Dr. Ronny Priefer Speaks at Google Headquarters

Posted August 19, 2014


Dr. Ronny Priefer, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy at Western New England University, was invited to speak to a group of Google employees in Mountain View, California, on August 13, at the main Googleplex Facility. The title of the Dr. Priefer’s talk was “Point-of-Care Diabetes Monitoring via Breath Acetone Detection.”

Dr. Priefer gave his presentation to a group of engineers, chemists, biologists, and business professionals from Google. "It was exciting to present our results to Google researchers and business people. Knowing that our project, here in Springfield, MA has attracted attention from such a large global company on the other side of the U.S., is really encouraging.”

Google is also interested in the development of non-invasive diabetes monitoring technology that Dr. Priefer is developing along with Biomedical Engineering Professor Michael Rust, and Pharmacy Practice Professors Kam Capoccia and Izabela Collier.

Dr. Priefer is leading this team of scientists at Western New England University to develop a hand-held breathalyzer device to detect acetone in the breath of diabetic individuals. They are attempting to optimize its capabilities as well as correlate it with blood-glucose levels to ultimately replace the current invasive “finger-prick” technology.


University Students March in 14th Annual Caribbean Parade and Festival 

Posted August 16, 2014


On Saturday August 16, members of the Western New England University Cheerleading Squad joined in the celebration of Springfield's 14th Annual Caribbean Parade and Festival. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jeanne Hart-Steffes led the University students down the State Street parade route.


The most popular member of the University contingent was the Golden Bear, who gave out hundreds of hugs and high-fives to children and adults along the parade route.  The parade began in Rebecca Johnson School in Mason Square and ended at Blunt Park, where a "Food and Music" Festival continued throughout the day and evening. 


To view more photos of the parade, visit Campus Photos.


University Announces Major NIH Research Grant 

Posted August 14, 2014

 Pharmacy Professor Adding Spice to Research

Dr. Evan Robinson, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Western New England University, recently announced that Assistant Professor of Pharmcology Clinton Mathias, was awarded a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world’s foremost medical research centers. The grant will total $348,469 over three years for research in food allergy prevention. Dr. Mathias hopes to determine whether frequent ingestion of curcumin, the active ingredient of the curry spice turmeric, can inhibit allergic responses. Curcumin is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, and has revealed the ability to diminish allergic responses in asthma, latex allergy, and conjunctivitis symptoms.

Food allergies are a growing problem in the United States. Between three and six percent of the population suffers from a wide range of symptoms such as rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal dysfunction. “In Southeast Asia, food allergies are at a much lower level than in the west, so it’s not difficult to imagine that dietary antigens could play a role,” said Dr. Mathias. “People in places like India and China have been using spices containing curcumin as medication for millennia and so we have induced food allergies in mice and treated them with curcumin to see if it would stop the development of allergic responses.” The results Dr. Mathias and his team have gathered over the past couple of years have yielded some promising results.

clinton_mathias_4jpgDr. Clinton Mathias and assistant Chelsea Thompson, PharmD Candidate

Over the past academic year, Dr. Mathias has engaged three University students to work side-by-side in the research labs with him - a Pharmacy, a Pre-pharmacy, and a Biomedical Engineering student. “This type of hands-on experience is helping prepare our students to take on the challenges of the rapidly changing pharmacy profession. I think the next generation of pharmacists needs to acquire a diverse set of skills that will allow them to succeed not only in retail pharmacy, but in many other settings,” Dr. Mathias explained.

“We are thrilled and grateful to receive the NIH grant that will permit Dr. Mathias to continue his important research,” remarked Dean Robinson. “Dr. Mathias is a methodical and innovative researcher with a passion for teaching students. We are confident his research will yield interesting and useful results".


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