11th annual James K. Alexander Research Symposium draws variety of science

April 1, 2011

Medical students discuss a project.
Medical students discuss a project during symposium.

Clinical and basic science projects spanning a variety of topics – from medical student burnout and web-based learning to the molecular activity of a new drug in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma – highlighted the 11th Annual James K. Alexander Research Symposium on March 10.

Winners in Clinical Research included:

  • First prize – Third-year medical students Harsha Mittakanti, Michael Lara and Matthew Timberlake for their project "A novel educational approach for medical students: short and long-term retention rates using interactive medical software compared to traditional lecture-based format." Faculty mentors were Dr. Mary Brandt, vice chair of surgery; Dr. Anuradha Subramanian, assistant professor of surgery and surgery clerkship director, and Dr. David Eagleman, assistant professor of neuroscience and psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
  • Second prize – First-year medical student Tyler Murray for the project "Reproducibility of image quality assessment and of longitudinal comparisons on the effectiveness of intensive lipid modification in preventing the progression of peripheral arterial disease (ELIMIT) study." Faculty mentors were Dr. Vijay Nambi, assistant professor of medicine, and Dr. Joel Morrisett, professor of medicine.
  • Third prize – Second-year medical student Erik Wolfswinkel for the project "Breast cancer incidence in adolescent males undergoing subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia: Is pathologic examination justified?" Faculty mentor was Dr. Lior Heller, associate professor of surgery in the division of plastic surgery.

Winners in Basic Science Research included:

  • First prize – Third-year medical student Brandi Scully for her project "Promising in vivo remodeling of a small intestinal submucosa patch into functional myocardium: an ovine model." Faculty mentors were Dr. David Morales, associate professor of surgery, and Dr. K. Jane Grande-Allen, associate professor of bioengineering at Rice University.
  • Second prize – Third-year medical student Sophia Rangwala for her project "Pralatrexate selectively induces apoptosis and synergizes with bexarotene through up-regulation of p53/BAX/PUMA in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells." Faculty mentor was Dr. Madeleine Duvic, professor of dermatology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
  • Third Prize –Third-year medical student Brett Johnson for his project "MDM2 inhibition of Nutlin-3A strongly suppresses tumor growth and tumor angiogenesis in an in vivo model of neuroblastoma." Faculty mentor was Dr. Eugene Kim, assistant professor of surgery.

Mrs. Carolyn Alexander, widow of the long-time Baylor physician for whom the symposium is named, helped present the awards.

Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor president and CEO, in a keynote address, discussed 30 years of the evolving epidemic of HIV-related renal disease, which is the focus of his research. The disease, almost always identified in people of African descent and African-Americans in the United States, provides an important model for understanding HIV and genetic variations in different populations.

Dr. Austin Cooney, associate professor in the department of cellular and molecular biology, organized the symposium with the assistance of Lori Ezzell and Remy Elizondo in the office of Undergraduate Medical Education.