Medical University of South Carolina
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is the oldest medical school in the South, and one of the oldest in the country. One of the major areas of focus for MUSC is in cardiothoracic surgery and cardiovascular disease in general. Its partnership with the Northeastern University Cooperative Education Program began through the efforts of Francis G. Spinale, MD, PhD (Northeastern Class of 1979) who is the current Director of the Cardiothoracic Research Program at MUSC and Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery. MUSC began as a Co-op employer in the early 1990's and this remains an active partnership today.
Charleston, South Carolina
The major focus of the cardiothoracic research program is to develop new diagnostic and treatment strategies for patients with heart disease. Since cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death and disability in both men and women in this country, then this is an important basic and clinical research focus of these laboratories. Using cell based, organism and patient based studies, this laboratory is developing new blood tests to predict heart failure, identifying new proteins that may contribute to heart failure, and evaluating/developing new devices that can be used in patients with heart failure. The diversity of research that goes on in these laboratories reflects the educational experience of Dr. Spinale, most certainly part of which was the Cooperative educational experience obtained during his time at Northeastern. This experience proved invaluable during Spinale's research and clinical training.
In Dr. Spinale�s words:
�In order to give back to the Northeastern Cooperative Education Program, a special research position was created for our students to experience medical research and to actively participate in programs that yield tangible results for patients. Co-op students add a level of excitement and discovery to a program that we often take for granted. These students remind us how remarkable it is to operate on the human heart and to repair what was once considered fatal heart problems. Co-op students are assigned to a specific set of projects, which are focused upon a particular cardiovascular problem which contributes to heart disease. The students attend clinical and basic science conferences, make presentations to the research group, attend the operating rooms and work in the laboratory. The primary hope is to have them harness the classroom experience to a real life experience in cardiovascular research. The student is expected to begin and complete a specific set of experiments, perform the analysis with the research mentor, and then present these findings at a formal venue.�
Francis G. Spinale is Professor of Surgery, Physiology and Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Dr. Spinale received his MD and PhD degrees from MUSC and has held a long standing interest in the development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for both acute and chronic heart failure. These research interests include myocardial protection strategies for cardiac surgery, surgical approaches for heart failure and the mechanisms of myocardial remodeling. Dr. Spinale is a member of the Society of Clinical Investigation and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and The American Association of Thoracic Surgeons. He serves on several editorial boards including Circulation, and the American Journal of Physiology. He has published over 300 articles in the field of cardiothoracic surgery and cardiovascular physiology.