Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – July 9, 2018

Photo of lab technician and medical equipment

1. Thanks to a donation from a Winter Park cancer patient’s family, UCF College of Medicine researchers now have machines that can isolate, photograph and count cancer cells from a single tube of blood. With the technology, scientists can see if the cancer cells are spreading from the original tumor and if new therapies are stopping the cells in their tracks.

2. The 2018 UCF Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon is set for Thursday, Aug. 16, at CFE Arena. The annual start to the fall season — as football, soccer, volleyball and cross country get under way — will feature first-year UCF head football coach Josh Heupel and first-year UCF President Dale Whittaker. Single tickets ($115) and corporate tables ($800) are still available, but in limited quantities. Find out more.

3. Last week we told you about the #HIsman campaign for UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel shared an interesting story about Milton’s friendship with another Heisman Trophy contender, fellow Hawaiian and Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.

4. UCF men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins has a simple message for his team as it works toward another season with high expectations: Keep getting better every day in every way. The team is on campus for summer practices and the Orlando Sentinel dropped by for a chat with Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor and the rest of crew about the upcoming year. Season tickets are now on sale through UCFKnights.com.

5. From trivia nights to baseball games to volunteer outings, UCF Alumni has several events lined up across the country through the month of July. View the events calendar to get involved in your area!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Feb. 6


1. Lace up your kid’s booties… the third annual UCF Baby Race will take place during halftime of the UCF men’s basketball game on Saturday against UConn. Participating babies must be a crawler between the ages of 7-16 months old. Submissions for the race will be taken through Tuesday, Feb. 7, so act fast. Click here to learn more about the race and register your kiddo!

2. Talk about homegrown talent! More than one-third of UCF’s faculty and staff are alumni, a statistic that UCF takes great pride in as the university kicked off its annual faculty and staff campaign, Believe, on Feb. 2. It hopes to see more than 2,000 donors contribute to UCF over the next month. Here are some sights and sounds from the kickoff event.

3. UCF’s College of Medicine and Hospital Corporation of America announced their newest residency program Sunday. The neurology residency program, which will feature 16 trainees who will train for four years, will be based out of Osceola Regional Medical Center, has received initial accreditation and is seeking immediate applicants.

4. Studying beer? How do we sign up? With the popularity of craft beers, local brewers are turning to a UCF College of Medicine researcher and his microbiology students to help perfect the taste and color of America’s favorite fermented beverage.

5. The UCF IGNITE Tour is less than two weeks away from its next stop in Atlanta on Feb. 16. The event, which will be located in Buckhead, will feature Provost Dale Whittaker along with other key members of UCF leadership. Learn more and register for your spot on the guest list.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Jan. 23

1. We like big data and we cannot lie. The UCF Colleges of Sciences, Business and Engineering and Computer Science are hosting a Big Data Symposium this Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. The evening’s keynote speaker is Lee Odess ’99, vice president of UniKey Technologies. Although the event is complementary, space is limited. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

2. On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons clinched their spot in Super Bowl LI. Why do we care? Because former C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and UCF alumnus Kemal Ishmael ’13 has suited up for the Falcons ever since they selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He is now the 13th Knight to be listed on the roster of a Super Bowl team.

Ishmael graduated from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and minor in coaching in 2013. The Super Bowl will air on FOX on Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

3. Apparently, the UCF women’s flag football team is creating quite a dynasty. The Knights recently captured its fourth consecutive football national championship. This year’s squad, ‘Team Check on It,’ thumped the North Carolina A&T Aggies in the championship game, 13-2. The team was led by head coach Brandon Baroody ’13, a finance alumnus who is a member of the National Collegiate Flag Football Championships Hall of Fame.

4. Emergency physicians in training from UCF’s College of Medicine used their skills on a national stage when they staffed the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. During the inauguration, three ER residents and two attending physicians from Osceola Regional ran a treatment and triage area adjacent to the viewing area on the National Mall, in partnership with other first responders.

5. You can help the College of Nursing brighten up the lives of children in local hospitals. The college’s “Give a Bear, Warm a Heart” fundraiser enables the public to sponsor one — or an entire unit — of teddy bears wearing UCF nursing scrubs to be delivered by nursing students the week of Valentine’s Day to sick kids at local hospitals. Learn more about how you can get involved.

Body of Lessons

First-year UCF medical students dissect cadaver to discover cause of death

First-year medical students at UCF after presenting their autopsy report. From left, Kathryn Baker, Jonathan Mayl, Ajay Kailas, Heena Ahmed, Marco Mejia Acevedo, and Katie Conover. (Naseem S. Miller, Orlando Sentinel)
First-year medical students (left to right) Kathryn Baker, Jonathan Mayl, Ajay Kailas, Heena Ahmed, Marco Mejia Acevedo and Katie Conover (Naseem S. Miller, Orlando Sentinel) presented their autopsy findings after a 17-week anatomy lab.

By Naseem S. Miller
Orlando Sentinel

For 17 weeks, the cadaver of a 49-year-old man lay on a cold metal autopsy table as six first-year medical students explored every layer and organ of his body.

After years of delving into pages of their anatomy and physiology books, they picked up a scalpel and made their first cuts into human flesh.

All those diagrams and drawings were suddenly under their finger tips and in the palm of their hands. The future doctors marveled at the diseased organs of their young patient and tried to figure out what caused his death.

“A lot of times I would go home and think, my goodness, if he had so many issues, what was his life actually like?” said Jonathan Mayl, a first-year medical student at UCF College of Medicine.

Like the rest of his classmates, Mayl had just finished the classic first-year anatomy lab, but unlike many medical schools, the students here have to give presentations at the end of the course and discuss what could have caused their patient’s death.

Their anatomy lab at UCF is an investigation into the cause of death, not just the study of human body.

The students are given basic information such as age and the CT scan of the cadaver’s body. Throughout the integrated anatomy lab, they study the images, research topics, send samples to pathology, and consult with specialists who walk around the lab that overlooks greenery and the sunset.

“For 40 years I taught normal and we ignored the abnormal,” said anatomy professor Andrew Payer, who runs the anatomy lab. “We taught the students anatomy and made them memorize it, and somewhere along the line a light went off, and I thought there’s a great opportunity that we’re missing, because there’s a lot of clinical anatomy here.”

The 17 weeks are transformative, as students put together in the lab what they’ve learned in textbooks, and emerge with a better command on medical speak and understanding of the human body.

The teams’ final presentations are judged and graded by faculty, upperclassmen and Orange and Osceola county chief medical examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia.

Two teams win.

“These kids are made to think while they’re studying and think about what they’re finding and put it in a bigger perspective,” said Garavaglia, better known as Dr. G. “It’s a wonderful thing they’re doing. It’s very novel … These are the people that we need to take care of us as we get older, so it’s important that we have a good medical school,” she said.

Mayl and his teammates were told that they had the youngest cadaver in the anatomy lab. The cadaver also turned out to be one of the sickest.

“He had a lot of issues,” said Marco Mejia Acevedo. “It was hard to pinpoint what the cause was.” Almost every organ was diseased.

The team finally decided that the patient died of cardiac arrhythmia that led to sudden death, but the autopsy report said that the cause of death was acute respiratory distress and end-stage renal failure.

Before the results were announced, Mayl said although he would like to win, “even if we don’t, we learned a lot. That was the ultimate prize.”

The team did not win.

Ajay Kailas, an aspiring dermatologist, saw how internal problems could manifest on the skin through ulcers and bruises.

“It made it harder for me to decide on a single specialty, just because there are so many interesting things everywhere,” said Heena Ahmed.

Katie Conover who was terrified of the anatomy lab, ended up loving the experience. She dissected the 49-year-old’s brain. “I don’t know if that’s something that I go into, but I couldn’t stop reading about it. I had to force myself to stop,” she said.

Mayl, who was interested in cardiology, couldn’t get away from pulmonology, and Acevedo, who’s keen on cardiothoracic surgery, got to dissect the heart.

“I’ve always been interested in surgery, so anatomy is my happy place,” said Kathryn Baker.

Surrounded by students, Dr. G. announced the winners of the autopsy report on a recent afternoon. The anatomy lab came  with lessons to stay for a lifetime, and a depth of gratitude to the men and women who donated their bodies to science.

“I walked through the anatomy lab doors for the last time to study our cadaver and I looked up and at the top of the door I saw this plaque,” said Mayl, pulling up the photo with the quote from an 18th century physician on his phone and reading it: “‘Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. This is the place where death delights to help the living.’ And I thought, wow, after all this, that’s so true and I’m so glad we had this opportunity.”

This article was republished with permission from the author. It appeared in a Feb. 10, 2015, edition of the Orlando Sentinel online. See original article.