Announcing New Faculty: Eirene Alexandrou, MD

Dr. Alexandrou

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Eirene Alexandrou is starting as a new pediatric endocrinologist in our division. She received her Medical Degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, completed a residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, and just completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the prestigious Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She has published expertise in the areas of growth research (link) and Turner Syndrome. In clinic, her initial practice will include general pediatric endocrinology and diabetes, as well as outreach services in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

Announcing new faculty: Akhila Ramakrishna, MD

Dr. Ramakrishna

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Akhila Ramakrishna is starting as a new pediatric endocrinologist in our division. She received her Medical Degree from the Armed Forces Medical College, then completed a residency in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve, and just completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. She has published expertise in the area of thyroid dysfunction (link) and has studied rodent models of obesity as a fellow as well. In clinic, her practice will include general pediatric endocrinology and diabetes, as well as gender-related endocrine care, obesity-related endocrine care especially regarding bariatric surgery in adolescents, and outreach pediatric endocrine services in Cedar Falls.

Announcing new faculty: Catherina Pinnaro, MD

Dr. Pinnaro

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Catherina “Cat” Pinnaro is starting as a new pediatric endocrinologist in our division. Her position will be on the tenure-track, meaning that she will be expected to be productive as a research physician. Dr. Pinnaro received her Medical Degree from New York Medical College where she successfully competed for a Doris Duke research year, which she spent at the University of Iowa. She then completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Iowa, just completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology here as well, and is on track to earn a Master’s in Translational Biomedicine in late 2020. While a fellow, she has created several productive research projects, having already published on the genetics of 22q syndrome (link) and diabetes care simulation (link). Her research will focus on the etiology of diabetes in specific disease contexts, applying her genetics expertise. In clinic, her practice will include general pediatric endocrinology and diabetes.

Announcing New Pediatric Endocrine Fellow: Dr. Tuttle

Dr. Tuttle

Today we are thrilled to announce that Dr. Alex Tuttle has joined our division as a pediatric endocrine fellow. He will serve three years in this role, after which he will be a full fledged board eligible pediatric endocrinologist. Dr. Tuttle received his Medical Degree from Indiana University. He then completed a pediatric residency at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. While a resident he demonstrated an aptitude for and interest in pediatric endocrinology, and was highly involved in diabetes camp (see picture below) at Camp Herkto Hollow and helped report an unusual pediatric endocrine case related to thyroid eye disease (link). Welcome Dr. Tuttle!!

Diabetes Camp Hertko Hollow: some of the volunteer staff from teen week 2019. Division members include Diabetes Nurse Sue Huff on the far left and (now) endocrine fellow Dr. Alex Tuttle on the far right.

Dr. Pinnaro Completes Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship

Dr. Pinnaro

We are extremely proud of Dr. Catherina “Cat” Pinnaro. For the past 3 years, Dr. Pinnaro has been a pediatric endocrinology fellow. Today she finishes this training, and will officially become a “board eligible” pediatric endocrinologist. During these three years, Dr. Pinnaro has been an exemplary fellow, providing outstanding clinical care, highly commended clinical teaching, and published research. She won several national awards as a fellow, including the Rising Star award from the Pediatric Endocrine Society, and the Leona Cuttler Quality Assurance Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We will miss her energetic approach to everything a fellow does. Following fellowship, Dr. Pinnaro has accepted a tenure-track position at a major research university where she continue her pediatric endocrine research related to diabetes, and will also continue her clinical work in pediatric endocrinology — stay tuned…. Congratulations Dr. Pinnaro!

Last Day for Dr. Sandberg

Dr. Sandberg

Today we are saddened to say goodbye to our colleague Dr. Beth Sandberg. She has been a stalwart colleague for the past year, providing compassionate and expert pediatric endocrine care. Dr. Sandberg joined our division last summer having just completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the University of North Carolina. While here, she provided general endocrine care, including outreach services in Cedar Falls, and gender-related endocrine care. The Pediatric Endocrine Society recognized her expertise and commitment by placing her as a national special interest group co-leader this year. After leaving Iowa, she will be taking a position in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Michigan / Mott’s Children’s Hospital. We send our best wishes to Dr. Sandberg for her move and new position.

Watching the Brain Remember: Differences Between Children with and without Type 1 Diabetes

With the advent of techniques to strengthen brain regions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, it is possible that this type of research will help delineate important future interventions.” –Andrew Norris

Dr. Tansey

Dr. Tansey and collaborators across the country have been studying brain function in children with and without type 1 diabetes. In a study published today (link) in the prestigious journal Diabetes, they report important differences between these two groups. They used functional magnetic imaging resonance (fMRI) to measure activation in various brain locations while the children were given memory tasks. Compared to children without diabetes, those with type 1 diabetes exhibited decreased memory performance relative to children without diabetes. Interestingly the children with type 1 diabetes showed greater increases in brain activation with harder tasks than those without diabetes, suggesting that their brains were working harder to compensate. More research is needed to understand how these effects of diabetes occur and how they might be modulated. With the recent advent of techniques to strengthen brain regions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, it is possible that this type of research will help delineate important future interventions. Also involved in the study from our Division were Dr. Tsalikian, Julie Coffey, Joanne Cabbage, Sara Salamati, and Rachel Bisbee.

Off To College Class to be held July 15, 2020, 5-6 pm

Dr. Kanner

Save The Date! Dr. Lauren Kanner has announced that she will host our annual Off To College Class on July 15, 2020 at 5-6 pm. In past years, the class has been held in person, but this year will be held via Zoom. Students, parents, future roommates, and any others interested are welcomed to attend. If you are interested, contact us, either through the email link at the bottom of Dr. Kanner’s webpage (link) or by contacting our diabetes nursing team.

Dr. Pinnaro Nominated for an Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award

Dr. Pinnaro

We have just received word that Dr. Pinnaro was nominated for a 2020 Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award. Less than 5% of the 800 resident and fellow physicians at our institution were nominated for this award. Her nomination letter included examples of her superlative clinical teaching skills, including this snippet: “Dr. Cat Pinnaro has demonstrated consistent commitment to and talent for clinical teaching during her three years as an endocrine fellow. She identifies teachable opportunities at every possible juncture, is able to frame teaching points in a creative manner that makes complex concepts accessible“. None of us in the division are surprised at her nomination, as we have witnessed her clinical teaching efforts for the past three years. Congratulations Dr. Pinnaro on a job well done!

Endocrinology and sports medicine

Dr. Curtis

On April 24th and May 1st, Dr. Vanessa Curtis provided talks on endocrine sports topics to a national audience. Her talks were coordinated by the America Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Her national audience exceeded 100 sports medicine fellows. In particular, her talk on May 1 on “Testosterone, sex, and gender in sports“, given in collaboration with Dr. Britt Marcussen, drew considerable attention. The title slides from her talks are shown below. In the clinic, Dr. Curtis’s provides her expert knowledge in the care of hormonal issues in student athletes. We would be remiss not to mention that Dr. Curtis is an accomplished athlete herself, including podiums placement in bicycle criterium/related races. We are fortunate to have her expertise and experience on our faculty and in our clinics.