Wisconsin Scientists At Work
Wisconsin bioscience forms a significant part of our nation’s investment in our future health and safety. Wisconsin bioscientists and engineers are at work now, helping to determine that future. Following is a glimpse at the exciting research being conducted at Wisconsin institutions.
Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Richard Aster is working on research projects designed to analyze the structure of human platelet antigens, improve our understanding of adverse reactions to blood transfusions, devise new strategies for transfusion therapy of alloimmunized patients, and discover methods for short-term preservation of platelets.
David Eckels is studying how specific genes control the human immune system using infectious disease and transplantation as experimental systems.
Jack Gorski has pioneered new methods for analyzing the reformation of the immune system following bone marrow transplantation.
Cheryl Hillery is among the first in the nation to examine how red cell membranes stick to the lining of blood vessels and contribute to the tissue damage and clinical symptoms observed in Sickle Cell disease.
Robert Montgomery is studying the molecular mechanisms of bleeding disorders, including hemophilia and von Willebrands disease. These studies may lead to forms of genetic therapy for certain bleeding disorders.
Jennifer Morris is investigating how certain DNA binding molecules called zinc finger proteins may be involved in the transformation of cells that become cancerous.
Peter Sims’ research into the function of a cell surface inhibitor of blood clots is likely to benefit in the treatment of hypercoagulable states associated with immune and inflammatory vascular disease.
Marquette University, Milwaukee
William Donaldson is helping to develop new synthetic antibiotics for the treatment of bronchial asthma.
Robert Fitts’ study of the cellular mechanisms of muscle contraction is designed to improve the application of exercise programs in rehabilitative and preventive medicine.
John Linehan’s research is designed to expand understanding of lung function and hormones’ effect on function.
Barbara Silver-Thorn’s research helps bioengineers to develop better prosthetic devices.
Marshfield Medical Research & Education Foundation
At the Center for Medical Genetics, researchers are studying the human genetic map, to map the genes responsible for a variety of inherited diseases.
Scientists in the Clinical Immunology Laboratory are currently operating national testing for farmer’s lung disease and conducting research into Lyme disease.
The National Farm Medicine Center was founded in 1981 to provide research, education and community service programs to promote the health and safety of rural Americans. Research at the Center includes cancer, reproductive health, injury treatment and prevention, and metabolic studies.
James Burmester is working to identify the mechanisms of transforming growth factor. Burmester’s research is important to understanding complex diseases of cell growth such as cancer, osteoporosis, and liver cirrhosis.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Zeljko Bosnjak is making medicine safer by examining how anesthetics and other drugs affect heart functioning.
William Burns is working on the development of a new vaccine. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a leading cause of death in immunosuppressed patients. Current treatments are only temporarily effective. Burns is testing the efficacy and safety of cytokine-producing CMV recombinants for use as vaccines against CMV.
William Campbell’s research is designed to elicit new information about how metabolic chemicals can affect vessels and contribute to heart disease.
Christopher Chitambar’s research tests the use of gallium as a chemotherapeutic agent for cancer in children.
Allen W. Cowley Jr.’s team of researchers is determining how the kidney functions in the long-term regulation of arterial pressure. This groundbreaking work could lead to new treatments for patients with high blood pressure.
Christopher Dawson is conducting studies to develop methods for noninvasive detection of pathological changes in lung endothelial function. These methods have the potential to be used as clinical tools for providing prognostic and diagnostic information.
Beth A. Derfus is conducting research aimed at preventing calcium-crystal formation in cartilage, a condition she discovered which accelerates the degenerative process in arthritis.
Edgar DeYoe is analyzing how the brain processes visual information. His work offers hope for those suffering from vision loss due to changes in the brain rather than in the eye itself.
Michael Dunn’s basic research into kidney function is designed to locate cellular genetic defects that lead to high blood pressure. Dunn also heads up the General Clinical Research Center. The Center provides a setting for faculty to study the mechanisms of disease and test new therapies. Current areas of study build upon recent discoveries made in the laboratories of the basic scientists at MCW.
Janet Fairley and Luis Diaz are researching the molecular basis for determining how antibodies attack the skin.
Owen Griffith is studying enzymes which regulate synthesis in a newly-discovered hormone, nitric-oxide. Griffith’s research may lead to new therapies to regulate nerual and cardiovascular function.
Clarence Grim is mapping out new prevention and treatment avenues for coronary artery disease in African Americans. Grim’s research is aimed at identifying genetic and environmental causes of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease in African Americans. Using a comprehensive genomic approach, Grim’s team is hoping to establish chromosomal regions of interest for further study.
Arthur Haas is studying how interferon regulates the development of a protein (UCRP) and its mechanisms. Haas’s research will build a better understanding of cellular communication and regulation in cancer patients.
Mary Horowitz is researching the use of autologous bone marrow and other transplants to treat breast cancer.
James Hyde and his colleagues in the Biophysics Research Institute are developing enhancements for functional magnetic imaging of the brain.
John Kampine is studying the effects of anesthetics on cardiac and cardiovascular function. Kampine’s work is contributing to the development of anesthetics for use in patients with severe cardiovascular abnormalities.
Jeffrey Kelly heads the Center for AIDS Intervention Research. Kelly and his colleagues are developing AIDS/HIV prevention approaches for high risk populations.
Ahmed Kissebah is conducting the nation’s largest clinical study to identify the genetic and molecular basis of obesity and predisposing risk.
Jane Kotchen is studying the effects of hormonal therapy, modified diet and supplemental calcium and vitamin D on the health of postmenopausal women.
Geraldine McCarthy is determining how calcium-containing crystals cause joint degeneration.
Jay Neitz and Maureen Neitz are exploring whether variations in photopigment genes contribute to macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in people over age 65.
Elliot Stein is conducting functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of human drug abuse to determine the role of brain circuits and systems in mediating drug actions in the central nervous systems.
Jerry Taylor’s research into the role of interferon in antiviral activities is designed to discover how interferons restrict viral replication during infection and how they might be used to treat viral infections in the eye.
David Warltier is studying the impact of anesthetics on blood supply to the middle layer of the heart.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Daniel Brandt and the Rapid Prototyping Center are developing fast and effective means and materials to provide three dimensional reproductions of internal anatomical structures. These can be used in surgical planning and for prosthetics and diagnostic imaging.
Vincent Canino’s team of engineers are developing and evaluating projects and systems in biomaterials and medical instrumentation and devices, including systems for extracorporeal profusion, continuous and pulsatile flow pump design, and blood oxygenator pumps.
Charles Tritt heads a laboratory of engineers conducting verification and validation studies on behalf of the FDA. Tritt’s team is currently analyzing nonintrusive biochemical and physical imaging for early precursor diagnosis.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Paul Bertics’ research is focused on the regulation of cell proliferation and function by growth factors and toxins like endotoxin. The endotoxin work has found that certain purinoceptors are essential for endotoxin to bring about its biological effects such as shock and death.
Curtis Brandt is studying the molecular basis of herpes simplex virus in eye infections. Each year, 300,000 to 500,000 people in the US are infected with herpes simplex eye infections. Brandt’s research team is focusing on mapping the virulence factors and studying the function of the virulence factors and their interaction with the immune system.
John Brugge heads a team of researchers examining the neural basis of hearing. Brugge’s work is providing an understanding of how the normal auditory system encodes information. His research will give insight into strategies for diagnosis, intervention and treatment of hearing disorders and will aid in the development of artificial hearing devices.
The Comprehensive Cancer Center, under the direction of Paul Carbone, integrates the basic science research of the McArdle Laboratory and other research institutions with clinical research into cancer. The Center’s research is aimed at improving the basic understanding of neoplastic diseases and ways to prevent the disease, or improve the outcomes for patients with cancer. Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators have been key players in developing many new cancer drugs, biologic response modifiers and chemoprevention agents. UW scientists have been in the forefront of prevention research with the introduction and safety testing of tamoxifen as a chemopreventive agent for breast cancer.
Hector De Luca continues the University of Wisconsin’s award-winning research into vitamins. De Luca’s research focuses on the role vitamins play in health, reproduction, and growth. His work includes identifying vitamin D responsive genes in intestine, bone, and blood cells and the role vitamin A plays in the development of neural tissue.
Jerome Dempsey leads a research group examining the basic mechanisms, epidemiology, and clinical consequences of sleep disordered breathing and its treatment. Affecting more than just a good night’s sleep, sleep disordered breathing causes or aggravates high blood pressure, asthma, and heart disease.
Under the direction of Norman Drinkwater, the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research conducts basic research into the development of cancer diseases in three broad areas; chemical carcinogenesis, genetics of tumor viruses, and cellular tumor biology. In addition to basic research, the laboratory provides research training for scientists in the general area of the cell and molecular biology of cancers. 100 scientists are presently enrolled in training at the McArdle Laboratory and more than 700 have received training at the Laboratory in the past.
At the Specialized Center of Research on Lung Biology and Disease in Infants and Children, Philip Farrell leads a research team examining neonatal lung injury and the repair processes that facilitate recovery from chronic respiratory insufficiency in infants. The Center’s goal is to improve understanding and treatment of lung disease and injury in newborn and premature infants.
Marion Greaser is examining molecular regulation of muscle growth in cattle. Greaser’s basic research is designed to provide information on the genetics and cellular mechanisms of bovine muscle growth and development.
Food science researcher Richard Hartel is examining the physical nature and properties of dairy foods as they undergo thermal processing. Hartel’s research could help Wisconsin producers and processors better control product quality.
Virginia Hinshaw’s research focuses on the way influenza A viruses kill cells. Influenza A viruses cause significant disease problems in humans, lower mammals, and birds. Hinshaw’s work offers a unique opportunity to obtain information basic to understanding a common virus and the genetic ability to combat the spread of disease.
Paul Kaufman’s studies of the physiology and pharmacology of fluid secretion and drainage in the living primate eye are aimed at discovering the basic mechanisms controlling secretion and drainage, how drugs and other chemical compounds affect those mechanisms, and the development of new drugs to suppress fluid formation and enhance its drainage. The ultimate goal is a better understanding of the disease glaucoma, and the development of better pharmacological agents for its treatment.
Barbara Klein’s work on the epidemiology of chronic diseases, especially eye disease and other age-related disorders may provide new directions in treatment for elderly Americans.
Ronald Klein is helping to develop grading and classification systems for eye diseases. His research also includes the epidemiology of diabetes and its complications.
Stuart Knechtle is examining gene transfer in organ transplantation. The ultimate goal of this work is to apply gene transfer techniques to development of specific immunosuppression, increasing the safety and success of organ transplantation.
Nellie Laughlin at the Harlow Primate Laboratory is measuring the efficacy of treatments designed to reduce body lead stores in young children. Laughlin’s work is designed to develop effective treatments that not only reduce lead levels in exposed children, but also alleviate neurobehavioral and organ system toxicity.
Michael MacDonald’s team of scientists are studying the biochemistry of insulin release by metabolic fuels, including secretagogues that they discovered. They are using recombinant DNA technology to study gene expression in the pancreatic islet and identify the genetics of diabetes in humans.
John Magnuson heads a collaborative, integrated graduate training program in the study of freshwater ecosystems. Research at the Center for Limnology is focused on preserving Wisconsin’s lakes.
Robert Nickells is developing new models to combat glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the world. The disease causes the death of retinal cells by a form of programmed cell death. Nickells’ team is elucidating the molecular events associated with this cell-death phenomenon including attempts to block cell-death by expressing “anti-death” genes in these cells in culture and in animal models of glaucoma.
David Pauza leads a team of researchers studying the mechanisms of pathogenesis in AIDS. Pauza’s research is generating novel immunotherapies based on these studies. Engineering and testing live oral vaccines to elicit mucosal immunity to viruses.
Henry Pitot’s team is looking for clues to cancer prevention through the study of chemical induction of cancer in mammals.
Richard Proctor’s research focuses on the genetics of bacterial pathogenesis. Proctor’s work with endotoxin involves testing of endotoxin precursor molecules for efficacy as anti-endotoxin drugs.
Maria Salvato is studying viral-medicated immunosuppression and persisten viral infections. Salvato’s models offer hope for new treatments for patients suffering from AIDS and other similar diseases.
Paul Sondel’s research team is investigating the interface between human immune cells and human malignant cells. Analyses of molecules expressed on the membranes of these two major cell types may clarify how cells of the immune system recognize and activate destructive mechanisms directed at neoplastic cells. These studies are progressing to gene transfer experiments that may represent prototypes for immunologically based “gene therapy” of human cancer.
Bill Sugden’s team of researchers at the McArdle Laboratory is looking at the viral causes of human cancer. All the known viruses involved in human cancer are under investigation by Sugden’s team.
John Webster is developing electrical impedance tomography for medical imaging. EIT is a new imaging technology that is safe from ionizing radiation, and offers inexpensive instrumentation and portability. Webster and Willis Tompkins are working on a ventilation monitoring diagnostic vest based on the new technology.
William Weidanz’s research focuses on the immunology of malaria. The goal of Weidanz’s studies is to identify target cell populations and mechanisms of resistance that may be exploited for immunization purposes.
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Robert Byrnes research into DNA and cell damage by oxidative stress is designed to further our understanding of how exposure to common materials can lead to induction of cancer.
Reinhold Hutz is exploring how the toxin tetrachloradibenzo-p-dioxin causes infertility. His work may lead to preventions and treatments for women affected by the toxin.
Randall Lambrecht’s research examines the role of iron acquisition by intracellular organisms that can cause death in patients with AIDS.
David Petering directs research at the Milwaukee Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Core Center. The Center uses aquatic organisms to study human environmental health issues. Research at the Center focuses on a number of health problems including target organ specificity of insecticides, DNA damage caused by heavy metals, oxidative stress, and the impact of low level exposure to toxic substances on development.
Jane Witten is examining how plasticity is generated in the nervous system by hormones and neurotransmitters. Development, behavioral changes and learning are controlled by these molecules and a number of diseases result from malfunctions of these modulatory pathways.
University of Wisconsin System
Lloyd Turtinen at UW-Eau Claire is unlocking the molecular mechanisms involved in immunosuppression. Infections in immunocompromised AIDS and tissue transplant patients are deadly. Turtinen’s work is aimed at finding methods to prevent these infections.
James Marker’s work on dissociation within the human sympatho adrenal system at UW- Green Bay has potential use in studying obesity, caloric restriction, overfeeding, glucose homeostasis, and exercise training.
Colleen McDermott at UW-Oshkosh is investigating the ability of microcystins to induce tumor formation in a variety of cell types. Increasing our knowledge of a ubiquitous toxin, such as microcystins, has the potential to directly prevent intoxication disease in humans and animals.
UW-Platteville research scientist Virginia Snyder’s studies on an antiarrythmic drug, amiodarone, are uncovering the long-term effects of treatment with the drug. Her work may lead to safer treatments for heart disease patients.
UW-River Falls researcher Karen Klyczek’s study of gene regulation in tumor cells is designed to lead to the development of treatment methods that eliminate these abnormal cells in animals.
At UW-Whitewater, Daryle Waechter-Brulla is studying the mechanisms of bacteriological contamination. Her work may help microbreweries in Wisconsin prevent contamination and provide safer products to consumers.
Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Madison
Robert Bush has defined a complete cDNA sequence for an Alternaria allergen, a first research step towards solving Altenaria Asthma.
Theodore Goodfriend is studying the regulation of blood pressure and the role of hormones in cholesterol transport within cells. Goodfriend’s research has implications for both prevention and treatment strategies for high blood pressure and heart disease.
George Wilding’s research team is growing human prostate cancer cells in the lab. The scientists are studying the control of prostate cancer cell growth and evaluating new agents for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee
James Ackmann’s research into tissue electrical properties and their relation to physiologic changes is designed to improve clinical application of bioelectric impedance monitoring of the cardiopulmonary system, and evaluation of vascular problems and tissue viability.
James Fujimoto is studying the generation and control of pain. His studies examining systems in the brain offer promise for new diagnostic techniques and therapies to control pain in patients.
Jane Madden is conducting experiments to determine how blood flow is controlled in the lungs during periods of low oxygen (hypoxia). These studies could lead to new treatments or preventions for pulmonary and cardiovascular disorders related to hypoxia and hypertension.
Neil Mandel is examining crystal retention in kidney stone disease. Mandel’s research could lead to preventive treatments for kidney stones following injury.
Pascal Malassigne designs and tests devices to assist disabled patients.
David Roerig is examining the uptake of drugs by the lung in order to investigate changes in pulmonary physiology associated with pulmonary disease. A goal of these studies is to identify drug indicators to track the progression of the tissue and microvascular consequences of pulmonary disease common in the veteran population.
Jeanne Seagard’s research is providing basic information on how blood pressure is regulated and the causes of malfunction of the regulatory system. This information is critical to determining the causes and mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases.
Gordon Telford is studying the effect of transplantation on small intestine physiology, examining transplanted intestinal smooth muscle, absorption, digestive function and the enteric nervous system. Telford’s work will provide clues to the possible role of intestinal transplantation in treating short bowel syndrome and other diseases and injuries.