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Marquette University College of Health Sciences 1515 W. Wisconsin Ave. P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, Wis. 53201-1881 414.288.6000 Dean of the College of Health Sciences William E. Cullinan, Ph.D. Associate Dean Kim L. Halula, R.D.H., Ph.D. Assistant Dean Michelle Schuh, M.S. Director of Academic Business Affairs Michelle Raclawski Chair of Biomedical Sciences John R. Mantsch, Ph.D. Associate Chair of Biomedical Sciences David A. Baker, Ph.D. Chair of Clinical Laboratory Science Linda J. Laatsch, Ph.D., M.T.(A.S.C.P.), S.M. Chair of Physical Therapy Lawrence G. Pan, P.T., Ph.D., F.A.P.T.A. Director of Exercise Science Program Paula Papanek, Ph.D., M.P.T., F.A.C.S.M. Chair of Physician Assistant Studies Mary Jo Wiemiller, P.A.-C., M.S. Chair of Speech Pathology and Audiology Edward W. Korabic, Ph.D., C.C.C.-A., F.A.A.A. Marquette Health Sciences is published for alumni, colleagues and friends of the college. Feedback and story ideas are appreciated. Editor: Jesse Lee Copy Editor: Becky Dubin Jenkins Art Director: Sharon Grace Photography: Jesse Lee /MUHealthSciences


It is a pleasure to welcome you to the inaugural issue of the annual publication of the College of Health Sciences. It is my sense that you may be surprised to learn of the current level of excellence within the college and its programs, some of which have a long history at the university and others that have been developed more recently. Here are a only a handful of highlights about these destination academic programs: Our Biomedical Sciences major, the university’s largest undergraduate program of more than 640 students, is highly distinctive and exists at only a handful of colleges and universities nationwide. The program is one of Marquette’s most selective and features a blend of human medical science course work coupled with foundational studies in the natural sciences and humanities. The net result is a uniquely powerful preparation for careers in the health professions, including medicine, dentistry, physician assistant studies, pharmacy, optometry, public health and more. Faculty researchers in the department have taken neuroscience research on campus to new heights, recruiting an interactive group of 14 neuroscientists who have generated millions in extramural funding; developed exciting new courses; and even spun off two pharmaceutical startup companies in the process — a first at Marquette — both dedicated to discovery of effective new treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders. Our doctoral program in Physical Therapy is ranked 12th in the nation out of 210 programs and is the university’s highest-ranked full-time academic program. Faculty in the department have won numerous prestigious Fulbright fellowships, edit flagship research publications in the field, and have received 43 national awards for research, teaching and service since 1990. Faculty researchers have developed a strong concentration in neurorehabilitation and have also introduced a postgraduate residency program in neurological physical therapy, one of only a handful in the country. The department also sponsors undergraduate majors in Exercise Physiology and Athletic Training, two of the university’s most attractive and selective programs. The department has also maintained a strong commitment to recruiting firstgeneration college students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds, The reputational strength of our Physician Assistant Studies master’s program is unparalleled in the medical community. One example of this level of excellence: In 2011, Marquette PA students scored in the 99th percentile on their national board exams, placing the program statistically among the top three of 151 programs. Interest in the program has exploded during the past several years, including a 10-fold increase in applications since 2009. The department has also recently developed two innovative postgraduate residencies, in emergency medicine and as hospitalists within the VA medical system, the subject of one of the feature stories in this issue. I am also extremely proud of our Clinical Laboratory Science and Speech Pathology and Audiology departments, which continue to develop new and cutting-edge course work, launch novel therapeutic programs that have gained national recognition, and attract increasing numbers of academically talented and highly engaged students. Though this represents but a small sample of the many innovative programs and initiatives within the college, we are excited about the opportunity to continue to develop more. Additional academic programs of distinction, increased high-impact opportunities for students, new core facilities to support our translational research and novel interdisciplinary course offerings are all part of what we look forward to developing as we advance what we term “The Science that Heals.” With warm regards,

William E. Cullinan, Ph.D. Professor and Dean, College of Health Sciences Director, Integrative Neuroscience Research Center

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HEALTH SCIENCES m ag az i n e



2 Snapshot

All around campus, College of Health Sciences students are recognized by their blues

4 News

8 An Anatomical Gift



An uncommon collaboration

 Working together, neuroscientists in the

Student Profiles

Biomedical Sciences Department pursue research breakthroughs and revise the academic profile of the entire program

 Teaching assistants share their experiences serving as stewards of Marquette’s Gross Anatomy Lab

12 Research and Grants

 • Dr. Murray Blackmore works to cure spinal injury • Dr. Sandra Hunter studies the muscles of astronauts • Dr. Jeff Berry is an innovator in speech pathology

14 Alumni Voices

  For these alumni, the College of Health Sciences opened the door to careers on health care’s cutting edge

22 Real-world work helps residents grow

 The physician assistant studies and physical therapy programs offer post-graduate residencies in the VA Hospital and Aurora Sinai ER

24 By the numbers

How the College of Health Sciences stacks up in facts and figures

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Dental hygiene celebrates 90-year all-class reunion The College of Health Sciences sponsored an all-class reunion for alumni of the dental hygiene program as part of the university’s Alumni Reunion Weekend, July 25–28, 2013.

The dental hygiene program at Marquette began in 1923, and the program was closed in 2002, with the final class graduating in 2004. Two thousand, eight hundred and eighty-five hygienists graduated from this clinical program. Close to 300 alumni, friends and family

attended the all-class reunion, which included a keynote speech by Ann Battrell, M.S.D.H., executive director of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association; a panel discussion featuring dental hygiene alumni; and a reception and dinner with remarks from Dr. William Cullinan,

Pan received the honor at a March meeting of the Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Student Association, which presented him with the award. Pan was also named Alumnus of the Year by Alpha Sigma Nu at its annual Danihy Alumni Club Awards Brunch in March. Dr. Lawrence Pan named Graduate School Alumnus of the Year by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Alum of the Year by Alpha Sigma Nu Dr. Lawrence Pan, chair of physical therapy, earned his doctorate in physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1983. Thirty years later, the Medical College of Wisconsin named him its Graduate School Alumnus of the Year.

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Dr. David Baker receives WayKlingler Fellowship in science Dr. David Baker, professor and associate chair of the Biomedical Sciences Department, received the Way-Klingler Fellowship in science. Baker’s research focuses on neurotransmitters and their roles in diseases like schizophrenia and addiction. Baker is developing cuttingedge genetic tools that will allow rigorous evaluation of a novel

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dean of the College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Kim Halula, associate dean of the College of Health Sciences and former chair of the dental hygiene program. Ginger Wehse, Dent Hy ’40, also attended and received a special recognition award.

glutamate release mechanism in the brain that may lead to the development of novel treatments for multiple neural disorders. He believes the fellowship — a $150,000 total award — will be a catalyst to even larger funding for his research, potentially up to a $1.5 million grant in the next two years, representing a 10-time return in the life of the fellowship. As co-founder of Promentis Pharmaceuticals, a startup company dedicated to discovering pharmacological treatments for neuropsychiatric diseases, Baker understands the commitment required in breaking new ground in neuroscience. Baker’s research team is focused on improving patient care for people with schizophrenia through novel treatment strategies.

Drs. Simoneau and Long Receive Fulbrights Dr. Guy Simoneau, professor of physical therapy, received a Fulbright Scholarship for 2014. He will travel to Dhulikhel Hospital, a Kathmandu University teaching hospital, which offers the only physical therapy program in Nepal. While there, he will act as a consultant, helping the university develop its teaching, research and scholarship. This Fulbright is a key component of the Marquette physical therapy program’s overall goal of globalizing the physical therapy profession. Dr. Steven Long, associate professor and director of the graduate program in speech-language pathology, received a Fulbright award to Argentina for 2013. From April to June, Long taught a special course for advanced students of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in the Escuela de Fonoaudiología. The focus was on the evaluation and treatment of patients with unintelligible speech. To qualify for a Fulbright award to Latin America, Long began learning Spanish on his last sabbatical in 2009. Since that time, he has spent 185 days in six Spanish-speaking countries.

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Dr. Murray Blackmore receives $1.6 million NIH grant Clinical laboratory science turns 75; students shine at annual competition This year marks the 75th anniversary of the clinical laboratory science major. The program combines biology, chemistry and medical science skills to prepare students for laboratory work that supports hospitals and clinics, research facilities, teaching labs, and industries. Marquette’s clinical laboratory science major has a strong tradition of job placement for its graduates, with 100 percent placement immediately after graduation and a 100 percent pass rate on the annual certification exam. Seniors in the clinical laboratory science program excelled at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science — Wisconsin in April 2013. Eighty CLS students from Wisconsin universities presented 67 scientific posters at this meeting, and Marquette seniors won eight of the 12 awards, including first-place awards in each of the four categories.

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Dr. Douglas Lobner receives university teaching excellence award Dr. Douglas Lobner, professor of biomedical sciences, was recently honored with the university’s highest teaching award, the John P. Raynor, S.J., Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. In nominating Lobner, colleagues and students described him as an individual dedicated to his students and profession. During his 15 years at Marquette, Lobner has developed meaningful and understandable ways to teach complex information about human physiology and neuroscience in multiple programs, including the biomedical sciences major, the physician assistant studies program, the neuroscience graduate program and the School of Dentistry. “What Doug is actually doing is initiating and sustaining a transformative process whereby students grow from novice learners to more sophisticated learners who begin to seek answers to their own questions,” wrote a colleague in a nomination letter.

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Dr. Murray Blackmore was 13 years old when he survived the car accident that left his mother with a cervical spinal cord injury, rendering her quadriplegic. Now, 26 years later, the National Institutes of Health has awarded the neuroscientist and assistant professor of biomedical sciences a $1.6 million grant award to further his groundbreaking research on spinal cord injury and paralysis. Blackmore’s research focuses on the use of gene therapy to treat damaged cells after spinal cord injuries. Treating damaged neurons in this way leads to axonal growth and regeneration at the injury site. In short, the therapy is capable of reversing some paralysis, leading to regained movement and motor control. “We’re genetically reprogramming the surviving nerve cells to make them regrow,” Blackmore says. “Using technologies including viral delivery of gene therapies, and optogenetics to selectively target specific neurons, the pace of our research is accelerating. The ultimate goal is to restore function after spinal cord injury.” Blackmore worked with fellow biomedical sciences professor and neuroscientist Dr. Robert Wheeler to incorporate an optogenetic approach to his research program. Optogenetics is an innovative neuroscientific technique that manipulates light-sensitive ion channels to directly activate or inhibit neurons, providing precise measurements and control over neuronal function.

Marquette hires wellness coordinator Kristin Kipp, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.S.C.S., accepted the position of university wellness coordinator in March 2013. The wellness coordinator position is housed in the College of Health Sciences. Kipp brings to the position an extensive and multifaceted wellness background with more than a decade of experience. She is a registered dietician, licensed for the state of Wisconsin, and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

During the past 10 years, Kipp has worked as a teacher in fitness, personal training and academic settings, most recently at Marquette, where she offered personal training services and nutrition consultation and taught classes for the employee wellness program. Kipp will be responsible for Wellness Council of America training and certification; developing, implementing and promoting employee health and wellness programming; and identifying health management and wellness initiatives for the university.

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Marquette Presents continues its success The College of Health Sciences in September held its fourth event in the Marquette Presents forum series: Addiction — Neuroscientific Perspectives Toward Understanding and Treatment.


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Marquette Presents was created to focus on issues of community health. Previous events addressed issues like depression, sportsrelated concussion and schizophrenia. The forum brings together faculty experts from the college, experts from the medical community and people with a lived experience of these health issues. Since its creation in September 2012, close to 1,200 people have attended the Marquette Presents series. Future plans include expanding to other cities and communities.

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An Anatomical Gift For many aspiring doctors, the first year of medical school is their first real experience with human body dissection. But future doctors and dentists who enroll in the biomedical sciences major at Marquette have a major advantage because the program features one of the few full gross anatomy experiences for undergraduates in the nation.


hey’re known in the laboratory as “the silent teachers.” And these cadavers — bodies donated for the sole purpose of medical science and education — give the future medical professionals enrolled in the Department of Biomedical Sciences an edge some of their peers can only dream of. That’s because most aspiring physicians don’t have access to introductory gross anatomy and human body dissection courses until their first year of medical school. But Marquette’s program is much more than an introduction. It’s an intensive, full-semester experience — one of the few undergraduate gross anatomy dissection courses in the country. “I spent countless hours in the gross anatomy lab gaining a comprehensive understanding of the human body,” says Dr. Maggie Basche, biomedical sciences alumna and former gross anatomy student and teaching assistant. “Without question, my unique experiences and opportunities as a teaching assistant, as well as the

tremendous support that I received at Marquette, led me to my current position as a neurosurgical resident.” More than 80 biomedical sciences undergraduates, working in lab groups of four or five students, take the course each spring. The department also provides anatomical dissection courses during the year for the College of Health Sciences’ professional-level programs in physical therapy and physician assistant studies; a series of continuing education courses held during the summer; and a course for School of Dentistry students. And teaching assistants play a key role in keeping the program among the nation’s elite. These junior and senior TAs — students in the biomedical sciences program, Marquette’s largest academic major — are chosen for their academic performance in two anatomy courses: Clinical Human Anatomy and Gross

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Anatomy, both taken sophomore year. They also are judged on their communication skills and record of volunteer service with the anatomy program.

The cadavers — “silent teachers” who donate their remains in the name of science and education — are treated with solemn respect befitting their gift. “These students are stewards of the gross anatomy lab and body donation program,” says Diane Novotny, H Sci ’04, the biomedical sciences program director and TA program coordinator. “They assist in nearly all aspects of the lab operation, making sure that every component is upheld to the highest standard.” Five of the gross anatomy lab TAs — Naimul Alam, Conor Masterson, Katherine McGurk, Justin Peters and Paige Woeckner — sat down to share their experiences with the College of Health Sciences Magazine. CHS MAGAZINE: Before we begin talking about your work in the anatomy lab, why did you choose Marquette for your undergraduate studies? KATHY: It was because I toured the gross lab. I live close — I’m from Green Bay — so I came and toured it when I was in high school and thought, “Wow, this is so cool.” That’s when I knew that I wanted to come here. CONOR: I was the same way. I toured the lab here first, and then I went and did a tour at another school. When I asked about their gross lab, they said, “Well, we’ll have you study dissections made by one of our professors.” That wasn’t good enough. Here, we have the full experience of learning through the full dissection process. PAIGE: For me, it was the fact that Marquette offers a biomedical sciences program — the fact that it’s a human and medically focused major that begins

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with the study of the body, rather than more general science studies. That definitely drew me here. CHS MAGAZINE: So the lab experience was an extremely attractive factor for most of you? JUSTIN: I can’t tell you how many people I know who are pre-med or pre-dental at other schools, and when I tell them about this, they’re amazed. A lot of my friends are lucky to even see a human body in anatomy class before they graduate. KATHY: That’s what’s unique here. We actually do our own dissections. A lot of other schools use predissected specimens, but I think you learn so much more when you can perform the complete dissection process. JUSTIN: One of our anatomy professors emphasizes the fact that the great advantage of starting with an intact specimen is learning to understand the threedimensional relationships of anatomical structures in relation to each other. That’s what you do as you go deeper, and it really makes a big difference in terms of understanding function, which is the ultimate goal. CHS MAGAZINE: What do you remember about your first time in the lab? PAIGE: I was so excited. I didn’t tour the lab previously, so the first time I was in there was as a student. I was really excited for the opportunity. NAIMUL: I had come for a tour in high school, and there were about seven bodies out to view. I actually got scared. I went through everything, but I was one of those people who powered through it, even though I felt like I was about to faint. CONOR: Now as TAs, we worry a little about these kinds of visitors. (laughs) CHS MAGAZINE: Was it strange for you to begin working on human cadavers? As TAs, how do you help new students acclimate to the lab? CONOR: It helps to keep the learning experience at the forefront. I obviously keep in mind that this was once a living person but focus on the learning because that was the intent of the donor making the anatomical gift.

What exactly is gross anatomy? The designation “gross” refers to anatomy visible to the naked eye and thus not requiring magnification to see. “Microanatomy,” on the other hand, refers to that which requires magnification to be viewed, as in individual Clockwise from bottom; Justin Peters, Conor Masterson, Naimul Alam, Katherine McGurk and Paige Woeckner

cells and their components. A common misconception is that the word “gross” A memorial plaque, written by Dean William Cullinan, serves as a reminder of the solemn nature within

in gross anatomy refers to some unfavorable qualitative

aspect of the experience (it’s actually meant to distinguish “macro” from “micro”), although that sense of the term can occasionally apply.

PAIGE: Once you’re in the environment more often, dissecting and learning, you get used to it really quickly. Everyone gets used to it over time, some faster than others. KATHY: It’s cool to see that progression. The first few days you’re intimidated, working slowly. Now, as a TA, you know how those students feel because you were there once. CHS MAGAZINE: The respect for the donors is actually one of the hallmarks of the program, isn’t it? The idea of the donor as the “silent teacher”? KATHY: Exactly — it’s one of the greatest gifts a person can give. As a student, it’s an incredible privilege to benefit from such a profound final gift. CONOR: The faculty reinforce this from day one. They also encourage us to memorize the words on the memorial plaque at the front door to the lab and take them to heart — it really sets the tone for what follows in the courses. NAIMUL: I was surprised to learn that after the dissections are completed, the

cadavers are cremated and the ashes are returned to the donor’s families. That’s why the lab procedures are followed so precisely, and we expect everyone who enters the facility to treat the rooms as hallowed ground. CHS MAGAZINE: How do you think this opportunity will impact you as you go on to a professional school curriculum in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, physician assistant studies or other health fields? JUSTIN: A lot of anatomy isn’t textbook. Many of the structures turn out to be slightly different from one body to the next — these are called anatomical anomolies — and that can be critically important to know as a health care practitioner. CONOR: I’ve learned that many Marquette students who have had this experience do really well as professional students in medical or dental school. Having served as a TA can only help to reinforce the information as I go forward.

CHS MAGAZINE: Aside from the anatomical studies, what are some of the lessons you try to pass on to the younger students as you teach and mentor them? JUSTIN: Get involved, especially in things that make you unique. When it comes to professional programs, the gross anatomy course is one of those things you can put on your application that shows you are different from the 5,000 other people applying to school. PAIGE: And be appreciative, because most of the opportunities we have in this program are so unique. It’s not something to be taken for granted. CONOR: Another thing to keep in mind is that this experience is really a beginning. The courses we take after this go progressively deeper, to physiology and biochemistry to cellular biology and molecular genetics to pathology and pharmacology. All of those disciplines make much more sense when we put them in the context of the anatomy we learn here first. 9

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DR. MURRAY BLACKMORE’S RESEARCH PROVIDES HOPE FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY SUFFERERS There’s a cautious optimism in the room as Dr. Murray Blackmore, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, presents his latest research findings to representatives from groups including Unite 2 Fight Paralysis, Spinal Cord Injury Sucks and the Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation. Two of the groups’ founders, both of whom use wheelchairs after sustaining spinal injuries that left them paralyzed, are in attendance. On the screen, a lab animal slowly reaches for a food pellet, fumbling and never quite grasping it.

The groups are there to see the results firsthand and to provide funding for further research that may one day lead to regained movement and motor control for people who are paralyzed as a result of spinal injuries.

Blackmore’s vision is to realize his ultimate goal of finding a cure for spinal injuries.

“That was post-spinal injury but prior to treatment,” Blackmore says as he queues up a second video. “Now let’s see the same animal after treatment.” There are murmurs of approval and even some clapping as the animal successfully and repeatedly

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grabs the food, a sign that Blackmore’s research and treatment is working, at least in these controlled trials.

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Blackmore’s research, which focuses on using gene therapy to treat injured brain cells for the purpose of promoting axonal growth or regeneration, is extremely time intensive and resource consuming. Grants from research advocacy groups — Blackmore received $90,000 from SCI Sucks and $40,000 from the BRPF — allow his lab to purchase equipment that accelerates discovery and acts as seed money to help secure larger grants and NIH funding, like the $1.6 million he and faculty collaborator Dr. Robert Wheeler received this year to fund their collaborative research on spinal cord injury.9


FROM RUNNING MARATHONS TO FLYING THROUGH SPACE Dr. Sandra Hunter, associate professor of exercise science, is accustomed to high-profile research. Her recent work on the differences between male and female runners was first published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and then was profiled in Runner’s World Magazine. For that study, Hunter and graduate student Alyssa Stevens reviewed 31 years of data from the New York City Marathon, separating and analyzing top-10 finishers by sex and age group. The study ultimately refuted claims that women were less competitive than men, noting that many of the differences between female and male race-finisher distributions were actually because of lower overall female participation rates. Up next was work with NASA. The agency approached Hunter to join a team of five leading U.S. experts to study “the role of sex/gender and the physiological and psychological adaptations to long-duration flight.” Hunter’s contributions to the report focused on sex differences in the musculoskeletal system and their implications on space flight. The report was completed in May 2013 and was presented to the National Academy of Sciences. It also was included in a White House Office of Science and Technology policy briefing. As director of Marquette’s Neuromuscular Physiology of Human Movement Laboratory, Hunter continues to investigate topics such as neuromuscular fatigue with aging, post-traumatic stress disorder and neuromuscular fatigue in war veterans, and brain activation and sex differences following cognitive stress.9

As a clinical student, Dr. Jeffrey Berry worked on one of the first computer-based systems for accent modification training. Now, Berry, assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology, along with Dr. Michael Johnson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a grant award of nearly $450,000 from the National Institutes of Health to develop new advancements in the field. Berry and Johnson will use the grant to develop the first database of accented speech focusing on articulatory differences and physical techniques of speech. “Until now, most accent modification training has been auditory,” says Berry. “We’re looking at it from a physiological standpoint. Rather than telling a subject how something should sound, we can show him or her the movements behind that sound.” The team will first focus on Mandarin Chinese with hopes they can expand into other languages and accents in future research. The database and accent modification itself has a wide range of potential uses and value, from academics to commercial advancements. “We’ve worked with many researchers and students from China to address some of the issues they face,” says Berry. “Often, academically talented researchers and workers can feel limited by the communication barriers presented in understanding speech and accents. There’s an underlying psychology about it, and the database will help address that as well. By partnering with engineers, new possibilities are opened that will allow us to focus on the technical side of the issue.” The research has important implications for industries like medical transcription, where varying accents could result in potentially dangerous errors, and speech intelligibility applications like those used by the military or technical industries.9

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The physical therapy program at Marquette has been tremendous in providing personal and professional mentorship for all students. In addition to being academically reputable, the program advocates for all students to be well-rounded professionals by engaging in various opportunities in the field of health care. During my time in the PT program, we were able to start the Global Brigades organization successfully and receive all of the support necessary to achieve the eminence we have today”

“I often say that choosing Marquette was the single most important decision I made. I grew up at Marquette, developed critical-thinking skills, learned that the world had a lot to offer and obtained the confidence to pursue my dreams.”

Jo Anne Zujewski, M.D. Med Tech, ’76

Head of breast cancer therapeutics Cancer Evaluation Therapy Program — National Cancer Institute

Shital Chauhan Vora, D.P.T.

H Sci (biomedical sciences) ’04, DPT ’06

Co-founder and chief program officer Global Brigades Association

Marquette University’s exercise science program has high standards, passionate instructors, and research opportunities that fostered an environment of excellence and prepared me for a successful postgraduate education. My internship with the Milwaukee Brewers not only enhanced my strength and conditioning knowledge but also helped generate research questions and examples to augment my teaching in the classroom.” Erich Petushek H Sci (exercise science) ’08

Research fellow National Science Foundation

Marquette is the reason for my successful career. The speech pathology program is one of the best in the country. Having spent 30 years as a leader in health care and hiring Marquette graduates, I can tell you that Marquette graduates are well-prepared and shine above graduates of other universities. The program prepares you to be a superior speech language pathologist and a critical thinker. These together are what makes Marquette graduates stand out.”

Cindy Susienka, M.S., B.S., C.C.C.-S.L.P. Sp ’81, SLP ’82

President and CEO Bryant and Stratton College

“Marquette’s physician assistant studies program gave me the foundation and necessary skills to not only treat patients’ medical conditions but learn how to care for the whole person. It’s the embodiment of Jesuit principles in action.

Adam Hermsen, P.A.-C. Eng ’05, Grad (M.P.A.S.) ’10

Emergency medicine physician assistant Aurora Healthcare

Looking back at my time at Marquette, I truly appreciate just how well the biomedical sciences program prepared me for my future career in medicine. I felt light years ahead of my medical school peers in terms of knowledge and acquired the study skills necessary to absorb the vast amount of information required in medical school.” Monica R. Edwards, M.D., M.P.H.

H Sci (biomedical sciences) ’06

Assistant professor of internal medicine Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine marquette university college of health sciences magazine 2013

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An uncommon collaboration Discussions with neuroscientists in the Biomedical Sciences Department reveal a common thread: recognition of an unusually collaborative working environment.

hired during the next two years. They would later launch pharmaceutical startup companies, a Marquette first. Baker and Mantsch co-founded Promentis Pharmaceuticals, and Ghasemzadeh cofounded AviMed Pharmaceuticals. Both companies seek to develop new treatments for neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and addiction. In all of the growth and hiring, there was a common thread of collaboration. By reaching beyond traditional academic and research boundaries, the program became a model for integrative science — a key element that emerged in the university’s strategic plan, which was adopted in May.

Dr. William Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences and director of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Center, and Dr. Linda Vaughn, professor and former chair of biomedical sciences, were two of the architects of that environment, helping shape what has become a highly integrative, neuroscience-focused research department.

“It’s the strong collaborative nature that’s uncommon,” Ghasemzadeh says. “I came from an institution with more than 100 faculty members. You never even saw some of them.

“Dr. Cullinan and Dr. Vaughn both knew that if we were going to increase our research productivity, we needed focus and we needed to find individuals capable of working well together,” says Dr. John Mantsch, biomedical sciences professor and department chair.

“Here, I can work easily with anyone in the group, which has grown dramatically and continues to expand. I have grants with several faculty colleagues here. We are in a strong position to help each other.”

One of the first strategic moves was to recruit Mantsch from Rockefeller University in New York. Then a young neuroscientist studying the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disease, Mantsch was hired in 2001 — leading to a department that features a highly collaborative group of 14 neuroscientists. “We looked for multidimensional individuals,” Mantsch says. “They had to be expert neurobiologists but also needed to embrace the mission of Marquette, helping shape the lives of students through their research and teaching.” Drs. David Baker and M. Behnam Ghasemzadeh were two such individuals,

‘An obvious recipe for success’ The department grew as word of the collaborative culture spread. Additional faculty came on board, offering new techniques, approaches and expertise. Dr. Paul Gasser, a neuroscientist studying the link between stress and mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD, knew Baker from graduate school. Gasser was immediately intrigued. “In most science departments, not nearly the amount of planning goes into recruiting individuals in terms of overlap of research interests and complementary technical

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A group of neuroscience faculty meets to discuss upcoming projects and programs.

abilities,” he explains. “Here, that was the goal, and it was an obvious recipe for success.” After Gasser arrived, so did Dr. SuJean Choi. She studies brain mechanisms that regulate food intake and body weight. The opportunity to work closely with other neuroscientists was exactly what she had been searching for. “We aren’t in competition here,” she says. “It has led to a more robust environment, but it also has led to better science that can only be gained through collaboration.” External validation of the approach came over time, most notably from the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest source of medical research funding. From 2001–10, the Biomedical Sciences Department’s annual grant funding increased from about $200,000 to more than $1.7 million. NIH reviewers of departmental grant applications increasingly scored the research environment as a notable strength. Consequently, invitations for Marquette neuroscientists to serve on grant review panels for applicants from other institutions dramatically increased. “It’s a big accomplishment for a relatively young faculty to have produced so many grant reviewers,” Ghasemzadeh says. “The NIH sees the importance of the work, and now we review grant submissions from institutions like Harvard, Stanford and MIT.” Advancing the mission through discovery Dr. Robert Wheeler, a faculty addition in 2010, is a prime example of why the model works. Wheeler uses a distinctive research methodology called fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to measure release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in real time. Dopamine has been strongly linked to positive and negative motivation, and Wheeler’s research team is assessing its impact on affect and behavior. The addition of this methodology had

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THERE IS NOTHING AS TRANSFORMATIVE AS MAKING A DISCOVERY THAT WILL HAVE A PROFOUND IMPACT ON SOCIETY. an immediate impact on the research of the other department neuroscientists, who then began to incorporate it into their own research programs. “Our first collaboration was with Dr. Gasser,” Wheeler says. “Now we have a publication out that includes findings from four faculty labs in the department. I’ve never seen a collaborative group like ours.” Mantsch understands just how special it is to be a part of that. “We talk about ‘transformation through discovery’ here,” he says. “There is nothing as transformative as making a discovery that will have a profound impact on society.” In the process of creating a vibrant research culture, the faculty have helped form the university’s largest undergraduate major. Capped at a little more than 600 students, Marquette’s biomedical sciences program has been transformed into a feeder for some of the most prestigious professional programs in the world. “My research work was one of the highlights during my med school interview,” says Anthony Purgianto, who majored in biomedical sciences. “Now in my second year, my mentor offered the option to pursue a dual Ph.D./M.D. I would never have had that option without my research training at Marquette.” 9

S P O T L I G H T: S P O T L I G H T: BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES PROFESSOR AND CHAIR DR. JOHN MANTSCH Mantsch, who has been a research mentor for more than 50 undergraduate students since coming to Marquette, knows how difficult it is to build a selective program for neuroscientists who are research leaders but who also value education and teaching. “By recruiting great scientists who are good colleagues and good collaborators, we could create a program where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” he says.

Wheeler credits the integrative nature of the department and the collaborative spirit of his peers for fueling his thirst for knowledge. “This faculty is an important reason why I’m here,” Wheeler says. “This is the right way for science to be done.” Wheeler’s philosophy is simple: Hone your areas of expertise, then seek out scientists who can help advance your discoveries while learning from your research.

During the past decade, Mantsch has seen that approach pay off. The Biomedical Sciences Department boasts two distinct pharmaceutical startup companies, one of which — Promentis Pharmaceuticals — Mantsch co-founded with Dr. David Baker.

The NIH prefers collaborative grants. We were ahead of our time.


With a focus on stress and drug addiction, Mantsch says his research is firmly rooted in the Marquette mission.

“Drug addiction has a huge impact on society but an even larger cost to the families and addicts themselves,” he says. “There’s little motivation for pharmaceutical companies to enter that space, so federal funding for research is the main hope we have. “We’ve created a culture of scientists and researchers who understand the importance of this mission. It’s a powerful example of what research at a Catholic and Jesuit university can encompass.” 9

When we share (our) techniques, we see growth across programs.

“There are a lot of ways to approach science and scientific discovery,” he says. “Some scientists are happy to be isolated, but I think that’s limiting. For me, the biggest opportunities emerge through collaboration.” Wheeler’s research focuses on the neural regulation of emotion. He studies the neural control of positive and negative affect, focusing on behaviors like drug-seeking and feeding. His research program is a powerful complement to those of his departmental peers. Especially helpful to his colleagues is Wheeler’s experience with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, a mechanism that allows researchers to measure neurotransmitter release in real time. “We’ve all picked up research techniques that help us advance our own research,” Wheeler says. “When we can share those techniques, we can see growth across everyone’s programs.” 9

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Baker says the key to solving societal issues through neuroscience is collaboration.

Choi was used to large research institutions where scientists competed for space and resources. The culture and environment at Marquette was a breath of fresh air.

In addition to his faculty responsibilities and research, he co-founded Promentis Pharmaceuticals, a startup company developing novel compounds for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, specifically schizophrenia. “We’re using some of the most powerful techniques in neuroscience to understand the underlying causes of diseases like schizophrenia and developing treatments that will someday directly improve patient care,” he says.

We’re using some of the most powerful techniques in neuroscience to understand the underlying causes of diseases like schizophrenia ...

Equally rewarding for Baker is the opportunity to teach and mentor undergraduates. Like every researcher in the department, he has several undergraduates working in his lab and enjoys the time he spends in the classroom. “As a scientist, it’s important to look at things from a broad perspective,” he says. “Teaching allows me to take a step back and gain that perspective — it’s an important feature of the position.” 9

“I came here for more balance and a stronger emphasis on research,” she says. Her research program examines the role of the brain in altering hunger, food intake and body weight. Her lab is studying two main areas: mechanisms underlying appetite suppressants and regulation of energy homeostasis in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. “We have a perfect culture for collaboration here,” she says. “We’re not in competition with each other, which means we can work together to compete for more external research funding.” For Choi, this collaborative culture also allows her to focus on bringing neuroscience to the public through teaching and mentorship.

Neuroscience is not just for giant brains and ivorytower academics.

“Neuroscience can be thought of as elite, boutique science,” she says. “Neuroscience is not just for giant brains and ivory-tower academics. Neuroscience needs to become more commonly thought of and accessible to everyone.” 9

The National Institutes of Health approved a $400,000 grant for Drs. David Baker and SuJean Choi to examine a novel cellular mechanism in the brain. By examining the previously understudied mechanism, which involves a membrane protein that transports glutamate in a non-traditional manner, the pair and their teams can formulate a better understanding of the underlying pathology of diseases like addiction and schizophrenia.

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undergraduates, a requirement for all research faculty members in the Biomedical Sciences Department.

S P O T L I G H T : BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES ASSISTANT PROFESSOR DR. PAUL GASSER Gasser studies brain regulation of stress responsiveness. His research is aimed at identifying how stress-induced hormones known as corticosteroids alter cognitive function motivation and sensory processing and how faulty regulation of these hormones can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and drug abuse. Gasser appreciates the enhanced creativity that comes from a collaborative working environment, where faculty scientists share new ideas and feedback. There’s a practical application as well. “In the present grant economy, collaborative projects are much more likely to get funded,” he says. “Agencies like the National Institutes of Health have been impressed by our research environment and our strong drive to work together to get questions answered.” 9

S P O T L I G H T : BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES ASSISTANT PROFESSOR DR. M. BEHNAM GHASEMZADEH Ghasemzadeh remembers the exact date and time he joined the faculty at Marquette. “It was Oct. 2, 2002, at 10 a.m.,” he says. “I remember because there was a faculty meeting. I came in and went directly to the meeting.” Ghasemzadeh felt an immediate connection and knew he had found a place where he could thrive. “It was an up-and-coming department, developing in the direction of neuroscience, with a vibrant, progressive faculty enthusiastic about building a strong research environment. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time.”

“Teaching is my contribution to the next generation of neuroscientists and clinicians,” says Ghasemzadeh. “I expect a substantial contribution from the undergraduates who work in my lab. They’re not washing beakers; they’re designing studies and carrying out experiments. It’s easily graduate-level or higher work in many cases.”

Teaching is my contribution to the next generation of neuroscientists and clinicians.

Research in Ghasemzadeh’s lab focuses on understanding the neurobiology of addiction and schizophrenia, studying issues like plasticity in glutamate receptors. Ghasemzadeh is also co-founder of AviMed Pharmaceuticals, a startup company dedicated to generation of central nervous system pharmaceuticals through drug repurposing. With two distinct pharmaceutical companies developing from the department, both focusing on drug development to treat schizophrenia, it would be common to assume some level of competition. Ghasemzadeh doesn’t see it that way. “Schizophrenia is not a simple disease — there’s not one cause, and there are many ways it is manifested,” he says. “With two companies, we can approach the disease and provide treatment from different angles. “Success is based solely on developing the science. If we hold that as the criteria, then there is no competition; it doesn’t make sense to compete.” 9

Having come from a larger institution, Ghasemzadeh was also drawn to the idea of teaching and working with

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Real-world work helps residents grow Resident. For many, the term conjures up images of overworked young medical professionals on TV shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy, fraught with drama and filled with little substance. But for two of the top professional programs at Marquette — physical therapy and physician assistant studies — the reality is much different. These highly competitive post-graduate residencies prepare physician assistants and physical therapists for specialty practice by giving them advanced clinical skills and the significant hands-on experience they need before entering the profession.

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“In today’s competitive job market, unique learning experiences like these can make the difference in the hiring process,” says Dr. Mary Jo Wiemiller, chair of physician assistant studies and program director of the emergency medicine residency. “After completing their residency, these post-grads demonstrate a sought-after and highly refined technical skillset.”

to start the PT residency program, it was the VA system’s first neurological residency and only the eighth neurological residency for PTs in the United States.

For physician assistant studies, that technical skillset is acquired in two post-graduate residencies: a primary care program in partnership with the Zablocki VA Hospital — in its second year — and an emergency medicine program with Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin — in its fifth year.

“It’s a matter of being smart about where you’re strongest and starting there,” Stoeckmann adds.

In addition to traditional medical training, PA primary care residents receive specialized instruction in topics relevant to veterans, including care for hepatitis C, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and military culture.

“We’ve developed a neurologically focused faculty in physical therapy,” Pan says. “Once you have one or two specialists, they attract others. We chose to build off that.”

Similar to the physician assistant residency, physical therapy residents rotate through various specialties, including acute inpatient rehab, spinal cord rehab and outpatient neurology and experiences with pediatrics and traumatic brain injury. The residents are also involved in weekly mentoring sessions and didactic course work, as well as monthly and bi-monthly specialty clinics, all of which directly translate into advanced career skills.

“It’s intensive. You’re able to hone the skills learned in school but also become comfortable caring for patients, from newborns to the elderly, who are dealing with life-threatening conditions.”

PA residents in the emergency medicine program spend six months training in emergency medicine at Aurora Sinai; three months training in pediatrics in the Children’s Hospital emergency department; one month training in Aurora’s ICU; and two months training in elective rotations, including radiology, obstetrics, anesthesia, cardiology and orthopedic surgery. “It’s intensive,” says Adam Hermsen, a physician assistant who completed the emergency medicine residency. “You’re able to hone the skills learned in school but also become comfortable caring for patients, from newborns to the elderly, who are dealing with life-threatening conditions.” When Dr. Tina Stoeckmann, clinical associate professor of physical therapy and neurological residency program coordinator, and Dr. Larry Pan, chair of the Physical Therapy Department, worked

“I get letters all the time from employers looking for graduates who have completed our residency program,” says Stoeckmann. “Employers want someone with that additional training because they have the extra tools they need.” It’s also reflected in national rankings and more. Both programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report — physical therapy is 12th overall, and physician assistant studies is 43rd. Graduates of both programs have extremely high first-time pass rates on their licensure tests and a 100 percent ultimate pass rate. Both have 100 percent job placement rates. “The increase in the desire for residency programs and the need for specialists is steep and growing, and we’re on the front end of that,” says Pan. “It’s exciting for Marquette to be an innovator in the field.”

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01 02 03

Biomedical sciences, Marquette’s largest academic major

Percentage of applicants admitted annually to athletic training program

Number of postgraduate residencies sponsored by PA and PT programs

08 12 28.9

Number of 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place awards given to clinical laboratory science students at a 2013 state scientific poster competition

National ranking for physical therapy program from U.S. News & World Report

Average ACT score of Class of 2017

62 90 95

National ranking for graduate program in speech and language pathology from U.S. News & World Report

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Number of years Speech and Hearing Clinic has been in operation

Average mean percentile score on national board exam for physician assistant studies students during past three years

100 100 395 Percentage job placement rate and national board pass rate for physician assistant studies master’s program graduates

Percentage pass rate on national certification exam for athletic training graduates

Number of Marquette students who have made annual medical and public health service trips to Central America with Global Brigades

05 06 06 Number of foreign languages the hallmark textbook written by Dr. Don Neumann has been translated into

National Health Corps Service Scholars in physician assistant studies program during past three years

Number of Fulbright Fellowships awarded to college faculty during past decade

9 35 43 43 Number of CHS undergraduate students who participated in 2013 summer research program

Number of national awards given to physical therapy faculty and students since 1990

National ranking for physician assistant studies program from U.S. News & World Report

100 100 100 National board pass and job placement rate for clinical laboratory science program graduates

Percentage pass rate on national certification exam and job placement rate for master’s program in speech and language pathology

Percentage job placement rate for physical therapy doctoral program graduates

500 1k+ 4k Number of national external training sites for physical therapy program

Number of undergrads in athletic training, biomedical sciences, clinical laboratory science, exercise physiology, and speech pathology and audiology

Annual number of high school and college visitors to gross anatomy facility

Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage


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College of Health Sciences Magazine 2013  

College of Health Sciences Magazine 2013

College of Health Sciences Magazine 2013  

College of Health Sciences Magazine 2013