Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sept. 22 DSS to Feature Dr. Michael Xi Zhu

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Michael Xi Zhu, professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in Houston, Texas.

The lecture, titled “TRPC4 Channel Regulation and Function,” will take place Sept. 22, 2016, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA's main campus.

Dr. Zhu earned both his master of science degree and Ph.D. from the University of Houston. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine. His interests include ion channels for calcium signaling.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Learn more about Dr. Zhu here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dr. Steve Lim Awarded AHA Grant

Dr. Steve Lim, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a $154,000 two-year research grant from the American Heart Association to study treatment options for vessel-narrowing diseases.

Dr. Lim's research aims to gain insight into the role focal adhesion kinase (FAK) plays in smooth muscle cell (SMC) plasticity via epigenetic gene expression. “Excessive growth of vascular SMC is a fundamental problem in occlusive cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis,” Dr. Lim explained. “In many cases, abnormal SMC growth following medical intervention, such as balloon angioplasty or bypass surgery, also results in re-narrowing of the vessel.”

According to Dr. Lim, there is a need to develop better and more efficient systemic treatment options that would work on smaller arteries and vessels, as current treatment options for vessel-narrowing diseases are limited to large-sized arteries and are only effective in a small area.

Through previous research, Dr. Lim found that FAK activity is critical in promoting SMC proliferation. “Targeting FAK activity with small molecule FAK inhibitors might prove beneficial in preventing abnormal SMC growth,” Dr. Lim said.

Dr. Lim said this research has the potential to greatly impact patient care. “Since there is currently a lack of therapeutics for the treatment of small vessel occlusions, which commonly occur in diabetic patients, this research could provide a new therapy for those patients,” Dr. Lim said. “Oral FAK inhibitors are currently being tested in human clinical trials as a cancer therapy; they might also prove helpful in treating these vascular complications.”

The research is a collaboration between several researchers at USA including Dr. David Weber, associate professor of physiology at the USA College of Medicine; Dr. Erin Ahn, associate professor of oncologic sciences; and Dr. Jung-Hyun Kim, a postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Ahn’s lab at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

Dr. Susan Baker Appointed Interim Chair

Dr. Susan Baker, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, has been appointed interim chair of the USA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Baker joined the USA College of Medicine faculty in 1993 and during the past 23 years has provided outstanding leadership for the department, particularly in the area of high-risk obstetrics. She is a maternal-fetal physician and director of the maternal fetal medicine division with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Baker earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she also completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology and her fellowship training in maternal-fetal medicine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

USA Welcomes Dr. James West

Dr. James West recently was appointed adjunct associate professor of orthopaedics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and will serve as a part-time orthopaedic surgeon with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. West earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Ga. He then completed his residency training in orthopaedic surgery at USA Medical Center, and a fellowship in scoliosis and spinal reconstruction surgery at Twin Cities Scoliosis Research Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Dr. West is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons and serves as a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Medical Society of Mobile County and the Alabama Orthopaedic Society. Dr. West is also a fellow in the Scoliosis Research Society. He specializes in scoliosis and reconstructive surgery of the cervical and lumbar spine for both adolescents and adults.

Dr. West is now accepting new patients and referrals. To make an appointment, call (251) 665-8200.