UAB Magazine Online Features
New Research Unit Expands Access to Cutting-Edge Treatments at UAB
By Matt Windsor
In one six-month stretch last year, Lynn and Suzy Holt got enough bad news to last a lifetime. Suzy found out she had breast cancer in June 2012, just after Lynn had left a longtime job as a food distributor to start his own business. Then, as Suzy was in the middle of treatment in early October, Lynn was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain tumor. "I was a stage 4," he says, which means the tumor was spreading quickly. "My doctor said, 'You need to go to UAB. This needs to be handled by the experts.'"
Lynn, who describes himself as a "real online kind of guy," had done his research and knew what he was up against. Glioblastoma multiforme is the deadliest type of brain cancer, with an average survival rate of less than 15 months from diagnosis. "I wanted every hope I could get," he says.
"A More Convenient Season" Shares Birmingham's Story
By Matt Windsor
Alys Stephens Center (ASC) in the world premiere of composer Yotam Haber's "A More Convenient Season."On September 21, Birmingham's past will engage its present in a unique conversation. For 75 minutes, the words of civil rights legends and footsoldiers, FBI agents and Klansmen, will echo through UAB's
The three-movement musical work, commissioned by philanthropist Tom Blount and produced by the ASC, caps Birmingham's commemoration of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963.
Speeches, oral history transcripts, and FBI interviews supply the text of a multi-faceted work that combines the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a chorus from dozens of local choirs, electronic music, and a documentary film. (The work's title comes from a line in Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail.") The ambitious project might best be described as an opera, says Haber. "There are no sets or costumes, but in every other respect, this is an opera."
"A More Convenient Season," Saturday, September 21 - 8 p.m.
Jemison Concert Hall, Alys Stephens Center
Book online or call (205) 975-2787.
Tickets: $10 with promo code "positivepeace"
"A More Convenient Season" is the first world premiere in the ASC's 17-year history—a dramatic gesture that is "UAB's gift to Birmingham," says Theresa Bruno, chair of the ASC's corporate board. For Haber, a project that began as a 15-minute string quartet has been his constant companion for two years, evolving into what he says is "the most meaningful work I have ever made."
Essix Celebrates Birmingham’s Beauty and ProgressBy Grant Martin
Fifty years ago, Eric Essix saw the worst of Birmingham. As a young child living in the city’s Fountain Heights neighborhood, Essix grew up near the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement.
What: Eric Essix performing with Five Men On a Stool and Tracy Hamlin
“I had a great childhood and a great time growing up here,” says Essix, a renowned jazz guitarist—and member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame—who has served as the artist coordinator for UAB’s Alys Stephens Center (ASC) since 2010. “I experienced some of the segregation and discrimination, but I saw it all through the eyes of a young child. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I could look back and appreciate the changes that had taken place and the gravity of what had happened here.”
On Thursday, September 19, Essix will perform selections from his latest CD, Evolution, at the ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall at a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Essix says he sees the event as a celebration of progress. “When I began recording Evolution, I was inspired by feelings of healing and hope,” he says. “My goal for the album and for this event is to inspire other people to look at what we’ve done and the progress we’ve made in 50 years—to make them want to do even more to unify our community.”
Unique Team Inspires Spinal Cord Studies
By Jeff Hansen
At age 17, Candace Floyd, Ph.D., worked as an emergency medical technician and a hospital volunteer. She saw wreck victims and shaken babies who had suffered central nervous system trauma, and she resolved to help them.
Roman Reed of California was paralyzed when a tackler crushed his vertebrae in a 1994 college football game. After his injury, Roman and others convinced the California legislature to pass "Roman's Law," an added fine on traffic tickets that would fund spinal cord injury research. In 11 years, the Roman Reed Foundation has awarded $12.5 million to researchers in spinal cord injury and regenerative medicine.
In Alabama, Chatom native and nursing student T.J. Atchison was determined to bolster spinal cord injury research after becoming paralyzed in a 2010 car wreck.
These three young people, from different parts of the country, are now helping to push the boundaries of the field and set the stage for potential new treatments at UAB.
"There is nothing we can do to repair the damaged tissue, or regenerate it," says Floyd, now a UAB associate professor who studies both brain and spinal cord injuries. "It's a travesty. I vowed that I was going to fix that."