Alzheimer's Disease

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Infectious Disease
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Around & About
Dean's Corner

Reaching Out to the Community Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; and P&S and hospital administrators, met with elected officials and their representatives on Jan. 17 at the Irving Pavilion to discuss the findings of the October 2002 Campus Planning and Development Study—part of the strategic plan—and issues of concern to community residents. Among the topics discussed was the construction of new and updated medical facilities, new signage to improve patient accessibility, employment opportunities and job training for local community residents, and senior citizen outreach programs. Administrators stressed that the support of elected officials to help obtain government funding has contributed greatly to the advancement of patient care and the creation of new facilities at the Health Sciences campus.

New Bard Hall Student Lounge
Students, administrators, and alumni celebrated the opening of the Bard Hall Student Lounge on Jan. 22. Their collaborative effort resulted in a dedicated space for all Health Sciences students to gather and study. The renovated area has new lighting fixtures, area rugs, lounge seating, study desks and chairs, custom-made wood and glass doors, new windows, hardwood floors, and a state-of-the-art wireless Internet connection for laptops. The $290,000 project was funded by the P&S Class of 1970, the Housing Office, and the Dean's Office. Pictured at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are, from left, Dr. Shearwood McClelland, president of the P&S Alumni Association; Kevin Kirby, vice president for administration and senior associate dean for administration; Dr. Thomas Q. Morris, vice president for Health Sciences; Anke Nolting, associate dean for alumni relations and development; William Shappley III, president of the Class of 2004; Robert Lemieux, associate vice president for facilities management; and Renee Riley, director of the Health Sciences Housing Office.

New Health Sciences Web Site An upgrade of the Health Sciences Web site at entered its first stage with the introduction of a redesigned home page and general information links. The project, which is in its beginning phase with much more to follow, involves the development of web standards and the creation of a more user-friendly environment for both internal and external users.

Senate Adviser Visits Health Sciences Dr. Sudip Parikh, science adviser for the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, right, visited Health Sciences in December. During his visit, he met with Dr. Thomas Jessell, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, left, to discuss his research to convert embryonic stem cells into neurons that may lead to new therapies for neurological disorders. Dr. Parikh also visited with Dr. Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean; Kevin Kirby, vice president for administration and senior associate dean for administration; Dr. Silviu Itescu, director of transplantation immunology, Departments of Surgery and Medicine; Dr. Stephen Morse, associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Mailman School for Public Health; and Dr. Richard Sohn, director of the Office of Grants and Contracts.

Eyeglasses for the Needy Student members of the P&S club, REMEDY, sponsored a collection of used prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses to benefit underprivileged people in Central America. Donations were collected in the lobby of the Black Building in January. REMEDY is a student-run group that salvages unused medical equipment and supplies. Pictured, from left, are co-presidents Christy Kim'05, Dana Critchell'05, and Mariko Johnson'05. Donations are still being accepted. Anyone interested may contact Ms. Kim at

Neurobiology Poster Show Graduate school student Melissa Hancock, of the Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular, and Biophysical Studies, left, explains her thesis project to Michelle Fuller and Wenyi Wang, students from the Institute of Human Nutrition, at the Neurobiology Poster Show at Bard Hall on Dec. 16. Ms. Hancock's poster presentation, "Neuregulin 1 Intracellular Domain-Dependent Signaling," was among 80 presentations at the show.

Stethoscope Exhibition An exhibit of books and prints tracing the discovery and early history of the stethoscope is on display on the lobby level of the A.C. Long Health Sciences Library. Pictured is R.T.H. Laennec, the inventor of the stethoscope and a plate from one of his books, "De l'Auscultation Mediate" (1819), showing drawings of his first wooden-tube stethoscope. The exhibit was curated by Stephen E. Novak, head of Archives and Special Collections. The exhibit runs through April 1.

Mary D'Alton has been named chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at P&S and director of the Obstetrical and Gynecological Service at NewYork-Presbyterian's Columbia Presbyterian campus. Dr. D'Alton joined P&S in 1999 as Virgil G. Damon Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the division of maternal fetal medicine. She has served as acting chair of the department since 2002. She also is principal investigator for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development FASTER trial, studying optimal methods for the screening of Down syndrome.

AOA Visiting Scholar Dr. Robert C. Moellering Jr., professor of medicine at Harvard and chairman of medicine and physician-in-chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, presented the David Seegal Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professorship Lecture on Jan. 23 at the P&S Alumni Auditorium. His lecture, "Divertimento: The Melody of Infection," explored the impact infectious disease had on the world's great classical music composers.

Consortium Addresses Nursing Strategies The School of Nursing hosted a consortium of nursing leaders at Columbia on Jan. 15 to discuss strategies to address hospital, outpatient, and nursing home staffing models based on nurse competency and skill mix relative to patient mix and acuity. Participants were School of Nursing administrators Mary O'Neil Mundinger, dean; Anne Peirce, associate dean; Jennifer Smith, associate dean; Willie Manzano, vice president, Patient Care Services, NewYork-Presbyterian; Diane Rendon, director, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, CUNY; Frank Cracolici, senior vice president, Patient Care Services, Continuum Health Care; Harriet Feldman, dean, Lienhard School of Nursing, Pace University; Jacqueline Kostic, vice president of nursing, Hospital for Special Surgery; Kathleen O'Connell, chair, Nursing Education Program, Teachers College; and Elaine Gibbons, director of nursing, Lenox Hill Hospital. The consortium will be conducting future monthly meetings.

Gerald Fischbach, executive vice president and dean, wrote an article, "The Dangers of the Day," which appeared on the Opinion page of the Jan. 13 international edition of Newsweek. The piece deals with the consequences of restricting federal funds for stem-cell research.

History of Science Lecture Dr. Larry Altman, New York Times medical writer, gave the year's first History of Science lecture on "The History of Self-Experimentation" at the Hammer Health Sciences Center on Jan. 16. Dr. Altman honored self-experimenters who tested, among other things, the first cardiac catheter and challenged current criticism of self-experimentation. The next three History of Science lectures in the series feature Dr. David Freedberg, "Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History," Feb. 27; Dr. Neil Schluger, "Tuberculosis and the Evolution of Science and Society," March 20; and Dr. Evelyn Witkin, "The Gene Concept," April 24. All lectures are at 5:30 p.m. in HHSC 401.

The Office for Global Health Training and Education, newly created at Health Sciences, coordinates international opportunities for students at all schools and helps provide needed resources in preparation for their travel overseas. The office develops new funding sources, helps students obtain international health grants and fellowships, coordinates visa services, and introduces students to travel insurance options. A Web site also is planned, as well as global health seminars.

P&S Professors Author Aging & Heart Disease Book Two P&S faculty members, Dr. Niloo Edwards, assistant professor of surgery, and Dr. Mathew Maurer, assistant professor of medicine, and Rachel Wellner, a medical student at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, are co-authors of the book, "Aging, Heart Disease, and Its Management: Facts and Controversies." The book, published by Humana Press in November 2002, reviews the best therapies and surgical techniques to care for elderly cardiac patients and addresses areas that require further research.

The Center for Biomedical Communications won the International Cinema in Industry Competition award from the International Association of Audio Visual Communicators for its project, "Jack Elinson: Pioneer of Sociomedical Sciences," shot on the Health Sciences campus. The project, directed by Enrique Gallego, senior video producer, was chosen among 3,700 entries.

Ramon E. Parsons, associate professor of pathology and medicine, has been named Avon Foundation Associate Professor of Breast Cancer Research in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine. The professorship, funded by a $1.5 million gift from the Avon Foundation, will enable Dr. Parsons to continue his breast and brain cancer pathogenesis research and his identification of the genetic changes that lead a normal cell to develop into an advanced tumor.

Richard Sloan, professor of behavioral medicine in psychiatry, has been selected by the Rockefeller Foundation for a residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center on Lake Como, Italy, to work on his research study, "Blind Faith: Evidence, Anecdote and Advocacy in the Union of Religion and Medicine." Dr. Sloan, who will be accompanied by his wife, Jessie Christine Gruman, will be among a group of scholars, scientists, artists, writers, policy-makers, and medical practitioners from all over the world to pursue their creative and scholarly work.

Scott Small, Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Neurology and Taub Scholar at the Taub Institute, received the 2003 McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. Dr. Small will receive $100,000 annual payments for three years to support his research project "Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis and Drug Development Using Microscopic-Metabolic MRI."