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UNE Faculty Take Over "The Academic Minute" Podcast

Five UNE faculty were featured during "University of New England Week" from Dec. 19 to 23

Five University of New England researchers were recently featured in a week-long takeover of “The Academic Minute,” a daily podcast highlighting researchers from colleges and universities around the world whose academic research contributes to solving the world's toughest problems and to serving the public good. 

UNE professors Ling Cao, M.D., Ph.D., Marilyn Gugliucci, Ph.D., Thomas Klak, Ph.D., Michele Polacsek, M.H.S., Ph.D., and Sydney Springer, Pharm.D., M.S., were each featured in daily segments from Dec. 19 to 23 and discussed their individual research projects and trends in their respective fields.

Produced by WAMC, the show is hosted by Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and airs on 70 stations around the United States and Canada.

Listen to our researchers’ segments below, and read more about their work and contributions to the University of New England community. Transcripts are available for each episode.

Ling Cao: Models for Discovering Methods to Reduce Chronic Pain

Ling Cao, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences

Ling Cao is a professor of immunology within the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine, whose research focuses on chronic pain. Her lab research explores injury-induced neuropathic pain and HIV infection-associated neuropathy with the goal of identifying strategies for improving pain management.

Prior to joining UNE COM in 2007, Cao completed her training in clinical medicine at Beijing Medical University and subsequently completed Ph.D. training at the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany). She later finished her post-doctoral training at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

In her time on “The Academic Minute,” Cao discusses her research findings that a molecule known as CD40, found on microglia cells in animals, can contribute to the maintenance of neuropathic pain.

Listen to the episode

Marilyn Gugliucci: Learning by Living 48-Hour Hospice Home Immersion Project

Marilyn Gugliucci

Marilyn R. Gugliucci’s research examines older adult function, falls, and proprioception. At UNE, she is a professor and the director for Geriatrics Education and Research within the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine. She also heads UNE’s U-ExCEL fitness and wellness program for older adults.

Gugliucci is a fellow of the National Association of Osteopathic Medical Educators, the American Geriatrics Society, the Gerontological Society of America, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Maine Gerontological Society.

On “The Academic Minute,” Gugliucci discusses the goals and successes of her acclaimed 48-hour hospice immersion program, known as “Learning by Living” — a project unique to any medical college — in which medical students spend 48 hours immersed in a hospice care facility, where they are active participants in patient, family, and post-mortem care, and record their experiences.

Listen to the episode

Thomas Klak: Reintroducing Chestnut Trees to Improve Biodiversity

Thomas Klak poses with an American chestnut seedling

Tom Klak, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Marine and Environmental Programs who is on a mission to foster the comeback of the American chestnut tree, which was all but destroyed during the last century by an accidentally imported fungal blight that is still killing the few remaining trees today.

Klak’s research has focused on restoring the keystone species through the creation of fungal blight-tolerant chestnut seedlings cross-bred with a gene from wheat, which protects the plants from the blight.

A special permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows UNE to grow the seedlings to produce the blight-tolerant pollen, and UNE is the only institution in New England where students are working with them.

On the podcast, Klak discusses the massive effort — including the many research partnerships that have gotten him to this point — as well as other efforts to promote biodiversity.

Listen to the episode

Michele Polacsek: The Impact of Digital Marketing on Children's Unhealthy Eating Habits

Michele Polacsek

Michele Polacsek earned both her M.H.S. in international public health and Ph.D. in public health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

At UNE, she serves as director of the Center for Excellence in Public Health, an interprofessional research collaborative that works to advance health equity in Maine and beyond.

Polacsek’s research currently focuses on digital food and beverage marketing to children at school as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy advances through the promotion of fruit and vegetable purchases using behavioral economics in the supermarket setting.

On the podcast, she discusses findings from her latest study, which, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sought to limit harmful digital food and beverage marketing to students.

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Sydney Springer: Working with Doctors on Deprescribing

Portrait of Sydney Springer

Sydney Springer, Pharm.D., M.S., is a preceptor for Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) students in ambulatory care within the UNE School of Pharmacy. She works in family practice at Mid Coast Medical Group – Family Practice Parkview in Brunswick, Maine.

Springer works closely with providers, nurses, medical assistants, and social workers to coordinate care for community dwelling patients, with a focus on geriatrics, polypharmacy, and deprescribing.

On the “The Academic Minute,” Springer discusses the growing practice of “deprescribing,” the supervised process of stopped or reducing medications in situations where the risk of a medication outweighs the benefit of continuing it. The practice is aimed at reducing medications that place patients at risk.

Springer finishes her talk advocating for patients and their providers to discuss deprescription as part of the health care experience as necessary.

Listen to the episode

Credit for audio goes to WAMC/NPR. Production support for The Academic Minute comes from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. UNE's Office of Communications provided additional audio and technology support for this project.