Part 2: A humble trail blazer

{Part 1}

Edyth (Hull) Schoenrich was born during a tumultuous time, on September 9, 1919.  Nations were recovering from the end of WWI and the loss of so many of its young men, either from war or Spanish Flu.  After decades of lobbying, women’s right to vote was gaining momentum and would be granted on a national level by a Constitutional Amendment.  Throughout her life, she would be witness to major changes in our country, from the Great Depression to the Civil Rights Movement.  At times, she may have even been an unknowing participant in creating that change.

Labor CampFunstonKS-InfluenzaHospital

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As a young girl, Edyth was studious, curious, and adventurous, no doubt a troubling combination for a young girl of that time.  But she was encouraged by her parents and teachers to pursue her education, one that would leave a trail for others to follow.

During the height of the Great Depression, Edyth would attend Duke University, from 1937-1941, earning her Bachelor of Arts. She then went on to University of Chicago to earn a masters degree in Psychology.  There, she would meet her husband and begin a family.  Once again, she would shatter the mold and enter medical school, a highly unusual career choice at the time for a woman who was a young wife and mother.  She was one of three women in a class of 75.  Not without its struggles, she took it in stride, according to her anecdotes, using it as an opportunity to shine and stand out from the rest.  With her M.D., the Schoenrich family moved to Maryland where Dr. Edyth would work at Johns Hopkins Hospital and begin her legacy at the institution.

Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School were no strangers to the battleground of equal rights or the reformation of medical education.  The university was founded as a place to “to develop character and to make men,” according to University President Daniel Coit Gilman. Soon thereafter, in 1890, 15 chapters of the Women’s Medical School Fund across the nation would raise nearly half a million dollars for the school to become coeducational and admit women and men on the same terms, as well as requiring Bachelor degrees and education in science and language. Dr. Edyth would continue to change the course of history at the University through pursuing her dreams and ambitions.

Dr. Edyth worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an intern from 1948-1949. Continuing to excel, she became assistant resident in medicine 1949-1950 and then fellow from 1950-1951. In 1951, she was appointed chief resident in medicine, only the second woman to hold that position.  Despite her skill and competence, Dr. Edyth still faced predjudice and bigotry, passed up for promotion simply for being a woman.  Anger overcoming hurt, Dr. Edyth used that energy to find a positive outcome for the obstacles she faced and continued to forge ahead.



WIRWed: 11-28-12

Welcome to week 2 of “What I’m Reading Wednesday” (WIRWed)!

I’ve noticed in these first couple of months of my post doc fellowship that my readings tend to take on a topical nature.  One week, I’m reading about inflammasomes.  The next week, I’m reading about interferon lambda.  This week, my focus is turned to microRNAs.  I missed some of the hype while suffering from tunnel vision during my graduate student days, so I’m doing some catch up with some reviews and then a great paper looking as small viral RNA (svRNA) produced during influenza infection.


First, a bit light reading, a news feature from 2007 on researchers building their case for RNAi causing increased gene expression instead of the negative regulation associated with small RNAs.  Hmm, worth following up on to see if they were able to elucidate a mechanism.

Ok, now for the real reviews:

Focus on biogenesis of small RNAs, from generation of the guide strand to complex formation.


miRNAs specifically encoded by viruses, with particular attention to Herpesviruses, and their targets.

Now that we are all caught up to speed and are experts on miRNAs (ha!), here are some interesting articles I found involving miRNAs and influenza.


This was a fascinating article!  The authors set out to determine if small viral RNAs (svRNA), similar in length to miRNA but not necessarily derived in the same manner, could help explain the mechanistic switch from production of viral mRNA to genomic vRNA.  Accumulation of svRNA coincided temporally with this switch, and treatment with complementary sequences to the svRNA demonstrated decreased genomic vRNA production and decreased virion progeny.  This opens up a possibility for broad spectrum anti-viral therapeutics that would be specific to influenza (or another virus).  Great work!


OK, that’s it for me today.  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear what you think about this last paper, using anti-svRNA as a therapeutic.  Currently, these types of treatments are being evaulated for as cancer therapeutics and against chronic viral infections (i.e. HCV).  Could it be done for an acute infection?


What I’m Reading Wednesday (WIRWed): 11-21-12

“What I’m Reading Wednesday” or WIRWed is a weekly post where I’ll share some of the interesting articles that I’ve come across.  As a student, I became far too focused on only those publications that directly related to my thesis work all the while missing the amazing science that was going on around me.  What I failed to understand as a student is that there is insight and inspiration to be gained by reading publications outside of your specific family of viruses, field of virology or immunology, or even field of study altogether.

So, to keep me accountable, I plan to blog once a week about the articles that I find fascinating.  They may or may not be relevant to my specific field of study.  I’ll try to vary it a bit, although, don’t be surprised to see some influenza in there (Hey!, it’s a really interesting virus!).  I’d love to hear from you as well!  Comment with links to articles that you would like to share and tell us why they captured your attention.

I’ll be enjoying these articles on a 6+ hour car ride up to New England to spend the holiday with family.  Wish me luck.  T-day traffic and two girls under 3 years old don’t mix well!

Just like her Mummy

Without further ado…


Love when an article challenges the currently accepted model and makes us all stop and think.



So fascinated by non-coding RNA.  It was ignored for so long as a contributing factor, overshadowed by coding RNA.

OK, here comes some influenza…


So important to recognize differences in responses amongst the various animal models we employ and carefully assign the value we place on the information we glean from them.



Something about the ability of viruses to thwart our every countermeasure, infecting the very cells that should be able to gobble, gobble them up and clear them.  Gets me every time.  (BTW, that gobble reference was in honor of the looming holiday!)


Now, its your turn.  What are you finding interesting this week?  Something new and cutting edge?  A classic?  Doing a bit of catching up in a particular field?  Let’s hear it!  Post a link to the article and your thoughts so we can all share.