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Stephen Allen

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Southern Utah University
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Yi Chen

Henry J. Leir Chair in Healthcare and Associate Professor
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Aston University scientist awarded ERC Advanced Grant to explore early interventions to prevent dementia onset

• Leading scientist wins €2.2 million ERC Advanced Grant • The five-year project will explore early dementia interventions through understanding how an aquaporin water channel regulates glymphatic clearance • ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive of the EU funding schemes. A world leading scientist in the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University has been awarded a €2.2 million ERC Advanced Grant to understand how the movement of a protein known as aquaporin-4 in the brain can help slow cognitive decline. The FORTIFY project, which will run for five years, is led by Professor Roslyn Bill in the School of Biosciences. She will apply her discovery of the movement of aquaporin-4 to understand how the cleaning mechanism in the brain works during sleep. The research will focus on how aquaporin-4 controls the glymphatic system, which is the mechanism that allows us to clear waste products from our brains while we sleep. Her hypothesis is that the movement of aquaporin-4 in the brain changes the effectiveness of this cleansing mechanism - which lessens as people age. A greater understanding of this process could lead to an early intervention treatment that could slow the onset of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. ERC Advanced Grant funding is amongst the most prestigious and competitive of the EU funding schemes, providing researchers with the opportunity to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven projects that could lead to major scientific breakthroughs. Professor Bill said: “Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia and there is no cure. I want to stop that from happening. By understanding the molecular mechanisms of brain waste clearance, we have an opportunity to develop medicines that can slow the onset of dementia, very much in the same way that statins are prescribed to control heart disease”. Roslyn Bill discovered that the water channel protein aquaporin-4 increases the permeability of brain cells to water after a brain or spinal cord injury. Around 60 million people a year suffer such injuries following falls or accidents. For example, after a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013, Michael Schumacher suffered a severe head injury. He was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent several surgeries to treat his injuries. Until now doctors have only been able to manage the symptoms of brain injury (swelling on the brain) through interventions that may require surgery. Professor Bill and her team are due to start clinical trials in summer 2023, to test a method to stop the swelling from happening in its tracks, building on her discoveries. Roslyn’s new ERC-funded project, FORTIFY, will focus on how aquaporin-4 controls fluid flow in the healthy, uninjured brain. In this round of Advanced Grants, the European Research Council (ERC) is awarding €544 million to 218 outstanding research leaders across Europe, as part of the Horizon Europe programme. The grants will support cutting edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to social sciences and humanities. The grant is awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track-record of significant research achievements over the past decade. The funding will enable the researchers to explore their most innovative and ambitious ideas. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “ERC grants are a top recognition and a significant commitment from our best researchers. The €544 million funding puts our 218 research leaders, together with their teams of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and research staff, in pole position to push back the boundaries of our knowledge, break new ground and build foundations for future growth and prosperity in Europe” Maria Leptin, ERC President, added: "These new ERC Advanced Grantees are a testament to the outstanding quality of research carried out across Europe. I am especially pleased to see such a high number of female researchers in this competition and that they are increasingly successful in securing funding. “We look forward to seeing the results of the new projects in the years to come, with many likely to lead to breakthroughs and new advances.”

Roslyn Bill
3 min. read

Expert comment available Powering up Britain new policy paper

Powering up Britain policy paper The government has this morning announced policy plans to improve the UK’s energy security, economic opportunities of the transition, and achieve its net zero commitments. Professor Patricia Thornley director of Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) is available to explain what this is and how it could affect our lives. Professor Thornley is an expert in the use of power bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (power BECCS). For further details contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7825 342091 or email:

Patricia Thornley
1 min. read
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ChristianaCare Will Open Neighborhood Hospital at Its West Grove Campus

Plans for emergency and inpatient care follow extensive planning and community listening sessions ChristianaCare today provided new details about its plans to restore needed health care services to the southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, community at its West Grove campus, formerly Jennersville Hospital. ChristianaCare will open a neighborhood hospital that includes 10 emergency department beds and 10 inpatient beds. The neighborhood hospital will offer emergency care and behavioral health emergency care and provide diagnostic capabilities including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), X-ray and laboratory services. The emergency department will treat common emergency care needs such as falls, injuries, heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, the hospital will benefit from access to ChristianaCare’s large network of specialists and support services — such as neurology and cardiology — through virtual consults. “We are excited to share our plans to restore important local health care resources to the southern Chester County community,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and CEO. “We are committed to our neighbors in southern Chester County for the long-term, serving them as expert, caring partners in their health.” ChristianaCare’s plans for a neighborhood hospital meet the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s requirements for a micro-hospital, which must have a minimum of 10 inpatient beds and 10 emergency department treatment rooms and offer imaging services on-site. “After listening to the needs of the community and an extensive review of historical and projected demographic data, we believe this neighborhood hospital model will provide the right mix of health care services for the West Grove campus in a way that is sustainable and meets the community’s most immediate needs today,” said Heather Farley, M.D., chief wellness officer for ChristianaCare and the clinical leader for the West Grove planning. “It also sets us up to grow in meeting more of the community’s needs in the future.” ChristianaCare anticipates an opening date in late 2024, although the date is subject to change due to the significant work that will be required to renovate the facility to bring it up to current standards, including the build-out of an entirely new information technology infrastructure. Last year, ChristianaCare received funding from Chester County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania totaling $5 million to assist in facility upgrades. ChristianaCare already serves residents of southern Chester County. Since 2020, ChristianaCare has provided primary care in three practices that are located in Jennersville, West Grove and Kennett Square. The West Grove practice has recently brought on additional providers and will soon begin offering virtual visits with ChristianaCare specialists. Combined, these three practices are now the “medical home” for 22,000 residents in these communities. ChristianaCare finalized the purchase of its West Grove campus from Tower Health in June 2022. The hospital has been closed since Dec. 31, 2021.

Heather Farley, M.D., MHCDS, FACEP
2 min. read

ChristianaCare Named one of Mogul’s Top 100 Companies with Inclusive Benefits

Recognition affirms ChristianaCare’s deep commitment to inclusion and diversity ChristianaCare has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Companies with Inclusive Benefits by Mogul, a diversity recruitment platform that partners with the world’s fastest-growing companies to attract and advance top diverse talent. ChristianaCare was recognized for both its “diverse hiring practices” and “progressive workplace resources.” “At ChristianaCare, we embrace diversity and show respect to everyone, and we reinforce these behaviors through purposeful actions that enable all our caregivers to serve our neighbors with love and excellence,” said Neil Jasani, M.D., MBA, FACEP, chief people officer at ChristianaCare. “By offering a wide array of inclusive benefits, we more fully support our caregivers in their commitment to being exceptional today and even better tomorrow.” The honor by Mogul is the latest recognition for ChristianaCare’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest private employer, has committed to being an anti-racism organization and works to ensure that this commitment is reflected through the organization’s policies, programs and practices. (Read more about ChristianaCare’s anti-racism commitment here.) ChristianaCare President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, has signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge. This pledge outlines a specific set of actions the signatory CEOs will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed and employees are empowered to have discussions about diversity and inclusion. More than 3,100 of ChristianaCare’s caregivers also have signed the pledge. ChristianaCare’s inclusion and diversity efforts feature 11 employee resource groups, which connect caregivers who have a common identity or bond with one another. Formed by employees across all demographics – including disability, race, military status, national origin and gender identity – these voluntary, grassroots groups work to improve inclusion and diversity at ChristianaCare. More than 1,350 caregivers participate. ChristianaCare has developed LeadershipDNA, a leadership development program that is specifically targeted to underrepresented caregivers early in their careers. ChristianaCare’s deep commitment to inclusion and diversity also includes: Providing $500,000 in scholarships to 10 high school students in Delaware who plan to pursue degrees in health care. Supporting Project Search, which is a nationally recognized program dedicated to providing education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Participation in Project Hope, a partnership with external agencies that provides support to individuals who were involved with the criminal justice system. This program creates pathways to meaningful and sustainable employment within ChristianaCare. Participation in Project Veteran through career fairs that target veterans. Elimination of bias in hiring through biannual education for all hiring managers, along with leader demographic scorecards to support building a diverse workforce. Parental leave of 12 weeks for the bonding, care and wellbeing of a newborn, adopted children or foster care children. This policy applies to both birthing and non-birthing caregivers. Behavioral health services for employees that include access to professionals who specialize in mental health care and substance use disorder. A work life employee assistance program that provides free and confidential resources designed specifically for caregivers and their families. Coverage in employee health plans for gender affirmation surgery, which consists of medical and surgical treatments that change primary sex characteristics for individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Autism spectrum disorders benefits – such as diagnostic assessment and treatment – to the children of caregivers who are under 21 years of age. “Our commitment to inclusion and diversity touches all areas of our organization – including our benefits packages,” said Natalie Torres, director of Inclusion & Diversity at ChristianaCare. “We know that when we offer an inclusive benefits package that anticipates the needs of our caregivers, they can better support their families and provide better care to our community.”

Neil Jasani, M.D., MBA, FACEP
3 min. read

MEDIA RELEASE: CAA Worst Roads Campaign marks 20 Years of Driving Change in Ontario

The annual CAA Worst Roads advocacy campaign is marking its 20th year of influencing change. For the past two decades, the campaign has given decision-makers a snapshot of the roads that the public perceives as not meeting their expectations. “Our research tells us that 85 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the state of our roads,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president of government and community relations, CAA SCO. “Due to inflation, consumers are being more mindful of their purchases, and people are opting to hold on to their cars for longer instead of buying a new one. Funding for roadway improvements and proper infrastructure needs to be consistent to ensure that quality and safety are maintained.” CAA’s research also indicates that over half of CAA members (59 per cent) say Ontario’s roads have worsened. Drivers often alter their driving behaviour to accommodate road issues. Many of them – two-thirds (66 per cent) of Ontarians – are slowing down for bad spots on the road or swerving to avoid potholes. We also know that many people are frustrated with Ontario's roads (78 per cent) and often express their dissatisfaction to their loved ones or colleagues instead of government officials. The CAA Worst Roads campaign allows all road users in Ontario to vote for roads that they think need urgent repair. Since 2003, 114 roads in Ontario have appeared on the provincial Top 10 list, of which governments have prioritized some of the roads for repair. In 2022, Barton Street East in Hamilton, Ontario, secured the top spot on the provincial Worst Roads list. Shortly after the 2022 Worst Road reveal, the City of Hamilton announced a multi-year, multi-phase reconstruction of the beleaguered Hamilton route scheduled to begin late last year. Other roads, such as Plank Road in Sarnia, Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, Lauzon Parkway in Windsor, and Bell Farm Road in Barrie, have also undergone significant repairs after appearing on the provincial Top 10 Worst Roads list. “The campaign has demonstrated that decision-makers are paying attention to the results, which has prompted municipal officials to move up infrastructure projects in their communities,” says Di Felice. The CAA Worst Roads campaign calls on all Ontarians to vote for their Worst Road today and join the community of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians committed to improving Ontario’s roads. Ontarians can vote for their worst road at Watch Teresa Di Felice, Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations for CAA SCO answers questions regarding the annual CAA Worst Roads Campaign:

Teresa Di Felice
2 min. read

How Teleradiology Improves ER Efficiency & Patient Care

Is your ER efficiency where you need it to be? Learn how radiology collaboration services from RealTime Medical have improved ER efficiency and patient care from Tabitha Kearney, VP Clinical Services, Deep River & District Hospital. Learn how radiology collaboration services have improved ER efficiency and patient experience from Tabitha Kearney, VP Clinical Services, Deep River & District Hospital. Learn more here: #radiology #teleradiology #diagnosticimaging

Nadine Koff
1 min. read

Why I Begin My Day with AICloudQA?

What benefits would make you want to start every day with a certain piece of software? Learn what makes Dr. Karen Finlay and the team at Hamilton Health Sciences and Hamilton St. Joseph’s want to start their day with AICloudQA and how it contributes to the working environment for radiologists. Learn more here: #radiology #teleradiology #diagnosticimaging

Ian Maynard
1 min. read

Optometry researchers recognised at prestigious awards for business partnership in eye health with NuVision

Professor James Wolffsohn and Dr Sònia Travé Huarte in collaboration with NuVision won the Medilink Business Award 2023 for a Partnership between Academia and Business The optometry researchers were recognised with an award for their partnership with a company that develops treatments for ocular diseases The collaboration has directly benefitted patients and enhanced global research knowledge. Researchers in the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences at Aston University have been recognised with an award for their partnership work with NuVision, a company that develops treatments for ocular diseases Professor James Wolffsohn and Dr Sònia Travé Huarte recieved the Medilink Business Award 2023 for a Partnership between Academia and Business at a prestigious ceremony held on 16 March in the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham. Professor Wolffsohn, who is also the head of the School of Optometry at Aston University, said: “We are delighted to have won this Medilink award in partnership with NuVision. This collaboration has directly benefitted our patients with this common chronic, debilitating disease, has enhanced global research knowledge in dry eye management and enhanced the local economy. The team at NuVision are exceptional and it is a pleasure to continue to innovate with them.” NuVision has an expert team of scientific, clinical and industry professionals dedicated to building innovative ocular biotherapies. It was founded in 2015 based on 15 years of translational research at the University of Nottingham. The company develops ocular biotherapies through research and innovation. The Medilink Midlands Business Awards 2023 are sponsored by the University of Birmingham and the Precision Health Technologies Accelerator Ltd. The awards event saw 13 life science companies based in the East and West Midlands receive awards from Start-Up to Outstanding Achievement. A further six companies received Highly Commended certificates. For more information about the School of Optometry and the Vision Sciences Research Group please visit our website.

James Wolffsohn
2 min. read

MEDIA RELEASE: More than potholes: The annual CAA Worst Roads campaign includes poor design, unsafe conditions

Voting is now open to all Manitobans – including pedestrians, transit users and cyclists - to have their say on the province’s “worst road.” As CAA’s annual Worst Roads campaign begins, the safety-oriented organization encourages Manitobans to vote on more than just potholes. “Potholes make a road bad; however, our Worst Roads campaign is about so much more,” says Tim Scott, president CAA Manitoba. Voters who head to the website can vote for a road based on a lack of sidewalks and bike paths, congestion, poor traffic signal timing and more. “Fixing potholes and regular road maintenance is important,” says Scott. “No matter how Manitobans use their roads, they should be able to do it safely, meaning we need to consider all road infrastructure and traffic issues.” With that in mind, CAA Manitoba is launching its largest awareness campaign around the issue of poor infrastructure. Voting for the province’s “Worst Road” opens to all Manitobans today. “Provincial Road 307 in Whiteshell Provincial Park was voted the worst road in 2022. It earned the top spot due to constant winter heaving, poor patching and its tendency to flood nearly every spring. The road was underwater for weeks last year, including when it was announced the ‘winner.’” While potholes are still top of mind for most CAA Manitoba Members, a new survey shows that 82 per cent of Members believe not enough is being done to maintain roads in their area in general, and 64 per cent believe the roads in their area have become worse over time. The survey also showed that 53 per cent of Member respondents believe there is a lack of pedestrian access on roads, and 57 per cent cited that a lack of cycling infrastructure is also a significant concern. However, there have been some notable success stories: Taylor Avenue and Empress Street Both streets were constants on CAA Manitoba’s Worst Roads list but have since fallen off. In the past few years, extensive rehabilitation, as well as repairs and replacements for the roads, have been completed. Empress Street is now home to some of the best-in-city bicycle and active transportation paths that are separated from the road and protect cyclists and drivers alike from harm. Saskatchewan Avenue, Winnipeg Taking the second-place spot in the Worst Roads list in 2022, a large part of Saskatchewan Avenue, from Route 90 to Midland Avenue, was recently replaced. The improvements included new sidewalks and accessibility features. However, the westernmost part of Saskatchewan Avenue is still in considerable disrepair. For more than a decade, CAA’s Worst Roads campaign has given decision-makers a snapshot of the public’s perception of the roads in their communities. Last year’s “winners” included: 1. Provincial Road 307 2. Saskatchewan Avenue, Wpg 3. Waller Avenue, Wpg 4. Provincial Trunk Hwy 34, Pilot Mound 5. 18th Street, Brandon 6. Provincial Trunk Hwy 44, Lockport to Whiteshell 7. Leila Avenue, Wpg 8. Kenaston Boulevard, Wpg 9. Dawson Road North, Wpg 10. Goulet Street, Wpg If you want to see your worst road make the list, visit to cast your vote. Voting is open to all residents of Manitoba, and you can vote daily.

Tim Scott
3 min. read