Schweitzer fellows engage communities to improve health

By Melinda Cassidy
Outreach and Engagement Communications Student Intern

By the age of 30, Albert Schweitzer had already authored three books and made landmark scholarly contributions in the fields of music, religion and philosophy. However, aware of the desperate medical needs of Africans, he decided to become a doctor and devote the rest of his life to direct service in Africa. In 1913, when he was 37, Dr. Schweitzer and his wife, Hélène, opened a hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship supports graduate and professional students who wish to follow in pioneering humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s footsteps*.

T.M. Ayodele Adesanya, an MD-Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences, had a passion for the kids at Champion Middle School on the Near East Side of Columbus after learning in 2010 that the state declared it to be the most underperforming middle school in Ohio. The Columbus-Athens Albert Schweitzer Fellows program (ASF), a year-long fellowship in which graduate and professional students design and implement community engagement projects, gave him an opportunity to help.

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“I read an article talking about the poor academic state of the middle school at the time unfortunately, and the article really just went in on the school,” Adesanya said. “I was reading it the whole time thinking, ‘They’re sixth graders, you can’t give up on them.'”

Wanting to expose students to healthcare professions, Adesanya started a mentorship program at Champion in 2012. When he became a Schweitzer Fellow in 2013, he had the opportunity to expand his program, spending more than the ASF-required 200 hours on the project.

Read more at Office of Outreach and Engagement >>

NIH grant to study gall bladder salmonella infection

Ohio State’s John Gunn, PhD, vice chair and professor of Microbial Infection and Immunity in the College of Medicine, has received a bridge grant of $617,000 from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study of chronic infection of the gall bladder by salmonella. The grant could help millions of people in developing countries, as well as travelers.

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Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) bacteria invading cultured human cells. Photo credit: NIAID, public domain.

Salmonella is bacteria that cause many diseases in humans and animals, including typhoid fever and gastroenteritis. Typhoid fever alone infects an estimated 21 million people a year, causing about 600,000 deaths worldwide. Salmonella also is highly correlated with liver, gallbladder bile duct and pancreatic cancer.

Typhoid fever is typically treated with antibiotics, but salmonellae (S. Typhi) are often resistant. Even with treatment, 2–3 percent of those infected die. In addition, many people infected with typhoid fever have no symptoms but become carriers, with the infection settling in their gall bladders.

Read more at the College of Medicine website >>

Making old lungs look new again

By Emily Caldwell

New research shows that the lungs become more inflammatory with age and that ibuprofen can lower that inflammation.

In fact, immune cells from old mouse lungs fought tuberculosis bacteria as effectively as cells from young mice after lung inflammation was reduced by ibuprofen. The ibuprofen had no effect on the immune response to TB in young mice.

This was a rare look at inflammation in the aging lung environment by Ohio State University scientists who study the immune response to TB. The researchers already knew that old mice had a harder time clearing TB from the lungs than young mice, but had not investigated the role of lung inflammation in that response.

 

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Joanne Turner, associate professor and the study’s senior author

“Very few researchers have linked inflammation to infectious disease in old age, even though TB in particular will drive that inflammation even further,” said Joanne Turner, associate professor of microbial infection and immunity at Ohio State and senior author of the study.

Read more at osu.edu >>

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