Jefferson Establishes Richard W. Hevner Professorship in Computational Medicine

The inaugural holder of the professorship will be Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD.

The inaugural holder of the professorship will be Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD.

Jefferson has established the Richard W. Hevner Professorship in Computational Medicine, named for the transformational emeritus chair of the Board of Trustees.

The inaugural holder of this professorship will be Isidore Rigoutsos, PhD, director of Jefferson’s Computational Medicine Center and a thought leader in the field of computational genomics.

The professorship was funded by a lead gift of $300,000 from the Methodist Hospital Foundation, a $50,000 contribution from Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, and Colleen Wyse, and through generous contributions from Jefferson’s executive team and management.

“Rick has been a voice for change and a key catalyst for numerous initiatives that have positioned Jefferson as the health and higher education institution of the future,” said Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, provost of Thomas Jefferson University and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “During his tenure as board chair, TJU and TJUH were reunited, creating the One Jefferson we are today. In addition, Rick led the enterprise through a period of immense growth, overseeing our mergers with Abington, Aria, Philadelphia University and Kennedy.”

Rigoutsos, who holds appointments in the departments of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Cancer Biology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has more than 20 patents on novel analytic techniques and algorithms used to automatically identify molecular structures.

Jefferson will announce a recognition ceremony for the donors and the official investiture in spring 2018.

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Faculty Members Study Chemistry of Cold Brew Coffee

Assistant professor of chemistry Niny Rao (left) discusses her cold brew coffee research.

Assistant professor of chemistry Niny Rao (left) discusses her cold brew coffee research.

Cold brew coffee has soared in popularity among small and large commercial brewers, which often tout its health benefits. However, little research exists on the chemistry of this new coffee trend, said Megan Fuller, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).

To fill this gap, Fuller and Niny Rao, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, explored the importance of brewing time, roasting temperature and grind size in cold brew coffee in the Dec. 21 issue of Scientific Reports. The East Falls faculty members studied cold and hot brew coffees made from a single source bean found in the Kona region of Hawaii, as well as analyzed medium and dark roast beans at medium and coarse grinds.

“Caffeine was studied for obvious reasons, but we also wanted to evaluate the concentration of 3-chlorogenic acid (3-CGA),” Fuller said. “This molecule represents a family of compounds known to act as antioxidants, which correlate to significant health benefits to coffee drinkers, such as decreased occurrence of depression, diabetes mellitus and certain types of cancers.”

They found the suggested brewing time of 10 to 24 hours outlined in typical cold brew methods doesn’t result in additional caffeine and 3-CGA concentration. Their research indicates that six to seven hours of brewing captures all the caffeine and 3-CGA available in the coffee grinds. In addition, they discovered 3-CGA and caffeine at higher concentrations in cold brew made with medium roast rather than dark roast. Coarse grind cold brew coffee also contained significantly more caffeine than the hot brew counterpart.

For future research, Rao and Fuller will work to understand the pH and total acidity of cold and hot brew coffees and the relationship between pH, total acidity and the antioxidant activity of coffee.

Read the full study here.

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Community and Trauma Counseling Program Director Discusses Ending the Cycles of Trauma and Poverty

Jeanne Felter, director of the M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), discussed ending the cycles of trauma and poverty for families in a Dec. 20 commentary in The Philadelphia Inquirer. It is printed in full below.

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry is shedding light on intergenerational trauma, adding to the growing body of evidence that the impact of trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next.

While the research stems from Scandinavia more than 75 years ago, it has critically important implications for Philadelphia, a city challenged by high rates of deep poverty and violence, contributing to trauma exposure among its residents.

Jeanne Felter, director of the M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling Program

Jeanne Felter, director of the M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling Program

During World War II, tens of thousands of children were evacuated from Finland to live with Swedish foster families. This study found that girls who were evacuated exhibited higher rates of mental illness and psychiatric hospitalizations over time.

What might seem surprising, however, is that the daughters of those who experienced the trauma were four times more likely to have been hospitalized with mental illness than those whose mothers stayed with their families in Finland. Sons of evacuees and daughters of male evacuees didn’t have similarly high rates of mental illness.

While scientists have documented the perpetuation of trauma through generations in a number of populations, including those who lived through the Holocaust, Cambodian genocide and bombing of Hiroshima, this latest study provides new information about the increased vulnerability to intergenerational trauma among females.

As a clinician who works primarily with children being raised by single mothers, the finding that the traumatic exposures of previous generations are likely affecting the physical and emotional health of mothers and children is disheartening. If mothers bear the molecular scars of trauma on their DNA, and I can’t undo that history, will carefully planned interventions have any degree of positive impact?

This has particular resonance in Philadelphia, where 25 percent of residents live below the poverty line. A 2013 study found that 40 percent of Philadelphia residents—three times higher than a national sample—report experiencing high doses of adverse childhood experiences, which include abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence or growing up with a mentally ill parent.

Combined with the latest study results, it’s a grim tale—our city’s most vulnerable residents have inherited a lineage of trauma and destitution that may reach back generations.

The cost of this, in the health and welfare of our society but also in dollars, is enormous.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost of child maltreatment in the United States to be $124 billion annually, including incarceration, child welfare costs, unemployment and drop-out rates, as well as medical costs associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiac disease and some cancers.

At the same time, research also shows that positive environments can correct behavioral alterations that may be inherited.

So what can we do?

First, we must press our elected officials to fund programs that focus on prevention and early intervention and ensure safe, stable and healthy homes, schools and communities for our children.

And in our current political climate, where support for such programs is at risk, each of us has an opportunity to drive change by participating in efforts to strengthen economic support for Philadelphia families. Initiate or join efforts that improve employability of residents. Champion programs that teach, promote and provide support for positive parenting practices.

Many of us who work in human services recognize this to be a critical time. Systems are strained, resources are scarce and the needs of those we serve are tremendous. Many are worried about the impact of government decisions on our most vulnerable citizens. But hopelessness and apathy are unacceptable. We must resolve to do a better job in 2018 of supporting our city’s children and families and help end the devastating intergenerational cycles of poverty and trauma.

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Jefferson Singers Delight With Annual Winter Concert

The Jefferson Singers perform “White Star” by Thomas B. Williams and John Grecia.

To a packed house, the Jefferson Singers brought the spirit of the season to campus. Their winter concert in Ravenhill Chapel covered a wide range of repertoire, from the music of the Renaissance (“Dixit Maria ad Angelum”) to more contemporary selections like “Winter” by Tori Amos and “White Star” by Thomas B. Williams and Jefferson Singers Director John Grecia.

The Singers performed 11 songs at the Dec. 3 show, and the University’s a cappella group, The Jeffersings, sang an additional number, “Run to You” by Pentatonix.

The choir included 26 students and two faculty members. Long-time Singers’ pianist Ting Ting Wong accompanied the concert, and many of the selections featured cellist Cassia Harvey.

The Program:
“Carol of the Bells” – M. Leontovych
“Dixit Maria ad Angelum” – Hans Leo Hassler“Ave Maria” – Franz Biebl
“Ave Maria” – Franz Biebl
“Three Jazz Carols” – Will Todd
– “We Three Kings”
– “In the Bleak Midwinter”
– “Personent Hodie”
“Winter” – Tori Amos
“White Star” – John Grecia/Thomas B. Williams
“Run to You “– Pentatonix
“Deck the Halls” ­– Traditional Welsh Melody/Arranged by James McKelvy
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” – Traditional English Carol/Arranged by John Rutter
“Ring Out, Wild Bells” – Ron Nelson

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Jefferson Fashion Students Win “Good Morning America” Wedding Dress Challenge: Longmont Times Call

Jefferson fashion design students Tommy Heidebrecht and Keren Espina won the “Good Morning America” wedding dress re-design challenge, the Longmont Times Call reported Dec. 20. Heidebrecht is from Longmont, Colorado.

The ABC “Good Morning America” wedding dress challenge aired on national television  Nov. 24. Read the Jefferson Today story here.

 

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Jeanne Felter On Ending the Cycles of Trauma and Poverty for Families: The Philadelphia Inquirer

With new research shedding light on the impact of intergenerational trauma, it’s critical to help families overcome the long-term effects of trauma and poverty that is passed down from one generation to the next, Jeanne Felter, director of the M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling Program, wrote in a Dec. 19 commentary in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Many of us who work in human services recognize this to be a critical time. Systems are strained, resources are scarce, and the needs of those we serve are tremendous,” Felter said. “We must resolve to do a better job in 2018 of supporting our city’s children and families and help end the devastating intergenerational cycles of poverty and trauma.”

 

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Chancellor Spinelli Says Latest Tax Proposal Better for Graduate Students: Philadelphia Business Journal

Chancellor Stephen Spinelli Jr. said he is pleased that a proposal to tax graduate tuition waivers reportedly has been dropped from the compromise tax bill working its way through Congress, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported Dec. 14.

“At Thomas Jefferson University, half of our students are in graduate programs, and these students are going to make significant contributions throughout their careers,” Spinelli said. “We’re in the business of empowering these students to be leaders in their fields, so we are pleased that the compromise tax bill reportedly no longer calls for the taxation of graduate student tuition waivers. It is in the public interest to enable students to pursue graduate-level programs, not set up barriers to their doing so.”

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Students Gain Valuable Real-World Experience in NY Immersion Fashion Course

Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising and Management students presented their final projects to top executives at Li & Fung in New York City.

Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising and Management students presented their final projects to top executives at Li & Fung’s New York City office.

Fashion students spent this semester in an innovative immersion course that provides hands-on experience in the New York fashion industry by meeting with top industry professionals, visiting fashion houses, attending New York Fashion Week and collaborating on possible new product designs and merchandising concepts.

As part of the course, 39 Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising and Management students presented their final projects to Rick Darling, executive director at Li & Fung, and other top executives at the company’s New York office on Dec. 8.

“The students were poised, professional and extremely polished during their presentations to an impressive panel,” said Nioka Wyatt, Fashion Merchandising and Management program director at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), who co-teaches the course. “I was impressed to see how they answered some tough questions about their design and merchandising concepts. The students demonstrated lifelong skills that they will utilize to jumpstart their careers in fashion.”

Throughout the semester, students collaborated with design and merchandising experts at Li & Fung.

Throughout the semester, students collaborated with design and merchandising experts at Li & Fung.

Throughout the semester, students collaborated with design and merchandising experts at Li & Fung. Six teams of students presented projects centered on finding open markets in various product categories for Anthropologie. While Li & Fung—a global multibillion-dollar apparel supply chain leader—doesn’t actively work with Anthropologie, it’s using the course as a platform to cultivate a business relationship with the company, Wyatt said.

“From our vantage point, it is always exciting to work with such a talented group,” said Wendy Santana ’83, executive vice president for Li & Fung/Oxford Collections and a member of the University’s School of Business Administration Advisory Board. “We can always use fresh ideas and perspectives into the current retail landscape and environment. The talent that comes out of this immersion course is exceptional.”

After the presentations, Darling told the group, “We need to infuse this type of talent into our company.” In fact, the University plans to soon offer an internship program at Li & Fung for students.

“In this course, design and merchandising students worked side-by-side, as they will in industry, to develop a comprehensive concept, which encompassed competitive research, branding, design and product development, and in-store merchandising strategies,” said Fashion Design program director Sheila Connelly, who also teaches the course. “Our students wowed the team of 10 senior-level executives from one of the most influential apparel companies in the world. It was a proud day for the Jefferson fashion team, and we couldn’t be more grateful to alumna Wendy Santana for her support on this initiative.”

The New York immersion course built Fashion Design sophomore Katelyn Adamson’s overall confidence in the business world.

The New York immersion course built sophomore Katelyn Adamson’s confidence in the business world.

Fashion Merchandising and Management student Julia Allison said the course helped her develop her professional speaking and teamwork skills.

“Plus, not only did I get to familiarize myself with New York,” she said, “I also went to amazing companies, learned a lot about the different jobs and their role in the industry, and gained some great experience.”

The course built Fashion Design student Katelyn Adamson’s overall confidence in the business world, she said. “New York Immersion has definitely prepared me for my future.”

Jefferson’s highly regarded fashion programs regularly rank among the best in the world. For example, the influential fashion web site Fashionista recently placed the University’s fashion programs in the top 25 globally and top 10 in the United States.

In addition, in the Global Fashion School Rankings 2017, Jefferson’s graduate fashion business program—which includes Global Fashion Enterprise, Strategic Design MBA and Fashion Design Management—ranked No. 3 in the United States and No. 6 internationally; the graduate fashion program—which includes Surface Imaging, Textile Design and Textile Engineering—ranked No. 3 in the United States and No. 23 internationally; and the undergraduate fashion program—which includes Fashion Design, Textile Design, Fashion Merchandising and Management, and Textile Materials Technology—ranked No. 9 in the United States and No. 31 internationally.

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Associate VP of Operations Honored by APPA

TomBecker

Tom Becker, associate VP of operations at Jefferson

Tom Becker, associate vice president of operations at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), was honored on Dec. 2 by members of APPA’s certification board and executive committee.

He served as the chair of the board from 2014-2016 and vice chair in 2017. The organization thanked Becker for his service, saying he was instrumental in the program’s advancement.

APPA (formerly the Association of Physical Plant Administrators) is an international association dedicated to maintaining, protecting and promoting the quality of educational facilities.

Read more about Becker’s career at Jefferson here.

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Interior Design Student Wins First Place in Jacobs Design Competition

Senior Aubrey Coughlin won a $5,500 scholarship for her design.

Aubrey Coughlin won a $5,500 scholarship for her coworking space design. Photos/Timothy Tiebout

Interior design senior Aubrey Coughlin won first place in the 16th annual Jacobs Student Design Competition, earning a $5,500 scholarship.

At the Jacobs Philadelphia Interiors Studio in Center City, 60-some students from six area universities competed in a one-day, eight-hour charrette to design and space plan a conceptual coworking space in Philly. The design had to include reception, open/private work areas, collaborative/meeting areas, support functions and hospitality/café space. Besides working under tight time constraints, students needed excellent hand-drawing skills since they couldn’t use digital tools in their projects.

“This demands that they can think on their feet, problem solve and present a complete design vision in a short timeframe,” said Lauren Baumbach, director of the interior design and interior architecture programs at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University). “This is great preparation for the workplace.”

Winning the competition can boost a resume to potential employers, said Amanda Sickler, an interior designer at Jacobs and 2016 alumna from the University, noting the judges commending Coughlin for her cohesive presentation and materials palette.

Judges commending Aubrey Coughlin for her cohesive presentation and materials palette.

The judges commending Aubrey Coughlin for her cohesive presentation and materials palette.

“She had a well-defined brand/concept, which was carried out in her plan and perspective,” Sickler said. “The planning arrangement was thoughtful, and the sequence of spaces had great relationship adjacencies with a strong balance of quiet and private zones. Aubrey made great use out of alternative seating and clearly thought through how future generations prefer to work.”

Coughlin said she’s thrilled to have been chosen and thanks Jacobs for the opportunity to compete with other design students.

“I believe my experience this past summer as a corporate studio intern at Meyer Design, the support of my professors in CABE and my participation in the competition last year as a junior helped to prepare me to meet this challenge,” she said.

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