VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 9 - Number 2 - Spring 2010

We have email addresses for less than half of our medical school's 10,000 alumni, so to help keep your classmates connected, please forward this issue of SOM eNews!

Student News

Match Madness 
In the country's biggest Match Day ever, 97 percent of our students who were eligible to start a residency program matched successfully, exceeding the national 93 percent Match rate. Across the nation, an increasing number of graduates chose primary care, and that was true for our students as well with 82 matching to fields like family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine. On the VCU Medical Center side of the Match, for the second year in a row residency programs were totally filled. See who's coming to a hospital near you; read Dean's Strauss' perspective; see pictures; or read stories from the VCU News office or the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Undiscovered Talents on Display 
"We all feel as if we know our classmates well, but what we mostly know is how they study and handle school," says second-year medical student Robbie Broughton. January's Talent Show at Shockoe Bottom's Canal Club delivered a whole new perspective. Read more and see pictures from the talent show that raised money for Church Hill Activities and Tutoring. 

Research News

Nicotine No Match for Cone Snail Toxin 
The Magician cone snail is not your typical garden-variety dweller. Instead it stalks the sea, paralyzing its prey with a specialized tooth that acts as a poisoned harpoon. Pharmacology and Toxicology's Darlene Brunzell, Ph.D., has discovered that the snail's neurotoxins may work a different kind of magic on a set of nicotine receptors in the brain. Read more about the discovery that one day may help smokers break the habit

New Targets to Fight Severe Allergic Reaction 
"Because there is no cure for allergies, we need to think about new targets, new ideas and new strategies to help design a cure, prevent them and keep them under control," says Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's Carole A. Oskeritzian, Ph.D. Read more about her discovery that interfering with the interaction between a lipid mediator known as S1P and its mast cell receptors might be a way to achieve this goal. 

Tool Will Measure Health Literacy in Cancer Patients 
Some patients need help and extra support to handle the complexities of their medical care. With the support of a nearly $3 million NCI grant, Social and Behavioral Health's Levent Dumenci, Ph.D., will develop a standardized test that will be the first health literacy measure designed specifically for cancer patients. Read more about the challenges faced by patients with low health literacy

Clinical News

Minimizing Surgical-Site Infections 
Almost half of all surgical site infections that occur post-operatively can be prevented, notes Internal Medicine's Richard P. Wenzel, M.D., in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the editorial, Wenzel examined two large multi-institutional studies published in the journal and analyzed their combined impact for controlling surgical-site infections. Read coverage of the issue by the NY Times or the VCU News Center or review the NEJM editorial.

Cell Phones Can Record Life's Details, Can They Improve Asthma Care? 
Cell phone technology makes it easy for asthma patients to record observations from daily life - like stress, medication, routines, what they eat and if they are physically active. Researchers from Family Medicine will team with RTI International to learn whether those observations can be interpreted and integrated to improve clinical care. Read more about the two-year project that is one of just five nationwide selected for funding by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Sickle Cell-Related Pain Intensifies During Cold Weather 
The debilitating pain experienced by people with sickle cell disease becomes more intense when temperatures drop in the fall and winter months, according to a multi-center study led by Internal Medicine's Wally R. Smith, M.D. Read more about the sickle cell study that included 21 clinical sites in eastern North America and a total of 229 participants who recorded their daily pain intensity.

School News

Progress Toward a New Education Building for the Medical School 
On April 3, the doors closed for the last time on the A.D. Williams Clinic. The 1930s-era clinic is being razed to make way for the medical school's new education building that has been designed to accommodate an increased class size as well as small-group, team-based learning in a state-of-the-art simulation center. Occupancy is slated for spring 2013. Meanwhile, you can learn more about the project or see the contents of a time capsule that was uncovered from behind A.D. Williams' cornerstone. 

Kukreja Named One of Virginia's Outstanding Scientists 
Gov. Bob McDonnell named Rakesh C. Kukreja, Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and the Eric Lipman professor in cardiology, as one of the state's Outstanding Scientists of 2010 for his research studying how male impotence drugs can help protect the heart or minimize damage following a heart attack. Read more about Kukreja's accomplishments

Children's Hospital and VCU Health System in Formal Talks 
The two organizations are exploring opportunities to jointly address the need for advancing the full range of specialty pediatric care in the greater Richmond area. Read more about the discussions

CME Opportunities 
For additional information and to register for the courses below, visit, or call (804) 828-3640 or (800) 413-2872.

38th Annual Hans Berger Symposium 
May 24-25, 2010 
MCV Campus' Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building 

Distinguished faculty from epilepsy centers and neurophysiology laboratories across the country have been invited to commemorate Hans Berger's birthday and hear practical information on applying state-of-the-art electrodiagnostic testing in the clinical management of patients with epilepsy and related disorders. 

Peds at the Beach Conference
July 23-25, 2010 
Virginia Beach 

The 32nd Annual Pediatric Primary Care Conference will feature three half-day sessions on topics including emergency medicine, primary care and developmental pediatrics. Small group sessions will provide an opportunity for case analysis and in depth discussion of selected topics. This course is designed for physicians and other health care professionals who deliver primary care to children and adolescents.

Pain Management Symposium 2010
October 9-10, 2010 
Downtown Richmond Marriott 

Symposium brochure will be available in June.

School of Medicine eNews is prepared by the School of Medicine's Alumni and Development Office. All alumni and friends for whom we have e-mail addresses will receive School of Medicine eNews unless they unsubscribe; you can do so by sending an e-mail to If this newsletter was forwarded to you by a colleague and you would like to subscribe to future issues, please send an e-mail to We use collected e-mail addresses only to send our own information to you; we do not rent or sell e-mail addresses to anyone.

  Egyptian Building


Update Your Contact Info and provide the Alumni and Development Office with your latest news via our online 
update form. 

We're interested in your comments on this communication. Please email 
us your thoughts.

Annual Fund dollars now go 
100% to support of scholarships! You can give online at the
school's eGiving page

Check out the upcoming CME offerings from the medical school's Office of Continuing Professional Development & Evaluation Studies including conferences .

Past issues of SOM
eNews are online.

For More Information: 

School of Medicine 
MCV Alumni Association 
MCV Foundation