Record Growth at College of Medicine’s Discovery Day 2016

Discovery Day 2016
A participant presents her research poster to Ana Núñez, MD, a professor in the College of Medicine, during Discovery Day 2014.

With topics ranging from malaria and HIV/AIDS to spinal cord injury and neuroengineering, more than 400 Drexel University College of Medicine students and scientists will showcase original research at Discovery Day 2016 on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The research projects represent work from medical students, students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies, residents, fellows and postdoctoral trainees. Discovery Day 2016 will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the first time since the event began a decade ago.

After a full day of reviewing posters, judges will present awards in multiple categories. This year, the College of Medicine received nearly 30 percent more abstract submissions than in 2015.

“Discovery Day provides an important opportunity for Drexel’s students and trainees to showcase their research in a professional setting,” said Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies. “Our Drexel faculty and colleagues from neighboring institutions devote considerable time to judging the posters, and we are grateful for all their hard work, as the quality of the presentations is high, and it is difficult to select the award recipients.”

Acclaimed neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer Charles Liu, MD, PhD, who directs the Neurorestoration Center at the University of Southern California (USC), will give a keynote address.

The center uses an interdisciplinary approach to turn new technologies into effective therapies for restoring function to the injured and diseased nervous system. Liu made headlines last spring when he implanted electrodes in a paralyzed patient’s brain, allowing the man to move a prosthetic arm — with his mind. The patient is first in the world to have this new neural prosthetic device.

In September, Keck Hospital of USC announced that Liu and colleagues had injected an experimental stem cell treatment into a 21-year-old patient who had suffered a traumatic injury to his cervical spine during a car accident. Three months after treatment, the patient — who doctors assumed would be unable to ever use his limbs again — is able to use his cell phone, write his name and operate a motorized wheelchair.

Liu holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a PhD in chemical/biomedical engineering from Rice University and an MD from Yale University School of Medicine. He is currently a professor of neurosurgery and neurology and holds the Apuzzo Professorship for Advanced Neurosurgery.

Discovery Day is a full-day event open to Drexel faculty, students and staff with their university ID, and media, but closed to the public.