New program places dental students in rural communities

New program places dental students in rural communities

On October 7, a group of students from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry became the first to complete a new six week-long program practicing in private dental clinics throughout the state. The Community Outreach Dental Externship is in its infancy, but it is already providing wins for all involved: the students, the school and rural Mississippians.

Jamie Hargett Howard, who is from Oxford and now lives in Flowood, was placed in the Raleigh practice of Dr. Stephanie Tullos, a 2003 graduate of the SOD. Tullos built her practice from the ground up as the only dentist in the small town of Raleigh.

“My first day, I walked into the office, and Dr. Tullos asked me if I wanted to do a surgical extraction,” Howard said. “I knew from day one that this was going to be an invaluable experience.”

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Engineering the future of medicine

In Dr. Amol Janorkar's lab, the work is about better living through chemistry, biology, engineering and materials science.

Janorkar, an associate professor of biomedical materials science, studies tissue engineering. The goal is to use cells, materials and biologics to construct new ways to study and treat disease.

Tissue engineering is much more than the “ Vacanti mouse,” a rodent that made news headlines for the ear-shaped cartilage on its back. Rather, the goals are practical and noble: revitalizing livers, replacing cartilage and bone, and new skin for burn victims.

“That is the promise of tissue engineering… but solid organs, like livers and hearts, are farther down the road” and years from clinical use, Janorkar said. However, the basic science research is happening now in his lab at UMMC and at universities across the country.

One of Janorkar's projects, recently funded by a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, takes on part of health care's largest challenge. He is developing and studying 3-dimensional models of human adipose tissue, or fat.

The model binds fat cells in a spheroid, or almost round, shape using elastin-like polypeptide and polyelectrolytes. A common protein, elastin is a component of mammalian fat tissue, making the engineered ELP a relevant tool to help hold the cells together, Janorkar said.

In a previous study, Janorkar “fed” the cells fatty acids to study how adipose grows and proliferates. On the current grant, he will add metabolic stressors like TNF-α to determine how they affect adipose development.

“By learning how cells become fatty, we can begin to answer the question, 'How can we make these cells lean again?'” he said.

These spheroids aren't visible to the naked eye, but Janorkar hopes they could become an important part of the drug development process.

“When drugs are first tested in vitro, scientists use 2-dimensional cell cultures,” Janorkar said. The cells grow as a single layer on a Petri dish. However, fat is not flat. Neither is any other part of the human body.

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Engineering the future of medicine

Being nice, knowledgeable key to giving patients a good experience

Being nice, knowledgeable key to giving patients a good experience

It's really not enough for a University of Mississippi Medical Center clinic receptionist, a pharmacy technician or an oncology nurse to be adept at the details of their job, or to have the training it requires.

Employees who in one way or another intersect with outpatients must be more than that. They need to conduct themselves professionally at all times. And, they need to be nice and to show they care.

“This extends from live interaction with a patient to phone interaction,” said Elizabeth Beasley, director of ambulatory operations at UMMC's Grants Ferry clinic. She's leading a campus work group that's changing culture by training the 1,800 established, non-provider ambulatory workers in giving patients the best experience possible.

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Anesthesiologists, psychiatrist among new UMMC faculty

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

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Anesthesiologists, psychiatrist among new UMMC faculty

UMMC garners innovator ranking, staff tapped for leadership program

UMMC garners innovator ranking, staff tapped for leadership program

The Medical Center garners recognition for its use of analytics to solve business challenges, two staff members are selected to participate in a faculty leaders program in policy research and analysis, a physiology postdoctoral research fellow receives an award for his research poster, and radiology staff enjoy a successful wellness event.

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