UAB Magazine Online Features
UAB Alumni Practice Medicine in Unusual Settings
By Jo Lynn Orr
Robert M. Cosby has treated everyone from movie stars to circus performers to soldiers in the field during more than 35 years as a practicing physician.
Physicians are people, too. Like the rest of us, they dream of meeting Hollywood celebrities and sports stars, finding adventure in foreign lands, and getting paid to take tropical vacations. The difference is, doctors have the sought-after skills to turn those fantasies into reality—as several UAB graduates can testify.
Spirit of Adventure
Robert M. Cosby, M.D. (School of Medicine class of 1971), has always been drawn to doing common things in uncommon places. So when Mel Gibson’s film company came to Birmingham to shoot scenes for The River, Cosby contacted the production manager and was hired to be the physician on call at the movie set. “It was fun—something different,” he says. “It was also a learning experience. Everyone thinks being a movie star is glamorous and exciting, but in reality performers live a hard life. They often have to travel long distances and work long hours in difficult locations for months at a time.”
They’re also very dependent on appearance, Cosby says. “One actress called me to the set because she thought her eyes were becoming red, and she was afraid the camera would pick it up. Another actress who was feeling tired asked for a vitamin B-12 injection because she believed it would give her more energy. This seems to be a commonly held belief in entertainment circles, because I ended up being called to the set to give everyone—cast and crew, alike—B-12 injections.”
UAB Alumna Bakes Up a Business
By Caperton Gillett
UAB graduate Jan Moon used her knowledge of nutrition science to create a specialized bakery in nearby Homewood.
Customers are given fair warning as soon as they walk through the door of Dreamcakes Bakery. “Sorry,” a sign says, “everything’s delicious.” Even without sampling the entire menu, a few bites of Jan Moon’s signature Over the Moon cupcakes make it clear that here is no idle threat. But is this an honest profession for a former food and nutrition student at UAB?
“I get a lot of flak about that,” says Moon, owner of the petite confection shop in Homewood, Alabama. It was a love of food, though, and not a fear of frosting that led Moon to what was then UAB’s School of Allied Health in 1978. Afterward she took a position at UAB Hospital, where she worked with cancer and transplant patients and was charged with preparing meals that were both nutritious and palatable. “The thing I liked most was going down to the kitchen and trying to concoct something the oral cancer patients could eat,” she says. “They would tell me what they wanted, and I would try to come up with something they would enjoy.”
Story continues after the slideshow. (Can't see the slideshow? Click here)
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