CWRU Researchers Identify New Biomarker for Human Form of Mad Cow Disease

Neena Singh
Neena Singh

Neena Singh and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), a universally fatal, degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. sCJD is one of the causes of dementia and typically leads to death within a year of disease onset. It is sometimes called a human form of Mad Cow disease.

The finding, published in the March 9 issue of PLoS ONE, a scientific journal produced by the Public Library of Science, provides a basis for developing a test to diagnosis sCJD while patients are still alive. Presently, the only definitive diagnostic test for the disease requires brain tissue be obtained by biopsy or after death.

In the study, Dr. Singh, associate professor of pathology at the School of Medicine, and her team found that levels of the iron-transport protein transferrin (Tf) are significantly decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with sCJD well before the end stage of the disease, potentially allowing for earlier diagnosis. Read more.

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Recent Phishing Scams Hit CWRU Email—How to Protect Yourself

ComputerPhishing is the fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. There has been a recent series of Phishing emails to Case Western Reserve University users urging recipients to click on a weblink in order to keep their accounts open. These links take users to official-looking but fraudulent imitations of the CWRU Single Sign-On page, hosted on non-CWRU-owned web servers.

Before clicking any weblink, hover (but don't click) the mouse pointer over the link to reveal the real Web address. Depending on your browser, it may appear as a pop-up near your mouse pointer or at the lower-left corner of your browser window. If you have already clicked the link, check the address bar to verify that the page you are on matches the text of the link you clicked. Read more.

Campus News

President Barbara R. Snyder invites the campus community to nominate a non-faculty staff member for the President's Award for Distinguished Service by today. This annual award honors staff members whose outstanding contributions to campus culture have a transformational effect on university colleagues, students, or visitors. Nominations may come from any university staff, student or faculty member. The Staff Recognition Committee of the Staff Advisory Council will review nomination materials, select outstanding candidates, and forward the names and information about those individuals to the Office of the President. The honorees will each receive a $1,000 cash award, their names will be engraved on a plaque that is currently on display in the Adelbert Hall Foyer quad side, and they will be honored at a brunch in June. Nominations are due by today. Contact with questions or for complete details.

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The Undergraduate Student Government and Student Leadership Journey Council are hosting the Third Annual Celebrity Bake Sale April 1 on the Case Quad and are in need of special celebrity bakers. Donate a dozen cookies, specialty cake, bread or any baked goods to be raffled off, with all proceeds going to Relay for Life. Staff, faculty and students can buy raffle tickets during the day, and baked goods will be awarded at the end of the day. Contact Alayna Dorobek for more information or to participate.

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jewelryJapanese-American student Mai Segawa is running a Jewelry Sale for Japan today in Nord Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. She will be selling sterling silver earrings with Swarovski crystals for $10 and necklaces for $15; all have been designed and donated by Segawa’s mother to raise funds for earthquake and tsunami victims through Japanese Red Cross Society. Donations also will be accepted. So far, she has raised $655 in funds.

For Faculty and Staff

The March Wellness Event will be free mat pilates classes, offered Monday, March 21 from 7 to 8 a.m. and Thursday, March 24 from noon to 1 p.m. at 121 Fitness Center. Register for the March 21 or March 24 classes.


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Judy Maloni
Judy Maloni

On Monday, March 21, School of Nursing Professor Judy Maloni will lead “Women’s Health: Evidence for Treatment of Pregnancy Complications.” The event, part of the Brown Bag Seminar Series sponsored by the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Zverina Room in the Dittrick Museum and Medical History Center. Attendees should bring their lunch; light refreshments and cookies will be provided.

For Students

Mortar Board National Honor Society will host “Roc for Doc,” a benefit dinner in honor of the late Dr. Ignacio Ocasio, on March 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Thwing Ballroom. The event will include a free catered dinner, performances (by Dhamakapella, Case In Point, Solstice & IMPROVment), and a chance to purchase raffle tickets to win prizes. All proceeds go to The Doc Oc Memorial Fund, which raises scholarship money for undergraduates who demonstrate a commitment to chemistry, music and/or campus life. Extra credit will be offered for CHEM 111, MATH 122, PSCL 315, PSCL 388, COSI 280 and COSI 340.

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Case Western Reserve University cross country/track & field teams and AXE will host a Dance for the Cure Relay for Life fundraiser Saturday, March 19. It will be held in Carlton Commons from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The entire community is welcome; admission is $5 at the door.

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Jimmy V JoustOn Sunday, March 20 from noon to 4 p.m., Delta Chi will host the Jimmy V Joust, to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Student organizations are encouraged to send one or two representatives to Adelbert Gym to take part in an inflatable jousting tournament to raise money to “Beat Out Cancer.” Admission for the competitive bracket is $30 per contestant or $50 for two contestants. Register online by tonight at midnight.

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Case Western Reserve University’s first-ever Triathlon For Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society, will take place in Veale Center March 19. The host, Case Cycling Club, has opened this event to all alumni, faculty and staff, as well as to all students. Participate either individually or on a team of three in this fun event, and receive a free event T-shirt.  To register or find out more, click here. Donations are welcome.

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The deadline for SURES (Summer Undergraduate Research in Energy and Sustainability) has been extended to March 23. Find the application and other research opportunities online.


Hill Harper
Hill Harper

The Office of Multicultural Affairs invites members of the university community to attend the 21st Annual Unity Banquet & Scholarship Benefit, featuring guest speaker Hill Harper, a mentor, author, actor and activist. The event will take place Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at Windows on the River. For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 216.368.2904 or go online.

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Case Western Reserve University faculty, researchers and students are invited to meet with Ohio Supercomputer Center's executive team March 22 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Toepfer Room in Adelbert Hall. Steve Gordon, Ohio Supercomputer Center’s interim co-executive director, will discuss OSC’s hardware/software resources and programs available on campus, opportunities for research grant collaborations and more.

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Net Impact Undergrad, an organization dedicated to helping students use the power of business to create a more socially sustainable world, will hold its first Kiva Lending Day March 23. is an organization that allows anyone with a computer to make small loans starting at $25 to entrepreneurs in developing nations. Join the CWRU lending team online. Email with questions or comments. Look out for informational materials and lending stations across campus on March 23. To find out more, visit

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The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center has partnered with Share the Vision and the Residence Hall Association to bring you the third event in a semester-long lunch series LGBTQ Allies in Faith. The LGBT Center, located in Thwing Center, will welcome Rich Mueller, deacon at St. Mary of the Falls Catholic Church in Olmsted Falls, today to discuss his congregation of the Catholic faith and the LGBT community. Join this discussion from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the LGBT Center. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. For further information, contact Elisabeth Roccoforte.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al.

Officer CozadWonder what CWRU police officers do in their spare time? A lot. Recently, police officer Kyle Cozad and his wife Roberta part in the 15th Annual Law Enforcement Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser in Geneva. All proceeds from the event were donated to the Special Olympics. This is just one of 11 Polar Bear Plunge fundraising events held in Ohio during the months of January and March.

Officer LoganAdditionally, last month, police officer Melvin Logan, who lifts competitively with Team Logan, set a new Case Western Reserve University intramural bench press record by successfully benching 430 pounds at the Veale Center Weight Room. He broke his own record, previously set at 425 pounds. The bench press competition was a one-day event where 14 competitors get three chances to bench the most weight, said Matt Lake, assistant director of intramural and club sports. “Criminals better hope that they can out run him because it would be scary to be on the wrong side of an encounter with him,” Lake said. “As long as you’re not breaking the law, though, he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.”

March 18, 2011

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In the News

Case Law Students Win Landmark $1.1 Million Verdict in Home-Repair Fraud Case

The Plain Dealer, March 17, 2011
School of Law third-year students Brant DiChiera and Jennifer Hadley obtained the largest jury verdict in the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic's history. Their client had been ripped off in a home-repair and financing scheme.

Salt Grain-Sized Cameras can Travel Inside Body

Discovery News, March 17, 2011
A new camera that could be used to travel deep into the human body is as small as a coarse grain of salt. A colonoscopy can involve a fairly invasive process, but a smaller camera could change that, said Gregory Cooper, professor of medicine and oncology. "If it can get around some of the current limitations of endoscopy, i.e. the sedation and the need to sterilize things, the limited visualization of the small bowel -- I think it has promise," he said.

Victor Blanco, Stargazer, Dies at 92

The New York Times, March 16, 2011
Victor Blanco, a Puerto Rican astronomer and a former professor, died March 8 at the age of 92. He served as a professor at what is now Case Western Reserve University for six years.

Higher Ed News

In 'Match Day' Event, More Medical Students Pick Family Medicine for Residencies

The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 17, 2011
Yesterday, more than 16,000 American students in their final year of medical school, including those at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, took part in Match Day ceremonies around the country to learn where they would conduct their residencies. For the second year in a row, the number of students entering family medicine increased.