All posts by Cory Skeates


Nanotechnology for Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Earns Florida Poly Professor International Award

Florida Polytechnic University professor Dr. Ajeet Kaushik received the 2019 USERN Prize in biological sciences, an international award recognizing his work in the field of nanomaterials for the detection and treatment of diseases.


LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University professor Dr. Ajeet Kaushik is determined to make detecting and treating diseases easy, accessible, and precise through the use of nanomaterials for biosensing and medicine.

His extensive work and resolute desire to improve the delivery of healthcare has earned Kaushik the prestigious Universal Scientific Education Research Network (USERN) Prize. He was named a laureate in the field of biological sciences during the group’s fourth annual congress on Nov. 8 in Budapest, Hungary.

USERN, a non-governmental, non-profit organization and network dedicated to non-military scientific advances, is committed to exploring science beyond international borders.

“I was speechless for a while,” said Kaushik, who is an assistant professor of chemistry at Florida Polytechnic University.

Kaushik did not attend the awards ceremony in person but did submit a video to be played at the event. He was among hundreds vying for the prize and one of five people who were recognized in different areas of study.

His submitted project, Nano-Bio-Technology for Personalized Health Care, focuses on using nanomaterials to create biosensors that will detect the markers of a disease at very low levels.

“Biosensing is not a new concept, but now we are making devices that are smarter and more capable,” Kaushik said.

He cited the recent zika virus epidemic that affected pregnant women and their fetuses, leading to significant health complications upon birth.

“There was a demand to have a system that could detect the virus protein at a very low level, but there was no device. There was no diagnostic system,” he said.

Kaushik worked on the development of a smart zika sensor that could detect the disease at these low levels.

“The kind of systems I’m focusing on can be customized in a way that we carry like a cell phone and do the tests wherever we need to do them,” he said.

In addition to using nanotechnology for the detection of diseases like zika, his research on nanoparticles is advancing efforts to precisely deliver medicine to a specific part of the body without affecting surrounding tissue or other parts of the body.

“The drugs we use now do not go only where they need to go, or sometimes they have side effects. We are treating one disease but creating other symptoms,” Kaushik said. “I’m exploring nanotechnology that can carry a drug, selectively go to a place, and release the drug so we avoid using excessive drugs.”

This nanomedicine could be used to precisely target brain tumors or other difficult-to-treat conditions.

He has published papers in scientific journals about this work and also holds multiple patents.

“My whole approach is using smart material science for better health for everybody, which is accessible to everybody everywhere,” Kaushik said.

In addition to his USERN prize, Kaushik was named a USERN junior ambassador for 2020 and will work to advance the organization’s mission in the United States.


For the most recent university news, visit Florida Poly News.


About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the State University System of Florida. It is the only state university dedicated exclusively to STEM and offers ABET accredited degrees. Florida Poly is a powerful economic engine within the state of Florida, blending applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Connect with Florida Poly.


Lakeland Regional Health Team Member News

Lakeland, Fla. – Lakeland Regional Health has the following good news to share:


  • Disha Narula, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Hospitalist at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Dr. Narula earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. She completed her Residency in Internal Medicine and her Fellowship in Nephrology and Hypertension at Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Narula most recently served as an Internal Medicine Physician and Nephrologist at Regional Medical Practice Primary Care and Cortland Regional Medical Center in Cortland New York. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both Nephrology and Internal Medicine.
  • Yatin Kheti, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Pulmonologist and Critical Care Physician at the Grasslands Campus and Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Dr. Kheti earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica. He completed his Residency in Internal Medicine and his Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kheti most recently served as Pulmonary/Critical Care Director at Cortland Regional Medical Center in Cortland, New York. Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine and Internal Medicine, Dr. Kheti is fluent in both English and Hindi.
  • James Murray, DO, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist. Dr. Murray earned his Doctor of Osteopathy degree from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his Internship and Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Ohio. He most recently served as an Obstetrics Hospitalist at Winchester Medical Center in Virginia. Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Osteopathic Board, Dr. Murray sees patients at the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children on the south side of the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center Campus.

Local SERVPRO Cleaning Specialist Shares Commonsense Precautions to Help Control Spread of the Flu Virus

Highland City, FL (Grassroots Newswire) November 13, 2019 – Flu season is here, and it’s often marked by the offers of free flu shots in neighborhood pharmacies and stores across the country. The cleaning pros at SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands – experts in cleaning and sanitizing building materials, surfaces, and contents after fire, water, or natural disasters—remind Highland City home and business owners how important it is to step-up routine cleaning efforts during this time of year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the flu virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Cleaning surfaces and objects that are frequently touched minimizes the likelihood of contacting the flu virus when you touch an infected surface.

According to the CDC, nearly 15% of the U.S. population suffered from the flu in 2018. More than 950,000 people were hospitalized and almost 80,000 people died from flu complications, making 2018 the most severe flu season since 2009.1

“As an emergency response company, we understand the hidden danger of contaminated surfaces in a workplace or home,” said David Touchton, owner, SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands. “This time of year, the flu virus can be a ‘hidden danger’ at home, at work, and in the community. It is a serious illness, and we want our Highland City friends and neighbors to take it seriously.”

The CDC recommends the following to help protect yourself or your loved ones from contracting the flu.
1. Get vaccinated. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important protection against this serious virus.
2. Thoroughly wash your hands (20 seconds or more with soap and water) or sanitize them frequently throughout the day, even if you are not infected, to help protect yourself and others.
3. Beware of frequently touched surfaces, like handrails and doorknobs. Keep them clean at home using a bleach and water solution and clean your hands as soon as possible if you must touch them in public.

If you or a family member comes down with the flu despite these precautions, keep in mind the flu spreads primarily through droplets from a sick person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. With that in mind, the CDC offers the following guidelines to help control the spread of the disease:
1. Stay home and keep your distance. Infected droplets from a sick person’s nose or mouth can travel up to six feet and land in the noses and mouths of people nearby, exposing them to the illness.
2. Wait until you are fever free – without medications – for at least 24 hours before returning to school, work, or normal activities.
3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue and clean your hands with soap or a sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol.

There is no such thing as a foolproof flu protection plan, says Touchton, but frequent hand-washing and conscientious cleaning practices at home, work, and in the community are precautions everyone can practice to help keep them and their loved ones healthy. For more flu statistics and tips on how to help prevent the spread of the flu virus, please visit

SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands specializes in disaster restoration, residential, and commercial deep cleaning, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened.” For more information on SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands, please contact David Touchton at (863)510-5962 or


Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO franchise system is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO system has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.


Brian Wesbury Returns to Central Florida’s Economic Forecasting Event set for Mid-January

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (November 12, 2019) – Allen & Company of Florida, LLC, and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce present the Economic Forecast Breakfast 2020, for the 33rd year, on Thursday, January 16, 2020, from 7 to 9 a.m., at the RP Funding Center.  This year, more than ever, expert insights into the local and national economy are critical when considering future planning and budgeting.  From the Green New Deal, “trade wars,” negative interest rates, and inversion, to the United States presidential election, attending the annual Economic Forecast Breakfast will help attendees to make sense of the roller coaster ride that 2019 has been.

Nationally recognized Chief Economist Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors, L.P., returns as our guest speaker for the 33rd annual Economic Forecast Breakfast 2020 sponsored by Allen & Company.  You can plan on hearing a perspective that is steadfastly germane to the economies and politics of the world we live in delivered in a dynamic and unwavering style.

On this 33rd year of the Economic Forecast Breakfast and anniversary of the partnership between Allen & Company of Florida, LLC, and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Allen & Company will continue to provide Continuing Education Credits for Florida Certified Financial Planners™ (CFP®s) for attending the 33rd annual Breakfast.  The morning event will be held at the RP Funding Center on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  Florida CFP®s interested in earning up to 1.0 credit for the event must pre-register online.  At the event, they must specify their intent at the Allen & Company registration desk and receive a form that will need to be authorized at the registration desk after the event.

“This forecast breakfast originated from the idea that independent business owners needed exposure to economic intelligence.  The macro level of material that Mr. Wesbury shares translates significant concepts into easily digestable, relevant data that paints an economic landscape for businesses both small and large,” comments Ralph Allen, he further comments, “each year I feel the same way, that this year is the most critical in our countries history, and this year is no different.”

Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #EFB2020.  Questions for Mr. Wesbury may be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #EFB2020.  The question and answer period will occur shortly before the end of the program.  Questions submitted via Twitter will take precedence.  Doors will open at 6:45 a.m. for registration and breakfast at the RP Funding Center.  Please register online at

About Allen & Company of Florida, LLC

Since 1932 Allen & Company of Florida, LLC, has provided financial planning and wealth management services to the communities we serve.  Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, with operations in Winter Haven and Viera, Allen & Company is Florida’s oldest investment firm. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment adviser, or Allen & Company of Florida, LLC, DBA Allen & Company, a registered investment advisor and affiliate of LPL Financial.

About the Lakeland Chamber

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice; and, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.