Friday, August 6, 2010

August Med School Café - "Autism Services in South Alabama"

The August Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Hanes M. Swingle, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

His lecture, titled “Autism Services in South Alabama,” will take place August 27, 2010, at the Mobile West Regional Library at 5555 Grelot Road in Mobile. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

Dr. Swingle will lecture on autism spectrum disorders, a group of complex developmental disorders including autism, Asperger’s syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorders – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), as well as the local services that are available for people with the condition.

Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the United States and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism.

During his talk, Dr. Swingle will outline the disorders, as well as their signs, symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis.

Jennifer Williams, regional director for The Learning Tree, Inc. and its programs, has been invited as a guest speaker. Williams will present information about the services her organization provides to children of all ages in the Mobile area and its plans for expansion. She will give information on the growth of the Little Tree Preschool and Woody’s Song, a day program for elementary age children on the autism spectrum.

Williams and Dr. Swingle will also provide important information on what is going on at the state and local level in regards to addressing autism disorders.

Williams moved to the Mobile area in 2005 as a board certified behavior analyst working directly with The Learning Tree students to help them develop life skills that will enable them to maximize their potential for achieving their goals and dreams for the future.

Dr. Swingle established the Autism Diagnostic Clinic at USA in 2007. The clinic, located near the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, is one of two in the state of Alabama that provides multidisciplinary evaluations, which include examinations by physicians who are developmental-behavioral pediatricians.

Dr. Swingle is board certified in pediatrics, developmental-behavioral pediatrics and neonatology. His special interests include autism spectrum disorders, public health and the epidemiology of preterm birth.

He received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., and received postgraduate training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed a fellowship in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, please call Kim Barnes at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.

Dr. Jane Reusch Speaks at 37th Annual Medical Student Research Day

From left: Dr. Sarah Gebb, assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience at USA and Dr. Jane Reusch, professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center

Dr. Jane Reusch was the featured lecturer at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine's 37th annual Medical Student Research Day. The event took place Friday at the Medical Sciences Building.

Dr. Reusch's lecture was titled “Cyclic AMP Response Element Binding Protein: An Unexpected Journey in Translational Medicine.”

The USA Summer Research Program is a 10-week program that allows medical students to gain a better appreciation for biomedical research and the contribution it makes to the applied science that is needed to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. During Research Day, students present oral and poster presentations on their research topic.

To read more about Dr. Reusch, visit

USA Surgical Research Fellow Wins Paper Competition at 2010 ACS Meeting

Dr. Joshua Chouteau, a surgical research fellow working in the University of South Alabama pharmacology department and the USA Center for Lung Biology, won the James Glenn Donald, III, M.D., F.A.C.S. Memorial Resident Paper Competition at the 2010 meeting of the Alabama and Mississippi Chapters of the American College of Surgeons.

The award was presented on June 11, 2010, for Dr. Chouteau's presentation titled "A mitochondrially targeted DNA repair enzyme prevents oxidant-induced edema formation in ex vivo perfused lungs.”

“There were many excellent resident research projects presented at the conference,” Dr. Chouteau said. “It was a gratifying surprise to be chosen for the award.”

Dr. Chouteau’s presentation focused on acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe and often fatal medical condition that can result from severe trauma. “Patients usually mount an overzealous immune response to an inflammatory insult, like a blood borne infection,” Dr. Chouteau said. “This can result in accumulation of fluid in the lung and air spaces.”

Dr. Chouteau said current treatment options for ARDS have minimal or no effect on patient mortality. Investigators at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, including Dr. Glenn Wilson, chair of the department of cell biology and neuroscience, have developed an investigational drug molecule that may help a cell repair damaged DNA. Studies have shown that this drug prolongs cell survival after exposure to an inflammatory-DNA damaging insult.

Dr. Chouteau’s research tested the hypothesis that the injection of the drug can protect against development of ARDS in lab models. “Ultimately I found that the drug was extremely effective in preventing the development of ARDS,” he said. “We plan to do more studies on this very promising drug in order to develop an effective treatment for our surgical patients who develop ARDS as a result of severe trauma.”

Dr. Chouteau said that it is a unique opportunity for residents to take time out of their residency to conduct research. “I really think it depends on the individual resident’s career goals and the resident’s desire to be part of a research project,” he said. “In my case, I have always been interested in both research and in a career in academic surgery.”

After studying chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Chouteau received his doctorate of osteopathic medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He then began his general surgery internship and residency at USA. Dr. Chouteau has been working with Dr. Mark Gillespie, professor and chair of pharmacology at USA, as a surgical research fellow since March 2009, with plans to return to residency in July 2011.

"Room with a View" Photography Exhibit at USA Library Features Mike Carmichael

Mike Carmichael, director of the department of educational technologies and services at USA, will exhibit photographs of his experiences exploring the pristine lakes, creeks and rivers in Alabama in the USA Library first floor gallery August 2, 2010 - December 17, 2010. All images were captured from a jon boat, and most of the images are from Big Creek Lake.

Carmichael attended the Naval School of Photography and completed four years as a photographer's mate. He has worked as a medical photographer and medical education specialist.

The exhibit is free and may be viewed during library hours. For more information contact Rexann Warren at (251) 460-7021 or visit the library's website at

Bioimaging Core Facility Installs Nikon A-1 Spectral Confocal Microscope

From left: Dr. Mark Taylor, associate professor of physiology; Dr. Tom Rich, assistant professor of pharmacology; and Dr. Silas Leavesley, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering

Last week, installation of a Nikon A-1 Spectral Confocal Microscope was completed. The instrument, capable of capturing high-quality confocal images of cells and molecular events at high speed and enhanced sensitivity, is part of the Bioimaging Core Facility located on the third floor of the Medical Sciences Building at the University of South Alabama.

“This instrument can perform detailed live-cell imaging and has advanced hi-resolution, high speed and spectral unmixing capabilities that make it state-of-the-art for modern biomedical research,” said Dr. Mark Taylor, associate professor of physiology at USA. “The Nikon A1 is a great compliment to our current imaging equipment and pushes USA research to the next level.”

The A1 has been designed with new optical and electronic technology innovations to provide unprecedented system quality and flexibility. Confocal microscopy offers several advantages over conventional optical microscopy, including controllable depth of field, the elimination of image degrading out-of-focus information, and the ability to collect serial optical sections from thick specimens. The key to the confocal approach is the use of spatial filtering to eliminate out-of-focus light or flare in specimens that are thicker than the plane of focus.

Training on the microscope will start with small groups on August 9-11 in two hour sessions and eventually expand to all interested scientists.

Although training sessions are limited, during the August training sessions, Taylor encourages researchers to stop for a quick overview of capabilities.

For more information, contact Dr. Taylor at (251) 460-6817.