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Published by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 2016-12-13 14:31:46

2014 Fall Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner

the fall 2014

hot news from inside OMRF

From Mountain Time
to a Prairie State of Mind

With a long track record of success “When Steve Prescott first talked Transplanting a lab is a daunting
at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in to me about moving to Oklahoma, it task on its own. But moving also
Salt Lake City, Dave Jones had built took a while to make the decision,” means uprooting families, saying
a team of researchers with expertise says Dave. “But when I saw all that goodbye to friends and creating new
in studying colon, breast and other OMRF and Oklahoma City had to lives here in the Sooner State.
cancers. And he planned to make a offer, it felt like the right fit.”
career of it in Utah until he got a call For David Lum, who directs the
from his mentor and former boss. When Dave was named head of new Human Xenograft Core the
OMRF’s Immunobiology and Cancer Welms have established at OMRF,
DAVE JONES Research Program in 2013, he blazed the personal transition has proved
a trail. And, soon enough, others most challenging. “There’s more to
OKC followed. worry about with your family, like
where you’ll live, making new friends,
Since last summer, a dozen staff finding the right schools. It can be
scientists, postdocs and technicians quite an adjustment.”
have made the move from Utah
to Oklahoma City. Most recently, Still, this group has a distinct
Alana and Bryan Welm left advantage. They’ve already worked
Huntsman to join OMRF’s faculty, together, and that’s provided real
bringing seven staff members and continuity in their move. The change,
students with them. they say, is the environment.

“You have to surround yourself Ask what they miss most about
with great collaborators, and we’re Utah, and they say, almost in unison,
able to do that here, both on the “Mountains!”But they consistently
research side and the clinical side,” named three big positives about
says Bryan.


November 27 & 28 November 12
Friday, October 24
Pancake breakfast Closed for Thanksgiving Featuring Holly Van Remmen

Wednesday, October 29 December 25 & 26
Food truck festival Closed for Christmas

Thursday, October 30
Halloween party

bunsen burner

fall 2014

In a prairie ND BRYAN WELM
state of mind ALANA A
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 frame, but our new city has to be back in a routine. STATES
good places to practice.” With school in session and
Oklahoma City: great food, the lab almost in place, UTAH
the atmosphere at OMRF While most of the crew they’re all ready for the real
and parking. “It feels really from the Beehive State is work to start. Population 2,900,872
vibrant and cohesive here at still unpacking boxes, the
OMRF,” says staff scientist return to full-on research “I saw someone put Highest point King’s Peak
Angela Andersen. “And is just around the corner. on lab gloves the other 13,518 feet
we have parking! In Utah, The labs are starting to day and got really
we parked a half-mile from look less like storerooms, excited,” says Alana. “So, Animal Rocky Mountain
the lab in an uncovered lot. and experiments are being we’re just about there.
Even in snowstorms, we penciled in on calendars. We all definitely feel at Nickname Beehive State
had to make that long hike. Alana says they’re all happy home here.”
Covered parking is such a Fruit Cherry
perk for us.”
Folk dance Square dance
Others have been
pleasantly surprised by
the mild summer and the
friendliness of the people. Tree Quaking Aspen
But with snow skiing out of
the question here, many are Sidewalks Yes
looking for new activities
and hobbies to replace Food Good
previous ones.
Wind Light to breezy
Alana and Bryan want
to venture into sailing or Not counting OMRF’s recent Utah tr
wind surfing. And graduate
student Christa DeVette ***According to the Welm lab
is training her dog to ride
a paddle-board. (Yes, you UNPACKING CAN MAKE EVEN THE

“It’s a work in progress,
because my dog prefers
the water more than the
board,” she says. “But
we go to Lake Overholser
or the Oklahoma River to
practice. It may take years
to perfect our technique,
and I could probably get
a Ph.D. in the same time

Be a 1 2 3
tracker Log in to LifeLab on the Enter your basic biometric Click on “Health Activity
Intranet using your OMRF data: height, weight, blood Tracker,” and you’ll be on
username and password. pressure, body mass index, your way. Find points values
Enter your personal data blood glucose and cholesterol on the “General Activities”
and then take a short health levels. Our medical plan covers tab. Add your points under
risk assessment. Using that an annual physical 100 per- the “Report Activities
data, you can access all the cent, so you should be able to Completed This Month” tab.
resources available in the gather these numbers at little
LifeLab Wellness Center. or no cost.

Right on Track
OMRF Senior Research The LifeLab website that rest is a key part of
OKLAHOMA Technician Alex Weddle provides encouragement good health.”
was tired of feeling tired. and tips for making fitness
*3,850,568 After years of little to no a permanent part of life. After starting on the
physical activity, she joined Alex found it made her elliptical machine, Alex
Black Mesa OMRF’s fitness center on pay closer attention to her visited a couple of classes
4,975 feet May 20, 2013. personal habits. “LifeLab’s and soon made exercise
materials made me more a daily habit. She racked
n elk Buffalo The very next month, conscious of the fact that I up 9,731 points—the
OMRF launched the LifeLab needed to eat more fruits, highest total for any OMRF
program. In it, Alex found vegetables and nuts,” she employee. She also took
the tools to improve her says. “I also learned that home a $200 reward.
fitness level, her diet and, I wasn’t sleeping enough,
best of all, to boost her and LifeLab showed me “Sixty-two OMRF
self-confidence. employees earned LifeLab
Sooner State rewards last year,” says
OMRF established Senior Human Resources
Strawberry LifeLab to help employees Specialist Carlisa Curry.
take stock of their personal “That was a great start, but
Square dance health and learn new ways we’d like to see that number
(We agree!) to improve their overall go higher.”
wellness. By tracking points
n Redbud for everything from aerobic For Alex, the real reward
miles to attending Lunch- in the end is how much
**Not enough N-Learn seminars to better she feels.
**Fantastic! tasks as simple as
brushing and flossing, “I have so much more
Blowing. A lot! employees can earn energy throughout the day,”
points throughout she says. “I sleep soundly at
the year and win night and feel refreshed in
monetary prizes. the mornings. LifeLab made
a real difference for me. You
should try it, too.”


bunsen burner

fall 2014



As Vice President of Technology Ventures, Manu
Nair works to transform OMRF discoveries into
treatments and diagnostics for disease.

Why would you leave a How has OMRF changed SPRING FLINGIN’ 2014: LEFT TO
prestigious place like the since you were here last? RIGHT DAVID ROBERTSON, NINA
Mayo Clinic to come back When I left OMRF, the
to OMRF? research tower did not WOLSKA, KERRY LEEHAN, ERIC
My time at Mayo offered exist. Since then, the DUMAS, CHRIS HORTON (ABOVE)
me the exposure of a institution has grown by
lifetime to the field of leaps and bounds, with a AND E-CHING ONG (RIGHT).
technology renewed focus and growth
commercialization. in clinical operations.
But the cornerstone of my
career was laid at OMRF. What do you hope to
So when Dr. Prescott asked accomplish at OMRF in the
me to lead Technology next few years?
Ventures, I saw it as an My major goals include
opportunity to utilize my promoting collaborations
experience to contribute between industry and
to the success of this great our researchers, as well
institution that gave me my as developing new
first career opportunity. technologies to make
our work attractive for
You’re a very high-energy industry and investment
person. How do you partnerships. This will
maintain that pace? bring additional research
I love the excitement and support to OMRF and help
adrenaline rush of deal- enhance our institution’s
making and negotiations. visibility and prestige.
For me, it doesn’t feel like Most of all, I want to help
work, which keeps me advance novel, life-saving
energized. Also, having technologies to patients.
a four-year-old at home That’s both my and OMRF’s
keeps me on my toes! ultimate goal.

• Favorite sports: cricket, basketball
• Hobbies: travel, skeet shooting, chess (on an iPad) AND MORGAN
• Superpower: “people person” skills HOLMES HAVE
• OMRF employee: 2004-2009; returned in 2014 A SWEET TREAT

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