VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 3 - Number 1 - Winter 2004

We hope that you'll enjoy these quick highlights from the MCV Campus. Please forward this newsletter to friends who might like to learn more about the School of Medicine! In this issue...

Student News

Wilderness Medicine Society Takes Students out of the Classroom
Combining a passion for the outdoors with the medical profession, the MCV Campus Wilderness Medical Society draws more than 100 students, making it one of the largest student interest groups on campus. Offering an annual fall rafting trip, a 10-lecture elective for first-year students and a seminar on basic wilderness first aid, the chapter is supported in part by the School of Medicine's Annual Fund. Learn more about the Wilderness Medical Society and how your Annual Fund gift impacts the medical school.

First Epidemiology Ph.D. Program in Virginia
This fall, the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health officially launched Virginia's first and only Ph.D. program in epidemiology. Genetics, biology, pathology and statistics are among the areas covered by the multi-disciplinary program. Read more about the Epidemiology Ph.D. 

High School Students Enjoy Front Row Seat for Surgery
About 40 Chesterfield County math and science students recently had a doctor's-eye view during a gall bladder surgery... but they were nowhere near the operating room. Thanks to a high-speed Internet connection and expertise provided by the Medical Informatics and Technology Application Consortium, the students were able to view the surgery from their science classroom. Read more about the experience. 

Research News

NCI Director Helps Break Ground for Cancer Center Research Addition
Medical Center officials have broken ground for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art research addition to the Massey Cancer Center that will be constructed at the site of the former Randolph Minor Annex. Joining Virginia Gov. Warner, Center volunteers and cancer survivors was Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, director of the National Cancer Institute, who announced "We are making progress against cancer. We will make even greater progress because of what you are doing here... You are making hope a reality." Read more about the groundbreaking and view pictures from the site, including the newly exposed eastern view of the Egyptian Building. 

New Test to Study Depression in Young Girls
Researchers have developed an innovative method to identify young girls who are at high risk for depression once they enter puberty. The model simultaneously considers three ways that genes linked to anxiety influence later depression. "Finding the genes is important, but it is not the only positive contribution that genetically informative studies can make in understanding the mechanisms underlying behavioral development," says Judy L. Silberg, Ph.D., a researcher at VCU's Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. Read more about the model that was published in an October special issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 

Molecular Discovery Linked to Reduced Immunity in the Elderly
Low levels of a molecule on the surface of follicular dendritic cells reduce the ability of the elderly to produce antibodies to fight germs and infections. "The aging immune system is characterized by a progressive decline in its ability to fight antigens, which may contribute to serious illnesses and death in the elderly," says Andras K. Szakal, Ph.D., professor of anatomy and immunobiology and the lead author on the study. The findings, included in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Immunology, confirm preliminary research reported in 2002. Learn more about the discovery.

Clinical News

$1.5 Million from HHS to Support Bioterrorism Training
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $1.5 million grant to VCU to provide continuing education for health professionals to better respond to bioterrorism emergencies. VCU is the only Virginia institution to receive one of 19 grants awarded. In a news report, Emergency Medicine Chairman Joseph Ornato, M.D., who will lead the grant team, said "Our proximity to the nation's capitol, as well as Tidewater, which are two obvious and high threat areas, puts us in a strategic position to help two areas that need to be prepared." Read more about the bioterrorism grant. 

VCU Now a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health 
VCU is the only institution in the Southeastern United States - and one of only six in the nation - to be newly designated as a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more about the designation and the Institute for Women's Health. 

NASCAR Driver Makes Pit Stop to Thank Medical Center Staff
Almost four months after he was admitted to the hospital following a violent collision with a concrete wall, NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau returned to say thank you to the many doctors, nurses and other staff members who helped care for him. Nadeau was flown to the Medical Center following what NASCAR officials called one of the worst impacts from which anyone has walked away. Read more about Nadeau's recovery. 

Faculty News

Dr. Seibel Announces Retirement
One of the most familiar faces in the medical school, Hugo Seibel, Ph.D., associate dean for student affairs and professor of anatomy, has announced that he will retire at the end of the school year. Plans are underway to establish a professorship in his name. Look for additional details in the coming months.

Gift from Anthem Endows Professorship
During a November ceremony, with friends and colleagues looking on, representatives from Anthem presented a $415,000 check to the School of Medicine in honor of Orhan Muren, M.D., professor emeritus in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. The gift endows the Orhan Muren Distinguished Professorship and recognizes a revered physician and teacher for his outstanding gifts to medicine. Read more about Dr. Muren's career and the ceremony.

Researcher Developing Models to Evaluate Cancer Treatments
The American Cancer Society has awarded Internal Medicine Professor Bruce E. Hillner, M.D., a $687,000, four-year Research Scholar Grant. With the grant's support he will develop models that could help clinicians and policy makers better evaluate treatments for cancer patients by weighing projected survival rates, enhanced quality of life and other outcomes against financial costs. Read more about the Research Scholar Grant.

Alumni News

Alumni Give Medical Students a First Taste of Medicine
Thanks in large part to our alumni, medical students have the chance to interact with patients as early as their first month on campus - putting newly gained knowledge to use in a hands-on environment. Nearly half of the more than 330 preceptors who participate in the school's Foundations of Clinical Medicine course are M.D. or housestaff alums of the medical school. Read more about medicine alum Dr. Nicolas Tulou, M'75, who has invited medical students into his practice for five years and learn about how you can become a preceptor.

Dr. Moore Is Finalist in Country Doctor of the Year Competition
Dr. H. Lynn Moore, M'58, has been named runner-up in the ninth annual Country Doctor of the Year competition. Practicing in Virginia's Augusta County for 44 years, Dr. Moore has "delivered babies, healed wounds, gave measles shots and treated the locals for everything from flu to cancer," according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "The first responder for many patients in the area is their family practitioner ... He still shows up on doorsteps with a black leather bag holding a stethoscope, tongue blades and enough medication to get a patient through until the pharmacy opens." More than 100 nominations were submitted to the national health-care firm Staff Care for its annual competition honoring rural physicians who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to patients, community and profession.

Drs. Colenda and Holmes Named Alumni Stars
Last fall, two of the medical school's distinguished alumni returned to campus to participate in Founders Day. Held biennially, the celebration marks the university's 1848 beginning and honors the newest generation of Alumni Stars from each of the university's schools. Read about the Founders Day celebration or learn more about the careers of the medical school's newest alumni stars: Drs. Christopher Colenda, M'77, who is Medicine Dean at Texas A&M; and Kevin L. Holmes, Ph.D.'81, who heads the largest Flow Cytometry Section at the NIH. 

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  Egyptian Building


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