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Donna Russo

Donna Russo, PhD

Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum; William Maul Measey Chair in Medical Education


Department: Microbiology & Immunology

Education

  • PhD - Hahnemann University (1989)

Awards & Honors

  • Core discipline director and team leader for microbiology for the MedU Science Collaboration

Currently, my full time focus is education. I participate in education at various levels from instructor and course designer to medical education innovator and scholar. As director of the medical school curriculum, Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine and the department course director for medical microbiology, I play a central role in the educational experience given to medical students. The field of medical education is constantly evolving to meet the challenges of training future physicians in an arena of exploding knowledge but a fixed training time. In particular, the time devoted to basic science education is more limited and thus, requires a great deal of flexibility and innovation to ensure coverage of the most important content areas. My scholarly interests in this area include studying the effectiveness of specific curricular and teaching innovations, including; DxR Clinician to develop clinical reasoning skills and integrate relevant basic and clinical science topics, the use of electronic testing to incorporate multi-dimensional items into testing, Team Based Learning to facilitate active learning in large group settings, and teaching and evaluating professionalism in the pre-clinical medical program.

I also participate in graduate medical education by instructing in several courses and in other less formal venues. One area that I particularly enjoy is providing interested students with the opportunity to teach. There are opportunities for interested graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and senior medical students to participate in teaching medical or graduate students at a variety of levels including tutoring, facilitating laboratory/conference sections and lecturing. Interested students will receive a teaching experience tailored to their future career goals and interests. The educational experience in teaching is carefully constructed and includes coaching prior to interacting with students and extensive feedback after a teaching session. This allows students/fellows to gain teaching experience in a non-threatening and constructive manner. This unique experience allows students to explore a possible interest in teaching as well as gain some teaching skills that may enhance or broaden a student's future professional opportunities.

Research Interests

Director of the medical school curriculum, Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine, as well as department course director for Medical Microbiology

Research

During the time that I had an active basic science research program, my primary research interest was human T cell regulation in response to intracellular pathogens of macrophages, including Leishmania and Mycobacterium. Studies in my laboratory focused on the cytokine signals influencing T cell differentiation into Th1 or cytotoxic effector cells in response to natural infection or immunization with these pathogens using a human in vitro model system. I still maintain a strong interest in the areas of T cell subset regulation and pathogenesis of intracellular infections. These topics are frequently the subjects that I teach to graduate students.

In the Media

Publications

Selected Publications

"Regulation of Ag85 human T cell responses in an in vitro model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection."
Russo D.M., Kozlova N., Lakey D., Edwards K., and D. Kernodle.
Infection and Immunity, 68: 6826-6832, 2000

"Naive human T cells sensitized with Leishmania antigen and IL-12 develop into potent Th1 and CTL effecters."
Russo D.M., Chardrabarti P., and A. Dunlapp-Higgins.
Experimental Parasitism, 93: 161-167, 1999.

"Naive human T cells develop into Th1 or Th2 effectors and exhibit cytotoxicity early after stimulation with Leishmania infected macrophages."
Russo D.M., Charkrabarrti P., and J.M. Burns Jr.
Journal of Infectious Diseases, 177: 1345-1351, 1998.

"Interleukin-10 mediates susceptibility to Trypanosoma cruzi infections."
Reed S., Brownell C., Russo D.M, deSilva F., Grabstein K., and P. Morrissey.
The Journal of Immunology., 153: 3135-3140, 1994.

"Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulatong factor in combination with pentavalent antimony for the treatment of visceral leishmaniaisis."
Badaro R., Nascimento C., Carvalho J., Badaro F., Russo D.M, Ho J., Reed S., Johnson W., and T. Jones.
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, 13: 23-28, 1994.

"Recombinant human granuolcyte macrophage stimulating factor reverses neutropenia and reduces secondary infections in visceral leishmaniasis."
Badaro R., Nascimento C., Carvalho J., Russo D.M, Ho J., Reed S., Johnson W., and T. Jones.
Journal of Infectious Diseases, 170: 413-417, 1994.

"Human T cell responses in Leishmania infections."
Russo D.M., Barral-Netto M., Barral A., and S.G Reed.
Progress in Clinical Parasitology Springer-Verlag, ed. Sung, T. 119-144, 1993.


"Antigen reactive T cells in human leishmaniasis. "

Russo, D. M., Armitage, R., Barral-Netto, M., Grabstein, K., and S. G. Reed.
The Journal of Immunology, 151: 3712-18, 1993.

 "Interleuken 10 production correlates with pathology in human Leishmania donovani infections."
Ghalib H., Puivezam M. R., Skeiky Y.A.W., Siddig M., Hashim F.A., El-Hassan A.M., Russo D.M., and S.G. Reed.
 Journal of Clinical Investigation, 92: 324-29-8, 1993.

"Characterization of responses of normal human T cells to T. cruzi antigens."
Piuvezam M. R., Russo D.M., Burns Jr., J.M., Grabstein, K.H., and S.G. Reed.
The Journal of Immunology.., 150: 916-924, 1993.

"Mapping human T cell epitopes in Leishmania gp63; Identification of cross-reactive and species specific epitopes."
Russo D.M., Jardim A., Carvalho E., Sleath P., Armitage R., Olafson R., and S.G. Reed.
The Journal of Immunology, 150: 932, 1993.

"Stimulation of human T lymphocytes by Leishmania lipophosphoglycan-associated proteins."
Russo D.M., Turco S.J., Burns Jr. J.M., and S.G. Reed.
The Journal of Immunology, 148: 202, 1992.

Abstracts

Teaching microbiology using an organ system approach in an integrated curriculum, International Association for Medical Science Educators,
Russo D.M,
Abstract C- 13, July 10-13, 2004.

Highlighting Professionalism: Instruction and Evaluation. 
Moore J. Psy. D, Russo D. M., Novack D., and B. Schindler.
AAMC, October 2006.

Measuring Professionalism: Finding the Holy Grail. 
Russo D.M. 
2007 Program for Educators in the Health Professions.  Abstract #40, May 2007.

Value of an essay on interview day to assess non-cognate attributes in medical school applicants.
Russo D.M., Kennedy K., Parrish S., and B. Schindler.
AAMC. November 2009.


Contact Information


Research Office

Department of Microbiology & Immunology
2900 W. Queen Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
Phone: 215.991.8556
Fax: 215.843.6530