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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine: Message From the Dean

April 2009 Archives

April 20, 2009

Opening a new Door to Discovery

Some say that good things come to those who wait.

I’m glad to be able to say that—in this instance—we didn’t have to. As it happens, the Molecular Medicine Research Building is opening ahead of the original schedule set forth in the School of Medicine’s Strategic Research Initiative.

New Molecular Medicine Research Building

8:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Scientific Symposium, Kontos Medical Sciences Building
12 noon — Building Dedication, Molecular Medicine Research Building

On each of MMRB’s eight floors, you can find the power to transform our understanding of illness and disease and to ultimately uncover new therapies and cures. The cohort of researchers who will occupy the building are outstanding scientists and having them in this wonderful new environment should bring out the best in their creativity.

In fact, one of my favorite things about the new building is its open labs that will encourage interaction among these researchers—even among those of different disciplines.

To mark the building’s opening, we have asked two exceptional scientists to come to the MCV Campus and challenge us to think about biomedical problems in new ways. Joining us for a scientific symposium on April 24, in the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium, are:

  • J. Silvio Gutkind , Ph.D., who is chief of the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He is an internationally acclaimed researcher in cell signaling networks and cancer, topics which will be the focus of his presentation on Friday.
  • Charles Stevens , M.D., Ph.D., a world-renowned professor of molecular neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. A National Academy of Sciences member since 1982, he has a particular interest in synaptic vesicles and synaptic transmission. His talk is titled “Darwin and Huxley Revisited: On the Origin of Allometry.”

The symposium will culminate the noon-time dedication of the Molecular Medicine Research Building. Brief remarks will be followed by the chance to tour one of the building’s labs.

Please join us for the symposium, the dedication or both, as we commit the facility to a new era of discovery and ourselves to the pursuit of science that demonstrably improves health and patient care.

April 9, 2009

The Sholley Trolley Departs

Have you ever heard of the Sholley Trolley?

If, at some point in the past 33 years, you have studied for your medical degree on the MCV Campus, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology Milton Sholley, Ph.D., has an extensive knowledge of gross anatomy, a mental catalog of pertinent clinical applications and the legendary ability to connect the dots between the two.

That combination makes watching him in the Gross Anatomy Lab a little like seeing the Pied Piper at work. When he points out an unusual anatomical finding, students flock to his side—or climb onto a nearby countertop to get a better vantage point. And then follow him on to the next specimen, and thus the Sholley Trolley is formed.

But now, Dr. Sholley has announced his retirement. So last Friday, while Dr. Sholley and his wife were quietly packing his office, the students conspired with Anatomy Course Director Richard Krieg, Ph.D., to surprise Dr. Sholley with a heartfelt thank you for those trolley rides.

With a fabricated plea for input on a video project, Dr. Krieg led Dr. Sholley and his wife Peg to the Egyptian Building. And as Dr. Sholley walked down the sloping aisle of the Baruch Auditorium, the students welcomed him with a standing ovation. Invited to the podium to make some remarks, the surprised Dr. Sholley paused and listened to a call from the back of the auditorium: “We want some knowledge!”

“Well, I forgot my PowerPoints,” Dr. Sholley began. He went on to say how much he has enjoyed teaching the different classes over the years, not just from behind the podium, but especially in the gross lab where “we really do the work.” He also shared with them his hopes that they would use what he’d taught them throughout their careers. And before he stepped away from the podium for a final time, he concluded:

“Next slide please.”