Bodies of Knowledge: 6 students explore life through death

Bodies of Knowledge: 6 students explore life through death

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A Donor's Story: The Rest Goes to Heaven

Over the course of Gross Anatomy, students uncover clues to how their donors died. It's harder to know how they lived. Even harder to know what they believed, and what motivated them to make this gift of themselves.

Here's the story of two - Mary and Jack Crouch, a married couple from Poplarville.

She was born on June 14 - Flag Day.

"I have my very own birthday song," she said. "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Shortly after World War II, her family moved to Cotton Valley, a town in north Louisiana adorned with a creek and a spirited young fellow named Jack.

"The creek was just past where my family lived," she said. "The Crouch family lived up the hill a little way. I always said I was from the right side of the creek and Jack was from the wrong side.

"When he was 16 he said he got 'tired of daddy telling me what to do.' So he went to New Orleans and enlisted in the Marines. He survived some of Korea's bloodiest battles.

"The contrariest person in the world is a man who is a husband who is a Marine. I will have so many stars in my crown, I won't be able to hold my head up." 

But before Mary and Jack got together for good, she met another man. They married, moved away and had a son. Her first husband died in 1959, killed in a traffic accident one night on the way to work.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Jack held a couple of different jobs, including motorcycle police officer in Shreveport, working security details for Elvis Presley, who was getting his start at the Louisiana Hayride.

He laid pipe after that, working all over the South. He got married and became the father of three before his divorce. 

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A Donor's Story: The Rest Goes to Heaven

UMMC, researcher awarded U.S. patent for eye treatment

UMMC, researcher awarded U.S. patent for eye treatment

During the six decades that the University of Mississippi Medical Center has been in business, only a select few of these have materialized. But as of December 2014, UMMC was awarded its latest U.S. patent, a coveted testament to years of work and the perseverance of one of its top researchers.

Dr. Richard O’Callaghan, chair of microbiology, has been researching eye infections since the 1980s when he was a faculty member at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Once he arrived at UMMC more than nine years ago, he continued his work looking into the damaging effects of Staphylococcus, a bacteria, and its threat to patients’ vision.

Now O’Callaghan can hold in his hands the tangible evidence of his research: a U.S. patent for “Inhibitors of Alpha-toxin.”

The inhibitors of these alpha toxins, damaging proteins secreted by Staphylococcus that wreak havoc on the eye’s tissue, come in the form of cholesterol bound to a sugar complex, said O’Callaghan. The cholesterol blocks the alpha-toxin action on cells, which renders them harmless.

The impact of this patent is that it could lead to the creation of new treatments that can reduce the amount of eye tissue damage caused by Staphylococcus.

“It can be used as eye drops to stop the toxin while antibiotic eye drops kill the bacteria,” O’Callaghan said.

The next step in the process is getting a pharmaceutical company interested in the patented treatment, and then much later, human trials could be conducted.

O’Callaghan’s patent marks the third awarded to UMMC during the last few years, and is one of more than a dozen received by the Medical Center throughout its entire existence.

"As an academic medical center, the research conducted at UMMC ultimately aims to translate discoveries into outcomes that improve the health of our community, state, and beyond," said Leslie Musshafen, director of sponsored programs at the Office of Research. "Dr. O'Callaghan's research and resulting patent embodies this mission and is representative of the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit we intend to foster and grow in the future.”

The new patent, for which O’Callaghan applied in May 2010, actually came together in a relatively quick time, he said, acknowledging that four years is less than many others have waited to receive a U.S. patent.

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Pediatrician, pathologist, ob-gyn join UMMC faculty

The Medical Center is proud to announce the following additions to its faculty and leadership staff:

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Pediatrician, pathologist, ob-gyn join UMMC faculty

UMMC’s reputation elevated by students' achievements

UMMC’s reputation elevated by students' achievements

Medical Center students often are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for their academic achievements. These accolades elevate the UMMC brand among health science centers worldwide.

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