Ripla Arora photo

Today, March of Dimes announces three young investigators as recipients of the 2020 Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards: Dr. Ripla Arora from Michigan State University, Dr. Corina Lesseur from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Dr. Jamie Lo from Oregon Health & Science University. The annual award supports early-career scientists embarking on independent research careers who are committed to fighting for the health of all moms and babies.

Named for the first March of Dimes chairman and president, the award carries a $150,000 grant and is part of the nonprofit’s effort to promote actionable science that turns observations from the laboratory into interventions that support healthy moms and strong babies.

Read Full Article on March of Dimes Website

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The national Stepping Up Initiative is helping hundreds of counties nationwide reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. A Michigan State University professor and her colleague have been awarded a grant to study how the program works and determine what techniques can be adopted to improve treatment for individuals with mental illnesses and keep them out of jail.

“Our primary goal is to learn more about how county agencies can work together to reduce the number of mentally ill people in county jails,” said Jennifer Johnson, a C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at MSU College of Human Medicine. “It’s a chance to learn what works and how we can help counties address these problems.”

Read Full Article on MSUToday

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In the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is an underlying belief in the United States that a COVID-19 vaccine may be the Holy Grail, the silver bullet to assuage the pandemic and open up the quarantine doors. Yet, there is a divide in the United States regarding vaccination acceptance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports less than 50% of adults receive the vaccine for influenza (flu). In the 2017-2018 flu season, 37.1% received the vaccine, the lowest rate in ten years. The rate increased to 45.3% in 2018-2019. In a recent study reported in The Boston Globe, authors Trujillo and Motta found that 23% of persons surveyed said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccination. The study breaks it down further regarding anti-vaccination attitudes (also known as “anti-vaxxers”) and found that 16% of respondents identified themselves as anti-vaxxers, and of those, 44% said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine. The researchers contend that anti-vaccine sentiment still exists in spite of the deadliness of COVID-19.

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Jessica Montgomery

Congratulations to Jessica Montgomery, MD candidate 2020, who is this year’s recipient of the Bruce Drukker Endowed Award of Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Stem cells involved in replenishing human tissues and blood depend on an enzyme known as telomerase to continue working throughout our lives. When telomerase malfunctions, it can lead to both cancer and premature aging conditions. Roughly 90% of cancer cells require inappropriate telomerase activity to survive.

In a groundbreaking new study, an interdisciplinary team of Michigan State University researchers has observed telomerase activity at a single-molecule level with unprecedented precision ­­­­– expanding our understanding of the vital enzyme and progressing toward better cancer treatments.

Read Full Article on MSU Today

Jeff Mackeigan

Michigan State University has unveiled a new website highlighting the vast amount of cancer research being conducted throughout the university. 

The site,, features the research of 95 faculty members spread across 20 departments and eight colleges.

“When we began compiling the list of faculty engaged in cancer research, it was amazing to see just how diverse and robust MSU’s cancer research program really is,” said Jeff MacKeigan, professor and assistant dean for research in the College of Human Medicine, who oversaw the project. 

Read Full Article on MSU Today

image of jose teixera

Uterine fibroid tumors are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the U.S., yet little is known about what causes them. A new study, however, has taken researchers one step closer to understanding how these tumors develop and grow.

Researchers at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health have uncovered new information about the genes associated with the tumors — a breakthrough that may lead to better treatments that could help many women avoid surgery.

“This study could not have been done without that collaboration,” said Jose Teixeira, who proposed the research and who is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

Read Full Aricle on MSU TODAY

rare disease day symposium logo

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is collaborating with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Calvin University to host the Rare Disease Day Symposium on February 29, 2020.

We have generous support for this event from the College of Human Medicine, the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, and the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development.

One in 10 people in the United States has a rare disease. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this free event that brings together patients, caregivers, researchers and advocates in the rare disease community. Sessions include talks from a scientist studying rare diseases, a medical geneticist and patients with various rare disease diagnoses, and other scientific breakouts.