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Dr. Mohammed Berrou, a pulmonary and critical care fellow with USA Health, recently was chosen to present his research at the highly-competitive 13th Annual Respiratory Disease Young Investigators’ Forum in Denver.
At the event, Dr. Berrou received second place for his research project on “The Indirect Cytotoxic Effects of Pseudomans aeruginosa Infection on Microvascular and Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells.”
The forum, sponsored by National Jewish Health, was open to fellows who are actively enrolled in a pediatric, pulmonary, allergy or immunology fellowship programs. The top 30 abstract submissions from fellowship programs across the United States were selected to present their research at the forum.
Dr. Berrou said his research project studied sepsis patients in intensive care units who experienced changes in their cognitive function by the time they were discharged. "Sepsis due to bacterial pneumonia remains a main cause of mortality in intensive care units," he said. "Patients who survive the acute phase of these bacterial infections remain at a significantly increased risk of mortality long after their discharge from the hospital and the exact etiology of this phenomenon is unclear."
According to Dr. Berrou, this research holds far-reaching potential to improve health care among patients seen in intensive care units. "The occurrence of patients experiencing cognitive impairment, such as delirium or Alzheimer’s disease, after leaving the intensive care unit is well-described," he said. "Often times these patients never return to baseline and have to live nursing homes after leaving the hospital, which impairs their relationship with family and their ability to go back to work."
In addition to presenting their research, the forum provided an excellent opportunity for fellows to network with faculty experts and peers conducting research in respiratory medicine. The forum was also beneficial for young investigators, such as Dr. Berrou, who will be transitioning to initial faculty positions following the completion of their fellowship training. Starting in July, he will serve as a pulmonary and critical care attending at Hurley and McLaren Hospitals in addition to working as a clinical assistant professor at Michigan State University, where he will continue to collaborate with the Center for Lung Biology at USA Health.
He credits the collaboration with the USA Center for Lung Biology and the curriculum within the USA College of Medicine’s pulmonary and critical care fellowship program for providing him with the education, training and clinical skills necessary to pursue an academic career in pulmonary and critical care medicine.
“One important element of fellowship training is the development of research expertise,” said Dr. Karen Fagan, professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and director of the division of pulmonary at critical care medicine.
According to Dr. Berrou, the department’s dedication to both the clinical and research aspects of medicine has been beneficial throughout his training. Dr. Troy Stevens, professor and chair of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine, served as Dr. Berrou’s mentor for the project. "The Center for Lung biology provides a vibrant collaborative research environment within the USA College of Medicine, which forms an outstanding framework for training in lung biology and related areas,” he said.
Dr. Berrou said the department incorporates basic science research opportunities in collaboration with the USA Center for Lung Biology, which immediately sparked his interest. “Each month, faculty members from the Center come to the USA Medical Center to discuss their current research endeavors and serve as mentors as we progress through our training,” he said. “USA’s integration of research, academia, teaching and clinical experiences for fellows is rare to find, which is one of the main reasons why I chose this program.”
To learn more about the Respiratory Diseases Young Investigators’ Forum, click here.
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