Mini Med School Speakers

Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Dementia: Crisis of the Western Lifestyle
Suzanne de la Monte, MD, MPH
Professor of Pathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Medicine

Can the foods you eat impact your chance for developing Alzheimer’s? Dr. de la Monte’s research explores the link between nitrates and nitrites — found in many food products — and the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. When Dr. de la Monte blocked the path of insulin to rats’ brains, she made a surprising discovery: their neurons deteriorated, they became physically disoriented, and their brains showed all the signs of Alzheimer’s. Learn why an increasing numbers of researchers are calling Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain, and how you can reduce your risk through dietary changes.

“A Boy Named Sue”: Reinterpreting Johnny Cash's Classic for the 21st Century
Michelle M. Forcier, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Dean (Admissions)

Dr. Forcier is an active medical provider working with transgender children and youth, ages 0-35 years, in Rhode Island and surrounding communities. She offers a holistic and primary care-focused approach to understanding the youth as a whole person, as well as in the context of the family, community, and life goals. Dr. Forcier has an interest in public and professional education about transgender health issues, as well as early identification and support for youth with gender non-conformity. This workshop will discuss the revolutionary changes in gender as experienced by kids and teens.

Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology for Biomedical Applications
Agnes B. Kane, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Nanotechnology is an emerging industry based on design, synthesis, and application of engineered materials in the range of 100 nm or less. Interdisciplinary research at Brown University focuses on graphene, a single-atom monolayer of carbon arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb structure with unique optical, electronic, and mechanical properties. Graphene-based nanomaterials are under development for novel electronic and energy storage applications. As a carbon-based nanomaterial, graphene is biocompatible and has potential applications as biosensors, drug delivery devices, multimodal imaging probes, antimicrobial agents, and bioengineered tissues and implants. Dr. Agnes Kane is working together with an interdisciplinary research team of engineers and cell biologists to use computational design for safe development of graphene-based nanomaterials to minimize adverse environmental and human health impacts.

Saving Aid: The Future of Global Health and Disaster Relief
Adam C. Levine, MD, MPH, FACEP
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship

The past decade has seen major paradigm shifts in the way we think about aid, both in terms of global health development and the international response to humanitarian crises. Instead of a focus on short-term, charitable “missions,” global health development has moved toward a model based on complex partnerships between a variety of actors, including international organizations, local governments, and academic institutions. At the same time, in the realm of disaster relief, donors are demanding measurable results and beneficiaries are calling for greater accountability from the providers of humanitarian aid. Find out how Brown is shaping global health in the 21st century through a variety of cutting-edge projects such as the Human Resources for Health program in Rwanda and its annual Symposium on Humanitarian Assistance.

Brain Mapping at Brown
Steven Rasmussen '74 MD'77, P'13MD’17
Mary E. Zucker Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

Unraveling how the human brain works and understanding what goes wrong in disorders like epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer’s disease will revolutionize how they are treated, prevented, and cured. A bold research effort called the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, unveiled in April by President Obama, “will be transformative,” a grand challenge akin to the Human Genome Project. Scientists from the Brown Institute for Brain Science, including Dr. Rasmussen, are already on the cutting edge of brain research on campus, in the affiliated hospitals, and at the new Providence VA Medical Center/Brown Center of Excellence for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology.

The Anatomy of Anatomy
Dale Ritter, PhD
Morphology Course Director, Alpert Medical School
Senior Lecturer in Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

During this session, participants will learn about the Medical School’s anatomy curriculum and see the lab firsthand. Discussion will include Brown’s anatomical gift program: you’ll learn about how donors become part of the program, the preparation and use of cadavers during the anatomy course, and what happens to the cadavers when the course is finished. In addition, current medical students will discuss their experiences in the anatomy course. Those interested will have the option to view a dissection of the thorax that demonstrates the work done by first-year medical students during their first week in the anatomy lab.

Advances in Cancer Treatment: The Brown University Oncology Research Group
Howard Safran, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Brown University Oncology Research Group

The Brown University Oncology Research Group (BrUOG) coordinates clinical cancer research studies developed by Medical School faculty at Brown-affiliated hospitals, including Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Woman & Infants Hospital, and Memorial Hospital. Important advances in cancers of the esophagus, lung, breast, and rectum have been developed in Rhode Island by Brown faculty. These treatments have subsequently been tested nationally and adopted as standards of care. Major efforts are underway in pancreatic and prostate cancer and other malignancies. A significant goal is to expand research opportunities to campus-based faculty and students.

Clinical Skills Curriculum Demonstration
Julie Taylor, MD
Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Clinical Curriculum
Dana Zink, RN
Director of Clinical Skills Assessment

Medical students need ample opportunity to practice the fundamental, non-specialty-specific clinical skills they'll use throughout their careers. The Clinical Skills Suite at Alpert Medical School allows students to conduct medical interviews and physical exams in a learning space designed as an outpatient clinical site and outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. In this interactive session involving medical students at all levels and faculty from the Doctoring program, you will see how the facility allows for experiential learning and innovative teaching across the four-year curriculum.

Rolling Up Their Sleeves: Student Research at Home and Abroad
Melissa Cranford ’09 MD’14 
Srinivasa Gopalsamy MD’16
Minoo Ramanathan ‘11 MD’16
Matthew Schwede MD’15

Current Alpert medical share their research experiences locally, nationally, and globally.

For her Scholarly Concentration in Women’s Reproductive Health, Melissa Cranford is studying the design and implementation of low-cost mental health interventions. Her project investigates maternal depression among African American women and the role of community and culture in how individuals experience health care.

Pursuing his interest in global health, Srinivasa Nithin Gopalsamy traveled to Ghana for eight weeks this summer to conduct a project at an HIV clinic. He experienced living and working in an unfamiliar country that is clinically underserved while adapting to its culture inside and outside health care.

Minoo Ramanathan is an international student from India, raised in Oman, and is passionate about promoting global health care for the underserved. While an undergraduate at Brown, she cofounded a free tutoring program for refugee adults in South Providence, and spent this past summer studying the effects of structural violence on women's mental health in rural India.

Matthew Schwede spent the summer of 2012 researching autism genomics with Eric Morrow, MD, PhD. They found that two genes responsible for rare forms of autism play a wider role in the disease, and Matt was lead author of a statistical analysis published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.