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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (April 30, 2009)
Contact: Paul Taylor, (251) 470-1682

May Med School Café “How Every Patient Benefits from Medical Research”


The University of South Alabama Physicians’ Group Med School Café lecture series for May will feature USA researchers Drs. Glenn L. Wilson and Mary Townsley. Their lecture - “How Every Patient Benefits from Medical Research” - will take place May 13, 2009, at 11:30 a.m., at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center at 65 Government Street in downtown Mobile.

During the lecture, USA scientists will use specific examples of medical research conducted at USA to illustrate how all patient care is improved through scientific discovery.

Dr. Wilson, chair of the USA department of cell biology and neuroscience, is an accomplished researcher in the study of damage and repair of DNA. His work focuses on how this damage leads to conditions such as diabetes and degenerative diseases, and the role that DNA repair may play in developing new treatments.

His portion of the lecture will discuss aspects of his current diabetes research involving new strategies to improve the successful transplantation of islet cells, the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Diabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. It occurs when either the body does not make insulin, produces inadequate amounts of insulin, or is unable to properly use insulin. Islet transplants are among the most promising diabetes cures being evaluated today.
The work of Dr. Townsley, who is professor of physiology and assistant dean of faculty affairs at USA, focuses on conditions of both the heart and lung.
Her lecture will discuss her work that seeks to treat acute lung injury (ALI). ALI results from acute pulmonary edema. It can develop from underlying conditions like pneumonia, infection and traumatic injury. Currently, there is a high mortality rate in patients who develop ALI because treatment options are extremely limited and in many cases ineffective.
The prognosis for this condition points to a need for better treatments and serve as motivation for Dr. Townsley, who is also an accomplished scientist.
During Dr. Townsley’s lecture, she will detail how pulmonary research conducted at USA led to a better understanding of how high ventilator pressures can cause lung injury. This discovery, made by USA scientist Dr. Jim Parker, led to changes in the standard of care for ventilator-assisted therapy around the world.
She will also discuss her research that follows up on Dr. Parker’s work and by examining a calcium channel that could lead to potential drug targets for ALI caused from high tilator pressures.
This lecture coincides with a traveling exhibit - “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature.” The exhibit is free of charge and hosted by the USA Biomedical Library and the Exploreum.
The exhibit uses Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a springboard for visitors to explore issues about personal and societal responsibility in scientific research and development. The exhibit was developed by the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with the American Library Association.
The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information regarding the lecture or to make reservations, please call (251) 460-7770 or email
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: October 19, 2009 4:30 PM