An innovative data-sharing technology developed at Georgetown will be used to improve the National HIV Surveillance System through
a $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found distinct molecular signatures in two brain disorders long thought to be psychological in origin—chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War Illness.
Travel and Gut Lag
Circadian rhythm and core body temperature irregularity affect more than sleep when we travel across times zones, Georgetown Family Medicine Professor Caroline Wellbery wrote recently in The Washington Post.
“Beyond sleepiness at the wrong time, jet lag affects our internal organs: The liver, pancreas, heart and gastrointestinal tract have their own daily rhythms. While these schedules are regulated in part by a master pacemaker in a tiny region of the brain, called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, time change may affect different organs differently. The most obvious sign of this is ‘gut lag’—feeling hungry (or having no appetite) at the wrong times, experiencing constipation or having an urge to use the bathroom at unexpected times. There is even evidence that gut lag can affect the intestinal microbiome (those bacteria colonizing our gut) and make us more susceptible to traveler’s diarrhea. That’s in part because disrupting the daily rhythms of our 100 trillion intestinal microbes can impair their immune function.”
On Washington as a Medical-Research Hub
“Proximity to power, to government, to decision-making that exists on an international scale. Most other countries in the world are represented here. It’s a very diverse community that brings into it diversity of culture and diversity of thought. You’ve got places of inquiry and experience that are world-class. You’ve got representatives from some of the most influential nongovernmental agencies, like the World Health Organization. There are ways in which you can begin to discover something here and have impact way beyond D.C.”
— Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, Georgetown University Medical Center dean for research
June 2018 Washingtonian
Examining the Opioid Epidemic
The PharmedOut 2019 Conference at Georgetown University Medical Center will convene interdisciplinary and evidence-based discussions—free from pharmaceutical influence—on use of, abuse of, dependence on, and addiction to opioids.
The event, running June 13-14, 2019, will take a critical look at subjects such as addiction treatment facilities, opioid marketing, medication-assisted treatments, invented diseases that prompt doctors to raise opioid doses, and alternatives to opioids for chronic pain.
“This is a topic that anyone would find fascinating, regardless of their field,” says Adriane Fugh-Berman (M’88), associate professor and director of PharmedOut. “The fallout from the opioid epidemic touches us all.”
Smithsonian Goes Viral
A new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History shows how epidemiologists work to identify and contain the spread of infectious disease.
“Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” explores how disease moves through increasingly intersecting worlds of animals, the environment, and humans, and highlights the social and emotional impact of epidemics including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and influenza. Instrumental in collecting and curating the content was Georgetown’s Daniel Lucey, MD, MPH, adjunct professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical Center and a senior scholar with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.
He was drawn to epidemiology while working in an AIDS ward in San Francisco in the early 1980s. “Our teachers couldn’t teach us about the disease,” he says. “It was a huge inflection point for me.”
The exhibit is open through 2021. A smaller-scale, customized version of the content is now on display in other cities and countries, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Finland, and India.