MSTP Alumni Update: April 2013
A past alum, Daniel F. Pauly, M.D., Ph.D., has been named Chief of Cardiology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and Truman Medical Centers. He most recently was on the faculty of the University of Florida College of Medicine. He succeeds Douglas Bogart, M.D., who is retiring.
Robin Lorenz, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed to a new position, assistant dean for Physician-Scientist Education, propelling the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine closer to the forefront of training clinicians with the scientific experience to move discoveries out of the lab and into patient care while addressing several initiatives in the UAB Medicine strategic plan for research, faculty and student development.
For decades, the number of physicians who conducted scientific research has been in decline; research is increasingly performed by basic scientists without clinical experience. The result, some suggest, is a “valley of death” in which laboratory discoveries linger without becoming actual treatments for patients.
“Physician-scientists can bridge that gap,” said Lorenz, director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, part of a network of programs supported through competitive grants from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Students complete all of the requirements for medical school and graduate biomedical education. They graduate with M.D./Ph.D. degrees, prepared to become funded investigators and physicians at academic medical centers.
UAB has 64 MSTP students; most of them completed their undergraduate education outside of Alabama, from the University of California, Berkeley, to Colby College in Maine, and many universities in between.
“Dr. Lorenz is a very dynamic leader. She has recruited very strong classes to UAB and she’s brought a lot of diversity to campus. Her students have been very successful in getting external grants,” said Hughes Evans, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for Medical Education and chair of the Department of Education in the School of Medicine. “By creating this new assistant dean position it sends a strong statement, makes us more competitive for training grants.
Another new position, clinical associate director of the MSTP, has also been created and candidates among the faculty are being accepted. The new associate director position combined with her new role will enable Lorenz to stretch the reach of the program, she said.
“We really want to expand the training of physician scientists,” Lorenz said, beginning with undergraduate students and including resident physicians and junior faculty.
The MSTP currently runs the Summer in Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Research Program, in which 10 sophomore or junior undergraduates interested in becoming physician scientists spend eight weeks working with faculty mentors on a research project -- and get paid for it. Lorenz has applied for a grant that would recruit another 10 students, from underrepresented minorities, to work on projects related to cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases or sleep medicine.
The MSTP program also works with a small group of residents in UAB’s American Board of Internal Medicine Research Pathway. “We want to expand this to other residency programs,” Lorenz said. “We first need to identify which residents are interested in careers as physician-scientists and find out what we can do to help them.”
Another area ripe for progress is in entrepreneurship. “We would like to be able to expose students to business development,” Lorenz said, further increasing the opportunities for discoveries to move from the laboratory into commercial development so they can be delivered in patient care.
“UAB wants to be at the forefront in physician-scientist education, to train them to go out and be leaders at medical centers across the U.S.,” Lorenz said. “The establishment of the new position shows we’re serious about this.”
Welcome the entering class of 2012
George Washington University (B.S. 5/2009)
University of Alabama at Birmingham (M.S. 5/2012)
Interests: Immunology and pediatric medicine
Previous Research: Important mechanisms in protection and virulence against colonization and invasive disease of Streptococcus pneumonia; Examine the effect of pneumococcal capsule expression and mucoid phenotype on early biofilm formation from Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates collected from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients (Briles, UAB)
Other: Literacy Tutor/Habitat for Humanity (New Orleans)
University of South Florida (B.S. 5/2012)
Interests: Cancer Biology, Mass Spectrometry, Preventative Medicine
Previous Research: Oncogenic signal transduction pathways involved in the pathogenesis of lung cancer. Understanding the role of tyrosine kinase and STAT signaling in lung cancer and special interest in management of lifelong non-smokers with lung cancer
Other: Summer Sea Sailing Course in Greece; American Cancer Society Host; Scuba Diver, Club Rugby, and Bicyclist
Colby College (B.A. 5/2010)
Previous Research: identifying homologues of the V. cholerae attachment protein GbpA in bacteria isolated from the chitinous exoskeletons of shellfish (Fekete & Jude, Colby College); signal transduction in T-cell activation (Saito, RIKEN Center, Japan); role of phosphatases and matrix metalloproteinases in smoke induced lung injury (Foronjy, Columbia)
Other: practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, varsity Crew at Colby, originally from Georgia
Capital University (B.A. 5/2009)
Interests: Cellular Redox and Computational Science/Systems Biology
Previous Research: The impacts of redox systems, primarily the thioredoxin system, on pulmonary development in hyperoxia (Tipple, Ohio)
Other: Fall Study Abroad in Spain; OHSAA Certified Basketball, Baseball, and Softball Official; Managing Family Farm in Defiance, OH
University of Alabama at Birmingham (B.S. 5/2012)
Interests: Neuroscience: glial cell function in the CNS; AD, PD, and Huntington’s Disease
Previous Research: Rett Syndrome : the regulatory function of MeCP2, a Methyl-CpG binding domain protein, in the hippocampus during adult learning and memory (Sweatt, UAB)
Other: Originally attended Berkeley, but did SPIN here and loved it so much she moved!
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (B.S., B.A., 5/2012)
Major: Biology, Chemistry
Interests: Biochemistry, Cancer Biology
Previous Research: tomato antioxidants (UALR, Grace); electromagnetic fields on hepatocellular carcinoma (UAB, Pasche)
Other: medical Spanish study abroad in Ecuador; emergency department volunteer; intramural football, soccer, basketball and volleyball, Assistant to the editor of the journal Ecology
University of Mississippi (B.S./B.A. 5/2011)
Major: Biology and Sociology
University of Alabama at Birmingham (Ph.D. Candidate, PBMM)
Interests: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Previous Research: generate therapeutic targets from the endogenous secreted protein h-VAP (VAMP (vesicle associated membrane protein) Associated Protein) (Aller, UAB 2011); MARCKS (myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate) protein and its role in survival pathways of irradiated tumor cells (Willey, UAB 2011)
Publications: Brewer, S; Turner, L."Carnivory in plants as a beneficial trait in wetlands." Journal of Aquatic Botany, Volume 94, Issue 2, pages 62-70 (Steve Brewer, Univ of Miss)
Other: HHMI Med-to Grad Fellow; Competitive Horse Rider (hunter class and jumper class)
Millsaps College (B.S. 5/2012)
Interests: Spinal Cord Injury: Neuroscience and regenerative medicine
Previous Research: elucidating the behavioral and molecular effects of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase inhibitors on rats struggling with cocaine addiction (Kosten, Baylor/UT Houston); prenatal exposure to oxycodone on the cognitive abilities of neonatal rats (Schrott, LSU)
Other: Congressional Page in U.S. HR; Contributor and Humorist for the P&W Newspaper; Founder of a Not-for Profit (Operation Rehydration, Inc)
Advanced Transfer Students
Wake Forest University (B.S. 5/2009)
Major: Biology with Honors
Mentor: Casey Weaver
Interests: Development and function of the immune system, with an emphasis on autoimmunity and immunopathology
Previous Research: Development of Novel Tools for Deciphering Functions of Non-Coding Elements in Mammalian Genomes (HHMI); The Role of IL-10 in Mucosal Immunity (NIH T35)
Other: Intern with US House of Representatives (William Randolph Hearst Youth Senate Scholarship)
LSU (B.S. 5/2008)
UAB (CCTS Master’s Student: M.S.B.M.S., 08/2012)
Mentor: Harald Sontheimer
Interests: oncology, neuroscience, and drug development
Previous Research: investigating the effects of the cystine/glutamate transporter system xc-, and its inhibition, on glioblastoma multiforme growth, radiation resistance, and neurotoxicity
Other: Bridging the Gap Mentoring Program (undergraduate mentoring); President of the Radiology Interest Group