UCF Foundation News, Spring 2014

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SPRING 2014

Educating the Educators Diane Wink knows that developing great nurses requires great nurse educators, and the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing has spent much of her career ensuring that nurses get the best possible preparation for their practice. Her expertise in service

learning and creative clinical teaching methods has enriched both undergraduate and graduate programs, and she has published widely on the topic of nursing education. Her classroom instruction is augmented by her extensive clinical background, which includes currently running a thriving clinical practice.

The McKean Chair was established in 2012 with a $760,000 Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation award to the College of Nursing. The sum also funds scholarships for students who plan to become nurse educators.

‘A Huge, Huge Win’ at Engineering Leadership Institute

CANCER ASSASSIN As a child, Annette Khaled wanted to create a monster in a laboratory like Dr. Frankenstein did in the movies. But while Frankenstein inspired her interest in science, the lab she runs at the UCF Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences is nothing to fear. Khaled, doesn’t make scary things; she fights them. Her work over the past year demonstrates that a molecule known as the CT 20 peptide attacks cancer cells while ignoring healthy tissue. The findings offer great promise for killing or controlling metastatic tumors of the breast, brain, prostate and perhaps other parts of the body. Khaled’s findings and their offer of hope would not exist without a $100,000 grant from the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, which was founded by Jane Torres, a breast cancer survivor. Khaled’s laboratory is beginning tests on human tissue, a three-year process she hopes will validate the results that so far have occurred only in mice. For Khaled, who earned her doctorate in immunology at the University of Florida, the road to CT 20 started in her postdoctorate training with Dr. Scott Durham at the National Cancer Institute. Khaled discovered a small section of 20 amino acids that do remarkable things only to cancer cells. If CT 20 is given to a cancer cell, the cell detaches from its surrounding environment within a day, and it essentially dies. Khaled brought her research, which is supported by $1 million in National Institutes of Health funding, to UCF in 2002 and established her first lab at UCF’s Biomolecular Research Center. But it wasn’t until she won the foundation grant last year that she could concentrate on CT 20. Khaled is now seeking federal grants to continue her research, but she will always remain grateful to the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, which made those grant requests and the hope they represent possible.

“At UCF, we excel at producing fundamentally sound engineers,” says Timothy Kotnour, an engineering professor who also directs UCF’s Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute, aka eli 2. “Industry tells us that. But we want them to develop a skill set that distinguishes them when they graduate.” Kotnour and his team at eli 2 plan to make that happen with a combination of seminars by leaders within and outside the field, professional development opportunities, student competitions and planned labs and collaboration spaces. The institute will also offer an undergraduate minor and certificate in engineering leadership. The most distinguishable feature of UCF’s engineering leadership institute, though, is lifelong engagement. Through eli 2, working professionals can get a master’s degree in engineering management. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire not just leadership in students but a real passion for their field – one whose academic rigor makes student retention a

Timothy Kotnour

priority. “They have to know that engineering is the coolest gig in the world,” says Kotnour, with the kind of infectious enthusiasm that’s a hallmark of great professors. “Convincing our students to stay in engineering and computer science is a huge, huge win.” It’s a win not only for Kotnour and his team, but also Duke Energy, which supports the institute and sees it as a valuable pipeline for filling internships. “Duke Energy’s top priorities are workforce development and education,” says district manager Tricia Setzer, “and eli 2 fits both. Students are learning that there’s more to know as a professional than what is learned in the classroom.”

‘Always One to Challenge the System’ Mary Lou Sole

Mary Lou Sole devotes her career to improving the care of hospital patients, particularly those who must spend time on respirators or ventilators. The Orlando Health Distinguished Professor and interim dean of the College of Nursing, Sole’s research interests include the best ways for these critical care patients to avoid complications. Ventilator-associated pneumonia or other complications can add $40,000 to the cost of care and lengthen a hospital stay by five to seven days, Sole says. Patients may require more time with an artificial airway and long-term respiratory assistance. “If you can get the tube out earlier and prevent infection, not only does it have other benefits, I’d argue that it improves the quality of life,” she says. Supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, Sole has researched prevention and measurement of fluid leakage into lungs. A pending NIH grant would fund her team’s study into how nurses can prevent leakage. Funds from her Orlando Health appointment help her prepare the strongest possible grant proposals. She can pay a research assistant, travel, and develop software and lab techniques. Sole earned her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, but it was at the Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing that she first discovered what became the focus of her career. “I am always one to challenge the system. What is the best way to do something? What’s the best frequency? How can we improve what we do?” she says. “When nurses say, ‘What you’ve done has changed my practice,’ that’s very fulfilling.”

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