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Breast cancer prevention pill in development at ULM

Though October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month has concluded, a University of Louisiana at Monroe pharmacologist continues work to develop a daily pill to prevent breast cancer in at-risk women.

Lab experiments using mice genetically engineered to develop breast cancer will conclude by year's end, and the compound should progress to human clinical trials soon afterward, according to ULM Professor Dr. Paul Sylvester. The experiments have demonstrated that medium-strength doses of certain tocotrienols - a substance naturally found in vitamin E - appear to protect healthy cells against the effects of carcinogens and suppress tumor growth.

Paul Sylvester in the Lab
Dr. Paul Sylvester

Dr. Sylvester has spent decades studying how the tocotrienols can attack cancer cells in early stages without harming healthy cells. Tocotrienols derived from palm oil could be available as a supplement within three years, he said.

Dr. Sylvester’s research into the link between breast cancer and vitamin E attracted the attention of Beta Pharmaceuticals of Australia, which provided funding for the Breast Cancer and Health Project last year. The project is a collaborative effort between four laboratories, whose work is considered essential before moving toward clinical trials in humans.

“Initially what we want to do is develop an oral, low-dose breast cancer prevention pill, targeting women in high-risk groups,” said Sylvester. “It looks very promising.”

Another goal, he said, would be to develop an intravenous, high-dose version to aggressively treat breast cancer in women who already have it.

Scientists on the project team are also working on a synthetic product to treat early-stage breast cancer, which in combination with chemotherapy, could reverse progression of the disease. Clinical trials and regulatory approval have to occur before such a treatment-strength dose is available, said Sylvester.

The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 180,000 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2007, the most common cancer in women in the U.S. There are slightly over 2 million women living in the U.S. who have been treated for breast cancer.

ULM Dance Department proud to feature new faculty member Tina Mullone in Fall Fusion Nov. 20

Tina MulloneThe ULM Dance Department will proudly feature its new assistant professor Tina Nicole Mullone in the upcoming Repertory Dance Ensemble’s Fall Fusion on Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium.

Two of her works will be seen:

  • “BiPolar” (premiere work). Set to the music of Vikter Duplaix, this ensemble work explores the metaphysical emotions of light, wind, sun, and water through Caribbean movement.

  • “That Special Day.” Performing to the vocals of Etta James, this dance-theatre work shows a woman in love. However, she realizes her true love is not what he seems...

ULM Director of Dance Robin Stephens declared, “Ms. Mullone is not only an accomplished Modern Dancer, but she also brings significant training in ballet, jazz, folk, and ballroom dance to our faculty. She is versatile, professional and extremely likeable. We are fortunate to have her here.”

Mullone has choreographed and performed with Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, Beckles Dancing Company and JoAnna Norris Dance Company (Detroit/Brooklyn). She has also choreographed for Lisbon Elementary School in Dallas, Texas. Her performing has taken her to Germany, Mexico, Philadelphia, New York City, and the Texas region. She strives to keep the arts alive through performing, choreographing and teaching.

Mullone professed herself “very excited in embarking on this new adventure at the University of Louisiana Monroe.”

More about the ULM Dance Department’s new faculty member, Tina Mullone:

Mullone, originally of Fort Worth, Texas, began her training in ballet under Fernando Schaffenburg. She continued to study character, jazz and modern dance at Texas Christian University’s Summer Workshops.

Before attending the University of Oklahoma, she began her summer study at the Dallas Black Dance Academy under the direction of Darryl Sneed. There she furthered her training in Lester Horton, Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham techniques. At the University of Oklahoma, Mullone continued her ballet training and studied the techniques of Jose Limon, Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman, as well as jazz.

She had the privilege and honor to perform with Sneed, Theresa Sneed-Hardy and Ramona Jackson in an independent project, “Comin’ from the Hip,” presented at the Dallas Museum of Art in the summer of 1993. Mullone choreographed for the Miss Black Oklahoma pageant of 1993 and the first black play in the School of Drama, Lorraine Hansberry’s “To be Young, Gifted and Black,” in 1994. Not only was she a member of the Oklahoma Ballet Company and the Modern Dance Repertory Company, she also performed in Bob Fosse’s “Chicago” in the University’s School of Theater. Along with her dance studies, she developed a love for visual art as well.

After graduating in 1995, Mullone joined the JAADE Dance Theatre under Jubilee Theatre. She not only performed for the company, but also taught dance classes for the studio and the outreach program. In 1997, she became assistant artistic director and choreographed for the dance company and the junior dance company, Focus. She also taught dance and art for the Fort Worth Independent School District’s Fine Arts Program. In 1998, she became a member of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth and a teacher for the company as well.

The following year, she joined the Nova Dancing Company, now renamed Beckles Dancing Company. She also taught dance classes for the School of the Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet, now Texas Ballet Theater, as well as outreach ballet classes for the school.

In 2001-2002, Mullone joined two companies in Philadelphia, Bianca G. Harris and Friends and Kariamu & Company, during her attendance at Temple University. While in Philadelphia, Mullone taught for Freedom Theater, Max Myers Recreation Center and several classes at Temple University as a graduate assistant.

During her professional career, she has attended the summer workshops at Dallas Black Dance Academy, as well as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, Texas Women’s University with Bebe Miller, Philadanco Dance School, International Association of Blacks in Dance (1997, 1999 and 2001), and most recently Urban Bush Women.

Adding on to her experiences, Mullone has studied under numerous dance instructors and completed her master’s degree in dance from Texas Christian University by way of Temple University. During her time at Texas Christian University, she taught dance, dance history, and completed other assignments as needed. Her postgraduate teaching includes Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, Beckles Dancing Company, Mountain View College, North Central Texas College, and Tarrant County Colleges South, Southeast and Northeast.

This past spring, she was an instructor for Dancing Classrooms North Texas. This program taught fifth graders ballroom dancing. The movie “Mad Hot Ballroom” documented this very same program in New York City.

Kevin BaerULM professor to monitor potential pollutants in Louisiana’s waterways

State and federal agencies recently awarded the University of Louisiana Monroe more than $400,000 in grant funding to monitor water quality and educate the public about ways to reduce non-point source pollution, according to Dr. Kevin N. Baer, head of ULM’s Department of Toxicology.

Non-point source pollution (NPS), unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many widespread sources, and is caused by rainfall moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them in bayous, rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal waters, and even underground sources of drinking water.

“They are a major problem in the environment and hard to control,” said Dr. Baer.

Toxicology undergraduate and graduate students will participate in the grant-funded programs provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

LDEQ officials approved close to $84,000 for Baer and his students to determine what is contributing to the unacceptable water quality in the Big Creek area of Grant Parish, near Alexandria. They will monitor along the Big Creek watershed to identify potential sources of contamination.

“Unacceptable water quality has already been observed by officials, and because Big Creek is a drinking water source and an outstanding natural resource, we’ll want to determine what is contributing to the problem as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Baer.

A second grant, approved by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, provided combined funding of $328,029 over a 42-month period to identify and reduce non-point source pollutants to Bayou Desiard in the Ouachita River Basin.

Baer said residential areas along Bayou Desiard provide nonpoint source pollutant loading, primarily due to storm water runoff and the use of agricultural chemicals. Grease and oil runoff from Monroe’s city streets and other paved areas are another source, he said.

Activities for the project will involve targeted water quality monitoring during rain events, known as a “first flush,” which generally contains the highest level of pollutants, to identify the major categories of NPS pollution and locations.

Once those categories are identified, best management practices may be implemented, including infrastructure improvements, according to Dr. Baer. The project will track water quality improvement to determine if the programs have been successful.

Structural improvements could include vegetated practices, such as basin landscaping and parking lot planting areas, or asphalt paving that literally soaks up the rainfall and helps the city to avoid areas of runoff. Building pervious parking lots around businesses and waterfront yards in residential areas will increase awareness of successful best management practices implementation, according to Baer.

Other educational programs will address nutrient and pesticide management for home and golf courses, sediment and erosion control practices for construction sites, and public awareness on the impact of fecal coliform bacteria to area water bodies.

In addition, storm drain marking programs will educate the public about how storm water runoff enters drains. Surveys will also be developed to measure the performance of education programs impacting Bayou Desiard, said Baer.

However, a Quality Assurance Project Plan must be submitted to officials for review before any monitoring can begin.

“This is a detailed and lengthy process,” acknowledged Baer.

Larry AndersonAnderson to direct student ensemble concerts at ULM; scheduled for Nov. 18 and Nov. 24

Larry Anderson, University of Louisiana Monroe associate professor of percussion and jazz studies, will direct two free performances in November with student ensembles from the ULM Division of Music. The ULM Jazz Ensemble will present a concert Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium. The Percussion Ensemble will perform Monday, Nov. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium.

The Jazz Ensemble offers one of the most reportedly popular and exciting concerts given each semester at ULM. The 21-piece big band performs high energy jazz, Latin-jazz, Funk, and swing music. Anderson directs the ensemble.

The concert will open with “Spanish Fire,” an exciting Latin-jazz piece. Other pieces on the program include an arrangement of “In The Mood” by Joe Garland as played by the Tonight Show Band, “C-Jam Blues (ala Mambo!)” by Duke Ellington, “Jelly Roll” by Charles Mingus, “I Mean You” by Thelonius Monk and Coleman Hawkins, and “Attitude Dance,” made popular by Tower of Power.

The ULM Percussion Ensemble includes a steel band as well as a taiko performance. ULM Director of Bands Dr. Derle Long said, “This an audience-favorite concert at ULM. This exciting ensemble will capture your imagination through a wide variety of percussion instruments and styles.”

The Taiko Ensemble will open the performance with “Miyake.” The Steel Band will perform “Yellowbird,” “Sloop John B” and “Oye Como Va.” The concert also includes ragtime and Latin numbers as well as traditional percussion ensemble pieces.

There is no admission charge for these concerts. For more information, contact Larry Anderson at 318-342-1598 or anderson@ulm.edu or the ULM Band Office at 318-342-1594.

Emily WilliamsonWilliamson presents workshop at LA Early Childhood Association 42nd Annual State Conference

Emily Williamson, director of the ULM Child Development Center, presented a workshop titled “Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum” Oct. 25, at the Louisiana Early Childhood Association 42nd Annual State Conference in Lake Charles.

Participants who attended Williamson's session were teachers and administrators from public schools, Head Starts and child care centers. Williamson coordinated the Louisiana Preschool Comprehensive Curriculum team for the Louisiana State Department of Education last year.

ULM Child Development Center staff members Ursla Smith, Melissa Matthews, Cassandra Wyatt, Connie Stammerjohan, Jessica McKee, and Leslie Praetorius attended the conference. Also present were ULM family and consumer science majors Tafta Miller, a senior from Monroe, and Melinda Dickens, a sophomore from West Monroe.

Echols earns place on Louisiana State Arts Council Board of Directors

Michael EcholsUniversity of Louisiana Monroe Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Michael Echols recently received a seat on the Louisiana State Arts Council Board of Directors.

The LSAC is a volunteer body appointed by the governor that meets quarterly to address arts related issues of importance to the state as well as approving all grant awards made by the Louisiana Division of the Arts.

Echols expressed his deep appreciation. "I am honored to serve on such a reputable board that supports Louisiana's effort in developing the cultural economy."

He was nominated by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, of which he is a member, for his outstanding leadership and efforts in promoting the arts. Echols also serves on the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation Board of Directors and participates in several other civic organizations, including the Monroe Symphony Orchestra Endowment, Leadership Louisiana Graduate, the Monroe Kiwanis Club, and more.

A Monroe native, Echols earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees of business administration at ULM. Past experience includes a position as the chief operating officer for a regional financial services firm while serving ULM as an adjunct professor of marketing.

For more information on the LSAC, contact the Office of the Governor, Department of Boards and Commissions at: 225-342-7694, or contact the Louisiana Division of the Arts at 225- 342-8180 or visit the Louisiana Division of the Arts Web site.

SSRL co-directors present at National Social Science Association Conference in Albuquerque

Joe McGahan

John Sutherlin

Drs. Joe McGahan and John W. Sutherlin, co-directors of the University of Louisiana Monroe Social Science Research Laboratory, presented papers about ongoing and completed SSRL projects at the National Social Science Association Professional Development Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. from Oct. 19-21.

McGahan presented research based on a $30,000 grant from the University of Louisiana System that the SSRL received last January. That ongoing project has involved the work of several faculty members and so far more than 50 students. Sutherlin discussed how it took an interdisciplinary approach to conduct a litter audit and develop an environmental court for the City of West Monroe.

One of the objectives in attending the NSSA Conference was to reach out to other social scientists around the U.S. to become research fellows with the SSRL. According to McGahan, “While attending the conference, we had opportunities to share thoughts with potential colleagues representing various disciplines at universities from around the country. Our hope is that some of these professors will see fit to join us in our efforts to promote social science research as a compliment to other types of research in order to promote economic growth and cultural development. Also, the SSRL has been a great method for advancing student projects alongside faculty research.”

Because the conference was national in scope, attendees came from colleges and universities across the U.S. and across many disciplines. Both McGahan and Sutherlin were glad to meet others doing similar work as themselves.

“The diversity of social science-based research initiatives was tremendous,” remarked Sutherlin, “Everything from economics to political science to social work and public health policy. This gave ULM a chance to showcase some of the exciting work being done here by students and faculty working across disciplines.”

McGahan and Sutherlin each received 14 hours of professional development credit through this conference.

For more information about the SSRL, contact McGahan or Sutherlin at (318) 342-3135, or visit the Web site at www.ulm.edu/ssrl.

Carpenter presents paper at American Society for Ethnohistory national meeting

Dr. Roger Carpenter, assistant professor of history at the University of Louisiana Monroe, presented a paper titled “The Native American Berdache as Warrior” at the annual meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory in Eugene, Ore., on Nov. 12-16.

Carpenter has had a prolific semester, recently publishing 19 entries in “The Encyclopedia of North American Colonial Conflicts to 1775,” ABC-CLIO, 2008.

His entries are:

  • “Delaware (Lenni Lenape),”
  • “Huron,”
  • “Iroquois,”
  • “Ojibwa,”
  • “Iroquois Wars (also known as Beaver Wars, 1641-1701),”
  • “Mohawk-Mahican War (1624-1628),”
  • “Ojibwa-Dakota Conflict,”
  • “Iroquois Treaties of 1700 and 1701 (with New York and New France),”
  • “Trois Rivières, Treaty of (1645),”
  • “Walking Purchase (1737),”
  • “Brant, Joseph (Thayendanega),”
  • “Half-King (also known as Tanaghrisson, ?-1754),”
  • “Johnson, Sir William (1715-1774),”
  • “Miantonomo (Miantonomi) (?-1643),”
  • “Squanto (?-1622),”
  • “Teedyuscung (c. 1700-1763),”
  • “Uncas (1588-1683),”
  • “Wamsutta (Alexander) (?-ca. 1662),”
  • “Bow and Arrow"

Carpenter, also the ULM faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta, lists Colonial U.S., Native American topics as his specialty.

Stories courtesy of ULM's Office of University Relations

Photos courtesy of Richard Lupo, University Photo Services

Photo of Paul Sylvester by Joellen Lee, Director of Alumni Relations, ULM College of Pharmacy

Photo of Tina Mullone courtesy

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