Richmond, Va.
Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

February faculty and staff features

Monday, Feb. 26, 2007

Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Strauss, dean of the VCU School of Medicine, together with his former colleague, Jennifer R. Wood, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska, and researchers from Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates in Woodbury, Minn., were recently highlighted in the February 2007 issue of Endocrine News, the official newsletter of the Endocrine Society, for their work revealing how polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) harms oocyte competency. Oocytes are female germ cells that are involved in reproduction.

The collaborative study showed that although normal and PCOS oocytes appear structurally similar and of high quality, they have different gene expression profiles.  The genes that were affected are important for normal oocyte maturation and movement of chromosomes, abnormalities that lead to early pregnancy loss after fertilization. According to the article, PCOS may harm the oocytes as a result of excessive male sex hormone production by the ovary.  In addition, high insulin levels due to insensitivity to insulin action may also contribute to altered oocyte function.  The findings suggest that pharmacological or lifestyle interventions, including drugs that lower insulin and male sex hormone levels and weight loss, may correct the molecular defects in the PCOS oocyte and improve pregnancy outcome.

PCOS is the most common glandular disorder of women of reproductive age, and the major cause of infertility due to failure to ovulate.  These findings were published in February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Antonio Garcia, associate professor and director of VCU’s jazz studies program Photo courtesy of Antonio Garcia

Antonio Garcia, Department of Music
Garcia, associate professor and director of VCU’s jazz studies program, is the author of a new, five-book series on jazz instruction. The collection, “Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers,” is accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM and play-along CD. Supported by VCU’s Arts Faculty Grant in Aid, these tools can be used by vocalists or for instrumental study in either a private or school setting. For more information, visit http://www.garciamusic.com.

Joseph Seipel, senior associate dean for academic affairs and director of graduate studies, School of the Arts
Seipel was named recipient of a 2007 School of Education Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The award, which represents the highest honor bestowed on Wisconsin-Madison alumni, recognizes Seipel’s extraordinary contributions as a visual artist, educator, curator, writer and administrator in higher education, guiding VCUarts Department of Sculpture + Extended Media to a program of international prominence. The VCU Department of Sculpture MFA degree is ranked No. 1 in the country by US News and World Report. Seipel was chair of the Department of Sculpture for 17 years. He will receive the award on May 12 during Wisconsin-Madison’s Alumni Weekend. He received his undergraduate degree in art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970.

Michael Fine, Ph.D., Department of Biology
Fine, professor in the Department of Biology, together with lead investigator, Eric Parmentier, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Liege, Belgium, were highlighted in the January issue of Physics Today for their ongoing work examining fish sound production. The team has identified a new mechanism of sound production in a group of fish known as Pearlfish, belonging to the genus Carapus. This group of fish produces sounds that resemble taps on a drum or cymbal by a process similar to stretching and letting go of a rubber band, which excites the swimbladder into vibration, the article said. The swimbladder is an organ that enables many fish to generate sound. The work by Fine, Parmentier and colleagues exemplifies a unique crossover of biological work into physics. The study findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in July 2006 and presented at a recent joint meeting in Honolulu of the Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan.

John Accordino, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Accordino and two co-authors received the “best paper” award for their article in the fall 2006 “Journal of the American Planning Association.” Accordino co-authored “Targeting investments for neighborhood revitalization” with George Galster, Ph.D., Wayne State University, and Peter A. Tatian, senior research associate, the Urban Institute. The article focused on the impact of Richmond’s “Neighborhoods in Bloom” program in revitalizing specific city neighborhoods. Accordino is coordinator of the Master of Urban & Regional Planning Program and Graduate Certificates in Urban Revitalization, Historic Preservation, and Geographic Information Systems.

Robert W. Taylor, director of the Virginia Real Estate Center at VCU
Taylor was appointed a trustee of the Appraisal Institute Education Trust for a two-year term. The Appraisal Institute Education Trust is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to promoting education and research related to real estate appraisal.

Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry
Spiegel, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry, published an article in the Jan. 26 issue of The Journal of Biological Chemistry that reviews her research of the biochemical properties of sphingosine kinases and some related lipid kinases, which all have important links to cancer cell biology.

Spiegel’s article reported that recent studies have begun to uncover the biological functions of their phosphorylated bioactive lipids produced by these kinases. These key molecules regulate diverse physiological processes important for cancer, as well as lymphocyte trafficking, immunity and allergy. Spiegel’s research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The article is co-authored by Sheldon Milstien, Ph.D., affiliate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and a senior investigator in the National Institute of Mental Health intramural research program.


Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Strauss, dean of the VCU School of Medicine, together with his former colleague, Jennifer R. Wood, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska, and researchers from Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates in Woodbury, Minn., were recently highlighted in the February 2007 issue of Endocrine News, the official newsletter of the Endocrine Society, for their work revealing how polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) harms oocyte competency. Oocytes are female germ cells that are involved in reproduction.

The collaborative study showed that although normal and PCOS oocytes appear structurally similar and of high quality, they have different gene expression profiles.  The genes that were affected are important for normal oocyte maturation and movement of chromosomes, abnormalities that lead to early pregnancy loss after fertilization. According to the article, PCOS may harm the oocytes as a result of excessive male sex hormone production by the ovary.  In addition, high insulin levels due to insensitivity to insulin action may also contribute to altered oocyte function.  The findings suggest that pharmacological or lifestyle interventions, including drugs that lower insulin and male sex hormone levels and weight loss, may correct the molecular defects in the PCOS oocyte and improve pregnancy outcome.

PCOS is the most common glandular disorder of women of reproductive age, and the major cause of infertility due to failure to ovulate.  These findings were published in February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.