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‘Unlocking Secrets of the Microbiome’ Theme of UArizona Living Healthy With Arthritis Conference, Feb. 8

Jan 27, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. – Internationally recognized expert on the health impact of the microbiome, Donata Vercelli, MD, will deliver the keynote address, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Microbiome” at the 2020 Living Healthy With Arthritis Conference, Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hosted by the University of Arizona Arthritis Center and Division of Rheumatology at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, the conference will be held at the Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St. To view a printable version of the conference brochure, see this link. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. Register here.

A Complex Look at Germs and Health

Dr. Vercelli, a speaker at last year’s UArizona Science Lectures on “The Microbes Shaping Our Lives,” will describe the impact of the microbiome, which includes the genetic material of all microbiota — bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses — that live on and inside the human body, on factors critical to health and disease prevention. She will detail the emerging medical discipline that involves the relationship of the microbiome to physical and mental health, while explaining how knowledge gained from microbiome research has advanced our understanding of biology and is being used to improve overall health and prevent disease. She also will highlight the associations among the microbiome and the immune system, digestion and metabolism, and neurological and psychological functioning. Shaped by our genes, environment, diet, medication use and the aging process, microbiome research has significance to virtually every branch of the health sciences. An imbalance in the gut microbiome, for instance, is associated with chronic inflammatory disease, such as arthritis, as well as other conditions.

Dr. Vercelli earned her medical degree from the University of Florence, Italy, in 1978, and trained in immunology at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she was an assistant professor of pediatrics. After serving as director of the Molecular Immunoregulation Unit at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, Dr. Vercelli moved to the UArizona, where she is a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at the College of Medicine – Tucson, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and director of the Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases. She also is a member of the UArizona BIO5 Institute.

She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and served as the associate editor for genetics in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Her research relies on both human and animal models and is supported by the NIH and industry. She is the first female secretary general of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, a group of scientists that study allergies and immunobiology, and, in 2019, became the first College of Medicine – Tucson faculty member to be awarded the Henry and Phyliss Koffler Award for excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity.

Registration, Parking and Speakers List

Conference registration is $20 per person and includes morning refreshments and lunch. Free parking is available adjacent to the UArizona Health Sciences Innovation Building on Cherry Avenue, between Mabel Street and Drachman Avenue. Additional parking is available in UArizona Lot Specific 2147, across from HSIB on Cherry Avenue, between Helen and Mabel Streets.

Registration closes Monday, Feb. 3, or prior if capacity is reached. To register or for more information, please visit the Arthritis Center website at arthritis.arizona.edu/annual-conference, email livinghealthy@arthritis.arizona.edu, or call the Arthritis Center at 520-626-5040.

The Living Healthy With Arthritis Conference will cover additional information about health and services that help improve daily life and promote strengthening the mind and body to manage arthritis. Breakout sessions promoting patient empowerment through management of arthritis will feature the following topics and presenters:

“Optimal Aging”
The importance of mental health and well-being as we age
Amanda Sokan, PhD
Professor, Community, Environment and Policy, UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

“Current Pharmacologic and Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Lupus”
Learn about the latest treatments for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Ernest R. Vina, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology, College of Medicine – Tucson; Member, Arthritis Center

“Fortify Your Wellness Fortress”
How to prepare for the health challenges of life — illness, injury, surgery, trauma — so you can rebound to the fullest enjoyment of life
Mike Siemens, MS
Corporate Director of Exercise Physiology, Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort

“Know Your Medications – Understanding Benefits and Risks”
The short and long-term impact of over-the-counter and prescription medications for arthritis, pain and related conditions
Todd Vanderah, PhD
Head, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine – Tucson; Professor: Anesthesiology, Neurology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Physiological Sciences; Member: BIO5 Institute, Center for Drug Discovery, UArizona Cancer Center

“Feed Your Gut – An Expert's Look at Nutrition and Inflammation”
Explore how nutrition can impact inflammation: dietary strategies, lifestyle choices and our microbiome
Ann Skulas-Ray, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, UArizona College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

“All About Osteoporosis and Osteopenia”
An inside look at prevention, diagnosis, treatment and the latest research
Marcia Woodburn, RN, MSN, CCRN, AGANP
Fracture Liaison Service Program Coordinator/Clinician, Banner – University Medicine Tucson

“The Bacteria Battle: The Good, the Bad, and the Copper”
The science of novel, potentially lifesaving research: Using copper in the fight against dangerous infections
Michael Johnson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Immunobiology, College of Medicine – Tucson; Member, BIO5 Institute

“Joint Health Jeopardy!”
Learn how to maintain joint health and treat joint pain in a fun and interactive format
Venkat Ganapathy, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine – Tucson; Chief of Orthopedic Spine Service, Banner – University Medicine Tucson

“The Healing Power of Breath”
Breathing and meditation to conclude your day of empowerment
Karma Kientzler
Founding Spa and Fitness Director, Canyon Ranch Health Resort; Member, Arthritis Center Advisory Board


WRITERS/ASSIGNMENT EDITORS NOTE: Media are welcome to cover this event and presenters will be available for interviews. To arrange pre-conference interviews with Dr. Vercelli or other presenters, please contact Tracy Shake, UA Arthritis Center, email shake@arthritis.arizona.edu. The conference schedule is available at arthritis.arizona.edu/annual-conference.

NOTE: Photos/images/logos available upon request.


About the University of Arizona Arthritis Center
The University of Arizona Arthritis Center, a Center of Excellence at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is a research leader focused on identifying the causes of arthritis and developing improved technologies for diagnosing, measuring and treating the disease. It is directly affiliated with the college’s Division of Rheumatology, one of 14 divisions in the Department of Medicine — one of six original departments and the largest at the college. For more information: arthritis.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook)

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 900 faculty members and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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