Friday, November 19, 2010

Med School Café - Expert Advice for the Community

This week's Med School Café lecture, "Maintaining a Healthy Heart," was given by Dr. Barney Beaver, associate professor of internal medicine in the division of cardiology at USA. The lecture was held at the Mobile Museum of Art and had a total of 121 attendees.

Video from this lecture will be posted online by next week. To read more about the lecture, click here.
The next Med School Café lecture will be held on Dec. 17, 2010, and will feature Dr. Silvio deMelo, assistant professor of gastroenterology at USA. If you are interested in attending, email for details.

Students, Faculty Present Research Projects at 4th Annual COM Research Forum

From left: Dr. Mark Taylor, associate professor of physiology; Cristhiaan Ochoa, basic medical sciences graduate student; Glenda Parra-Bonilla, basic medical sciences graduate student; Dr. David Wood, chair of microbiology

Dr. Sarah Sayner (right), assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience and Sukrutha Chettimada, basic medical sciences graduate student
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine's 4th annual Research Forum was held Nov. 19, 2010, at USA's main library.

According to Dr. Donna Cioffi, assistant professor of biochemistry at USA, the research forum is a great opportunity for basic medical scientists and clinicians to present their research projects to colleagues at the College of Medicine.

The forum consisted of two sessions - the morning session was comprised of nine oral presentations and the afternoon session hosted poster presentations. "This year we had 38 posters," Dr. Cioffi said. "We were also very excited to have clinical participation from the departments of surgery, internal medicine, gastroenterology and pathology."

Dr. Cioffi said graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and clinical fellows are especially encouraged to present their work in the forum. "Not only do they gain experience in presentation skills, but they also have the opportunity to share their research experiences with other students and faculty."

Cristhiaan Ochoa, a fourth-year graduate student in the basic medical sciences program, said it is important for students to participate in the research forum. "The forum allows you to share your research with people you don't interact with on a regular basis," he said. "Through this program, we are given the opportunity to share our knowledge with them to collaborate and come up with new ideas."

Ochoa's poster presentation involved the study of an exotoxin produced by pseudomonas aeruginosa, a dangerous bacterium. "Ninety percent of bacteria that you isolate from patients in the hospital produces this toxin, which can cause acute lung injury and sepsis, a deadly blood infection," Ochoa said. "In this research study, we are trying to understand how this toxin works."

According to Dr. Cioffi, the forum helps to achieve a strong integration between the basic medical science departments and the clinical departments. "Through this forum we hope that people will share their ideas, which in turn will foster new and exciting projects and collaborations."

To learn more about participating in the annual COM Research Forum, contact Dr. Cioffi at or Dr. Jody Brewer at

Groundbreaking of USA Children's and Women's Hospital Expansion

The University of South Alabama on Nov. 17, 2010, broke ground on a major expansion of USA Children's and Women's Hospital. The $72.6 million expansion will add more than 195,000 square feet to the existing hospital, almost doubling its size and allowing a higher level of care for patients and their families.

Among the speakers at the groundbreaking was Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. "The expansion will provide greater opportunities for our medical students and residents to learn from their enhanced exposure to more patients with childhood diseases and medical areas of women's health," he said. "At the same time, they will be working with our faculty in state-of-the-art facilities."

To read the full press release on the groundbreaking, click here.

USA Physicians Group - Beyond the Medical Headlines

Each week, dozens of medical studies are promoted by news outlets. Many times, the coverage is brief - sometimes, it can even be confusing.

Dr. Allen Perkins, chair of family medicine at the USA College of Medicine, will thoroughly examine interesting medical studies and provide important information for patients. If you would like to receive an e-mail once a week with a look beyond the medical headlines, click this link -

Study by Dr. Terrence Tumpey Featured in November Issue of Microbe Magazine

A study by Dr. Terrence Tumpey, senior microbiologist and team leader in the influenza pathogenesis, influenza division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, was featured in the November issue of Microbe magazine.

Dr. Tumpey, who graduated from USA in 1997, is noted for his work in reconstructing the 1918 pandemic influenza virus in an effort to better understand what characteristics made it so deadly. The 1918 virus, also known as Spanish Flu, killed an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide.

To read the entire article and an author profile of Dr. Tumpey that was featured in Microbe magazine, click here.