Rita Cowell, Ph.D., Receives the Chesapeake Civitan McNulty Scientist Award
Rita Cowell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the UAB Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, received the coveted McNulty Scientist Award from Civitan International during the annual Civitan Board reception hosted by Dr. Harald Sontheimer and the Civitan International Research Center on October 20th, 2011.
Dr. Cowell’s research focuses on how environmental stimuli can influence genetics to cause abnormal brain development resulting in disorders such as autism. Her studies are aimed at understanding how changes in gene expression during development contribute to the progression of neurodevelopmental disorders.
New NIH Grants totaling $3.9 million in Funding for the study of schizophrenia
Drs. James Meador-Woodruff and Robert McCullumsmith have received 2 new NIH grants totaling $3.9 million to study the causes of schizophrenia and to develop new targets for treating the illness. These studies involve cutting edge methodologies, including laser capture micro dissection and advanced proteomics techniques, permitting the investigators to ask and answer the largest possible questions related to the causes of schizophrenia. With these techniques, Drs. Meador-Woodruff and McCullumsmith will probe for abnormalities of glutamate neurotransmission in the frontal cortex region of brains from deceased subjects with schizophrenia. Some of the tissues for these studies will be provided by the Alabama Brain Collection (ABC), which is managed by Dr. Rosalinda Roberts, who is also on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry.
Departmental Reorganization and Leadership Changes
Recently, the Department of Psychiatry began a process of reorganization to bring its clinical mission into better alignment with the UAB Health System. Historically, the Department has had an Adult Psychiatry Division, defined by the age of patients rather than location or type of clinical services provided and included the 47 adult inpatient beds in the Center for Psychiatric Medicine and outpatient clinics for adult patients located both in the Center for Psychiatric Medicine and our Callahan Eye Foundation Outpatient Programs.
Effective July 1, the 47 inpatient beds have been absorbed into our Division of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, which historically has covered our psychiatric services in the UAB Emergency Department as well as consultative services for patients in University Hospital and various non-psychiatric specialty programs across UAB. This consolidation of the department’s adult inpatient beds, emergency and consultative services will bring the department into far better alignment with the Health System/Hospitals, and will be designated as our new Hospital Division. Dr. Cheryl McCullumsmith will serve as the director of this new division. The adult outpatient clinics will be consolidated into a new Adult Ambulatory Division, and will be under the leadership of Dr. Rob McCullumsmith.
Welcome to the New Psychiatry Interns
This year has been another successful year for the Department of Psychiatry Residency Training Program. Seven new residents joined the department in June. The new residents are Hong Chai from Zhejiang Medical University, China; Stephen Brackett from the University of Alabama School of Medicine; Megan Browder from East Tennessee State University; Iga Lentowicz from Akademia Medyczna Bialystock, Poland; Jesse Martinez from The University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio; Parvathy Nair from Lady Hardinge Medical College, India and Lauren O’Connor from Northwestern University, Chicago.
2011 Resident Graduation Banquet and Awards Ceremony
The Department of Psychiatry held its annual Graduation Banquet and Awards Ceremony on the evening of Friday, June 17th at The Historic Cahaba Pumping Station Museum in Birmingham with dinner catered by The Fish Market. The event was one of the most well-attended in recent memory, with more than 100 people participating in the evening’s festivities. Dr. Laura Montgomery-Barefield, the department’s Residency Training Director, hosted the presentation of awards, the recipients of which are listed below.