2015 Research Frontiers in Cerebrovascular Disease and Disorders

On Oct. 1, 2015, a joint symposium was held at the Sanford School of Medicine Health Sciences Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. The event was sponsored by the John H. and Amy Bowles Lawrence Foundation, the Sanford School of Medicine and the Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of South Dakota.

The conference was held to celebrate the achievements of Sanford School of Medicine alumni and current faculty in their transformative research in cerebrovascular disease and disorders.

Presentations included talks from three alumni and four Sanford School of Medicine faculty speakers, with cutting-edge information relevant to clinicians, basic scientists and students. Below is a profile of the featured speakers from the event, along with a link to their website for additional information.

Below are the invited speakers for the Stroke Symposium, along with a link to their individual websites for additional information.

Invited External Speakers

Harold Admas

Harold P. Adams, Jr., M.D., Professor, Neurology, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Adams is the Director of the Division of Cerebrovascular Diseases in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and also serves as the Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center for University of Iowa Health Care. He earned his bachelor of science in medicine degree from the University of South Dakota and his medical degree from Northwestern University. Following postgraduate medical training in internal medicine and neurology at the University of Iowa, Adams became a faculty member at the University of Iowa, where he has resided since 1976. Adams is recognized as a leader in the design and conduct of clinical trials in stroke, making important contributions including the development of the NIH Stroke Scale and the TOAST classification, two very important clinical rating instruments. His research activities, which include leading large national and international clinical trials, have been funded by federal and private sources. In addition, Adams is an active clinician who sees patients almost daily. He has served on many national and federal advisory committees and he currently is an associate editor of Cerebrovascular Diseases and Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, and is a member of the editorial board of Stroke.

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Mark Fisher

Mark J. Fisher, M.D., Professor, Neurology; Anatomy & Neurobiology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of California Irvine

After obtaining a B.A. in Political Science at UCLA in 1970, Fisher moved to South Dakota, enrolling in graduate school at USD in the Department of Government (under the leadership of W.O. Farber) with a graduate assistantship and earning an M.A. He entered medical school at USD in 1971, obtained the B.S. Medicine degree after two years, and transferred to the University of Cincinnati where he received his M.D. in 1975. After completing Neurology training at UCLA-Wadsworth VA Medical Center, he was a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at University of Southern California from 1980-1998, where he established one of the first stroke programs on the West Coast. “Medical Therapy of Acute Stroke,” which he edited in 1989, was one of the first books devoted to acute stroke therapy. At UCI, he served as chair of the neurology department from 1998-2006, established the UCI Stroke Center, and led the UCI Department of Neurology into the top 10 for NIH research funding for neurology departments nationwide. His stroke research has received 30 years of funding from NIH, and he currently directs a stroke research laboratory of vascular neurobiology, teaches stroke neurology to medical students and residents and directs a stroke prevention clinic. He has recently assumed leadership to initiate the clinical stroke program at VA Long Beach Healthcare System, a major affiliate of UC Irvine. He has been cited for more than a decade by Best Doctors in America and Castle Connolly's America's Top Doctors, and received numerous citations (including for the current year) by the Orange County Medical Association as a Physician of Excellence.

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John Hallenbeck

John M. Hallenbeck, M.D., Chief, Stroke Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Hallenbeck received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After a medical internship and neurology residency at the University of Michigan, he entered the United States Navy. At the Naval Medical Research Institute, his research focused on CNS decompression sickness and air embolism and later the study of inflammatory and immune mechanisms in acute brain ischemia. In 1983, he was appointed Chief of the Navy's neurology training program at the National Naval Medical Center and Professor, Vice-Chairman and Chairman for Research in the Department of Neurology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In 1991, he came to the NINDS as Chief of the newly-created Stroke Branch. He received the Mihara Cerebrovascular Disorder Research Prize. Hallenbeck's laboratory is studying the cellular regulation of ischemic tolerance and inflammatory and immune mechanisms in the initiation and progression of stroke.

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Invited Internal Speakers

Lee Baugh

Lee Baugh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine

Baugh received his B.A. from the University of Waterloo in psychology, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in Brain and Behavior. He conducted postdoctoral work at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, at Queen's University before joining the faculty at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota in 2011. Baugh's primary research interests examine how skilled actions are learned and performed, and how these processes can be affected by neurological damage. To do this, Baugh utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach including functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography and the advanced analysis of kinematic data.

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Robert Morecraft

Robert Morecraft, Ph.D., Professor, Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine

Morecraft received his B.A. in Physical Education from the College of New Jersey, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Anatomy and Neuroscience. He was a Research Fellow in the neurology department at Harvard Medical School under the leadership of Marsel Mesulam. After his fellowship in Boston, he became a faculty member at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in 1991 and is currently a full professor in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences. His research is focused on recovery of hand and arm movements following injury to the cerebral cortex, organization of corticocortical connections in the primate brain, and cortical innervation of cranial nerve motor nuclei with an emphasis on descending projection systems that may be involved in neurological movement disorders. Morecraft is the recipient of the University of South Dakota President's Award for Research Excellence, the South Dakota Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Research and the Chester B. McVay Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. His research program has been funded by The National Institutes of Health, Division of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for 18 years.

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Jitendra Sharma

Jitendra Sharma, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurosciences, Sanford School of Medicine

Sharma received his medical degree from M.G.M. Medical College, M.Y. Hospital, Indore M.P, India, and completed his residency in neurology at The Jacob's Neurological Institute, SUNY, Buffalo, N.Y. He was a Serono Research Fellow at the Department of Neurology, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., a Vascular Neurology Fellow at the Neurological Institute, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a Neurointerventional Fellow within the Department of Radiology University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Sharma's research includes prognostic factors in determining outcomes in patients with acute carotid occlusion, safety and efficacy of combined mechanical and pharmacological intervention in acute stroke patients with atrial fibrillation, effectiveness of multiple neurological and vascular imaging in ischemic stroke patients and role of CT perfusion and stroke outcomes. His work has been recognized by various scholarships and awards.

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Hongmin Wang

Hongmin Wang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine

Wang received his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 2000, and completed his postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Neurodegeneration. Wang is currently an associate professor within the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Sanford School of Medicine. His lab is supported by the National Institutes of Health and investigates the neuropathogenesis and neuroprotective mechanisms underlying Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease and cerebral ischemic stroke. Specifically, he utilizes multiple approaches, including molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology (including induced pluripotent stem cells, iPSCs), and mouse models, to (1) understand why neurodegeneration occurs in specific pathological conditions, (2) identify targets that can be druggable for treating the neurodegenerative disorders, and (3) develop therapeutic compounds that can be used for treating these disorders.

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