On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, Touro College held its seventh annual Research Day at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine/Touro College of Pharmacy campus in Harlem. Not only was this day a great opportunity for faculty and students to showcase their recent research in the form of poster presentations, it was also an opportunity to hear some renowned keynote speakers sharing their most recent research with our students, faculty, deans, and senior administration.
In his welcoming note, Touro President Dr. Alan Kadish shared a story of a very young patient who had a rare disease called Batten disease. He went on to explain that though there is no cure for the disease yet, the doctors of this patient used translational research to stabilize the patient. Translational research is, according to Wikipedia, a rapidly growing discipline in biomedical research that applies findings from basic science to enhance human health and well-being. It aims to “translate” findings in fundamental research into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes to expedite the discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments. With this story, Dr. Kadish conveyed how quickly science can progress when motivation and creativity exist.
After recognizing Touro faculty researchers who received the Presidential Research Development Program awards, Dr. Salomon Amar, Provost for Biomedical Research, introduced the two keynote speakers of the day, Dr. Steven Shoelson and Dr. Jean-Marc Schwarz.
In his speech, “How to Teach Old Drugs New Tricks,” Dr. Steven Shoelson, an internationally recognized leader in diabetes research, described the clinical trials he and his team conducted to determine that the world’s oldest anti-inflammatory drug, salicylate, can, in fact, be used to lower blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes. Salicylate had been used by the Ancient Egyptians for lowering inflammation. In 1876, several studies were published that used salicylate to target inflammation as well. Dr. Shoelson concluded that such findings prove that there might be old drugs out there that have other properties or can be used for other benefits than their original purpose.
From Touro University California, Dr. Jean-Marc Schwarz’s speech focused on how fructose and other added sugars can increase the risk for diabetes and heart disease. His studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages and other foods containing fructose are damaging to the body even if there is no excess calorie intake, and can, therefore, lead to metabolic abnormalities, such as obesity, high lipid levels, cardiovascular disease and of course, type 2 diabetes. Dr. Schwarz considers a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition the first interventional steps to decrease chronic diseases.
After the invited talks, two poster sessions featured original research conducted by faculty and students. 136 posters from Touro’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional divisions discussed topics related to 18 different disciplines, ranging from osteopathic medicine to pharmacy to art. We chatted with some of the presenters of whom we also took photos and posted here with their permission just to illustrate the breadth of research currently done at Touro College.
We would like to thank the Research Council Committee and the Research Collaborative Committee for all their hard work in organizing Research Day.
Contributed by Sara Tabaei and Juliana Magro, Midtown Librarians.