FSU MED Magazine Fall 2020, Vol. 16 Fall 2020 - Page 5

FALL ' 20
Avoiding backups on molecular highways The flow of information inside a cell works a lot like cars on a highway . Cars – or , in this case , molecules , organelles and other cellular information – need to be organized and moving efficiently on a complex set of interconnected paths . Avoiding jams is critical to maintain the flow of traffic . Inside a cell , instead of highways or interstates , the paths are known as microtubules . For cells to function properly , they need to be able to coordinate traffic within their walls and let information flow in and out .
Research from Associate Professor Timothy Megraw and former doctoral student Yiming Zheng provides new understanding of how microtubules are assembled and organized . Their research also identified a mechanism within cells that keeps information flowing smoothly along microtubules , a process vital in the healthy function of internal organs . They found a new system at work in fat body cells – analogous to human liver cells – which oversees the organization of microtubules and serves other cell functions . “ In these cells , there ’ s a big nucleus and the microtubules come out from there like a big sun radiating outward . Most cells don ’ t have that ,” said Megraw . “ Yiming determined what that center is composed of , how it works and what it does for the cell , which are all very novel things .”
Call me on the cell Cell-to-cell communication is vital for life to sustain itself and flourish . When virus-infected cells manipulate cell communication , cancer and other diseases are spread throughout the body . A team of researchers led by Associate Professor David Meckes is taking a closer look at the vesicles secreted by cancer cells to figure out how they manipulate messages sent by healthy cells , transform healthy cells into tumor cells , evade the immune system and thereby , spread disease . “ Let ’ s say a cell is cancerous . That cell will release these messages to its neighbors , some of which could be at distant sites in the body , so we ’ re trying to decipher what the messages are and what they contain ,” said Dingani Nkosi , a former Ph . D . student in the Meckes lab .
Colin Hackley
The research team has identified some of the mechanisms behind how a protein called LMP1 drives cancer growth and tumor proliferation in Epstein-Barr virus ( EBV )-associated cancers . The team is working to establish how the cargo of proteins in tiny vesicles , known as exosomes , is reorganized when the virus and cancer are present .


Selective and mission-focused In recent years , the FSU College of Medicine has consistently ranked among the top-10 “ most selective ” medical schools in the U . S . More than 7,000 students annually apply for admission , with 120 accepted each year . In March 2020 , U . S . News & World Report gave the college its first No . 1 ranking in the category . The College of Medicine had an acceptance rate of 2.2 percent for the class arriving in May 2019 . “ While it ’ s always nice to be able to say , ‘ We ’ re No . 1 !,’ what I ’ m most proud of is that we are actually one of the most inclusive medical schools in the country ,” College of Medicine Dean John P . Fogarty said . In addition , the Association of American Medical Colleges ’ annual “ Mission Management Tool ” shows that – compared with all other M . D . programs in the U . S . – the College of Medicine is in the top 10th percentile for :
· Alumni practicing in underserved areas ( 94th percentile ).
· Graduates who are Hispanic , Latino or of Spanish origin ( 91st percentile )
· Graduates who are Black or African American ( 95th percentile ).
· Faculty who are women ( 96th percentile ).
· Faculty who are from groups underrepresented in medicine , including black or Hispanic / Latino ( 93rd percentile ).
· Providing experience in community health ( 98th percentile ).
FSU is also in the top 15th percentile nationally for : ·
Producing doctors for its home state .
· Alumni practicing primary care .
“ I think everyone would agree that , by any measure , the FSU College of Medicine is exceeding its goals of producing the kinds of physicians that Florida needs the most ”
– College of Medicine Dean John P . Fogarty


FALL ' 20