VCU's Medical College Of Virginia
School Of Medicine News

Volume 4 - Number 2 - Spring 2005

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

Student News

Match Day! 
A record number of fourth-year students from U.S. medical schools -- 14,700 -- applied for residency positions through the National Resident Matching Program this year. More than 150 of our own students were included in that total. They gathered on March 17 to celebrate the good news with their friends and families. Also on hand were 15 babies born to the fourth-year students. See pictures and review a list (available as an MS Word document) of the students' Match destinations. 

Students take obesity battle on the road 
With games of nutrition jeopardy and snacks like ants on a log, students from the medical school are taking aim at obesity. In monthly visits to Boys and Girls Clubs in the Richmond community, the students arm area children with nutritional strategies. A lunch lecture sponsored by the Annual Fund prepared the volunteers for the task. Learn more about the students' effort to battle the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. 

Students experience the legislative process 
On February 3, about 45 students from the state's medical schools participated in Virginia Medical Student Lobby Day. Organized by second-year student Dan Barrett, the day was designed to motivate students to take part in the political process. Sponsored by the Annual Fund, the MCV Campus' Medical Society of Virginia Student Chapter matched students to legislators with whom they discussed lowering medical student debt and legislation that preserves the practice of medicine. See pictures from Medical Student Lobby Day.

Research News

$1 million gift for emphysema research 
The Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care has received a $1 million gift from Williamsburg's Kenny and Vickie Johnson. To be used to attract a recognized researcher who will head a research effort for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the gift will "have long-term consequences for comprehensive emphysema research efforts at VCU," said Alpha "Berry" Fowler, M.D., chair of the Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care. Read more about the gift

Molecular basis for genetic differences in alcohol response 
Researchers have identified several genetic changes in the brains of mice caused by ethanol, which may help researchers better understand how and why people become addicted to alcohol. In the March issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Michael Miles, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues reported significant differences in the gene expression patterns regulated by alcohol in two mouse strains. Read more about Dr. Miles' findings

Women with support systems have less risk of depression 
Researchers have found that women who feel more loved and supported are less at risk for major depression than men, suggesting important gender differences in the pathways leading to depression. "These findings suggest that men may be more 'immune' or less sensitive to aspects of their social environment with respect to their risk for depression," said lead author Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics. Read more about Dr. Kendler's study that was published in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. 

Clinical News

Premenstrual exacerbation of depression common 
Women with depression commonly report fluctuations in their symptoms across the menstrual cycle - a key factor that may help physicians better evaluate medication response. "If you start a depressed woman on antidepressant medication and she comes back a week later feeling worse, it may be because she is premenstrual now and not that it was the wrong choice of antidepressant," said lead author Susan G. Kornstein, M.D. Read more about the study that appears in the January issue of the journal Psychological Medicine. 

New technology for treating irregular heartbeats 
School of Medicine cardiologists are among a small group using a new digital magnetic navigation technology called stereotaxis that helps doctors steer small treatment catheters through the complex anatomy of the heart and surrounding vessels to sites that once were inaccessible. "The technology gives us the ability to place a catheter anywhere in the heart," said Kenneth Ellenbogen, M.D., professor of cardiology and director of the cardiac electrophysiology lab. "The technology appears to be extremely promising in mapping and ablating arrhythmias in difficult areas." Read more about the technology

Gastroenterology ranked 4th in most cited research papers 
The Division of Gastroenterology in the Internal Medicine Department has been ranked fourth among federally funded U.S. universities based on the average number of citations per research paper. Read more about the ranking that is based on papers published in indexed journals of gastroenterology and hepatology between 1999 and 2003. 

Physicians named to top posts at journal 
Two physicians have been named editor-in-chief and deputy editor of the Journal of Women's Health, a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal that publishes clinical papers on health issues that affect women across the lifespan. Read more about faculty members Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology, who will serve as editor-in-chief; and Wendy S. Klein, M.D., professor of internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, who will serve as deputy editor. 

Alumni News

University ranks among top 10 best places to work for postdocs 
VCU is ranked among the top 10 U.S. academic institutions for post doctorate degrees in the life sciences, according to the third annual Best Places to Work for Postdocs survey in The Scientist - a science news journal. Read more about the ranking that was based on a survey of more than 3,500 post doctoral students. 

Aging has never looked like this 
An Annual Forum for first- and second-year students continues to draw rave reviews as medical students get an entirely new perspective on aging issues. Each year, Peter Boling, M.D., chief of geriatrics, assembles a panel of older adults who frankly discuss the issues that face today's aging population. The forum grew out of a four-year, $1.8 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation that has enabled Dr. Boling and his colleagues to transform the medical school's approach to teaching geriatrics at all levels. Read a cover story on the forum (available as a PDF document) that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Prime Living Section or or visit the Geriatrics Web site to learn more about Dr. Boling's program. 

Receptions honor Florida alumni 
In January, the School of Medicine hosted alumni receptions in Delray, Miami and Tampa. Dr. Dickie Newsome, Dean of Medicine, and Dr. Hugo Seibel, retired Associate Dean of Student Activities, welcomed more than 70 alumni and friends. See pictures from the Florida receptions

Make sure that your contact info is up-to-date so that you'll receive invitations to upcoming School of Medicine alumni receptions in the Durham and Chapel Hill region, Wilmington North Carolina and Charleston South Carolina. 

Alumnus nominated to serve in Bush administration 
President George W. Bush has announced his intention to nominate Jonathan Perlin, PhD'91, M'92, H'96, MHA'97, an alumnus of the School of Medicine and a former VCU Health System executive, to be undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Read more about Dr. Perlin

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