The best and most beautiful things

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

Helen Keller

American Hearts… Masterful Minds

We start this week with a resounding “terrific” about our incredible representation at and contributions to the American Heart Association’s Council on Blood Pressure Research underway in New Orleans. MCG Student Evan Mulloy has a poster on a study that takes the significant research contributions of Dr. Gregory Harshfield right into the clinic. Dr. Harshfield has been studying for years the tendency some of us have to hold onto salt following stress and so keep our blood pressure unnecessarily elevated. Evan showed that the stress of going to the doctor could help identify these individuals – about 1 in 3 African-Americans and 1 in 5 Caucasians – if you add a second blood pressure check and urine sample at the end of the visit. How incredibly simple and doable is that?? With a little more study, ideally this simple approach will help many people avoid developing high blood pressure, or at least know what drugs are optimal to get it under control. Truly awesome! Read more here:


The Beat Goes On… Rewarding Excellence

In a continuation of awesome, and our school’s incredible contributions in the battle against high blood pressure, Dr. Clinton Webb, is the 2013 recipient of Council’s Irvine Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award, for his significant contributions to hypertension over more than 25 years. Talk about sticking with the program! Also, tomorrow morning, Dr. David Pollock will be giving the Lewis K. Dahl Memorial Lecture, which, in turn, honors the scientist who developed the Dahl salt sensitive rat that has enabled countless hypertension studies. We understand Dr. Pollock will be talking on his favorite topic: endothelin! And there’s more. Georgia Prevention Center office associate, Deborah L. Stewart, also has a poster that shows potassium supplementation could be a terrific way to help the sodium retainers identified by Evan and Dr. Harshfield. How about that! Ms. Stewart is finishing up her biology degree with the goal of becoming a research assistant. Looks like she is a natural. Our second-year student Eric Z. Lin also has a terrific poster – and idea – about a potential way to identify kidney-related disease in adolescents with normal microalbumin/creatinine ratios, an important indicator of renal and vascular function in us all. We are so proud of the innovative thinking and just plain hard work that’s yielding such fabulous progress in the fight against one of state and nation’s most significant medical conditions. Way to go all.


Working Hard for the Money… Getting Great Results

As a follow up, we talked a little last week about how, even in the face of sequestration, our hard-working researchers, such as those referenced earlier, are still successful at getting National Institutes of Health funding, the true gold standard for biomedical research funding. Dr. Mark Hamrick shared with us this week proof that this sort of drive is pervasive across our campus. He tells us total research funding for FY2013 reflects a 12 percent increase over last year. Dr. Hamrick rightly reiterates that this increase is all the more impressive in a truly tough funding environment and sends his praises to our hard-working and incredibly successful faculty.  We add ours, once again.


An Exciting “Damper”… Kiboshing Autoimmune Disease 

At least one more research kudo is in order this week. Dr. Andrew Mellor’s fascinating work to dampen the immune system’s attack on healthy tissue in common autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and type 1 diabetes continues to make real progress. He tells us in the rapid publication section of The Journal of Immunologythat a protein with the memorable name STING can help reduce or even block the immune system’s attack on essential tissues like collagen and insulin. This all stems back to the 1998 discovery by Dr. Mellor and Dr. David Munn that the fetus expresses the enzyme IDO to help protect itself from immune system attack. STING, they have now learned, can play a key role in IDO expression. So this fits nicely. Dr. Mellor also just got another NIH grant as well as an Arthritis Foundation grant to further explore these relationships with the goal, of course, of helping patients. This is just the kind of tenacity – and results – that makes our faculty succeed even in tough times. Congratulations again. You can learn more here:


Radiating Patient-Centeredness… Improving Outcomes

A mention of clinical excellence is in order as well. Our Radiology Department  is one of the six national winners of the 2013 Imaging 3.0 Patient Centric Imaging Award, a recognition from Health Imaging magazine and the American College of Radiology of the great use of imaging informatics to benefit patients on a variety of fronts, especially important ones like outcomes and costs. More terrific – and objective –  evidence of our patient-minded faculty, staff and Health System.


USG Board of Regents… Providing Sustained Support

Great news this week out of Atlanta as well as the University System of Georgia reviewed its $1.93 billion fiscal 2015 operating budget. This proposed budget reflects the continued and essential support of the USG for our university and medical school. It included $.78 million for our college’s newest campus based in Rome, which again shows that the Regents share our commitment to educating more physicians for our state.  The budget also recommends $3.2 million new dollars to continue support for the USG’s innovative, parallel effort to grow about 400 new residency slots at hospitals throughout Georgia. This is just great news for the wellbeing of our state, our medical school and our university.


New Faces… From Different Places

A great opportunity to meet new faculty – and catch up with others – is coming up Sept. 27 at the Fall reception for new and returning faculty members and their spouses, partners or special guests. This university-wide event is held by the Faculty Club and Faculty & Spouses Club and we encourage our faculty to make every effort to join in giving a warm welcome to these bright individuals who are our newest colleagues. The reception is set 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Pinnacle Club, which provides a beautiful perspective of our city. Please. RSVP by Sept. 23 to Susan Salisbury,, or Fay Verburg, or Terry McBride,


Brave Hearts… Mighty Memories

Finally we pause this week to remember not just the devastation that occurred on our soil Sept. 11, 2001, but to focus as well on the brave souls who rose on that horrific occasion to save as many lives as they could, sometimes at the cost of their own. We will always remember.


Upcoming Events…

Sept. 14 – GRU Day of Service provides another opportunity for GRU and Health System employees, students, and their families to serve the local community. This year’s Day of Service will be much like last year’s, with many of the same groups returning. Organizers are creating two-hour blocks of volunteer time to ensure everyone has a chance to get involved.

Sept. 17-18 – Please join the GRU Research Community at the Innovation Summit at the Kroc Center. To learn more, follow this link

Sept. 20 – Join the Savannah River Scholars Program (SRSP) Research Seminar at 1 p.m. on the GRU Summerville Campus, Science Hall W-1002. Professor Kent Gates, from the University of Missouri will speak on “ Drugging an Undruggable Target for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes? Efforts Toward the Design of Small Molecules that Selectively Inactivate Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B.” Please contact Dr. Chad Stephens, cstephe7@gru.edufor more information.

Sept. 25 – GRU and GR Health System host the manager training session, “Raising the Bar – Motivating Employees.” Sessions are at 7:30-9:30 a.m., Large Auditorium and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Alumni Center, Banquet Rooms A, B and C, both at the Health Sciences Campus; and 3-5 p.m. JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus. Register online through the WebInservice Learning System (MC Strategies)  Course registration instructions may be accessed at:

Sept. 26-27 – The Southern Translational Education and Research (STAR) Conference 2013 will be held at the Augusta Marriott. Investigators in the field of clinical and translational science are invited to submit abstracts to be considered by Aug. 30th. Please contact Kim McKenzie at and visit the website, more information.

Oct. 2 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by the College of Allied Health Sciences, Developing Interprofessional Sexual Health Competencies: Why We Should Care, noon-1 p.m., EC 1222.

Oct. 3 – Come out to meet Ms. Sherron Watkins, Enron Whistleblower at 6 p.m. on the Summerville Campus. She is the Russell A. Blanchard Distinguished Lecturer in Ethics.

Oct. 10– The MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the Doublegate Country Club in Albany, Ga.

Oct. 11 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Oct. 12 – The White Coat ceremony will be held at the Bell Auditorium at 3 p.m. with the reception immediately following at the Old Medical College building. Please check this event page on our MCG Facebook to follow details-

Oct. 15 – Join in the grand opening of the Northwest Campus based in Rome at noon at the James D. Maddox Heritage Hall at Georgia Highlands College, 415 E. Third Avenue at Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome. Follow this link for a map: and for the event page.

Oct. 15 – The MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception will be held in Rome, Ga. at 6 p.m. at the Coosa Country Club

Oct. 18-20 – The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter is co-hosting the Empowering Future Physicians Conference 2013 with the Morehouse School of Medicine. Please check out this event link for more information,

Oct. 26 – The MCG Alumni Association Regional Reception will be held in Augusta, Ga. at 6 p.m. at the Augusta Country Club.

Oct. 27 – The MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Alumni Center Ballroom on the GRU Campus.

Nov. 8 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium

Nov. 15 – GRU EII Health Sciences Education Grand Rounds, co-sponsored by the Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, Critical Thinking: Teaching and Measuring, noon-1 p.m., GC 5002.

Nov. 21 – ElI Career Development 101 for new faculty will be held noon-5:15 p.m. at the GRU Alumni Center.

Dec. 13 – MCG Faculty Senate meeting, noon, Lee Auditorium.

Check out our MCG Facebook page at and Twitter page as well #Follow.

A cooler weekend is in the forecast so enjoy!