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Rahman Receives Senior Toxicologist Award From The Society of Toxicology

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Rahman plaque

Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine, has been awarded a Senior Toxicologist Award by the Society of Toxicology - Associations of Scientists of Indian Origin. The award was presented to Dr. Rahman in the presence of many Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting attendees as well as several NIEHS officials.

He received the award at the SOT 56th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in Baltimore, MD on March 13th. This year’s meeting, like its predecessors, was designed to provide members with access to cutting-edge science, networking opportunities, and career development resources through its various events and activities:

  • 160+ Scientific Sessions, covering diverse topics such as age- dependent neuroimmunotoxicological effects, cardiopulmonary consequences of gestational toxicant exposure, and novel in vitro and in silico platforms, among dozens of others
  • 50+ receptions and social events hosted by SOT Regional Chapters, Special Interest Groups, Specialty Sections, Committees, and other toxicology-related organizations
  • 13 Continuing Education courses and other education opportunities
  • ToxExpo, featuring more than 330 exhibitors providing products, services, and technology created to benefit the toxicology community

Congratulations Dr. Rahman!

Rahman award

Rahman

Hocking and Roy Receive Patent

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The patent titled “Chimeric Fibronectin Matrix Mimetics and Uses Thereof” (U.S. Patent No. 9,572,869; awarded February 21, 2017) has recently been assigned to the UR with inventors Denise Hocking, Ph.D. and Daniel Roy, Ph.D. (BME B.S.‘06, Ph.D.‘12). The patent relates to the use of recombinant fibronectin-based peptides for wound healing and tissue regeneration applications. The technology falls under a new and exciting class of therapies known as wound biologics. The primary commercial application for this technology is to promote healing of hard-to-heal or chronic wounds, including diabetic, venous, and pressure ulcers, which impose a significant health care burden worldwide. Topical application of fibronectin matrix mimetic peptides to full-thickness excisional wounds in diabetic mice accelerates wound closure and promotes granulation tissue deposition, remodeling, and re-vascularization.

Denise Hocking is a Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology and of Biomedical Engineering. Daniel Roy is a Scientist at KeraNetics, LLC, a biotechnology company located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that develops keratin-based biomaterials for wound healing applications.

Irfan Rahman Studies Respiratory Risk of E-Cigarette Flavorings

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The label may say “cinnamon” or “vanilla” but the true contents of e-cigarette flavorings are acetoin, diacetyl, and other chemical additives that are known to irritate the respiratory tract and impair lung function, according to a collaborative study from western New York scientists.

Senior author Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine and part of the Lung Biology and Disease Program, said the findings suggest that chemical flavorings in e-cigarettes not only cause inflammation but may rapidly impair the critical epithelial cells in the airways, which act as the first defense against infections and toxins. When the epithelial barrier becomes more permeable or leaky due to chemical assaults, life-threatening lung diseases can occur.

For example, volatile flavoring chemicals (such as the butter flavor in microwave popcorn) have been linked to severe lung diseases among workers at food manufacturing plants who were routinely exposed during production, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The local study was published by the journal, Applied In Vitro Toxicology. Janice Gerloff, a technician in Rahman’s laboratory, and Isaac Sundar, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at URMC, worked with chemists and engineers at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University at Buffalo to study the chemical characteristics of a sampling of flavored liquids used in vape pens, e-hookahs, e-cigars, e-pipes obtained from local vape shops. More than 450 brands of e-cig products with more than 8,000 flavors (including chocolate, menthol, mango, and cotton candy) are on the market, the study said.

Although the Flavor Extracts Manufacturers Association has certified these chemicals as safe, scientists are concerned about consumers inhaling them in high concentrations. Many e-cig flavors also are laced with nicotine. Researchers tested the emissions of flavored liquids and created a “puff profile” and a chemical profile for each flavor. They also treated human lung cells with the vaping chemicals and observed a potent reaction as pro-inflammatory cells transformed lung epithelial cells, making them more vulnerable to injury and illness.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration, Center for Tobacco Products, funded the research.

Evidence Points to Fish Oil to Fight Asthma

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Birbeck

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have discovered new essential information about omega 3 fatty acids contained in fish oil and how they could be used for asthma patients.

In a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation—Insight, researchers using cell cultures from local asthma patients, found that:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid products can reduce the production of IgE, the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people with milder cases of asthma
  • But in patients with severe asthma who use high doses of oral steroids, the omega-3 fatty acids are less effective because the corticosteroids block the beneficial effects

Lead author Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D., the Wright Family Research Professor of Environmental Medicine, and his lab had previously shown that certain fatty acids contained in fish oil regulate the function of immune cells (B cells). They wanted to further investigate the effects on asthma.

People with asthma have an imbalance between molecules that dampen inflammation and those that increase inflammation. Using steroids as treatment controls the inflammation and relieves symptoms, but does not cure the underlying disease.

Read More: Evidence Points to Fish Oil to Fight Asthma

Rahman's Recent Paper Featured on Cover of American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

Thursday, January 19, 2017

journal cover

Enviromental Medicine professor, Irfan Rahman's paper, Shelterin Telomere Protection Protein 1 Reduction Causes Telomere Attrition and Cellular Senescence via Sirtuin 1 Deacetylase in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , has been chosen to be featured on the January cover of the journal of American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. The cover (see image to the right) includes a diagram is from the Rahman group's data figure showing human telomere damage by environmental tobacco smoke during lung aging and COPD disease.

Congratulations to Dr. Rahman and his lab!