FSU MED Magazine Fall 2020, Vol. 16 Fall 2020 - Page 4





n June 15 , 2000 , then-Gov . Jeb Bush
signed his name to a law creating the
Florida State University College of
Medicine . Seems like only yesterday .
Twenty years later , the college is celebrating
how a mission to be responsive to community
needs has shaped its contributions . More than
500 alumni physicians are practicing in Florida
now , everywhere from Pace in the Panhandle
to Tavernier in the Keys . There are hundreds
in and around large cities like Orlando , Tampa
and Jacksonville , but many more in small towns
like Blountstown , Old Town , Lehigh Acres and
Loxahatchee .
And a nascent College of Medicine research
program has rapidly become a force in Florida
State ’ s powerful research portfolio . Meantime ,
the college has developed clinical practices –
including FSU SeniorHealth , PrimaryHealth
and BehavioralHealth – that are addressing the
community needs spelled out in the legislative
mandate creating this school .
The year 2020 wrought a number of cruel twists
that the medical school has responded to , from
bringing vital patient care to underserved patients
in Southwest Tallahassee to helping medical
and PA students explore how they can become tomorrow ’ s health-care and community leaders . The planned celebration of our impact penciled in for this issue of FSU MED has given way ( i . e ., pages ) to something more important – an opportunity for our students and faculty to share their thoughts ( see ‘ Voices ,’ page 4 ). Instead , we invite you to take a look at the virtual 20 th Anniversary and Alumni Reunion we held Nov . 6 . More than 300 people participated in that Zoom ( what else ?) event . You can watch it here : med . fsu . edu / FSUMED2020 Featured video . And here ’ s to hoping that 2025 will be a year in which nothing gets in the way of our ( live and in-person ?) Silver Anniversary celebration . Looking forward to adding many more great accomplishments over the next five years to that future evening ’ s agenda .
Here ’ s an abbreviated list of recent College of Medicine headlines . For more details , and news , visit med . fsu . edu / FSUMED2020 .


New insight in preventing seizures While temporal lobe seizures often cause periods of impaired awareness , unresponsiveness and an array of other symptoms , they can also cause long-lasting damage in patients , including neuronal death and loss of neuron function . Sanjay Kumar , an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences , leads a research team that has discovered a type of receptor in the brain responsible for triggering epileptic seizures . Their research – published in Nature Communications – indicates that an amino acid known as D-serine could work with the receptors to help prevent epileptic seizures , thereby also preventing the death of neural cells that accompanies them . “ We ’ re trying to understand why neurons die in this brain region in the first place ,” Kumar said . “ From there , is there anything that we can do to stop these neurons from dying ? It ’ s a very fundamental question .”
Akash Gunjan
Skin deep – and effective Sometimes , the most common problem can be the most challenging to solve . That ’ s been true of keloids – a type of non-cancerous skin tumor that causes major discomfort and is notoriously difficult to treat . As many as one-in-six African- American individuals are affected by keloids , compared to about 1-in-1,000 white Americans . Keloids normally are removed surgically , but regrow almost 100 % of the time . Recurrence sometimes can be reduced by radiation or steroid therapy , but both approaches come with a catch : there ’ s no evidence-based understanding of the most effective radiation doses , and only about a third of patients benefit from steroid therapy . Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences Akash Gunjan , his team of Ph . D . candidates , a medical student and fellow biomedical sciences faculty member Branko Stefanovic , have taken a new approach . Using cultured tissues and cells from keloids that had been removed surgically from patients at local clinics , the team began determining the most effective radiation parameters for preventing the growth of keloid cells . What they found seems to be a simple – but effective – solution . “ A single dose of low-energy radiation , delivered just skin deep within three months of surgery , is highly effective in preventing recurrence and has very minimal adverse effects ,” Gunjan said . Not only cost effective , it eliminates the need for multiple rounds of radiation that , in fact , may be harmful because of the adverse effects of the radiation protocols typically adhered to for cancer therapy .
Colin Hackley