Lansing C. Hoskins Fund Endowment Details

Official Name
The official name of the endowment is “The Lansing C. Hoskins Endowment to the Integrated UH/VA Gastroenterology Training Program.”

Primary Aim
The primary aim of the endowment is to provide discretionary income to the Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease to assist inspired fellows in training and junior faculty members to pursue and develop innovative, original ideas that hold promise to advance our knowledge, treatment and prevention of digestive diseases.

Awards of up to $5,000 annually will be made to fellows and junior faculty members on a competitive basis, selected by a committee of division faculty including, if necessary, ad hoc members from other departments and disciplines. Initially, support from endowment income will be for purchase of material supplies including specialized computer software for pilot research projects, tuition payments to obtain specialized training in other specialties and basic science departments and for honoraria to enable visits and lectures by academicians, clinicians and scientists from other institutions whose work potentially expands the research frontiers of gastroenterology.

Award Applications
Written applications will be submitted under the mentorship of a faculty member and generally will follow the format of a NIH research grant proposal, i.e. they will include a statement of the aims of the project, a background statement with literature review citing references justifying the project’s rationale, applicant’s approach, methods required, budget needed to fund it and the project’s anticipated significance to current medical practice.

For fellows, applications generally would be submitted during or soon after their first year of training. Projects should be completed upon graduation. Results will be presented to faculty and fellows of the division and potentially as posters or verbal presentations at local and national meetings.

Award and Funding Details
The amount of expendable income from the endowment is determined annually by the University’s Board of Trustees. The amount is usually set at about five percent of the amount of the endowment’s principal, averaged over the preceding three years. It will be awarded annually by the Dean of the Medical School to, and administered by, the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease.

The allocation of the annual endowment income will be made by an Endowment Committee consisting of the Chief of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease Division and at least two other division faculty members, with at least one based primarily at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. These will be chosen for a three-year term by vote of the gastroenterology faculty and would be eligible for reelection after three intervening years. Awarding of support need not be made in every year, but any unspent income will be allowed to accrue in the discretionary fund.

An annual report of this committee’s activities will be given to all members of the integrated division’s faculty, all alumni of the training program, the Dean of the Medical School, the Chiefs of the Departments of Medicine practicing at University Hospitals and the Cleveland VA Medical Center and to the original donor, L.C. Hoskins, while he lives and to the executor of his estate for five years following his death.

The Lifetime of the Endowment
The endowment was established with Case Western Reserve University expressly for the training program within the Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Disease. Should future events dictate that similar training programs in area hospitals become combined with the division to form a larger integrated division affiliated with Case Western Reserve University, the endowment’s income shall remain with the division within University Hospitals and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Lansing Hoskins Bio
Hoskins_LanseLansing Hoskins was born in Geneva, NY, in 1929, and received his undergraduate education at Princeton University and his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Following internship and a year of fellowship in endocrinology at King County Hospital and the University of Washington in Seattle, a tour of duty as a U.S. Naval Medical Officer at the Oakland Naval Hospital kindled his interest in gastroenterology. After further training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the Peter Bent Brigham and Boston City Hospitals, he joined the faculty at Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1964. Dr. Hoskins was Chief of the Gastroenterology Section at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center before retiring from the full-time faculty in 1998 to become a consultant in the gastroenterology clinics that he still continues to the present. As Emeritus Professor in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Hoskins continues to teach first-year medical students in their introduction to the function and pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract. In the 51 years of his professional experience at Case Western Reserve University and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, his clinical associations include two generations of physician trainees.

Dr. Hoskins' research interest has focused on the structure and function of the human colonic microbial ecosystem and its interactions with its host. He and his group demonstrated that the mucus layer coating the surface of the stomach and intestines was degraded and utilized for nutrition by colonic bacteria and that degradation was initiated by comparatively small populations of bacteria that possessed the specialized enzymes required to do this. Further studies revealed that among the enzymes required for degradation and utilization of gut surface mucus were those degrading structures that conferred human blood group ABO specificity to the gut mucus layer as well as human red blood cells and that these were produced by separate populations of colonic bacteria. Further studies showed ways these populations were specifically adapted to the genetically determined blood group of their host, casting light on how the human colonic microbiome interacts and adapts to its individual host. Efforts to characterize these bacteria and the enzymes they produce led to successful isolation of strains whose purified enzymes converted the blood group A- and B- blood group structures to blood group O structures on gut mucus as well as on human red blood cells, raising the possibility that the purified enzymes from these bacteria could be used to convert human blood type A or B red blood cells to universal donor blood group O red cells that can be safely transfused into recipients of any ABO blood type. Although the purified blood group A enzyme converted them into cells reacting as type O, full conversion was incomplete and, therefore, unsafe for transfusion. Dr. Hoskins’ subsequent research has focused on the determinants of community structure of the bacterial populations in the human colon.