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OSU Center for Health Sciences News

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015

NSF grant will help Native American undergraduates attend scientific meeting


Paul Gignac, Ph.D., OSU-CHS assistant professor of anatomy, and Sharlene Santana, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington, were awarded a National Science Foundation grant to bring six Native American undergraduate students to their first scientific meeting.

The $15,000 grant provides funding for students to attend the January 2016 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Portland, Oregon. This broad scientific research society of 3,500 members promotes research and collaboration on diverse topics within biology such as evolution, developmental biology, anatomy, ecology and biodiversity.

Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented minorities in the natural sciences. According to the National Science Foundation, nearly 20,000 doctoral degrees were awarded in 2010 to U.S. citizens or permanent residents for research in mathematics, science and engineering. Just 76 of them were Native American. Read more.

OSU-COM alumnus named AOF 2015 Physician of the Year


The American Osteopathic Foundation has named OSU-COM alumnus Craig Dietz, D.O., the 2015 Physician of the Year. The award recognizes an osteopathic physician who achieves greatness through integrity, commitment to service and community involvement.

Dietz, a 1997 graduate of OSU-COM, is associate professor of internal medicine for the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and medical director for the Kansas City CARE Clinic. He also serves as clinical assistant professor of internal medicine for the University of Kansas Medical Center internal medicine residency program and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy.

In addition, Deitz is medical director for the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the only nonprofit organization solely focused on the needs of more than 1,200 free and charitable clinics in the U.S. He has published several research papers and is the principal investigator for all clinical trials conducted at the Kansas City CARE Clinic. Deitz will be honored at the AOF Honors 2015 gala on Friday, Oct. 16 in Orlando.

Research Spotlight: Digestive bacteria, nervous system interaction


The human body is host to trillions of microorganisms, yet little is known about their impact on human health. OSU-CHS scientist Gerwald Koehler, Ph.D., is researching how these tiny organisms that live in the human digestive tract affect the central nervous system.

Microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract help digest food by breaking down proteins, lipids and carbohydrates into nutrients that can be easily absorbed by the human body, said Koehler, associate professor of microbiology at OSU-CHS. The specific types and number of gut bacteria are unique to each person, resulting in differing influences on individual’s health and risk of disease.

Determining the types of microorganisms that reside in the intestine has been problematic due to scientists’ inability to grow the majority of these microbes in a laboratory. In recent years, researchers have developed new methods to identify these microbes and discern their function in the digestive system.

To watch a video of Koehler detailing his research, visit the Research Spotlight website. Read more.

OSU-CHS United Way Campaign kicks off today

OSU-CHS will kick off the annual United Way campaign with a lunch at 11:30 a.m. today in Founders Hall. The campaign runs through Friday, Sept. 18.

The campaign will include volunteering at Daniel Webster High School during the United Way Day of Caring tomorrow, a Family Feud Challenge, lunches, mini-golf, gourmet popcorn sales and a parking spot auction.

The campaign provides faculty and staff a way to give back to the Tulsa community through the Tulsa Area United Way’s 60 partner agencies. To sign up for the Family Feud Challenge, visit the registration website. For more information, contact Outreach and Special Events.