Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mark Your Calendar: 45th Annual Summer Medical Student Research Day

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will host the 45th annual Medical Student Research Day on Friday, July 27, in the Medical Sciences Building.

Oral presentations will at begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a keynote address. The event will conclude with poster presentations from 12:45 until 2 p.m.

Dr. David Guidot
This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. David Guidot, director of the division of pulmonary, allergy, critical care and sleep medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Dr. Guidot graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He completed his residency at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis and his fellowship at the University of Colorado Hospital.

The nine-week Medical Student Summer Research Program includes hands-on research related to basic science and/or clinical medicine; a seminar program that focuses on various scientific and clinical topics; and student presentations at Research Day. Through this program, students develop an appreciation of how research contributes to the knowledge and the practice of medicine.

Support for the program is provided by the USA College of Medicine Dean’s Office and the National Institutes of Health.

USA Department of Neurology Welcomes Dr. William Kilgo

Dr. William Kilgo recently was appointed assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and serves as a neurologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Kilgo received his medical degree and completed his residency training in neurology at the USA College of Medicine, and he completed a neurology fellowship with a focus on neuroimmunology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Rejoining the program where I completed my medical school and residency training is exciting, as I will have the opportunity to mentor medical students and neurology residents. I especially look forward to providing a service as a neuroimmunologist to the Gulf Coast which is in short supply - not just here, but around the country,” Dr. Kilgo said.

His specialty is multiple sclerosis, and he will be practicing with Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology, who also specializes in multiple sclerosis. Dr. Kilgo said he hopes to increase access to clinical trials for patients with multiple sclerosis and rare diseases like neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

Dr. Kilgo has received many awards and scholarships including the Best Neurology Resident, which was given to him by the USA College of Medicine class of 2017. He is a member of the Alabama Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Neurology, among others, and he has been published in three abstracts.

Dr. Kilgo will begin seeing patients Aug. 1. To make an appointment, call (251) 660-5108.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dr. Vaughan Lee Appointed Professor of Medical Education

Dr. Vaughan Lee recently was appointed professor of medical education at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Prior to joining USA, Dr. Lee served as professor of medical education and assistant dean for the basic science curriculum at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). He was also the Dr. Bernell Dalley Endowed Professor of Medical Education at the TTUHSC School of Medicine.

Dr. Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Alabama. He earned his master’s degree in basic medical sciences and doctoral degree in anatomy from the USA College of Medicine. He completed post-doctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

He is a prolific author of articles, case reports, abstracts and other publications relating to his areas of expertise. His most recent scholarship focuses on developing and assessing resources designed to promote independent learning for medical students. 

Dr. Lee is a member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists and former chair of the association's Educational Affairs Committee; the Society for Ultrasound in Medical Education and served on its board of directors; and the American Association of Anatomists. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, research grants and contracts.

Friday, July 13, 2018

USA COM Partners with MCHD to Better Monitor Mosquito-Borne Viruses

Dr. Jonathan Rayner, associate professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the USA College of Medicine
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently partnered with the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) to screen mosquitoes and determine the presence of mosquito-borne viruses in the community.

With more than 50 species of mosquitoes in Mobile County, MCHD's Vector Control recently set up mosquito traps across the county to track the mosquito population. Under the new collaboration, the mosquitoes collected from the traps will now be brought to researchers at USA.

Each week, Dr. John McCreadie, an entomologist in the biology department at USA, will identify and sort the mosquitoes into pools. Using high-throughput molecular methods, Dr. Jonathan Rayner, associate professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the USA College of Medicine, will then screen the pools for viruses including dengue, Zika and chikungunya.

Both Zika and chikungunya have been introduced into the United States with localized spread observed in the states of Florida and Texas, respectively. “We know that some of the vectors that are important in the transmission of viruses like Zika and chikungunya are present in Mobile County, but no one is currently looking to determine if the viruses are here,” Dr. Rayner said. “Just because the vector is present does not mean that the virus is also, but if no one is looking then we can’t know for sure.”

Dr. Rayner said the MCHD has supported a longstanding program in vector-borne infectious disease surveillance that is centered on sentinel chickens. “This program has been very effective, but the issue is that it requires the chicken to be fed on by the mosquito that transmits the virus; and the animal must then develop an antibody response that can be detected,” he said. “The program is also limited in the amount of pathogens that are being screened and does not include some of today’s key pathogens such as Zika.”

The new collaboration allows researchers to capitalize on the mosquitoes themselves, offering a more accurate and extensive picture of what is present. “We bypass the middle man, which is the chicken, and go right to the mosquito pool to look at the genetic signatures that would indicate the presence of the virus,” Dr. Rayner said.

According to Dr. Rayner, the overarching goal of this collaboration is to provide additional advanced warning to the presence of these diseases in our area, so local county health departments and officials can implement appropriate practices and measures to ensure citizens of the county are protected.

“MCHD is excited about its collaboration with USA,” said Kelly Warren, director of prevention and wellness at MCHD. “In its desire to be ever more vigilant in the prevention of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness, this relationship will strengthen our surveillance significantly.”

Implementation of this program complements current collaborations between USA’s Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine to screen ticks in Alabama for infectious diseases, which is funded through a grant from the State of Alabama.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

USA College of Medicine Welcomes Dr. Valeria L. Dal Zotto

Dr. Valeria L. Dal Zotto recently was appointed assistant professor of pathology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pathologist with USA Physicians Group.

Dr. Dal Zotto received her medical degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She completed her residency in the anatomic pathology program at the Hospital de Clinicas at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and a surgical pathology fellowship at the Sanatorio Mater Dei in Buenos Aires. She also completed a surgical pathology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn and served as an administrative chief resident at USA Medical Center.

She has been a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology, College of American Pathologists and United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology since 2013. She also has been a member of the Argentinean Society of Pathology since 1996.

Dr. Dal Zotto received two awards for the research project “Utility of Detection of Anti-neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies in Different Pathologies” in Buenos Aires: the Casasco Laboratory Annual Scientific Award and the Roemmers Laboratory Annual Scientific Award.