2020 News Articles

News & Events

UNR Med Department of Pharmacology's Heather Burkin, Ph.D. receives $1.6 million NIH award for preterm birth research

 • Heather Burkin, Ph.D., assistant professor, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology, Department of Pharmacology at UNR Med has recently received a five-year, $1.6 million dollar award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the regulation of uterine contractions in relation to preterm birth.

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine welcomes class of 2024 with first virtual White Coat Ceremony

 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) today welcomed 70 new first-year medical students with a virtual white coat ceremony. Traditionally, medical students receive their first white coats during an in-person ceremony to mark their educational journeys toward becoming physicians. This year, UNR Med’s Class of 2024 separated into three groups to don their coats in a socially distanced setting with appropriate PPE. They were then able to celebrate the pre-recorded milestone at home with their loved ones.

Research ‘rock star’ has advanced gastroenterology science and scientists

 • Research led by Kent Sanders, Foundation professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, has contributed significant scientific understanding of activity in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract known as motility. His research has investigated cellular mechanisms of pacemaker activity and neural control of GI motility. For example, Sanders’ research group was the first to isolate and demonstrate the functions and mechanisms of a special class of pacemaker cells that drive motility in organs of the GI tract.

Dr. Dagda research team discovers possible link between psychological distress, Parkinsons’s and immune system dysfunction with possible implications to the current pandemic

 • Ruben Dagda, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and physiology, and his research group collaborated with Mariana Grigoruta, M.D., Ph.D., a former graduate student with Dr. Dagda's research group, and Alejandro Martinez, Ph.D., from the University of Juarez in Mexico published "Psychological distress and lack of PINK1 promote bioenergetics alterations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells" in Scientific Reports.

UNR Med brain researcher receives $1 million in National Science Foundation funding to study brain synapses

 • Robert Renden, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), and the UNR Neuroscience Institute, was recently awarded a five-year, $1.1 million CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore how brain cells maintain the energy needed to communicate at contact sites, called synapses.

June is Aphasia Awareness Month

 • June is Aphasia Awareness Month, a national campaign to increase public awareness about the language disorder and to recognize people who are living with or caring for people with aphasia. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPA) is increasing aphasia awareness by educating the public on the effects of having aphasia, and aphasia clinical and community services available from UNR Med.

Dean’s Reflections: Graduating into a global pandemic

 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine has extraordinary medical and physician assistant studies students. And these students are going to graduate into an extraordinary world, in all definitions of the word.

Seeking individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to help patients fighting the infection

 • Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may now be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating their plasma. Those who have recovered from the infection may have COVID-19 antibodies in their blood. These antibodies provided one way for their immune systems to fight the virus when they were sick, so their blood may be used to help others fight off the disease through convalescent plasma.

Genomics sequencing of Nevada COVID-19 samples is under way

 • Through genomic sequencing much is being learned about the novel coronavirus (nCoV-SARS2) that causes COVID-19, and now Nevada is contributing to this important body of scientific knowledge. The Nevada Genomics Center, one of several core laboratory facilities at the University of Nevada, Reno, is completing genomic sequencing on samples from northern and southern Nevada that initially tested positive for the virus through the Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL). The effort is happening in collaboration with the NSPHL and researchers in the department of microbiology and immunology, both part of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

Nevada State Public Health Lab to start limited antibody testing in coming weeks

 • The Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) is currently conducting COVID-19 testing by way of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR), which is a form of testing that detects the virus itself. In the coming weeks, the NSPHL will begin a new form of testing, which includes detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Such a test may be able to determine whether a person has been infected with the virus, in the past.

COVID-19 unites the scientific community on innovating the way out of the pandemic

 • As the U.S. continues to face a dire shortage of COVID-19 collection (testing) kits, scientists from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), are teaming to facilitate faster COVID-19 testing in the state by manufacturing their own COVID-19 collection kits.

Remembering Jessica

 • In February, following Jessica's official retirement from UNR Med, I was able to recognize her many accomplishments and contributions with the Dean's Distinguished Service Award. While Jessica wasn't able to attend her celebration, she joined in from home. I'd like to share with you much of what I said that evening in an effort to encapsulate a spirit that shone so brightly and will be forever missed.

UNR Med students bolster health care workforce during COVID-19 pandemic

 • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much uncertainty and change at all levels of education. Medical education is no exception. While the COVID-19 outbreak has complicated the learning process, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) students are taking what they’ve learned in the lecture halls and during clinical rotations to mobilize in response to the COVID-19 crisis, bolstering the health care workforce in northern Nevada.

Campus labs supplying equipment for School of Medicine use and patient care

 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has received 36,650 gloves, 61 masks, 10 face shields and 13 goggles - personal protective equipment much needed for the COVID-19 testing medical students are performing at the School's University Health internal medicine practice in Reno, and for other care UNR Med and University Health clinical operations are providing across the state.

NSPHL & State of Nevada (DPBH) statement regarding State of Nevada responsibility for doing COVID-19 testing

 • "The State of Nevada has established a system which allows the State, not the FDA, to be responsible for laboratory testing options within the State. This change now allows Nevada labs to submit their findings to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH), not the FDA, for approval - which is a much faster process and should increase testing capacity considerably. The NSPHL currently has the capacity to test for multiple weeks, and will continue doing so while it is evaluating new products for use in testing," said Dr. Mark Pandori, director, NSPHL.

Nevada State Public Health Lab statement regarding COVID-19 testing

 • The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has been performing laboratory testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) seven days a week since the onset of COVID-19 in Nevada. The number of patients tested for COVID-19 at the NSPHL is posted Monday through Friday at the site, med.unr.edu/nsphl

UNR Med cancels Student Outreach Clinics

 • Out of an abundance of caution, and to help stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has canceled all Student Outreach Clinics, until further notice.

University Health launches COVID-19 web resource for patients

 • In an effort to communicate coronavirus (COVID-19) updates to University Health patients—and for the health and safety of our patients, medical staff and community—University Health, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine’s clinical practice, launched a coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage for information and updates on COVID-19, including instructions for patients experiencing flu-like symptoms and recommended safety measures. The direct URL is med.unr.edu/coronavirus

Ten Things You Should Know About Match Day

 • Match Day is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a physician. UNR Med graduating fourth-year medical students are scheduled for their Match Day next Friday, March 20. In honor of that ten-day countdown, here are ten things you should know about Match Day, so you can celebrate along with them.

UNR Med Student Outreach Clinic open Tuesday, March 10 and Saturday, March 14

 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) will offer no-cost Student Outreach Clinics, as scheduled, this week. UNR Med offers the free clinics in a continuing effort to assist the region's medically uninsured with needed health care services. The SOC will NOT be treating patients with acute symptoms or providing COVID-19 screening or testing.

New study may aid treatment and prevention of tremors in Parkinson’s Disease

 • A new study released from an international research team has made a discovery, identifying major implications for understanding disorders of the nervous system associated with tremor, such as Parkinson’s Disease. Brian Perrino, Ph.D., associate professor, department of physiology and cell biology at UNR Med is a research investigator on the project.

A match made in medical school

 • Medical school forges a bond of commonality where relationships are often a natural outgrowth for many medical students. For two med students in particular, volunteering at University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Student Outreach Clinics brought them closer than they ever could have imagined.

Project Medical Education

 • Medical schools like the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR Med) are classified as community-based. That label doesn’t come close to describing the critical importance we place on being fully-engaged with our community, and finding many different approaches to support that engagement. One of those approaches is Project Medical Education (PME).

Nevada elected officials and community leaders are medical students for a day at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine  

 • State legislators, city officials, CEOs and community leaders learned firsthand today what it takes to become a doctor when they experienced four years of medical school in one day! From a human heart dissection, to learning how to suture, participating in medical simulation labs and research meetings, the group had a full-on immersion into a day in the life of a medical student.

Reflections from the Dean: Understanding the important work of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory

 • Most of you probably know little about the work of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL). You should, because the lab scientists and technicians are literally working around the clock to protect you and all Nevadans from a wide range of potential infections, food-borne illness, and unsafe water, as well as providing emergency response to biological and chemical terrorism, and testing every Nevada baby for more than 30 hereditary diseases.

A tribute to our Nevada Medicine Weekly editor, colleague and friend, Roseann Langlois

 • On December 26, our beloved UNR Med Advancement and Engagement Content Marketing Manager, Roseann Langlois, suffered a brain aneurysm and passed away unexpectedly.It is a tragedy to be writing these words. For Roseann, our colleague and teammate, and for me, our jobs revolve around words. A million words cannot bring her back. Words seem so feeble in moments like these. The passing of one of our most lively and fit colleagues is illogical. It is a tragedy, but also an honor to share this tribute to Roseann - our colleague and friend, a mother, daughter, sister, fitness teacher, healthy lifestyle advocate, LGBTQIA ally, public relations student mentor, shelter volunteer, and so much more.