Seton Hill Alumna at Forefront of Groundbreaking Cancer Research
Greensburg, Pa. – Groundbreaking research into how temperature can influence the growth of tumors in laboratory mice conducted by Seton Hill University alumna Elizabeth A. Repasky, Ph.D., and her colleagues at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute will be published in this week’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Repasky’s research deals with how the standard cool temperature at which laboratory mice are housed in most research facilities might skew the results of cancer immunology studies.
The study indicates that mice naturally seek warm nesting environments to minimize their energy expenditure and healthy mice are known to prefer ambient temperatures of 30 to 31 °C. Yet laboratory mice are typically housed within a temperature range of 20 to 26 °C, partly to reduce the need for cage cleaning and increase technicians’ thermal comfort.
Repasky and her colleagues compared tumor formation, growth rate and metastasis in mice housed at either 22 to 23 °C or at 30 to 31 °C in order to determine whether the temperature discrepancy might influence disease course.
The authors report that four different kinds of transplanted tumors grew slower in mice housed at 30 °C than in mice housed at 22 °C, even though both groups of mice maintained normal body temperature. Anti-tumor immunity was stronger at 30 °C. Because cold stress can divert energy toward heat production and suppress anti-cancer immune responses, ambient temperature might influence the response of laboratory mice to experimental cancer immunotherapy, the study suggests.
Repasky graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Seton Hill and earned a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology at the State University at Buffalo and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Cell/Molecular Biology at the California Institute of Technology. In 1996, Repasky received the Seton Hill Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award.
“Elizabeth was extremely gifted in research and possessed great passion for research,” said Sister Ann Infanger, S.C., Professor Emerita of Biology at Seton Hill, who taught Repasky. “Actually she went on a summer program at Roswell Park as a student and decided to spend her senior year there to complete her education. She is truly talented and unselfishly devoted to research.”
Infanger said Repasky’s study will be important to cancer research across the board.
“She has made a significant discovery that will certainly influence the interpretation of a lot of research,” Infanger said.
Currently, Repasky is the Dr. William Huebsch Professor of Immunology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., and is co-leader of the Institute’s Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies CCSG Program.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is America's first cancer center founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park. His revolutionary model of a “multidisciplinary approach” to cancer — with scientists and clinicians working in concert and in consult — has become the standard by which all modern-day comprehensive cancer centers are measured.
Monday, November 18, 2013 3:16:00 PM
Seton Hill University Announces Death of Former President JoAnne Boyle
Published: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
JoAnne Boyle's tenure at Seton Hill University in Greensburg was all about change.
The university's former president helped to transform the small Catholic college for women on the hill above Greensburg into a coeducational university that hosted international luminaries and altered the landscape of the city.
Boyle, 78, of Laughlintown, who served as university president for more than 25 years before her retirement in June, died late Friday in UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh.
Bibiana Boerio, the university's interim president, announced Boyle's death in an email sent to students shortly after noon on Saturday.
“It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death of our beloved President Emerita JoAnne Boyle,” Boerio wrote.
Michele Ridge, the chairwoman of Seton Hill's board of trustees, praised Boyle's stewardship of the university.
“Because of her leadership, Seton Hill experienced an incredible transformation from a small women's undergraduate college to a coeducational university with an enrollment of more than 2,500 students,” Ridge said in a statement.
“She worked diligently to strengthen the university's academic and financial foundations and led Seton Hill forward by focusing campus resources on programs, faculty, key personnel and facilities that positioned the university as an educational leader in the nation,” she said.
Boyle was a 1957 Seton Hill graduate who held a Master of Arts degree in teaching from Harvard University and a doctorate in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. She returned to her alma mater to teach English and later served as a department chair.
In 1987, Boyle became president of the school, which then had an enrollment of 800 students.
In 2002, Boyle opened the university to men. A year later, the college became a university.
Seton Hill's enrollment now stands at 2,500 students. It offers more than 80 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate programs, which were implemented under Boyle.
“Since taking office, Dr. Boyle has made great advancements in allowing men like me to attend Seton Hill University. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be able to attend the university that I love so much. She will be an inspiration for progress throughout the ages,” said senior Charles Kirkland, 22, a business administration/education major from Derry Township.
Boyle helped to bring the school into downtown Greensburg with the construction of a $21 million Performing Arts Center. In July, the school broke ground for a visual arts center in the city.
Under her leadership, the school established the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine on campus, the physician assistant program and the Center for Orthodontics. It equips all students with iPads.
Last month, university officials named the school's health sciences center to be built on campus the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center. Boyle was in ill health and did not attend the ground breaking ceremony.
In an interview with the Tribune-Review in January, Boyle talked about how much she enjoyed working at her school.
“What I'm going to miss the most is the excitement of every single day when you really don't know what's going to be on the agenda,” Boyle said. “It's what comes in over the transom that's surprising, unexpected, but that keeps the job so interesting.”
Her leadership expanded Seton Hill's footprint, said former mayor Karl Eisaman.
“She was truly a great person,” Eisaman said. “I was very fortunate and the city of Greensburg was very fortunate we shared the same vision of Seton Hill expanding. She was truly a remarkable lady.”
In a statement, Bishop Lawrence E. Brant of the Greensburg Diocese expressed sympathy to Boyle's family.
“We assure the Boyle family of our prayers that the Lord give Dr. Boyle the reward of her goodness. Our sympathy and prayerful remembrance likewise go out to the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and the faculty, administration, alumni and students of the Seton Hill University community,” the statement said.
“Under Dr. Boyle's 25 years of leadership as president, this Catholic, liberal arts university has grown in both its scope and service to the community and the region following in the rich tradition of faith and academic excellence established by its founders, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill,” Brandt said.
Boyle was born in White Plains, N.Y., a daughter of the late George Gordon Woodyard and Josephine Tschinkel Woodyard.
Boyle served as board chairwoman of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania and was a trustee of the University of Pittsburgh.
She is survived by her husband, Arthur J. Boyle Jr. and seven children: Arthur J. Boyle III of Greensburg; Brendan Patrick Boyle of Rices Landing; John W. Boyle and wife Sheri of Greensburg; Elizabeth Boyle McDonald and husband Sean of Pittsburgh; Terence Boyle and wife Shari of Finleyville; Teig Boyle and wife Patricia of Hershey; and Morgan Boyle of California, Pa.
She is survived by 14 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, her daughter-in-law Kim Boyle of Greensburg; sister Nancy Chilcoat of Stone Mountain, Ga.; brother George Gordon Woodyard Jr. of Vallejo, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held in the parlors on the second floor of the administration building at Seton Hill University from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday and from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
A funeral Mass will be held in St. Joseph Chapel at Seton Hill at 11 a.m. on Wednesday with Msgr. David Rubino officiating.
Private interment will follow the service at the Sisters of Charity Cemetery at Seton Hill. Pantalone Funeral Home Inc. is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Seton Hill University Reeves Library or to the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center. Funeral arrangements are being made by Pantalone Funeral Home Inc. in Greensburg.
By Rich Cholodofsky
Monday, November 04, 2013 6:21:00 AM
Delmont woman Drenning accepted to Red Cross National Young Professionals Council
Published: Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 11:48 p.m.
Anna Bevington Drenning of Monroeville started out with a dream to reach one child, but now, she is reaching youths across the nation.
As the first regional youth volunteer specialist for the local American Red Cross, the Delmont native visits students across 25 counties. She received recognition last month with her acceptance to the Red Cross National Young Professionals Council.
Drenning, 24, has devoted nine years to the Red Cross, eight as a volunteer and one as a staff member.
“My heart's in it,” she said.
Drenning works in the Red Cross regional headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh.
Her neat office is decorated with children's hand-drawn posters including messages such as “keep shining” and a chalkboard with the joke: “What do you call a cat that joins the Red Cross? ... A first aid kitty.”
In addition to charting a vision for youth engagement and overseeing interns and work-study students, Drenning is beginning her role with the National Young Professionals Council, for which she will raise money and form policies for youth volunteers, among other duties.
The council consists of 11 members, ages 21 to 35, who work to support and engage peer group volunteers.
Drenning is well-versed in that role.
While attending Franklin Regional schools in Murrysville and Seton Hill University in Greensburg, she founded student Red Cross clubs at each. Club members learned CPR training and conducted fundraisers.
Drenning got involved with a Greensburg Red Cross youth group during high school after reading in the newspaper about the need for volunteers.
In college, Drenning served on the board of directors for the Red Cross Westmoreland-Armstrong chapter while continuing to work with the youth group and serving on the Red Cross National Youth Council, which represents youth volunteers.
“I want to help my community become resilient, and I want youth to realize the opportunity in volunteering and giving back,” she said. “(It's) being able to be part of a large organization that helps so many people.”
She regularly meets with high school and college Red Cross clubs and travels across the region to ensure chapters have needed resources.
“If they're doing something here in Pittsburgh, it can benefit somebody in another city or country,” Drenning said. “(It's) knowing that I'm part of something so much bigger.”
She teaches students about fire safety and how to be “Red Cross Ready,” a three-pronged approach encouraging them to get a kit, make a plan and be informed.
Rex Rossey, the regional volunteer manager for the Red Cross western Pennsylvania division, lauded Drenning's energy, social media know-how and ability to engage volunteers.
“We're very fortunate to have Anna, because she's very passionate about the Red Cross,” he said.
For Drenning, who describes herself as a “150 percent Red Cross lifer,” every day on the job is different.
“I look at the volunteers who get 50-, 60-year volunteer pins, and I want to be that person,” she said.
Monday, November 04, 2013 6:15:00 AM
Seton Hill Names Health Sciences Center for President Emerita JoAnne Boyle
Seton Hill University’s new Health Sciences Center will be named in honor of President Emerita JoAnne Boyle, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees Michele Ridge announced during a groundbreaking ceremony today.
The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will serve students and faculty in Seton Hill’s Division of Natural and Health Sciences.
“JoAnne Boyle was such a courageous leader for Seton Hill. Her tenure was marked by the addition of programs of national prominence, including the LECOM at Seton Hill pre-med opportunity, the University’s highly ranked physician assistant program and most recently, the Center for Orthodontics,” Ridge said. “No other building represents better JoAnne Boyle’s vision for educating healthcare workers and physicians. We know the naming of this facility for JoAnne will honor her enduring legacy in a powerful way.”
“This is an exciting day as we proceed with an important strategic building project for the University that is grounded in our mission and the unmet and growing need for healthcare service in the region,” said Seton Hill Interim President Bibiana Boerio. “From the beginning excellence in science education has been a Seton Hill hallmark. The health sciences today continue to represent some of Seton Hill’s strongest academic programs. The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will help Seton Hill University ascend to a new era of distinction.”
"I can think of no better way to crown a 25 year career as president, decades as an educator and years as a student than to name a building in her honor," President Emerita Boyle's son, John W. Boyle, said during the groundbreaking.
President Emerita Boyle retired in June after 25 years as president of Seton Hill University. She led Seton Hill’s strategic planning process that has been guided by addressing the region’s needs.
The critical need for well-educated health care professionals has been at the forefront of thought for more than a decade as Seton Hill built strong partnerships and enhanced its curriculum to meet those needs. New programs of national prominence, including the Physician Assistant program and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) pre-med opportunity at Seton Hill, have helped increase enrollment in the health sciences by more than 100 percent.
More than 500 students, and more than 35 percent of the freshman class, are enrolled in Seton Hill’s core programs of excellence, particularly in pre-med, physician assistant, biology, chemistry, dietetics and nutrition.
“This growth is tied to Seton Hill’s commitment to teaching real world science,” said Sister Susan Yochum, S.C., Professor and Chair of the Division of Natural and Health Sciences. Seton Hill is continually examining ways to provide programs of study that will increase students’ marketability in scientific careers. We emphasize hands-on interdisciplinary learning and close faculty-student collaboration. Seton Hill is pleased to be in the forefront of regional efforts to train the healthcare professors and scientific innovators of the future.”
The significant increase in enrollment in those programs—and the highly qualified students who graduate from those programs and stay and work in this region—is making an impact on the number of healthcare workers serving our communities.
To accommodate the interest, growth and needs of the health sciences programs, Seton Hill will construct The JoAnne Boyle Health Sciences Center located on the University’s main hilltop campus, adjacent to the current science building, Lynch Hall.
“The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center will help ensure that our students are well prepared for graduate study, research and careers in science and healthcare,” Ridge said.
The Center will include examination rooms, classrooms, laboratories and office space for the University’s Physician Assistant program as well as new full technology laboratories and classrooms for undergraduate teaching, learning and research.
Seton Hill’s pre-med program will benefit from the new facility. The University has 25 reserved pre-med slots each year for Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill. Students in this program can earn their undergraduate degrees from Seton Hill and their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from LECOM at Seton Hill in seven years instead of eight.
Seton Hill students and faculty find enlightenment through the sciences. Their study will be enhanced by the Health Sciences Center as they examine lung cancer cells in laboratories through a grant from the National Science Foundation; research phages—novel viruses that infect bacteria—by digging them from soil and isolating their DNA to help the Howard Hughes Medical Institute understand the relationships between viruses and their hosts; and work on a national study with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and others on results of lifestyle choices in young adults of college age.
The $21.5 million project includes the renovation of Lynch Hall and the new construction of the 51,592 square-foot JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center. The two buildings will have open connections on the second and third levels.
Designed by architects MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, the Center features a curved three-story glass atrium that will provide energy savings for Seton Hill as it uses the sun as a source of heat and natural light. P.J. Dick Corporation will serve as construction manager. The Center will be completed in late 2015.
Community leaders have already found the project to be important for the region. Earlier this year, The Richard King Mellon Foundation awarded a $7 million grant to Seton Hill toward the construction costs of the Health Sciences Center. This commitment, the largest ever received in the University’s history, along with a $1.5 million gift from The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, a $750,000 gift from an anonymous donor, a $500,000 gift from E. Ronald Salvitti, M.D. and more than $3 million from Trustees, alumni and friends, is among the $17.7 million raised to date for the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center.
More than $47.5 million has been committed to Seton Hill University’s $75 million plan for campus expansion and renewal, which features new construction and campus facility improvements. The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center and the Dance and Visual Arts Center, which will be built in downtown Greensburg, are the most recent projects in the expansion plan. Recent completed projects include: the Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg; the historic Welty House; renewed on-campus dining facilities; construction of additional parking lots to accommodate Seton Hill’s growing student population; investment in technology initiatives; new turf fields for athletics; renovations to Lynch Science Hall and historic campus buildings.
The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center also adds to Seton Hill’s growing role in the economy of the City of Greensburg, which has led to economic development in the past decade that has been conservatively estimated at $130 million. This investment includes the construction of Seton Hill’s Performing Arts Center in downtown Greensburg, the addition of LECOM on the Seton Hill campus, improved student housing in Greensburg and the University’s investment in renovating the historic Welty House along with new restaurants, office buildings and other commercial ventures in Greensburg.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 4:54:00 PM
Unity Woman Gets Wings as Angel in Adoption
Jeanne Cerce has been a volunteer court-appointed special advocate since 2008 and has advocated for 16 children from six families.
When the Unity woman received a letter in the mail last month notifying her that she had been selected by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, as one of the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute's Angels In Adoption award winners — after a secret nomination placed by CASA of Westmoreland County executive director Mandy Zalich and staff — Cerce was ready to toss it.
“The truth was that I nearly threw it in the trash because I thought it was a come-on. I didn't,” Cerce said.
Instead, she took the letter to the CASA office, where volunteer coordinator Vicki Shields assured her that the letter was legitimate.
Volunteer advocates for CASA represent children who are in the court system because of abuse or neglect.
“CASA is an amazing program,” Cerce said. “And the longer I'm with it, the more amazed I become with the good things that can happen with these kids.
“The most important part of the outcome, whether it is reunification with the birth parents or adoption, the most important part of it is that the children end up — not for two weeks, but on a permanent basis — in a safe, caring, loving home,” she said.
As an Angel In Adoption, Cerce and her husband, Mike, who have adopted three now-adult children, attended events in Washington last week.
The institute is “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family,” according to its website.
Each year since 1999 the institute has used the Angels In Adoption event to honor individuals selected by members of Congress as well as National Angels, usually celebrities or politicians.
The National Angels for 2013 were Korie and Willie Robertson from the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” and actress, director and producer Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman.
The government shutdown derailed some of the activities planned by the adoption coalition and forced the awards ceremony to be moved at the last minute. But it did not derail the opportunity to meet and talk with other Angels.
“You had a chance to talk with them and find out the kinds of things they were doing, either to raise public awareness of children in need of permanent and loving homes or just exactly how they got there,” Cerce said. “That was very interesting, and everybody was quite willing to share information.”
The trip included a legislative seminar and, of course, the award ceremony.
“I can tell you it's the greatest honor I've ever received in my life, short of finding Mr. Wonderful who I live with ...,” Cerce said. “I won't say I'm pinching myself, but it's sort of like that. I walk past and look at the certificate and think to myself, ‘How did it happen that I got that certificate?' ”
Friday, October 18, 2013 10:29:00 AM