Dec. 2, 2022

The latest news and updates from Dean Amy P. Murtha, MD!
Researchers Study New Techniques To Address Mental Disorders
A gene mutation known to be associated with autism spectrum disorder causes an overstimulation of brain cells far greater than that seen in neuronal cells without the mutation, according to a recent study.

During the seven-year study, researchers employed some of the most advanced approaches available, including growing human brain cells from stem cells and transplanting them into mouse brains. A mutation known to cause autism in humans was found to provoke a higher level of communication among a network of transplanted human brain cells in mouse brains. This overexcitation, quantified in experiments by scientists, manifests itself as a burst of electrical activity more than double the level seen in brain cells without the mutation.

Zhiping Pang, MD, associate professor of neuroscience and cell biology, resident scientist of the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, and senior author on the study, shared with Rutgers Today, that he was surprised to find an enhancement and not a deficit. Dr. Pang went on to explain, “this gain-of-function in those specific cells, revealed by our study, causes an imbalance among the brain’s neuronal network, disrupting the normal information flow.”

Other contributors to the study from the Child Health Institute included: Le Wang, PhD, postdoctoral associate; Vincent Mirabella, student in the MD/PhD program; Davide Comoletti, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of neuroscience and cell biology; Matteo Bernabucci, PhD, postdoctoral fellow; Xiao Su, doctural student; and Ishnoor Singh, graduate student, in addition to colleagues at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, along with colleagues internationally.

Read more in Rutgers Today.
Committee Examines Validity of MCAT Scores in Predicting Students’ Performance and Progress in Medical School
The MCAT Validity Committee, an initiative of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), was charged with following multiple cohorts of students over a 10-year period who entered medical school with scores from the current MCAT exam through graduation, and examined their progress.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School was one of 25 educational organizations throughout the United States and Canada included on the committee, which also included pre-health advisors from undergraduate institutions.

Carol A. Terregino, MD, senior associate dean for education and academic affairs; and associate dean for admissions; and Liesel Copeland, PhD, assistant dean of admissions and medical education, were key contributors to research which resulted in concrete actionable resources to support schools in their admissions decision-making and design of student support.

Highlights from their findings and lessons learned were shared in a video (available with a NetID) played during AAMC's Learn Serve Lead conference held in Nashville last month.
We Want to Hear From You!
The Academic and Workplace Behaviors and Environment Survey is an important project for our Rutgers community. Although participation is voluntary, the survey provides an opportunity for you to have a voice that inspires change at Rutgers and can inform a welcoming, safe and inclusive workplace.

The survey takes only 10-15 minutes

Thank you for all you do for our university and medical school community!
Take the Survey here or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
upcoming events header
Medical School Hosting the Virtual Healthcare Innovation Summit Tomorrow
The Biomedical Entrepreneurial Network (BEN) at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is hosting the annual Healthcare Innovation Summit tomorrow Dec. 3! This virtual event is open to students from all domains to learn about exciting new developments in healthcare innovation from keynote speakers and during workshops. Learn more and sign-up here.
You Are Invited to the Next Appreciation Luncheon

Join Us!

Monday, Dec. 5
New Brunswick
Clinical Academic Building
Room 1302

12 - 2 p.m.

Lunch deliveries have been scheduled next week for our
primary off-site clinical
locations, as well!
Upcoming CME
For next week, I highlight the following Grand Rounds event:

Rutgers Health GME Grand Rounds on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (new time) will feature “Applied Population Health and Vital Records Informatics: Setting Vision for our Future," by Amy M. Sitapati, MD, clinical professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Division of Biomedical Informatics; and chief medical information officer of population health, from the University of California San Diego. Click here for access to this virtual event. For further details, please contact Jaclyn Manzo.

The Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 9 - 10:30 a.m. will feature "Innovations in the Treatment of Depression in Pregnancy," by Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC, associate professor of psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto; chief of psychiatry and senior adjunct scientist, ICES at Women's College Hospital in Ontario, Toronto; and Shirley A. Brown Memorial Chair in women’s mental health research. For virtual access, click here.

Looking ahead:

The Department of Emergency Medicine's Grand Rounds on "Peripheral Vascular Disease Made Easy" will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 8 - 9 a.m. by William Beckerman, MD, FSVS, FACS, RPVI, assistant professor of surgery and program director of the Vascular Surgery Integrated Residency Program; and medical co-director of The Center for Wound Healing at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Dr. Beckerman will deliver his presentation at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey in room 3101 and concurrently via Zoom. For virtual connection details, please contact Nirali Kelly.

Please note for your convenience and flexibility that hybrid and in-person options have become more available for accredited programming to complement virtual platforms.

Feel free also to send me programs that you would like featured with as much notice as possible.

Have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season,

Paul F. Weber, MD, RPh, MBA, associate dean, Continuing Medical Education
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