Thursday, August 13, 2015

USA Welcomes Dr. Joshua Taylor

Dr. Joshua Taylor recently was appointed assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Taylor earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., after earning his bachelor of science degree from the University of Alabama. He completed his residency in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Dr. Taylor received the Society of Thoracic Surgeons “Looking to the Future Scholarship” in 2011 as a post-graduate and the William Stewart Halsted Award in Surgery from John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

USA College of Medicine Scientist Receives Grant from the National Institutes of Health

Dr. Xiangming Zha, assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study acid signaling in the brain. The two-year award totals approximately $406,000.

Dr. Zha’s research focuses on investigating a newly discovered pathway in the brain mediated by an acid-sensitive receptor called the ovarian cancer G protein-coupled receptor 1 (OGR1). Dr. Zha will test the hypothesis that activating the OGR1 pathway regulates acidosis, induced neuronal injury.

“In stroke and traumatic brain injury, there is a reduction in brain pH. This phenomenon is typically called acidosis,” Dr. Zha said. “Basically you have an acid environment formed under these conditions. There is clinical evidence showing that if there is a large and persistent pH reduction, neurons die and can damage the brain."

The main goal of Dr. Zha’s research is to clarify the role of OGR1 and understand how acid regulates the survival of neurons. “We need to understand the signaling after OGR1 activation and how the activation is related to neuron survival,” Dr. Zha said.

Very little research has been done on acid signaling through OGR1 in the brain. At this point, there is much to learn.

This research will hopefully uncover an unexpected neuroprotective aspect of acidosis, which occurs when there is an excessive amount of acid in the brain. “Our goal is to better understand the role of acid signaling in neuronal survival, and that may be critical for future therapeutic interventions in stroke and other neurological diseases that reduce brain pH,” Dr. Zha said.

Monday, August 10, 2015

COM Class of 2019 Introduced to Medical School During Orientation

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine welcomed new faces this week for the Class of 2019’s freshman orientation.

First-year medical students were introduced to faculty members, attended information sessions and participated in icebreaker activities throughout the week.

“It is exciting because I have spent years focusing on becoming a physician, and I am finally at step one. I can’t believe that it is actually here,” said first-year medical student Shelby Bassett. “I am intrigued to see what exactly is going to happen over the next four years.”

Bassett, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama, said she chose to come to USA for medical school because of the family environment, the smaller class size and the diverse curriculum. “I felt like this is the place that would make me the best physician.” she said. “I didn’t want to be a part of a massive group. I wanted to be really hands-on in my medical career and I felt like USA offered that. I am very excited to be here.”

First-year medical student Harrison Dilworth said he has a combination of feelings about starting medical school. “I am excited because I am in medical school and I have worked hard to get here. I am also nervous because I don’t really know what to expect, and I’m anxious because I am ready to get started.”

Dilworth, who received his undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University, came to USA for several reasons. “When I interviewed at USA, I really liked the campus, the atmosphere and the welcoming faculty,” he said. “When touring the campus and the hospitals, I just felt like I was home.”

Another first year medical student, Agam Dhawan, agreed. “I was looking for a medical school with a bonding environment, which is not something I would have gotten at other medical schools. I wanted a family environment. That is the main reason I wanted to come to USA, and I knew I would get an outstanding medical education here.

Click here to view more photos from orientation.