Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Med School Café - 'Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy'

The March Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Donna Bennett, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

Her lecture, titled “Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy,” will take place March 19, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Bennett will discuss menopause, including its symptoms and several treatment options that can relieve symptoms. These options include different medications delivered using patches, shots, pills, rings and creams. In addition, she will include information on hormone pellet implants, which offer yet another option for symptomatic women.

Dr. Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montclair State College in Upper Montclair, N.J. She earned her medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in Piscataway, N.J., and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, N.J.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call Kim Partridge 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. Bennett - March Med School Cafe Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.

March 13 DSS to Feature Dr. Joel Andrews

Next week’s Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Joel Andrews, manager of cellular and biomolecular imaging facility at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute.

The lecture, titled “Cellular and Biomolecular Imaging Facility at the MCI,” will take place March 13, 2014, at 4 p.m. in the first floor auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Andrews joined MCI in 2011 with the scientific focus and goal of developing and optimizing novel assays and techniques that take full advantage of the cutting-edge equipment in the Biomolecular and Cellular Imaging Facility, with a special focus on super-resolution and spectral imaging.

He received his Ph.D. in basic medical sciences from USA and is a member of the Microscopy Society of America and the Alabama EPSCOR Graduate Research Scholarship Program. He was also honored as a Fulbright Research Fellow in Vienna, Austria.

The lecture series is comprised of distinguished scientists from other academic institutions who are invited by the USA College of Medicine basic science departments to present a seminar showcasing their latest research findings. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend.

To learn more about Dr. Andrews’ research, click here.

To learn more about the lecture series, click here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dr. Fortwendel Awarded NIH Grant

Dr. Jarrod Fortwendel, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was awarded a five-year research grant by the National Institutes of Health. The grant award totals $1,513,250.

Dr. Fortwendel’s research focuses on deciphering novel mechanisms through which the pathogenic fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus, causes disease. A. fumigatus is the most common mold pathogen of patients with blood cancers, causing high morbidity and mortality.

“A major hurdle for designing drugs to combat fungal infections is that fungal and human cell physiology are very similar,” Dr. Fortwendel said. “In fact, our current antifungal therapies are quite toxic to the patient, and physicians administering these drugs are continually balancing antifungal activity with patient toxicity.”

Previous work in Dr. Fortwendel’s laboratory has shown Ras proteins to be major regulators of A. fumigatus virulence, orchestrating cellular processes required for growth inside the human host. Ras is an important signal transduction protein, necessary for relaying external signals to the internal cell machinery. In pathogenic fungi, Ras activity is especially important for formation of the long tubular structures – known as ‘hyphae’ – developed by fungi to invade the human body.

“We have identified novel, fungal-specific protein domains that define fundamental differences between fungal and human Ras proteins. According to Dr. Fortwendel, his goal is to fully define the impact of these fungal-specific protein domains to Ras biology.

“By completing these studies, we will begin to understand novel means through which Ras proteins mediate fungal adaptation to the host environment and subsequent hyphal growth,” he said. “In doing so, we expect to identify novel virulence traits for A. fumigatus and, in the long term, devise new ways to inhibit invasive fungal growth with minimal toxicity.”

Dr. Fortwendal said this research not only impacts A. fumigatus infections, but will potentially identify fungal-specific drug targets present in all medically important fungi. “Discovering new ways to inhibit fungal growth is an essential step in the continued battle against these deadly invasive fungal infections.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship to Feature Dr. Timothy C. Fabian

This year’s William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship in Traumatology and Surgical Care will feature Dr. Timothy C. Fabian, Wilson Alumni Professor and Chair of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

The lecture, “Blunt Aortic Injury,” will take place March 27, 2014, at 4 p.m. at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala. A welcome reception will follow the lecture.

The lecture, which is held in conjunction with the 4th annual Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Fabian earned his medical degree from Loyola University of Chicago and conducted surgical residency training at Ohio State University. He then went to Emory University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in trauma/critical care at Grady Memorial Hospital. After serving on the faculty at Emory, he moved on to the University of Tennessee in Memphis where he began an academic career in trauma.

Dr. Fabian helped organize and develop one of the largest volume trauma centers in the United States -- The Presley Memorial Trauma Center at Memphis. His academic interests have been in both clinical and laboratory research dealing with shock and organ injury management.

The lecture is presented annually in memory of William A. L. Mitchell, who died in 2005 from severe traumatic injuries sustained in a car crash. In appreciation for the care he received at the USA Trauma Center, his family established the endowed lecture series to memorialize their son and brother and to improve trauma patient care in our region through education. He was a senior at UMS-Wright Preparatory School at the time of his death.

The USA Trauma Center is this region’s only Level I Trauma Center, serving as a community resource for citizens throughout the central Gulf Coast region. The center provides the highest level of care for critically ill and/or injured patients.

For more information about the lecture, contact Rebecca Scarbrough at (251) 471-7971.

USA Surgery to Host Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium

The University of South Alabama Department of Surgery will host the 5th annual Greater Gulf Coast Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Symposium on March 27-28, 2014, at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala.

The symposium will provide physicians, surgeons, nurses and technicians with current evidence-based concepts and techniques of resuscitation, diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic intervention.

The 7th annual William A. L. Mitchell Endowed Lectureship in Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care will be held in conjunction with the seminar. This year’s lecture will feature Dr. Timothy C. Fabian, Wilson Alumni Professor and Chair of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. The lecture, titled “Blunt Aortic Injury,” will take place March 27, 2014, at 4 p.m. at the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala. A reception will take place following the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Fabian will also lecture during the two-day symposium. Educational credits are available. For more information, visit or contact Rebecca Scarbrough at (251) 471-7971.

To view the symposium’s brochure, including the list of guest faculty and USA faculty lecturers, click here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Students, Residents and Faculty Named to USA Chapter of Gold Humanism Honor Society

Front row, from left: Dr. Sobia Ozair, Dr. Bogan Brooks. Second row, from left: JaneMarie Freeman, C. Dale Shamburger. Third row, from left: R. Wes Edmunds, Angela Keffer, Brian Buning. Back row, from left: Alonso Heudebert, Griffin Collins, Timothy Parker. Not pictured: Dr. Jacob Lassiter, Dr. Patrick Smith
This year, eight medical students, three residents and one faculty member were selected to be named to the University of South Alabama Chapter of the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society.

The USA College of Medicine Class of 2015 selects those who have demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.

Recently, the following USA students, residents and faculty were selected:

Dr. Bogan Brooks – faculty, psychiatry department
Dr. Jacob Lassiter – obstetrics/gynecology resident
Dr. Sobia Ozair – internal medicine resident
Dr. Patrick Smith – orthopaedic surgery resident
Brian Buning – student
Griffin Collins – student
R. Wes Edmunds – student
JaneMarie Freeman – student
Alonso Heudebert – student
Angela Keffer – student
Timothy Parker – student
C. Dale Shamburger - student

The honorees will be recognized at this year's White Coat Ceremony on June 21, 2014, at the USA Mitchell Center. During the ceremony, rising third-year medical students will be cloaked with their first white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years.

To learn more about the Gold Humanism Honor Society, visit