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Published by Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 2016-12-13 14:02:21

2015 Fall Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner

What’s in
a name?

When an up-and-coming postdoc named Luke Szweda As it goes with hemlines and hairstyles, what was cool
first visited OMRF in 1994, he was impressed, not only by then feels dated now. That’s why Luke’s program got a
the sophisticated equipment and scientific talent he saw brand new name in July: Aging and Metabolism.
here, but also by his host program’s name: Free Radical
Biology and Aging. “OMRF doesn’t stay stuck in the past,” he says. “The
names of our programs generally reflect the collective
“It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone use ‘free knowledge in that group, and those change with shifting
radical’ in a group or department name,” he says. “I was membership and the changing times of science. It just
blown away. Free radicals were really cutting-edge makes sense. Science changes quickly, and successful
science then. If these people were serious enough to science has to adapt to it.”
make it part of their name, I thought, they were way
ahead of the pack.” The new name encapsulates a wide range of research
areas related to aging: osteoarthritis, sarcopenia
Excited as he was by the name, Luke didn’t come to and muscle wasting, macular degeneration, and the
OMRF—at least not that time. But when he moved his processes that lead to heart disease.
lab here from Cleveland in 2005, he joined that same
department, eventually taking the reins as program chair “We’re all supportive of this change because it’s more
two years later. inclusive of what we all study,” says Tim Griffin, an
associate member in the research program.
Pancake Halloween
Flu Shots Breakfast Party Biometric

Evolution of a Research
Program and Its Leadership

What’s in Ranwell Caputto Biochemistry 1950 - 1972 Biomembrane 1972 - 1987 Molecular Toxicology 1987 - 1992 Free Radical Biology & Aging Charles Kochakian
1957 - 1963 1950 - 1956
a name ? continued from page 1
B. Connor Johnson Paul McCay
And in Luke’s program, it turns out, change is nothing 1965 - 1972
new. The department had five different names since its Robert Floyd (acting head)
inception in 1950. 1987 - 2007
1963 - 1965
“If you look back into the OMRF history books, in each
case the name was a reflection of the current expertise (head)
of the people in the program and the current emphases
within the specific fields,” says Luke. 1972 - 1987

With its current collection of researchers focused on Luke Szweda
age-related conditions, it was time to put aging first. But 2007 - Present
what about metabolism?

“A big part of what we’re interested in is this
cross-section between nutrition and aging and how that
affects certain age-related processes,” Luke says, noting
everybody in the department still studies aspects of
free radicals, but they’re no longer the star. “Changes in
metabolism drive free radical production, so they are still
a part of what we do under a different name.”

That shift is something former program head Bob
Floyd said was just a matter of time. Bob arrived
at OMRF in 1974 when the program was called
Biomembrane, and he instituted two name changes after
taking over as head in 1987.

The program changed to Molecular Toxicology in
1987 because of a growing interest in the metabolism
of drugs that cause cancer, which, he says, led to some
meaningful findings during an important era. As a result
of the extensive work being done with free radicals, it
paved the way for the next stage: Free Radical Biology &
Aging, which stood from 1992 until this summer.

In science, the intellectual front in knowledge
is always moving, says Bob. So when the time for
progression came, OMRF once again responded.

“Things change, and I believe there is a great future
for this program,” says Bob. “The study of aging and the
diseases related with it, including the cross-section with
metabolism, are things that impact us all.”

mHy EnaLmLOe is Present 1992 - 2015

Aging & Metabolism

Going p

LifeLab benefits are
increasing! Get active.
Get rewarded.

At OMRF, fitness pays. Literally. And for those entering and such, that need to be offset,” says Richard Pelikan,
activity tracker points online in LifeLab in 2015-16, the a dedicated LifeLab tracker who recently won the Super
payout will be bigger than ever. Summer Fitness Challenge. “I’m pretty grateful for the
cash, but the bigger reward for me was just getting a
What is LifeLab? It’s an online, daily check-in point strong exercise routine established.”
where you can track your wellness activities to earn
points. Your points total can qualify you to earn a A statistician by nature, Richard tracked his points
monetary award at the end of the fiscal year. LifeLab carefully, from mileage on his bike, to eating healthy to
provides a host of resources to help you stay healthy, and attending exercise classes. Luckily, he says, no points are
it’s all free to OMRF employees. deducted for style. “I may have set a record for worst
Zumba performance ever, but it was worth it!”
You can start tracking points right now, but you’ll need
to add your basic biometric data sometime during the Even if you don’t bike or run, you can earn points for
year. OMRF will offer free onsite biometric screenings a wide variety of healthy everyday activities—things like
Nov. 11 and 12, or you can get the information at your walking, taking fitness classes and making healthy food
annual physical exam. choices. You also get rewarded for avoiding secondhand
smoke, volunteering in your community and getting
Just log into LifeLab on the Intranet, enter your regular dental checkups.
personal data and take a short health risk assessment.
Then click on “Health Activity Tracker,” and you’re on Visit to get started. Feel free to ask
your way. The more points you log, the higher your anyone in HR if you have questions.
chances of a nice payout—in more ways than one.
“With a few clicks a month, you can really watch your Levels Points
points and your reward level increase,” says Vice Needed Previous New Reward
President of Human Resources Courtney Stevens
Greenwood. 1,550> $50 $75
3,250> $100 $150
For the new LifeLab year, which runs from July 1, 2015, 5,000> $200 $275
through June 30, 2016, OMRF has also bumped up the
cash payouts.

“The LifeLab rewards are worth it, because there are
always costs to fitness, like workout clothes, bike parts

NInnEesWtuwHreaoanrlckteh tShw“itBcehn:ef

Big i ts ”

Ask Be

Change is good. But it also can be hard. On July 1, OMRF My Aetna card arrived in the
switched its health insurance network from UMR to Aetna. mail. Do I still need to sign
So we asked benefits guru Beth Benefield to answer the up online, too?
questions she’s been asked most frequently thus far. Technically, no, you don’t have
to register with Aetna, but
What does the change mean to me? you’ll be better off if you do.
If you are enrolled in OMRF’s medical plan, you now file Registration gives you online
medical and prescription claims through Aetna instead access to claims, EOBs, lists of
of UMR and Magellan. In addition, mail-order network providers and such. But
prescriptions go through Aetna’s mail-order pharmacy you are covered either way.
instead of OptumRx.
I used to get my 90-day
I set up everything for Aetna with my doctor’s office, prescriptions filled at the
but I had a claim sent to UMR by mistake and denied. pharmacy down the street, but
What do I do? now I can’t. What’s the deal?
Call your doctor’s office and make sure it has your new When the pharmacy coverage switched to Aetna, it
insurance information. Then have your doctor resubmit resulted in some changes to the prescription plan
the claim to Aetna. design. To fill a prescription for more than a 30-day
supply, you now must go through Aetna’s mail-order
What if I lost my Aetna card or need an additional one pharmacy. All this information and the medication
for a covered dependent (spouse or kid)? order form are on the Intranet under HR/benefits.
Just go to Aetna’s site, login, click on “Get an ID card,”
click View/Card to print a temporary ID card or request Have more questions about the switch? Contact Beth
that a new card be sent to your home address. It will arrive at 17433 or [email protected].
in 7-10 business days.

Seen @ OMRF

Natalie Fessler gets a Syed Quadri, Ramesh Kumar and Chip Morgan photo bombs Jeanne
hug from John McManus Gaurav Kumar enjoying frozen Turpin and Diana Szeto, who hung
at her retirment party. treats at August’s First Thirstday. up her green eyeshade in July after
45(!) years at OMRF.

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