President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address called for renewed vigor in the fight against cancer. Drawing parallels to John F. Kennedy’s goal to place a man on the moon, Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden to lead a national “moonshot” initiative to eliminate the disease responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 U.S. citizens’ a year.
University Beat takes you to the USF School of Music, where the next generation of classical musicians had the chance to work with members of The Florida Orchestra, including its Music Director, Michael Francis.
To borrow from the old adage about getting to Carnegie Hall, it takes a lot of practice to be a great classical musician.
But to become a great conductor, there’s not too much a would-be maestro can do, according to University of South Florida masters student Brent Douglas.
Extended University Beat report previewing this year's Pint of Science.
Pour me another one, bartender...or is it pour me another one, doctor?
For the next three nights, scientists will take over bars in nine countries and 50 cities, including a trio of sold-out Tampa area locations, to discuss their work with the public over drinks.
"Pint of Science" was created four years ago in the United Kingdom, and brought over to the U.S. last year by USF Health Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology Research Associate Parmvir Bahia and her husband, Moffitt Cancer Center researcher David Basanta.
"Very often, when we think about how are we going to effectively treat somebody, whether it be cancer, cardiovascular disease, or anything neurodegenerative in nature, when we do the clinical research to gather the evidence, if you don’t have enough people from enough varied backgrounds; we can’t automatically transfer knowledge gained in one part of the population onto another part of the population," Sneed said.
But minority populations – specifically the African American and Hispanic and Latino communities – don’t take part in clinical trials at a level that would give researchers the data they need.
Extended University Beat report on the Tampa Innovation Alliance
The 15,000 acre area surrounding the University of South Florida's Tampa campus has been called "the University Area", "University West," and, derisively, "Suitcase City," due to the number of transients.
But no matter what you call the region, which is bounded by Interstate 275 to the west, I-75 to the East, Busch Boulevard to the south and Bearss Avenue to the north, it's home to thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a few dozen of Tampa’s most recognizable organizations and sites.
"The purpose (of the Alliance) is to make this location recognized around the world as the destination for innovation, creative activity, business enterprise," said Alliance Executive Director Mark Sharpe. "It’s to make this place a place you want to live, work and play."
UPDATED 7/8 with University Beat audio report and additional quotes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over half of American girls ages 13 to 17 have received at least one dose of the vaccination to protect against the human papillomavirus (HPV) - and it's a rate that decreases over the needed second and third doses.
But here in Florida, the number of fully protected young women - those who have received all three doses - is only 25 percent, the lowest in the country.
It may be an understatement, but biomedical research is a big business.
The National Institutes of Health has an annual budget of around $30 billion, and since it provides most of the federal funding for research at universities and laboratories, it supports over 400,000 jobs across the country.
(Story has been updated with Miriam Zimm's status for Miles for Moffitt in the third paragraph)
When Miles for Moffitt steps off on Saturday, May 10, Miriam Zimms will once again be there.
A bout with breast cancer four years ago didn’t stop her. Neither will last year’s bone cancer scare that saw surgeons remove a large section of her pelvis and replace it with a bone from a cadaver.
"I know that it will be an incredibly different type of walk for me this year because of the fact that I don’t have full mobility and I cannot fully walk on both my legs, so it will be a very different experience," said Zimms, who's undergone six months of physical therapy. She plans to walk about 300 feet or so at the event using either crutches or a walker, and her husband will push her the rest of the one mile in her wheelchair.
She's taking part, not just for herself but also for her loved ones. Her team of walkers and runners, the Guatemalan Globes, is named for her birth country and for the four other women in her family who’ve also battled breast cancer, including her mother, who died from the disease in 1992.
An estimated seven thousand participants are expected to join Miriam in taking part in Miles for Moffitt, a series of races and walks that raises money for research at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.
You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but Josalyn Kaldenberg has a bionic arm.
Even if you looked hard at her right arm, you'd only see a small scar, a barely noticeable, faint line that starts around her elbow and then runs up her arm. It looks like it could be the result of an injury any 11-year-old like Josalyn would have - maybe she fell off a swing or got injured rough-housing with her four younger siblings back home in Woodward, Iowa.
But that scar is actually historic. You see, under that scar, Josalyn Kaldenberg has an expandable, prosthetic upper arm bone - the first of its kind in a child in the United States.
University Beat report on Josalyn Kaldenberg's 'bionic' arm
UnitedHealthcare, which sells AARP Medicare products including HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans, took out a full-page newspaper ad that blamed the decision to shrink provider networks in 2014 on reductions in federal funding. But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, payments from the federal government to Medicare Advantage plans will actually increase 3.3 percent next year. (Paywall after 15th click)
For the second time this week, a major figure at the University of South Florida announced his intent to retire in 2015.
Athletic Director Doug Woolard said on Thursday that he'll retire when his contract ends in June of next year. USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Arthur Guilford announced on Tuesday that he'll step down in January 2015.
But while the official statement from USF was filled with glowing words for Woolard, ESPN's Brett McMurphy cited unnamed sources in saying Woolard was actually being replaced because of "wide-ranging dissatisfaction" with the USF football and men's basketball programs.
However, others disagreed, saying Woolard wasn't forced out.
This week's University Beat report on Moffitt Cancer Center's "chemo brain" study.
For some cancers, chemotherapy and radiation may be the best - or only - treatments available. Yet there are times when the side effects of the treatment are almost as bad as the disease they are intended to cure.
"Most people are familiar with hair loss, fatigue, nausea," said Dr. Paul Jacobsen, Associate Center Director for the Division of Population Science at Moffitt Cancer Center. "But there is growing evidence that among a certain sub-sample of people who get chemotherapy, they experience some cognitive problems in the months or years after chemotherapy administration: problems in memory, attention, concentration."
These problems, also known as "chemo brain," are the focus of "The Thinking and Living with Cancer" study, a National Cancer Institute-supported research effort at Moffitt that needs volunteers.