VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 1 - Number 3 - Winter 2002

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

Medical School Applications on the Rise 
As this year's pool of prospective students increases – for the first time in four years – so does the anxiety level among applicants. The total national numbers are up slightly with over 32,000 applications in the national data base; a four percent increase had been predicted, but final figures will not be available until after Dec. 15. Our own school has seen an even greater increase: so far, we've received 3,874 applications – an upswing of 11.6 percent. Everyone wants to know why numbers are on the rise, and theories abound – including linking graduate school applications to the economy. Our Office of Admissions prefers the lighthearted view that renewed interest in medicine on TV is really what drives the applicant pool! Maybe they all just love NBC-TV's Scrubs

Research News

Chemistry Professor Honored with Nobel Prize
Professor John B. Fenn, Ph.D., is one of three recipients of this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry. He was honored for his invention of electrospray ionization, a pioneering technique in the field of mass spectrometry. An important advance for the field of medicine, the technique is used in chemistry labs around the world to rapidly and simply reveal what proteins a sample contains, contributing to the development of new pharmaceuticals. Link to news about Dr. Fenn's research, an account of a celebratory press conference, or his acceptance of the prize, including audio and video clips. 

National Fertility Study Sparked by Medical School Researcher
Endocrinology and Metabolism Chief John Nestler, M.D., serves as co-principal investigator on a clinical trial underway at 13 medical centers across the country that aims to discover which treatment holds the most promise for pregnancy among women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, the leading cause of female infertility in the U.S. Dr. Nestler's team is one of the foremost research groups investigating the disorder's connection to insulin resistance and the role that diabetes drugs can play in its treatment. Read about the clinical trial

Missing Molecules Could Hold Key to Reduced Immunity in the Aged
It's commonly accepted that our immune system slowly loses its ability to fight disease and sickness as we age. It's less clear, however, which cellular changes in the body cause the aging immune system to make fewer, less-potent antibodies to fight viruses and diseases. A team of immunologists has discovered a decline in the numbers of a critical molecule on the surface of follicular dendritic cells in older individuals and linked that shortage to immune deficiency. The finding is an important step in unlocking the secrets of the immune system, particularly in the aged. Read about the discovery

Higher Education Bond Bill Passes - Medical School Benefits 
In November, Virginians approved $846 million in bond funds for higher education in the commonwealth. A vital issue for the School of Medicine, the passage of this referendum will provide more than $40 million toward projects in the School of Medicine, including construction of a Medical Sciences Building that will house instructional and research space, an addition to the Massey Cancer Center that will provide state-of-the-art clinical research labs, and much-needed Sanger Hall renovations.

Clinical News

Sniper Victim Treated at MCV Hospitals 
When the D.C-area sniper struck in Ashland, Va., the victim was rushed to MCV Hospitals' Level I Trauma Center. Rao Ivatury, M.D., directed the series of five surgeries that saved the man's life. Regarded as a pioneer of today's "damage-control" technique of doing trauma surgery in stages, Dr. Ivatury and his trauma center colleagues were interviewed for a feature on National Public Radio about how they approached the treatment of the sniper victim, who has since been released from the hospital. 

Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer
Massey Cancer Center physicians helped develop brachytherapy for breast cancer patients, which "enables radiation treatments to be completed within five days, as opposed to the standard six weeks," says radiation oncologist Douglas Arthur, M.D. He hopes that the advance will combat the findings from a recent NCI study that found that time and convenience are the primary reasons many women don't receive recommended radiation following tumor removal. Read more about the approach. 

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming CME offerings
The Women in Medicine and Science Pathways to Leadership Conference: Preparing to Lead, now in its 11th year, promotes professional development through enhancement of leadership skills. To be held Feb. 21 in Richmond, the conference offers up to 5.5 hours in AMA category 1 credit and Type 1 or Type 2 CME credits required by the Virginia Board of Medicine. Last year, the conference attracted more than 350 participants from 15 states and the District of Columbia. 

Women's Health 2003: Clinical Insights for the Practitioner will be held April 11-13 in Williamsburg. Offering up to 16.75 hours in AMA category 1 credit and Type 1 or Type 2 CME credits required by the Virginia Board of Medicine, the conference provides updates on a broad range of topics relevant to women's health. Begun just three years ago, the event has evolved into a premier regional conference, last year selling out with more than 400 attendees. 

Learn more about these and other CME offerings that are available through the medical school's Office of Continuing Medical Education

Alumni News

"Alumni College Abroad" - Adventure to Normandy - July 21 - 29, 2003
Join Dean of Medicine Dr. Dickie Newsome and his wife, Jerome, as they host their second trip for alumni and friends of the medical school. Next summer's destination is Normandy, France. Our seven-night, eight-day adventure will begin in the ancient town of Lisieux. Day excursions will include Monet's home and studio at Giverny, Mont-St. Michel, Omaha Beach to walk in the footsteps of Allied heroes, and more. The all-inclusive price for this trip is $2,395 per person. For a complete brochure, please call the School of Medicine at (800) 332-8813 and ask for Erin Lucero. And for a sneak preview, visit the Alumni Association's Travel Program Web page

Dr. Wyndham Bolling Blanton Jr. Honored
By gubernatorial proclamation, Nov. 15 will forever be Dr. Wyndham Bolling Blanton Jr. Day in Virginia, recognizing the numerous community and civic contributions made by the School of Medicine's 1950 alum and long-time faculty member who served as rector on the university's Board of Visitors from 1969 to 1980. Dr. Percy Wootton, M'57, a former member of the university's Board of Visitors, said "Dr. Blanton is the epitome of a Virginia gentleman and physician, an unsung Virginian." Read more about Dr. Blanton and see pictures from the proclamation ceremony. 

Request for Veterans' Stories
For an upcoming story, the editor of The Scarab -- the MCV Campus alumni magazine -- would like to hear from alums who were involved in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm who saw how wartime experiences influenced medical practice and/or our School of Medicine. Please send an email describing your experiences to

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This year the medical school will be asked to absorb millions of dollars from state budget cuts. Your dollar is becoming increasingly precious to us. Learn about how yourAnnual Fund gift impacts the medical school and find a link to online giving via the university's secure site. 

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Remember to Mark Your Calendars for Reunion Weekend - April 25-27 - for class years ending in '3s and '8s, beginning in 1953


For More Information:

School of Medicine
MCV Alumni Association
MCV Foundation