Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dr. Alexeyev Interviewed in Science Magazine

Dr. Mikhail Alexeyev, associate professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was interviewed for an article in Science magazine about a technique aimed at reducing the amount of potentially harmful DNA in eggs and embryos.

Approximately one in 200 women carry defective mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and their children can develop serious or fatal diseases. "Back in 2008 we provided a proof of principle for the gene therapy approach when we were able to shift a balance between diseased and normal mtDNA in cells by targeting a restriction endonuclease - an enzyme that cuts DNA at a predetermined sequence - to mitochondria,"  Dr. Alexeyev said.

A group of researchers at the University of Miami led by Dr. Carlos Moraes adapted components of the system that pathogenic bacteria use to improve their “living conditions” inside plant cells to develop genetic tools for targeting diseased mtDNA in a broader range of mitochondrial diseases.

The article describes how a team led by developmental biologist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego took Dr. Alexeyev's and Dr. Moraes' approach one step further.

Click here to view the full story.

May Med School Café – 'Civil War Medicine'

The May Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Kenneth Rettig, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric endocrinologist with USA Physicians Group.

His lecture, titled “Civil War Medicine,” will take place May 26, 2015, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Rettig will explore how the Civil War helped to move American medicine from a poorly organized "cottage operation" to a more modern model. His lecture coincides with the opening of the Mobile Medical Museum’s new exhibit, War and Medicine, which will be on display through Oct. 2, 2015, in the Mary Elizabeth and Charles Bernard Rodning Gallery on the third floor of the USA Marx Library.

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 Rettig May Med School Cafe Promo from USA Health System on Vimeo.

ASGE Updates Guidelines on Colonoscopy Prep

Dr. Brooks Cash, professor of internal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a gastroenterologist with USA Physicians Group, recently led the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Standards of Practice Committee in their release of updated guidelines on bowel preparation before colonoscopy. Dr. Cash serves as the chair of the committee.

The new guidelines include recommendations to improve results of colonoscopies and overall patient care. Since the last guidelines on bowel preparations, there have been advances in prep quality, safety and patient tolerability.

Dr. Cash said the most notable change the committee recommended is the consideration of split-dosing of the bowel prep as a minimum standard of care. Split-dosing a bowel prep involves consuming a portion of the prep the evening before the procedure and then consuming a second, equal portion within three to eight hours of the procedure. While at first glance this may appear inconvenient, multiple studies have shown that this method delivers superior colonoscopy preparation and is actually preferred by patients compared to consuming the entire prep the evening before the test.

The new guidelines also emphasize the importance of documenting bowel preparation quality using one of several validated scoring systems.

The ASGE promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Click here for more information about the new guidelines.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Medical School Graduates Participate in Honors Convocation Ceremony

The University of South Alabama held commencement ceremonies for the 2015 College of Medicine graduates on May 9, 2015, marking the 40th class to earn medical degrees from USA.

The day before, the graduates participated in an honors convocation where they were “hooded” by an individual of their choice, signifying the awarding of a doctoral-level degree. During the honors convocation ceremony, students were also recognized for their academic achievements. Both ceremonies took place at the USA Mitchell Center.

Including the 2015 class, 2,473 physicians have graduated from the USA College of Medicine since its opening in 1973. Approximately one-third of the physicians practicing in the Mobile area earned their medical degree from USA or completed residency training in the USA Hospitals System.

Click here to view all photos from this year's event and here to see the award recipients.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

USA Medicine Magazine - Mailing Now

Check your mailbox for the Spring 2015 issue of USA MEDICINE magazine, which features stories relating to the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. The magazine can be viewed online here. To request more copies of the magazine, email