Thursday, January 16, 2020

Basic Medical Sciences alumna prepares for World Marathon Challenge

Jessica Jones knows about mental toughness.

She earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in 2009, while working full time at the Food and Drug Administration laboratory on Dauphin Island.

Now, Jones is about to test her physical toughness, as she prepares to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.

The World Marathon Challenge starts Feb. 6 with a marathon in Antarctica and ends Feb. 12 with a marathon in Miami. In between, there will be races in South Africa, Australia, Dubai, Spain and Brazil.

Read about Jessica Jones' journey in "One Marathon Won, 183 Miles to Go."

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

USA Health Basketball Game Day set for Jan. 18

Medical students, residents, faculty and staff of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and USA Health are invited to attend the South Alabama men’s basketball game against Georgia Southern. Game Day is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the USA Mitchell Center.

Each person is eligible to receive four free tickets for admission to the game. Additional tickets are available for purchase for $3 to $6. Tickets may be held at will call or delivered by email for printing and presenting at the game.

Visit to reserve your tickets.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Cook retires after four decades of service to USA College of Medicine

Penny Cook, former manager for the department of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, retired Jan. 1, 2020, after 40 years of dedicated service.

Originally hired to file papers in the department of physiology and cell biology, Cook said she never actually filed any papers as her job description noted. “When I arrived, everyone was running around trying to get their posters ready for an annual meeting,” she said. “I jumped right in and volunteered to help them.”

With a minor in art, Cook tapped into her creative side as she designed the posters. “For the first 10 years, I did the research illustrations, line drawings and photography work for their journal publications,” she said.

As technology evolved, Cook soon realized that computers were able to produce the same images that she was developing by hand. Her responsibilities shifted as she started to handle the grants for the department.

“I worked with great people and everyone had a great sense of humor,” she said. “I would not have stayed for 40 years had it not been an enjoyable job with people who know how to work hard, have fun and be friends.”

A day in the life of a postdoctoral research fellow

Postdoctoral research fellow Phoibe Renema, Ph.D., takes digital images of cellular cultures as part of an experiment. 
Phoibe Renema, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in the department of physiology and cell biology, describes her typical day at work as “busy but flexible.”

Renema is responsible for designing and performing experiments for her project, acquiring and analyzing data, writing up her work into publications, and presenting in lab meetings once a week to the lab and collaborators.

Phoibe Renema, Ph.D., discusses her research with faculty, 
other postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.
“A typical day for me starts at 8:30 a.m. when the entire lab meets briefly with our principal investigator to discuss what we have planned for the day, small issues and progress reports,” she said. “After the meeting, I then set up my experiments, check on my cells that I seeded the day before, warm or thaw any media that I will need, and then begin my experiment.”

In addition to her daily tasks to ensure her lab space is running properly, Renema also occasionally teaches a course or gives a lecture in seminars. “My PI and I also meet once a week to discuss my project and progress specifically,” she said. “We go over data figures and edit the manuscript that we are working on at the time.”

Renema recently published a “Did You Know” on the USA Center for Lung Biology’s web page.

Pathology to host Research Seminar Series Jan. 16

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine and the Department of Pathology will host a Research Seminar Series at noon Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Strada Patient Care Center conference room.

Marta M. Lipinski, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will present “Lysosomal Damage and Inhibition of Autophagy in Neurotrauma.”

Lunch will be served. All are welcome, and no reservations are required.

Satisfaction high among USA College of Medicine graduates

Reflecting on their satisfaction with their medical education experiences, graduates of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine give their alma mater high marks.

Results from the 2019 Medical School Graduation Questionnaire, administered annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges, showed that 98 percent of graduating students at the USA College of Medicine were satisfied overall with their medical education, compared with 89 percent nationwide.

The stellar results are not new. Satisfaction rates among USA College of Medicine graduates have remained between 92 percent and 98 percent since at least 2014, according to AAMC statistics.

“It is extremely rewarding to see that students value the quality of the educational program put together by a fantastic group of dedicated faculty,” said T.J. Hundley, M.D., associate dean for medical education for the USA College of Medicine.

Hundley praised faculty members for investing time and effort into designing, implementing and continuously improving the medical education program. “Our medical educators work incredibly hard to organize and deliver a high-quality product every year,” he said.

Data from the AAMC questionnaire allow medical schools to monitor trends and address them. “The results are used by course directors, faculty and the curriculum committee to further refine and improve the curriculum,” Hundley said.

Among other results from the 2019 questionnaire:

  • 91 percent of USA College of Medicine students agreed or strongly agreed that basic science education included sufficient illustrations of clinical relevance, compared with 75 percent of students nationally.
  • 91 percent of USA College of Medicine students agreed or strongly agreed that their required clinical experiences integrated basic sciences content, compared with 80 percent of students nationally.
  • 95 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they acquired clinical skills required to begin a residency program, compared with 91 percent of students nationally.