GN Fellow Above: Julie Kanter, M.D., Associate Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Co-Director of the UAB Lifespan Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center 

Julie Kanter, M.D., (Associate Professor, Hematology and Oncology; Co-director of the UAB Lifespan Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center) and colleagues have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. After six months of treatment with the new gene therapy LentiGlobin, clinical trial participants started making more normal hemoglobin than sickled hemoglobin, which has protected them from experiencing painful blockages in their small blood vessels. This treatment holds tremendous promise of an ultimate cure for patients with sickle cell disease, the most common form of inherited blood disorder. Great work, Dr. Kanter!

GN Fellow Above, a few of our residents who matched into fellowship. First row: Myles Prados (ID), Catherine Lumb (Geriatrics), Lindsey Shipley (Gastroenterology) Back row: Sal Kamal (GIM), Tylan Magnusson (Hem/Onc), Tarek Abdalla (ID), Will Morgan (Cardiology) 

The Department of Medicine is proud to announce a 100 percent match rate for internal medicine residents who applied to fellowship this year, with 13 of the 27 applicants staying right here at UAB for their specialty training. Additionally, we are delighted to report a diversity milestone in recruiting all-female fellows to join our Endocrinology and Gastroenterology fellowship programs next year. Congratulations all around!

El Rayes web Pictured Above: Bassel El-Rayes, MD, Director in the Division of Hematology and Oncology 

The Department of Medicine is delighted to announce Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., will serve as the next Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Dr. El-Rayes is the John Kauffman Family Endowed Professor for Pancreatic Cancer Research at Emory University School of Medicine where he serves as Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology. He also serves as Director of Clinical and Translational Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program and Associate Cancer Center Director for Clinical Research in Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute.

He will succeed Kelly Godby, M.D., who has served as Interim Division Director since October, and Ravi Bhatia, M.D., who served as Division Director and Deputy Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2014.

Pending provost approval, Dr. El-Rayes will officially assume the role of division director in February 2022. Welcome to UAB, Dr. El-Rayes!

Kanter_Banks_Exam Pictured Above: Tasks force co-chairs Drs. Gutiérrez and Lyas. 

Division of Nephrology faculty Orlando Gutiérrez, MD, MMSc (Professor & Director) and Clare Lyas, MD, MPH (Assistant Professor) co-chaired a task force to reevaluate the way UAB Medicine reports kidney function, also known as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The current method of reporting requires the use of a race variable, which has come under fire for potentially introducing bias into the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease. The multidisciplinary group reviewed the currently available data and proposed that UAB adopt the formula jointly recommended by the National Kidney Foundation and American Society of Nephrology—the CKD-EPI creatinine equation refit without the race variable. The group further recommended that the cystatin C assay be routinely available to augment clinical decision making.

Thanks to Dr. Gutiérrez and Dr. Lyas for their leadership on the task force, and to all the members for their thoughtful contributions: Liyun Cao, Ph.D., Jayme Locke, M.D., Denyse Thornley-Brown, M.D., Maria Taylor, Pharm-D, Vineeta Kumar, M.D., Brittany Shelton, Tennille Webb, M.D., Andre Lessears, MBA, Andrea Cherrington, M.D., Desalyn Johnson, Calvin Baker, M.D., and Marshall Lewis.

women in science and medicine

Tom McElderry, M.D., and William Maddox, M.D., Associate Professors in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, performed the first commercial procedure in the nation using the Medtronic DiamondTemp™ Ablation system. The two were co-primary investigators for the clinical trial that led to this device receiving FDA approval. The system provides a minimally invasive approach to treating atrial fibrillation, a condition in which an irregular heartbeat can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. The diamond embedded tool allows for experts to create scar tissue, using heat, to interrupt irregular electrical signals in the heart and restore normal heart rhythm. Kudos on advancing cardiovascular science!