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2011 November Research Newsletter



CCM Faculty awarded multiple new grants

Dr. Hernando Gomez, Assistant Professor, recently received a Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) grant from the Institute of Clinical Research Education (ICRE), part of U. Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). CEED grants seek to jump-start the careers of underrepresented minority researchers by providing them with the mentoring and training needed for successful research careers, helping them develop leadership and management skills, and enhancing their grant writing and other skills that will enable them to receive competitive career development awards. CEED grants cover 25% of the awardee’s salary for 1 year, during which time Dr. Gomez will take ICRE classes as part of his MPH coursework, as well as completing a K-type award application in 2012.

Dr. Raghavan Murugan, Assistant Professor, was awarded grant funds from the Competitive Medical Research Fund at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a seed grant from Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh for his project “COOL Donor” (Cooling to Optimize Organ Life in Brain Dead Donors).  Dr. Murugan seeks to examine the feasibility and safety of mild-to-moderate therapeutic hypothermia as an in-vivo organ preservation strategy in brain-dead donors.  He is looking to determine whether hypothermic organ preservation increases organ recovery and preserves allograft function.




Dr. Gilles Clermont, Associate Professor, received in September 2011 a NIDDK R21 pilot grant titled “Model-based decision support for tight glucose control without hypoglycemia”. This study will evaluate the potential merit of minimally invasive continuous glucose measurements in achieving glucose homeostasis in the critically ill. Prospective data collection will focus in the CTICU, MICU, 2D and 6F/6G, and will be facilitated by MACRO research coordinators.





Drs. Michael R. Pinsky and Juan-Carlos Puyana are Co-investigators on a new Department of Defense grant that will study aerosolized treatments for tissue injury minimization in trauma/hemorrhagic shock (CDMRP/DOD W81XWH-11-2-0049 “Small Molecule, Gas Based Therapies to Prevent Organ Injury from Trauma/Hemorrhage”; total award $1.3M). This grant is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across multiple departments: Brian Zuckerbraun, MD (Surgery) is the PI, and other Co-I’s include Mark Gladwin, MD (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine), and Sruiti Shiva, MD (Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)



Faculty at all levels continue impressive publication productivity

Below is a small sampling of papers Faculty have published in the last several months.

Dr. Christopher W. Seymour, a new Faculty for 2011, has published the following papers since coming to Pitt. His work focuses on pre-hospital care.

Parsons EC, Hough CL, Seymour CW, Cooke CR, Rubenfeld GD, Watkins TR, Network NA. Red blood cell transfusion and outcomes in patients with acute lung injury, sepsis and shock. Crit Care. 2011 Sep 21;15(5):R221. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21936902.

Seymour CW, Cooke CR, Hebert PL, Rea TD. Intravenous Access During Out-of-Hospital Emergency Care of Noninjured Patients: A Population-Based Outcome Study. Ann Emerg Med. 2011 Aug 26. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21872970.

Seymour CW. Improving the diagnosis of infection during out-of-hospital emergency care: are biomarkers the next step? Prehosp Emerg Care. 2011 Jul-Sep;15(3):439-41. PubMed PMID: 21612391.

Seymour CW, Carlbom D, Cooke CR, Watkins TR, Bulger EM, Rea TD, Baird GS. Temperature and time stability of whole blood lactate: implications for feasibility of pre-hospital measurement. BMC Res Notes. 2011 May 30;4:169. PubMed PMID: 21624139; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3125345.

Dr. Amesh Adalja continues to publish research on biosecurity and disaster preparation.

Amesh A. Adalja, Matthew Watson, Samuel Wollner, Kunal J. Rambhia, and Eric S. Toner. Response to the Sudden Closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital: Learning from a Real, No-notice, Prolonged Surge Event. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. Volume 9, Number 2, 2011

This paper is about the response to the closure of St. Vincent's Hospital in NYC and the surge that ensued at neighboring hospitals and how it was managed. The paper was covered by ACEP News

Amesh A. Adalja, Matthew Watson, Samuel Wollner, and Eric Toner. A Possible Approach to Large-Scale Laboratory Testing for Acute Radiation Sickness after a Nuclear Detonation. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. Volume 9, Number 4, 2011

This paper discusses how to conduct massive CBC/d testing to screen for acute radiation sickness after a nuclear detonation in a major US city. This work was included in a briefing to the Deputy Asst. Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS and Dr. Adalja and colleagues have briefed the President's National Security Staff as well.

Dr. Sachin Yende has published 2 papers on coagulation and pneumonia, and statins and sepsis.

Yende S, D'Angelo G, Mayr F, Kellum JA, Weissfeld L, Kaynar AM, Young T, Irani K, Angus DC; GenIMS Investigators. Elevated hemostasis markers after pneumonia increases one-year risk of all-cause and cardiovascular deaths. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22847. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Yende S, Milbrandt EB, Kellum JA, Kong L, Delude RL, Weissfeld LA, Angus DC. Understanding the potential role of statins in pneumonia and sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2011 Aug;39(8):1871-8.


Dr. Micheal R. Pinsky has published multiple papers in 2011.

1. Lamia B, Tanabe M, Tanaka H, Kim HK, Gorcsan J, Pinsky MR. Left ventricular systolic torsion correlates global cardiac performance during dyssynchrony and cardiac resynchronization therapy. Am J Physiol (Heart Circ) 300: H853-H858, 2011. (PMID: 21169399)

2. Simon MA, Pinsky MR. Right ventricular dysfunction and failure in chronic pressure overload. Cardiology Research & Practice 23: 568095, 2011 (doi:10.4061/2011/568095.).(PMID 21559218)

3. Tarassenko L, Clifton DA, Pinsky MR, Hravnak M, Woods JR, Watkinson PJ. Centile-based early warning scores derived from statistical distributions of vital signs. Resuscitation 82: 1013-1018, 2011. (PMID 21482011)

4. Cholley B. (Chairman) and others (Pinsky MR listed as a member of the roundtable) International expert statement on training standards for critical care ultrasonography. Intensive Care Med 37(7): 1077-1083, 2011. (PMID 21614639)

5. Mesquida J, Kim HK, Pinsky MR. Effect of tidal volume, intrathoracic pressure and cardiac contractility on variations in pulse pressure, stroke volume and intrathoracic blood volume. Intensive Care Med 37(10): 1672-1679, 2011 (PMID: 21739340)

6. Hatib F, JRC Jansen, Pinsky MR. Peripheral vascular decoupling in porcine endotoxic shock. J Appl Physiol 2011 (doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00066.2011). (PMID: 21700890)

7. Vincent JL, Rhodes A, Perel A, Martin GS, Della Rocca G, Vallet B, Pinsky MR, Hofer C, Teboul JL, de Boode WP, Scoletta S, Vieillard-Baron A, De Backer D, Walley KR, Maggiorini M, Singer M. Update on Hemodynamic Monitoring: A Consensus of 16. Crit Care 15: 229, 2011.

8. Garcia X, Pinsky MR. Clinical applicability of functional hemodynamic monitoring. Ann Crit Care 2011 1:35, 2011.

9. Johnson L, Lamia B, Kim HK, Tanabe M, Gorcsan J, Schwartzman D, Shroff S, Pinsky MR. Physiological relevance of quantifying segmental contraction synchrony. PACE (doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03246.x).

CCM Faculty receive ethics and health services research awards  

Dr. David T. Huang has received the International Society for Quality in Health Care Peter Reizenstein Prize for the best paper published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care in 2010 (Huang DT, Clermont G, Kong L, Weissfeld LA, Sexton JB, Rowan KM, Angus DC.  Intensive care unit safety culture and outcomes: a US multicenter study.  Int J Qual Health Care. 2010;22:151-161.) This 30-ICU study concluded that perceptions of management and safety climate were moderately associated with severity-adjusted hospital mortality and length of stay. The below picture is from the September 2011 award presentation in Hong Kong.

Dr. Doug White, Director, Program on Ethics and Decision Making in Critical Illness, has received the Society for Critical Care Medicine's annual award for achievement in ethics and critical care medicine, known as the Grenvik Family Award for Ethics, after Dr. Ake Grenvik, the Department’s first Fellowship Director under Dr. Peter Safar.






New Hospitalist Faculty mentors two resident abstract presentations 

Dr. Pavan Devulapally, a new CCM hospitalist at UPMC Mckeesport, mentored two resident abstract presentations at the Annual Western Pennsylvania American College of Physicians Chapter, held at Allegheny General Hospital on Nov 5, 2011.

1. ABS of Steel - An atypical case of deep morphea

Authors: 1. Dr Christine Crocker (Resident), 2. Dr Miaskiewicz (Program Director), 3. Dr. Pavan Devulapally

2. Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome - A case of thin basement membrane of the kidney

Authors: 1. Dr Abishek Krishna (Resident), 2. Dr Rohan Naik (Hospitalist at Mckeesport), 3. Dr Thomas Powell (Nephrologist), 4. Dr. Pavan Devulapally


MACRO Study of the Month

MACRO is currently recruiting ICU patients with sepsis for this study. Please page 7777 if you have a septic patient! MACRO participated in the pilot Phase II study a few years ago which showed that talactoferrin, a milk protein derivative with no demonstrated side effects, cut sepsis mortality in half. Based on these pilot results, a larger, hopefully confirmatory, study has been launched. As of October 2011, MACRO is the highest enrolling site in North America.

Study: OASIS (Phase II/III, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Talactoferrin Alfa in Patients with Severe Sepsis)

Site PI: David T. Huang, MD, MPH

Question: Does an orally administered milk protein derivative reduce sepsis mortality?