from June 2011 to June 2019 and a team of analytical method validation scientists at the Madison, WI Pharmaceutical Products Development GMP laboratories from February 2006 to June 2011. Dr. Meyers adds over three decades of leadership and technical drug development experience to PACT in the performance, education, training, management and supervision of cell and tissue culture, analytical small molecule, protein and nucleic acid chemistry, vaccine development, Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry, drug target validation, molecular interaction analysis and cell and in vivo-based bioassay development.
Remember, we continue to meet by Zoom, since we can’t gather all in one room.  
Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H

UW-Madison:  5.9 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university. 

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