Largest biomedical research facility in U.S. opens in Streeterville

(Published June 30, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

In June, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine unveiled the largest academic biomedical research facility in the United States.

Opening ceremonies for the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, 303 E. Superior St., included local officials as well as Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The facility will provide additional space for biomedical research and, according to a news release, the school is the fastest-growing research center among U.S. medical schools.

Pritzker said the Chicago facility will attract top talent.

“Building the best biomedical research hub right here in Streeterville means that we can attract researchers from all around the globe,” the governor said. “And it also means the best and the brightest will stay right here in Chicago.”

Kimberly Querrey, for whom the building is partially named, said she expects the research done in the facility will change human health.

“Lou [Simpson] and I are fortunate to be able to support the biomedical community and we’re humbled by the collaboration of the many scientists in this room committed to improving human life,” she said.

The 12-story building was designed by Perkins and Will and features a curved-glass exterior and offers Northwestern 625,000 square feet of research space. In addition, the building is designed for a future expansion that can more than double its size vertically, with up to 16 new floors in the second phase of construction.

According to the release, the site will be staffed by 2,000 people and is expected to generate $390 million a year in economic activity.

‘Divercity,’ a storytelling event featuring people with disabilities, to be held June 21—23

(Published June 21, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

New Eastside resident Tekki Lomnicki, the founder of Tellin’ Tales Theatre, announced the annual “Divercity” performance will be held June 21 through 23 at the Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston.

The shows feature individuals with disabilities telling stories about their disabilities. There are seven performers—including Lomnicki—in this year’s lineup.

Lomnicki founded Tellin’ Tales in 1996 as a way to help people with disabilities communicate their stories with others.

“We give adults with physical and emotional disabilities such as bipolar disorder and depression a chance to tell their stories and be on stage,” she said. “There aren’t enough actors with disabilities on stage.”

The fundraiser for the Tellin’ Tales Theatre, which offers storytelling classes for people with disabilities,includes performers from New Eastside as well as from the whole of Chicagoland.

“Telling our stories is the best connection we have to people,” Lomnicki said. Lomnicki also stages the stories so actors with disabilities can perform the scenes while the storyteller performs on stage.

The stories are personal. Lomnicki  said one performer, Linda Bannon, has no arms, and her son, 12, was also born without arms.

“She told her son, ‘you just have to push through this,’” Lomnicki said.

Other stories are humorous. Lomnicki said one storyteller has cerebral palsy and has slurred speech as part of his disability.

“He has problems going to bars because bouncers think he’s drunk and so he’s like, ‘this is just the way I talk,’” she said.

She said her free storytelling classes are so popular among the community of disabled people, she has to limit students to two years in a row in order to make room for new students. Besides a chance to get on stage, the classes allow students to constructively criticize others in the class.

“What’s really neat is people in the classes give feedback to each other,” she said. This helps students develop their own stories, as well as helping others.

Tickets, available at tellintales.org, are $20 or $15 for students and people with disabilities. Anyone interested in signing up for a course next year can email Lomnicki at tellintalestheatre@gmail.com.

Lomnicki said the theater company accepts donations at their website, tellintales.org and after June 25 the group will have a crowdfunding fundraiser at 3Arts.org/projects.

Headache Foundation honors Nobel laureate neurobiologist Eric Kandel

(Published May, 29, 2019)

By Jesse Wright

The Chicago-based National Headache Foundation honored pioneering neurobiologist Eric Kandel in May as part of their annual gala fundraiser.

Kandel won a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000 for his work showing how memories can physically alter the brain. Kandel will be 90 in November, and in an exclusive interview with the News, he talked about his current research.

“I’m studying age-related memory loss,” he said.

Through experiments he has shown older adults can offset memory loss and improve memory through the release of osteocalcin, a hormone released from the bones. The best way to get it is by exercise and movement. Kandel said his discovery changed his life.  

“I walk everywhere,” he said. “I now walk to work, and I walk back (from)work, and I walk more than I used to.”

While Kandel said he personally hasn’t done extensive research in headaches, early in his career he studied spreading depression, which is thought to be the underlying cause of migraines.

“Headaches are a universal problem,” he said.

Among migraine sufferers is his granddaughter. During the awards ceremony, Kandel said might have changed his research if he was aware of  her condition earlier in his career.

“Had I known one of my grandchildren would develop migraine headaches, I would have continued to study migraines,” he said. “But, I’m still relatively young.”

Headache Foundation Executive Chairman Seymour Diamond praised Kandel’s work before awarding him the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“His work has contributed in so many ways to understanding headaches,” Diamond said.

The evening raised $225,000 for headache research.

Grilling guac: Why not grill the dip?

(Published May, 29)

Guacamole is a popular side at any barbecue. While it’s usually cooked with raw ingredients, grilling the avocado, onion, pepper, garlic and tomatoes can add a complex, smoky flavor that improves the end result.

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion, skinned, cut in half

2 small tomatoes, halved

1 jalapeno pepper, halved (seeded, if you don’t want a lot of heat)

2 large ripe avocados, halved and pitted

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1-2 large cloves of garlic not skinned

The juice from one line (or ½ depending on taste)

Cumin to taste

Salt to taste

Chop up the cilantro and set it aside in a bowl. Add a dash of cumin and some salt.

On a grill over medium heat, place the avocados face down, so the flesh is exposed to the heat. Toss the rest of the vegetables—including the limes—face down to the heat. The avocadoes and onion will take 3-5 minutes to char, but the tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeno should be turned regularly, exposing all sides to the heat. The lime should be checked and, once it begins to char, taken off the grill.

Once all vegetables have been charred, scoop the avocado flesh from the rind into the bowl with the cilantro. Remove the garlic skin (after it’s cooled) and add that to the bowl. The garlic should be soft, but if not, mince it first. Mince the onion and add that to the bowl. Squeeze half the lime into the bowl. Chop up the jalapeno and add that to the bowl. Roughly chop up the tomatoes, add that to the bowl.

Mix everything together by hand with a large spoon or fork or a pestle. Taste; add more lime juice, salt, cumin as needed.

Serve immediately with chips.

Grill Out, Chicago: The best public places to get grilled

(Published May, 29, 2019)

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

For grill masters and amateurs, there are several public parks and beaches that allow grilling.

“Grilling must be confined to enclosed metal containers and may only take place within dedicated grilling areas,” according to the Chicago Parks website. The parks also stress all hot coal must be watered and any remains should be disposed of in designated red receptacles.  

Some of the nearby parks and beaches that allow grilling:

Oak Street Beach

1000 North Lake Shore Drive

North Avenue Beach

1601 N. Lake Shore Drive

Montrose Beach

4400 N. Lake Shore Drive

Loyola Beach

1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.

Riis Park

6100 W. Fullerton Ave

Rules:

$50 fee to grill, must bring own grill.

Burnham Park

Promontory Point

5491 S. Lake Shore Drive

Rules:

Public fire pits or bring your own grill in designated areas.

Humboldt Beach

1400 N Humboldt Drive

For more information about the parks and beaches, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com

Unique spring runs in Chicago include bubbles, colors and love

(Published April 30, 2019

Abhinanda Datta, Staff Writer

Although April did bring snow, it is safe to say spring has finally sprung on Chicago. Just in time for spring are healthy, fun activities to get the body in shape before beach season. If ordinary 5k races are boring, here are some weirdly fun runs:

Superhero Run 2019

Where: Diversey Event Harbor

When: 9 a.m., May 4

Wear a cape and run for a good cause. The Superhero Run, the biggest fundraising event of the year for DePaul University’s Cities Project, provides Chicago Public School students with critical mentoring and after-school support. All proceeds go toward maintenance and expansion of the program. Tickets: $35-$40.

Night Nation Run

Where: Soldier Field

When: Gates open at 5:30 p.m., May 18

The Night Nation Run is a running music festival. More than one million people have participated over the years. The run begins and ends at the Soldier Field and the course includes studded bubble zones, live DJs, light shows and black and white neon lights. As participants enjoy this unique, musical running course, the major attraction awaits near the finish line—an epic main stage after party with top headliner DJs. Tickets: $30-$60.

Bubble Run Chicago

Where: Bridgeview

When: May 25

Participants wear white t-shirts, and run, walk, dance and play across three miles, with groups starting every three to five minutes. At each kilometer, participants run through Foam Bogs where they get doused in colored foam from head to toe. Each of the four Foam Bogs along the course will be represented by different colored foam. Tickets: $40.

The Color Run Chicago

Where: Soldier Field

When: June 15

A race that celebrates love, The Color Run requires participants to wear white and bring nothing but good vibes. As participants run through the course, they are plastered with colors and once they cross the finish line, there is a party with music, dancing and even more colors. Tickets: $25-$50.

Getting the bike ready to roll


(Published April 1, 2019)

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

After a long winter spent cooped up inside, getting back on the bike is the easy part.

The tricky part comes before you saddle up. After a long season in a closet or storage space, most bikes need at least a small tune up.

Dan Ioja, fleet manager at Bike and Roll Chicago, repairs bikes at their facility in Millennium Park. He said some bikes just need minor repairs a bike savvy person can do at home, others could need more serious work.

“It depends where you store it,” Ioja said. Ioja should know—as the bike repair expert at Bike and Roll, he sees all kind of bikes that have been stored in all kinds of places.

If a bike is stored in a garage or an area exposed to cold, dry air, Ioja explained, the cables and tires could be dried out and other parts of the could be suffering from oxidation.

However, just because the tires need air, that doesn’t necessarily  mean there is a problem. Tires lose air over time.

“The wall of the tube is so porous it’s going to lose pressure,” Ioja said. “But if the tires are completely deflated, the tire walls could have cracks.”

The first thing a bike owner should do is air up the tires, lubricate the chain and make sure the brakes work.

Ioja said bike manufacturers recommend a tune up at least once a year, so this could mean a trip to the bike store.

“Spring is the time when a tune up is recommended to make sure the bike is prepared for riding season,” he said.

Other manufacturers, especially companies that make high-end bikes, recommend major overhauls every few years. Carbon frames with carbon seat posts, need the seat posts to be removed and reset every few years.

With 400 members, Bike and Roll Chicago mechanics have seen all manner of bicycles. Ioja said non-members with questions is welcome to bring their bike by.

“We keep people on the road all through the year in all kinds of conditions,” he said.

Liam Doring, a bike mechanic at Bike and Roll, cleans up a bike. Photo by Jesse Wright

Tuneups at Bike and Roll start at $69 and a full overhaul is $200. Flat tires are fixed for $16 plus tax.

Season of the soup: Local chefs give up the secrets of the best broth

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Cold months call for warm meals, and a bowl of hot soup fits the bill. Takeout soups can be cumbersome and can come with unhealthy amounts of sodium, heavy fats and starches, but when soup is made at home, it can be healthy—and be perfectly delicious. Local professional and amateur chefs shared their tips for a delectable—and healthy—homemade soup.

Karl Bader of Karl’s Kraft Soups focuses on vegan and vegetarian soups. When Bader makes his vegetable stock—the base of many of his soups—he roasts his vegetables first in the oven at a high heat. “I blast them at around 550 degrees, then I throw them into the pot with water,” Bader said.

Roasting them at such a high heat makes the vegetables delicate, so he only keeps the stock on the stove for about a half hour. “I generally wait until the very end to season things with salt,” he said.

Adding salt over time is unnecessary for flavor, and makes the soup more unhealthy, according to Bader. Other herbs go in at the end of the process, but that mainly comes down to flavor. “If you cook fresh herbs a long time, they just completely lose their punch and vitality,” he said. Bader recommends using potatoes as a thickener in lieu of flour or cream.

New Eastside resident Sue Carrel also uses this method, and recommends adding raw cashews. Carrel suggests blending cooked veggies in a broth, cashews and a pre-cooked potato in a blender. “Heat and you have a delicious cream soup,” she said.

Streeterville resident Kitty Kurth adds whatever frozen vegetables are on hand to her soup bases. She recommends adding chopped kale or spinach to soups like split pea, for an extra serving of vegetables. “After I strain the broth, the boiled down veggie scraps go into the compost,” she said.

Karl’s Kraft Soups are available at the SOAR Farmer’s Market in Streeterville in the summer. In the winter, his soups are available at any Foxtrot Market. He is also at the Indoor Hyde Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and at Logan Square on Sundays.
For more information, visit karlscraftsoup.com

New takes on the Thanksgiving table

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

 

Thanksgiving does not have to consist of the same canned cranberry sauce, cornucopia and bread stuffing every November. This year, throw out the rulebook and use these tips to augment your favorite holiday classics.  

Lighter dishes

Staying on the lighter side of Thanksgiving can be satisfying. Try adding cauliflower to stuffing in lieu of bread or rice. For vegan guests, swap out animal byproducts for lentils or chickpeas in a stuffing-type side dish. Sweet potatoes are a good substitute for regular potatoes in mashed, baked, or fried forms, while butternut squash soup is a light and classically-inspired alternative to heavier side dishes.

Cultural additions

For extra flavor, try adding a cultural twist to Thanksgiving favorites. A chile rub on the turkey can give your bird a Southwestern kick, while pumpkin egg rolls or turkey dumplings can make great finger foods. For a simpler option, add a dish from a favorite international cuisine: carbonara, stuffed grape leaves, rice pilaf and spring rolls all fit in with Thanksgiving mainstays.

Fun with pumpkins

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Spray paint pumpkins gold, white or silver for a unique addition to a table or decoration. Painting the menu on a pumpkin is a bold way to announce what will be on the table. Mini pumpkins can be used as seat markers or to denote what cheeses are on a cheese plate. Add flowers and glitter or string lights to pumpkins for an extra dimension.

Say goodbye to turkey

For the main course, consider going with a Midwestern classic like a  honey baked ham, and make your stuffing with a meat such as lamb or beef. A pescatarian Thanksgiving could feature lobster or salmon with a cranberry sauce. Or get rid of the meat altogether for a vegetarian spread – mushroom and chestnut “beef” Wellington can substitute turkey for a vegan main dish.

Open wide: Dental Professionals of Chicago focuses on more than the mouth

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

October 2, 2018

The best dental care means more than a good cleaning at Dental Professionals of Chicago. At 111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 23, Dental Professionals offers general dental services, comfort, entertainment and cosmetic procedures with a collaborative approach.

 

Most treatment plans—beyond cleaning—are set by a team of doctors who consider how oral health and a patient’s overall health are related.

 

Dr. Bryan Jacobs, a specialist in prosthodontics at Dental Professionals, said its “collaborative care model” makes the practice unique, and goes back about 80 years.

 

According to Dr. Paul Katz, who has been in practice for more than 30 years, Dental Professionals was started in 1983 and moved to its current location in downtown Chicago in 1987—with complete renovation and expansion in 2016.  Today, the four doctors are partners who work together to address the whole patient.

 

With this method, the team at Dental Professionals is able to tackle things like gum disease, which can be a factor in nearly every major disease, and for some patients, like pregnant women, can be even more dangerous than drinking alcohol, Jacobs said.

 

“From a dental perspective, just finding that individual solution that meets that person’s time criteria, their cosmetic criteria, their financial limitations, anything we can to personalize that care, because it’s not one-size-fits-all,” Jacobs said, “Our goal is really focusing on what the person needs.”

Dental Professionals also utilizes electronic health records, digital imaging, bacterial DNA testing for periodontal disease and the Planmeca Treatment Center, which the practice’s website describes as “a dental treatment chair on steroids.” The chair, the first in the Midwest, is self-cleaning and has built-in tools, cameras and scanners. “Plus, it’s like, the most comfortable chair,” Jacobs added.

During treatment, patients can listen to music or choose from cable, Netflix and scenic videos, highlighting the practice’s patient-focused, individualized care, Jacobs said.

 

For patients with a sweet tooth, fresh-baked cookies are available every day in the waiting room.

Most patients live or work in the area, and the practice can be accessed via the Pedway, perfect during the cold winter weather, Jacobs said. Because Dental Professionals offers same-day emergency care for patients and non-patients, they see patients from the nearby Hyatt Hotel at least once a week, he said.

For both Jacobs and Katz, the best part of his job is getting to know patients.

 

“I love the energy, the people. It’s fast-paced,” said Katz. “There’s such a mix of really professional people, people in advertising, lawyers, judges, it really is fascinating, I love talking to my patients.”

“Their stories make the day interesting,” agreed Jacobs.

 

1 2 3 5