Friday, November 5, 2010

November Med School Café: Maintaining a Healthy Heart - Separating Fact from Fiction

The November Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Barney B. Beaver, associate professor of internal medicine in the division of cardiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled "Maintaining a Healthy Heart - Separating Fact from Fiction," will take place Nov. 16, 2010, at the Mobile Museum of Art at 4850 Museum Drive in Mobile. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Beaver will separate fact from fiction on the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for maintaining a healthy heart.

One common heart health myth is that it is easy to tell when you are having a heart attack. However, many people suffer from heart attacks but dismiss the associated symptoms as heartburn, fatigue or anxiety. During the talk, Dr. Beaver will discuss the importance of knowing the difference.

Dr. Beaver, who is an interventional cardiologist and electrophysiologist, is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Cardiology. His special interests include interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, heart rhythm disorders, pacemakers and defibrillators.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please call Kim Barnes at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

Snapshot: USA's 6th Annual Benefits Fair

Renee Hall (left), supervisor of outpatient therapy, and physical therapist Sheri Kovaleski (right), both in the department of orthopaedics at USA, hand out information at USA's 6th annual Benefits Fair. The event was held Nov. 4-5, 2010.

USA Physician Group providers were on hand to answer health questions and provide guidance. Participants learned their body mass index and were able to receive a free skin cancer screening, as well as other physical therapy and occupational therapy screenings.

Mitochondrial Focus Group Holds First Meeting

From left: Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, assistant professor in the department of cell biology and neuroscience; students Ashley DeCoux and Angela Mayer

The first Mitochondrial Focus Group at the USA College of Medicine was held Nov. 3, 2010. The meeting consisted of an informal presentation of a paper followed by discussion. This week's paper was titled "The innate immune system in host mice targets cells with allogenic mitochondrial DNA."

Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, assistant professor in the department of cell biology and neuroscience, said there are several benefits of participating in the group. "It gives you the opportunity to broaden your horisons, stay on top of the developments in mitochondrial research, and get exposure to different kinds of expertise," he said.

"USA is the first and the only to develop technology for the controlled mutagenesis of mitochondrial DNA, which allows us to generate lab models for mitochondrial disease," Dr. Alexeyev said. "However, the scope of the focus group is much wider than just mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and aging."

Dr. Alexeyev said the group is still in the process of gauging interest, but the initial plan is for the focus group to meet every other week.

To read more about the paper that was discussed at this week's meeting, click here. For more information about the Mitochondrial Focus Group, call the department of cell biology and neuroscience at (251) 460-6490.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will be presented by Dr. Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, director of the Brander Cancer Research Institute and professor of pathology, medicine and microbiology at the New York Medical College.

His seminar, titled "Assessment of DNA Damage Response in Individual Cells Upon Induction of DNA Damage by Exogenous and Endogenous Genotoxins," will take place Nov. 11, 2010, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium.

Dr. Darzynkiewicz's research concentrates on cell biology with particular emphasis on cancer cell growth and the regulatory mechanisms associated with cell proliferation, apoptosis and sensitivity to anti-tumor drugs. He developed several analytical techniques to analyze metabolic parameters related to cell cycle kinetics, prognosis of tumor progression and apoptosis that have world-wide application.

Dr. Darzynkiewicz received his M.D. and his Ph.D. degrees from the Medical University of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland, and completed his post-graduate studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo and at the Medical Nobel Institute of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Darzynkiewicz was a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York and the professor of cell biology and genetics at Cornell University Medical School.

Dr. Darzynkiewicz is the editor of several scientific journals and has published over 640 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, as well as the past president of the Cell Kinetics Society and the International Society for Analytical Cytology. Dr. Darzynkiewicz holds eight United States patents.

For more information on Dr. Darzynkiewicz's research, visit

Dr. Jeffrey Brandon Appointed Chair of Radiology

Dr. Jeffrey C. Brandon, distinguished professor of radiology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was recently appointed chair of the USA department of radiology.

“During his time at USA, Dr. Brandon has served the institution in many leadership positions,” said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. “His prior experience and knowledge, as well as his commitment to the university, underscores his ability to serve as chair of radiology.”

Dr. Brandon has served as vice-chair of radiology and director of the residency program at USA since 1995. In addition, he was associate dean of continuing and graduate medical education, assistant dean of graduate medical education and professor of physician assistant studies.

Dr. Brandon received his bachelor of science degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and his doctorate degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He completed his diagnostic radiology residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he also completed a fellowship in interventional/abdominal imaging.

Dr. Brandon is certified by the American Board of Radiology. He serves as a fellow of the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the American College of Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America, the Association of University Radiologists, the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiologists.