Thursday, April 5, 2018

Dean’s Office Offers Writing and Editing Resource

Since May 2017, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Dean’s Office has sponsored a medical and science writing and editing service.

The goal of this free service is to help faculty, fellows, students and residents move their unpublished projects to manuscripts ready for submission.

Dr. Elly Trepman, director of the service, will assist with editing, formatting, reference accuracy, readability and organization of manuscripts before submission.

For more than 35 years, Dr. Trepman has worked as a basic scientist, clinical researcher, academic physician and a journal editor - helping thousands of researchers get their work published.

Any faculty, fellows, students or residents with incomplete academic articles, case reports or research studies are urged to take advantage of this service by emailing manuscript drafts to Dr. Mary Townsley, senior associate dean of the USA College of Medicine, at To develop a full manuscript from a poster, include the poster file, list of detailed methods, reference files and best times to schedule a brief call with Dr. Trepman. Posters must have already been presented at a regional or national meeting, and will be pre-reviewed in the dean’s office for publication suitability. Anyone interested in submitting grant proposals for editing should note the agency funding announcement, formatting requirements and due date in the email.

USA Researchers Awarded R01 Grant

Wito Richter, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the USA College of Medicine, and his basic medical sciences graduate students work on research Thursday, March 29, 2018.
Researchers at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently were awarded a $1 million four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study molecular mechanisms that contribute to acute lung injury resulting from bacterial infections and to explore a novel approach for treatment.

The NIH-funded research focuses on the bacterium pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), a common cause of hospital-acquired lung infections that can progress to a severe loss of lung function – termed acute lung injury – and ultimately death.

Studying lung endothelial cells – the cells that line the blood vessels of the lung – the researchers noted that exposure to PA induced a dramatic up-regulation in the activity of cAMP-phosphodiesterases, a group of enzymes that degrade the signaling molecule cAMP.

“With this grant, we will test the hypothesis that the bacteria-induced activation of CAMP-phosphodiesterase activity depresses endothelial cAMP signaling, which in turn weakens endothelial barrier integrity, leading to formation of edema and exacerbation of lung injury,” said Wito Richter, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the USA College of Medicine and principal investigator on the grant.

To tackle this project, he joins forces with several investigators at USA and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, each contributing their unique knowledge and skill sets towards the experimental plan. This team of scientists includes molecular biologist Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, microbiologist Dr. Jonathan Audia and physiologist Dr. Diego Alvarex from the USA College of Medicine as well as Dr. Jean-Francois Pittet, a critical care physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Combining the expertise of the different co-investigators will be the key to success and hopefully will achieve results that exceed what each researcher could have accomplished independently,” Richter said.

The research conducted by this grant holds promising potential to impact patient care, as there is an urgent need for new therapeutic approaches — particularly strategies that bridge the current disconnect between bench and bedside.

“Patient mortality and morbidity remain high because there are few effective treatments for acute lung injury,” Richter said. “Although the disease is well recognized and several promising therapeutic targets were identified in preclinical studies, these strategies generally disappointed when translated to the clinical setting. As inhibitors of cAMP phosphodiesterases, the enzymes studied under this grant, are already FDA-approved for other indications such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, these drugs could be re-purposed for treating acute lung injury.”

The Research Project Grant, or R01 grant, is the original and historically oldest funding mechanism used by the NIH. The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

USA College of Medicine Wellness Program Hosts Self-Care Month

University of South Alabama College of Medicine first-year medical student Ashley Cainion participates in a yoga class at the USA Recreation Center Thursday, March 29, 2018 as part of Self-Care Month.
Last month, medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine participated in Self-Care Month, focusing on their social, physical and intellectual wellbeing. The exercise was hosted by the USA Wellness Program, a wellness initiative promoting mentorship and enhancing health and wellbeing among medical students.

During Self-Care Month, medical students incorporated weekly activities and daily challenges that focused on social self-care, physical self-care, intellectual self-care and mindfulness self-care into their daily routines.

“We created Self-Care Month out of a desire to help medical students incorporate realistic and tangible practices into their own schedules.We encourage students to challenge themselves, to be adventurous, try something new each week and to record which activities prove to be most beneficial,” said Tyler Kaelin, a second-year student at the USA College of Medicine and president of the USA Wellness Program.

According to Maria Siow, another second-year student at the USA College of Medicine and vice-president of the USA Wellness Program, the goal of Self-Care Month is to give students suggestions on practical ways to build healthy rhythms into their lives that may have fallen by the wayside since starting medical school.

“Medical school is an incredibly demanding environment,” Kaelin said. “We hope medical students will use this month not only as a time to establish healthy and sustainable habits for their current day-to-day wellbeing, but also for their future as healthcare providers. Some of my favorite parts of Self-Care Month have included a personality workshop, taking a social-media detox day and challenging myself to take to explore interests outside of medicine."

Planned and implemented by the USA College of Medicine Wellness Council, Kaelin and Siow said they were excited to bring this new activity to medical students this year. “We received photos and fun stories from students during Self-Care Month and look forward hearing more about the ways they are taking care of themselves,” Siow said.

To read more about the USA Wellness Program, click here.

View more photos here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Second Annual Resident and Fellow Exposition Set for May 22

The Graduate Medical Education Committee at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host the second annual Resident and Fellow Exposition on May 22, 2018, from 2-4 p.m. at the Strada Patient Care Center Conference Room on the first floor.

The exposition is an opportunity for residents and fellows to display their scholarly activities from research projects, improvement projects and patient safety and advocacy projects. Projects will be presented in poster form in those three categories, with a winner from each category being announced at the end of the exposition at 4 p.m. that day.

“Based on the success of the inaugural Resident and Fellow Scholarship Exposition and the quality and diversity of the poster presentations from last years' Expo, I look forward to seeing the residents' and fellows' projects at the exposition this year,” said Dr. Samuel McQuiston, assistant dean of graduate medical education and associate professor of radiology. “It will be an exciting day of education and inspiration.”

Submissions must be entered by April 15, 2018. A final draft of the poster in PowerPoint format must be received by the GME Office by May 11, 2018.

For more information, as well as guidelines about presenting at the exposition, visit

Mark Your Calendar: Student and Alumni Career Exploration Mixer

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host a Student and Alumni Career Exploration Mixer on April 9, 2018 at 6 p.m. in the first floor conference room at the Strada Patient Care Center.

USA College of Medicine alumni are invited to join current first-and-second-year medical students for an evening of networking as students begin to explore their professional options and specialties of interest.

Reservations close April 5. To register or for more information, email or call (251) 460-6805.

The Strada Patient Care Center is located at 1601 Center St. in Mobile.