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August 2011 Archives


CNN calls on professor to shed light on brain-eating amoeba

In the wake of three recent deaths caused by Naegleria fowleri, CNN relied on Microbiology and Immunology Professor Francine Marciano-Cabral, Ph.D., for information on the organism that is sometimes described as the brain-eating amoeba.

Marciano-Cabral offered perspective for CNN’s online coverage on why the amoeba infects only a fraction of those who swim in a particular body of water. “The incidence of this disease is very, very small, but when it happens it’s tragic,” she told CNN.

amoebaThis electron microscopy image shows a Naegleria fowleri cyst attached to an immune cell in the brain. N. fowleri, sometimes described as the brain-eating amoeba, is rapidly fatal, causing inflammation of both the brain and the membranes surrounding the central nervous system. The image was captured by Microbiology and Immunology Professor Francine Marciano-Cabral, Ph.D., at the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology’s NIH-supported microscopy facility.


Richmond’s heat and humidity test the mettle of the Class of 2015

On a day when temperatures reached 97, the Class of 2015 made its way to the Egyptian Building courtyard for its official class photograph.

Class of 2015

Class of 2015

They climbed the risers, gathered around Hippocrates, perched on the cement wall. And sweated.

It was the halfway point in an Orientation Week that would introduce the students to the history and traditions of the MCV Campus as well as the ins and outs of financial planning and study schedules.

The August 10 photo shoot introduced them to what summer feels like in Richmond.
Their enthusiasm – and heat tolerance – was unflagging, despite temperatures that climbed with the late morning sun. As proven by these outtakes from the half hour photo shoot:

Class of 2015
Class of 2015
Class of 2015
Class of 2015
Class of 2015


Radiology resident’s research honored, has potential to shape care of injured patients

A research study by Brian Strife, M.D., has been unanimously chosen as the best resident project by the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Radiology. His research could alter the manner in which interventional radiologists treat patients whose spleen has been injured by blunt trauma.

Brian Strife, M.D.

The spleen is the most commonly injured organ in the abdomen. Over the past three decades a treatment shift has taken place, away from its surgical removal and toward embolization – an approach that uses X-ray-like images to guide catheters to the injury and deliver particles that stop dangerous bleeding. This approach preserves the spleen and its important role in the body’s immune response while at the same time avoiding postoperative complications like infection. A proven approach known as Splenic Arterial Embolization focuses treatment on the main artery that supplies blood to the spleen, but improved microcatheter technology has led some radiologists to favor the ability of Distal Splenic Embolization to get closer to the injured area.

Strife compared the two approaches head-to-head by reviewing 83 patients who were treated at the VCU Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center in the past eight years. He discovered that DSE was no better at preserving the spleen’s function yet it more than doubled the procedure time, leading to an inevitable increase in radiation exposure for the patient and team performing the procedure.

Strife concluded that, while there are certain situations when DSE is the best choice, there are many scenarios where the radiologist could appropriately choose one or the other. His findings give radiologists data to make a more informed choice.

A member of the medical school’s Class of 2007, Strife elected to stay on the MCV Campus to complete his radiology residency training. His research was unanimously chosen from among projects submitted by radiology residents at VCU, the University of Virginia, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Portsmouth Naval Base. He will present a 15-minute overview of his research at the annual meeting of the ACR’s Virginia Chapter on Aug. 6 in Williamsburg.

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Updated: 04/29/2016