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December 2010 - GSO Newsletter

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Volume 2, Issue 2
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  • The GSO NewsVolume 2, Issue 2, December 2010

    www.mcg.edu/gradstudies/students.htmMedical College of Georgia Graduate Student Organization

    The GSO News 1

    Inside this Issue

    GHSU: MCGs Name Change

    Bundles of Books

    SGS and GSO Launch

    Career Seminar Series

    Student: Ahmed El-Awady

    Student: Christina Wilson

    MCG Student Leadership

    Institute

    Alumni: Kris Dhandapani

    Feature Article: Racing to

    Save Lives

    Happenings

    1

    1

    2

    3

    3

    4

    5

    6

    8

    September 15th, 2010 marked a major

    turning point for the Medical College of

    Georgia as the Board of Regents of the

    University System of Georgia approved

    a request from MCG to change its name

    to Georgia Health Sciences University

    (GHSU). The rationale behind this

    name change is based on how the mis-

    sion of MCG has broadened consider-

    ably since its founding as a medical

    college in 1828.

    As President Azziz has stated, our

    College is actually a University with

    a focus not just in medicine but rather

    Health Sciences. By continuing to

    refer to the institution at which we are

    enrolled as a College, Dr. Azziz feels

    this to be a disservice in not highlight-

    ing the broad scope of our mission and

    ultimately affects the ability of MCG to

    be recognized for what it truly is. Dr.

    Azziz has also stated that GHSU better

    defines MCG as what it is-a compre-

    hensive health sciences university and

    a modern academic health center.

    Furthermore, Dr. Azziz strongly feels

    that the name change will allow for the

    university to achieve the national recog-

    nition that is deserved with

    respect to competitive world rankings

    and reputation. Dr. Azziz points out

    that most similar institutions across the

    country have, at some point, changed

    their name to better reflect their true

    stature as health science universities,

    and MCG is no exception.

    The question that begs to be answered

    by many of us students is Why change

    the name now? In communications

    that have been sent out to the entire

    MCG community we have been made

    aware that informal discussions of

    MCGs name change have been ongoing

    for the last decade. MCG has consulted

    numerous research firms since 2007 to

    examine both local and nationwide per-

    ceptions of MCG. What was ultimately

    found was that while the local public

    had strong positive opinions of MCG,

    they did not consider MCG as a univer-

    sity. Likewise, more than 80% of those

    surveyed strongly agreed that MCG

    as a name was associated only with

    the medical school. Further surveys of

    alumni and internal audiences showed

    a strong tie to the Medical College of

    Georgia name and thus the resulting re-

    quest was made to the board of regents:

    GHSU: As a graduate student what does MCGs name change mean to YOU

    Donations help provide books to needy childrenColleen Carey

    Bundles of Books is a non-profit orga-

    nization whose mission is to improve

    the reading skills of underprivileged

    children through creating a joy of read-

    ing. The principle of this organization

    has been to provide books for children

    at Christmas, as an alternative to toys.

    to Bundles of Books, pg. 2

    Colleen Carey

    to Name Change, pg. 4

  • The GSO News 2

    This organization, founded by Mr.

    Chuck LaMarsh in 1996 serves chil-

    dren in both the Augusta, GA area and

    through Mr. Lamarshs son, the Boston,

    MA area. Last year, approximately 150

    children in the Augusta area were served

    through generous donations from area

    businesses and individuals who believed

    in the concept. This year, Bundles of

    Books is hoping to double this number.

    Dr. Carol Campbell, a professor here

    at MCG, and Dr. Kevin Frazier, Vice

    President of Student Services at MCG,

    became interested in helping the

    Bundles of Books organization and

    recruited a few students to help her in

    this endeavor. To them, they saw this

    as an opportunity not only to help out

    the community, but for individuals in

    the academic and medical professions to

    reflect upon the influence that reading

    has had in getting them to where they

    are today.

    Over a 1 week period, collection booths

    were set up in the library and student

    center during lunch period-and manned

    by students from all schools-, donations

    ranging from spare pocket change to

    more generous amounts allowed for the

    total amount raised on campus to be

    $258.69. This total collected will allow

    for Bundles of Books to purchase book

    bundles for 18 children with some

    spare change left over. Although this is

    the 1st year of MCGs participation, the

    positive outcome has provided for the

    possibility to be involved again in the

    future and hopefully double, if not fur-

    ther increase, what we as a community

    can provide to this organization.

    *Special thanks to Medical Illustration

    students Julie Coats and Megan

    Gullotto who provided the artwork

    which was used for on campus promo-

    tion purposes. O

    SGS and GSO Launch Career Seminar SeriesColleen Carey

    The School of Graduate Studies (SGS)

    along with the Graduate Student Orga-

    nization (GSO) has recently launched a

    new seminar series to provide informa-

    tion on career opportunities, paths and

    choices to graduate level students. The

    first installment of this series, What to

    look for when searching for a post doc-

    toral fellowship; a perspective from St.

    Jude Childrens Research Hospital, was

    presented by Dr. Linda Harris, Associ-

    ate Director of Academic Programs for

    St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital

    on November 3rd.

    The turnout of students for this seminar

    proved to be mostly BIOMED PhDs,

    those most likely to pursue a post doc-

    toral position, however attendees ranged

    from 1st years up to those students

    getting ready to defend. The session pro-

    vided by Dr. Harris contained informa-

    tion that was applicable to all students

    in attendance. The goal that Dr. Harris

    has in visiting schools to do special

    seminars as these is that of post doctoral

    recruitment and making sure that not

    only are graduate students aware of the

    opportunities available at St. Jude, but

    also to help students to prepare to begin

    a post doctoral position search wherever

    they may be interested.

    Dr. Harris presentation began with

    an overview of the facility and area

    surrounding St. Jude, which is located

    in Memphis, and then segued into a

    more general set of steps to take when

    searching for a post doctoral fellowship.

    These steps are outlined briefly here:

    1) Choose an institution that is a place

    where you would want to work, i.e.

    ability for translational research to be

    directly applied, array of research areas,

    2) Choose a mentor carefully, someone

    who not only are you compatible with

    but that also has your bet interests

    at heart, 3) Choose a project that is

    interesting to you but that also allows

    for you to continue to learn new skills

    and techniques, 4) Choose an institu-

    tion with laboratory and core facilities

    that may benefit your research, 5) Select

    a position while keeping in mind the

    scientific infrastructure. Be aware of the

    interactions occurring around you, spe-

    cifically the abundance of collaborations

    and continuing education opportunities

    such as seminar series, 6) determine

    if the position you are applying for is

    institutionally supported. That is, are

    there facilities dedicated to post doc-

    toral fellow affairs? Are good benefits

    provided to post doctoral fellows? And

    finally, 7) choose a position in a location

    that meets the desires that are impor-

    tant to you.

    Now that you know how to seek out a

    post doctoral position that is best for

    you, when should you begin looking for

    one? Dr. Harris suggests beginning to

    seek out positions of interest in your last

    year of thesis work. Interviews should

    be conducted about 6 months before

    your defense. With regards to St. Jude,

    Dr. Harris shared that each year there

    are about 60-80 post doctoral fellowship

    openings, so opportunities are available.

    Furthermore, for those who

    to Seminar Series, pg. 7

    ...from Bundles of Books, pg. 1

  • The GSO News 3

    CURRENT STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

    Ahmed El-AwadyNamita Hattangady

    Ahmed El-Awady is a first year student

    of the Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D.

    program in Dr. B. Babans laboratory

    in the Department of Oral Biology.

    Ahmeds research focuses on the peri-

    odontal ligament fibroblasts (PDLFs)

    and their potential role in chronic peri-

    odontitis, specifically with regards to the

    progression of the inflammatory front

    into the deeper tissues. His studies also

    focus on the cross-talk between PDLFs,

    in both healthy and diseased states, and

    immune T cells to elucidate what con-

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