Archives for May 2013

Generous donors fund institute’s summer interns

TaubmanSummerInternsPhilanthropy fuels the Taubman Institute’s mission of funding talented, proven clinician-scientists at U-M, and their promising junior counterparts, through grant programs that support these physicians’ laboratory research.

And now, generous donors have made it possible to teach and encourage the medical science leaders of tomorrow.  Michigan philanthropists Joel and Shelley Tauber, longtime U-M supporters and members of the Taubman Institute’s Leadership Advisory Board, are the benefactors of the institute’s newest initiative, the Tauber Family Student Internship Program.

This five-year financial commitment will finance three student internships each year, allowing undergraduate students to work within the laboratories of Taubman Scholars or Emerging Scholars.  It’s hoped that the exposure to cutting-edge translational medical research will encourage these budding scientists to choose a lifetime of striving to bring new cures and treatments to patients with difficult diseases.

“When young, imagining a future for oneself can be overwhelming,” the Taubers said.  “We want to be part of inspiring young people to pursue a future in medical research by exposing them to Michigan’s scientific environment.

“Our goal is to enable interested and qualified young students to be part of teams that are focused on understanding and advancing medicine and its ability to treat disease.”

For 2013, three students will assist in the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, the laboratory of Taubman Institute Director Dr. Eva Feldman.  They are:

  • Anna Bakeman, a student at the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Rebecca Glasser, a student at Harvard University
  • Sangri Kim, a student at Johns Hopkins University

All of the interns will have an opportunity to work on projects ranging from stem cell derivation to the analysis of skin samples taken from neurology patients.

Rebecca Glasser, a West Bloomfield, Mich. native and a sophomore studying molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, says the internship meshes with her career aspiration to work as a clinician-scientist.

Working in the lab is a manifestation of everything I’ve learned in school,” she said.  “It’s great to actually see how everything comes together in the lab, rather than just in a textbook.  It’s really given me perspective on what I want to do.

Crain’s: Man who received ALS stem cell transplant still doing well

TedHaradaTed Harada, a 40-year-old man diagnosed with ALS, who received stem cell implantations to his spinal cord in two separate surgeries as part of the first-ever FDA-approved trial of a stem cell therapy for ALS, talked last week with Crain’s Detroit business reporter Tom Henderson.  Harada said he’s still feeling the positive effects he attributes to his second surgery, which took place last August.

“I’ve been doing great and feeling great.” Harada told Henderson. “Just now, the left leg showed a little bit of weakness returning, but I’m still so much better than I was before the surgeries. It’s the first time, since August, they’ve noticed any slight weakness.

“It’s clear from the data that the injections reversed my symptoms and slowed down the progression of the disease. I’ve received a blessing. I almost forget I have ALS. I don’t have the constant reminder of having to use the canes. Now, I don’t think about ALS every day. Every couple of days something happens and I think, `Oh, yeah, I have ALS.’ ”

Taubman Institute Director Dr. Eva Feldman received FDA approval in April to move the trial to Phase II, which will study efficacy as well as safety.  Patient recruitment has not yet started for that phase of the trial.

Click here to read the entire Crain’s blog post.