Fighting AIDS in the Lab and on the Dance FloorBy Caperton Gillett
AIDS researcher Anne Bet exhibits a passion for her work in a variety of ways.
Anne Bet wears her heart under her sleeve. Hidden beneath her white lab coat are two permanently inked symbols of her life’s work: The one that looks like a tribal sun is actually the HIV virion; the other—which resembles a child’s jack—is adenovirus, the cause of the common cold and a common delivery vehicle for experimental AIDS vaccines. “I heard stories the entire time I was getting the tattoos done,” says Bet, a graduate student in the UAB Department of Microbiology. “People were saying, ‘She’s in there giving her HIV!’”
Bet has given the two molecules a place of honor on her arm as a reminder of her beginning in virology and the ongoing search for an effective HIV vaccine. In the lab of Paul Goepfert, M.D., director of UAB’s Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, Bet analyzes patients’ immune response to HIV vaccines. “HIV is such a tiny little thing,” she says, “and yet it causes such tremendous damage. The idea that something so small could be so powerful is interesting.”
Renewing the Library in the Internet Era
By Charles Buchanan
In the age of Google and Wikipedia, libraries might seem a little old school. How can a building full of books stack up against the wealth of information that resides just a point and click away?
But T. Scott Plutchak doesn’t believe the library is an endangered species. In fact, “this is the best time to be a librarian in 500 years,” says the director of UAB’s Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences. “Increasingly, our role is to help people navigate the information space quickly and efficiently,” and the digital world brings new opportunities to “connect people with the recorded information they need to solve problems, improve their lives, or be entertained.”
Here, Plutchak and Jerry Stephens, Ph.D., director of UAB’s Mervyn Sterne Library, describe five key ways in which the digital revolution has made libraries more accessible, personal, and relevant than ever
Software Helps Medical Couples Stay Together
By Jennifer Ghandhi
Josh and Ginger Menendez (with their son) carry out a Match Day tradition—filling in their names and residency location on maps of the U.S. and Alabama.
Compromise is an important part of any relationship, but for couples preparing to graduate from medical school, the balance between give and take involves a third party: a computer program.
Each year, senior medical students must compete with thousands of fellow students and recent graduates for residency training positions at hospitals across the country. The doctors-to-be rank their destinations of choice; residency programs do the same for their preferred applicants. The final decision comes from the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), a private, nonprofit organization that uses a complex, computerized algorithm to decide the best way to pair everyone up. Results are announced at medical schools across the country on Match Day—a nationwide event featuring sealed envelopes and a high dose of tension.
For engaged or married seniors in medical school, an already tricky process becomes significantly more complex. “There is a way for the computer system to link two students who want to stay together,” explains Laura Kezar, M.D., associate dean of students at the UAB School of Medicine. Known as the Couples Match, this process allows any two people to try to match at residency programs in the same location. (Although the two are usually an actual couple, students who hope to open a practice together also have been known to choose the Couples Match.)