August Department Highlights

Congratulations to the following department members on their recent achievements!

Pediatric Gastroenterology Division welcomes Genie Beasley, M.D.

Genie Beasley, M.D., graduated from medical school and completed her pediatric residency, as well as her fellowship training at the University of Florida. She was the recipient of Pediatric Resident Teacher of the Year Award in 2009 and 2010.Her clinical interests include nutrition and inflammatory bowel disease.

She became an assistant professor of pediatrics with the department in July 2013.

Dr. Beasley also spearheads a support group for teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease, called G.A.T.O.R.S.: Gainesville Area Teens Offering
Remedies and Support.

Congratulations to Sam Cheng, M.D., on his new technology available for licensing

Dr. Cheng’s technology: Calcium-Sensing Receptor (CaSR) Nutrient- Based Therapies for Diarrhea in Children, reduces the magnitude and duration of diarrhea by increasing absorption and decreasing secretions and inflammation.
These calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR)-based active nutrients prevent and treat diarrheal diseases. A worldwide problem, infectious diarrhea is often lethal in developing countries. More than 2,000 children still die every day around the world from dehydration and electrolyte disturbances that result from diarrheal disease. Diarrhea kills more children than malaria, measle, and AIDS combined, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. The only available oral therapy for children with acute diarrhea (Oral Rehydration Solution, ORS) does not treat the inflammation component
of diarrhea or stop the secretions. Because it does not reduce diarrhea severity, ORS is used in less than 30 percent of cases involving children. Other types of therapies are expensive and/or ineffective at treating the conditions’ many effects, including malnutrition and impaired growth. When formulated in a solution, these CaSRbased nutrients developed by University of Florida researchers promote gut healing, rehydrate the body
following diarrhea-related fluid loss, reduce the magnitude and duration of diarrheal disease, and treat other side effects. They are specially designed for active growing children.

Click the link below to learn more:

Congratulations to Sergei Zolotukhin, Ph.D., on the NIH R01 Award

Dr. Sergei Zolotukhin, in the Division of Cell and Molecular Therapy, was recently awarded a new R01 from the National Institutes of Health. He will investigate the role of neuropeptide Y (NPY) family peptides on taste signaling. These studies will increase our understanding of taste biology and have clinical relevance in the treatment of obesity.

The pilot funding for this project came from Children’s Miracle Network.

Congratulations to the Pediatric Diabetes Team on Two Prestigious Grants

The Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded support for “ATG-GCSF in Established Type 1 Diabetes,” which is is a randomized, placebo controlled trial to determine if the combination of ATG (Thymoglobulin) and GCSF (Neulasta) can preserve c-peptide in people with established type 1 diabetes. The subjects have already been treated and are being followed to two years post randomization. The new grant provides funding to follow the initial cohort for an additional three years.  The research team is Michael Haller,M.D., Desond Schatz, M.D.,  and Mark Atkinson, Ph.D.

Also, “Pancreas volume in subjects at risk for type 1 diabetes” is a cross sectional study of pancreas volume measured via MRI and U/S in patients at risk for type 1 diabetes. Previous data show that pancreas volume is reduced in established type 1 but nothing is known about the natural history of pancreas volume in pre-type 1. This grant will be funded as a DP3 award by NIH (NIDDK) as an ancillary study from the type 1 diabetes TrialNet.   The research team is Martha Campbell-Thompson, Ph.D., Michael Haller, M.D., Desmond Schatz, M.D.,  Bimota Nambam, Ph.D., Mark Atkinson, Ph.D.,  Jonathan Shuster, Ph.D. and Jonathan Williams, M.D.