New Orleans–Match results reveal the highest fill rate in the residency programs based at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans in nearly 20 years with 96% filled in the Match and 4% in the Scramble, for a total of 100% of positions filled. In 2005, 87% of LSUHSC’s residency positions filled in the Match with the rest filled in the Scramble. The percentage of LSUHSC graduating medical students who matched this year is 95.2%, equal to the national rate. The percentage of LSUHSC’s 166 senior medical students participating in the Match who have chosen to remain in Louisiana to complete their medical training is 50% – as compared to 49.35% last year.

           The Match, conducted annually by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), is the primary system that matches applicants to residency programs with available positions at U.S. teaching hospitals and academic health centers.  The choices of the students are entered into a software program as are the choices of the institutions with residency programs. All U.S. graduating medical students found out at the same time today where they “matched” and where they will spend their years of residency training. There are always some programs and students who do not get their choices in the Match. Positions unfilled from the Match are then filled in the “Scramble” when unmatched graduates are placed in programs with unfilled positions.

           “Louisiana is retaining slightly more of our graduates this year than last,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, Chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. “A full half of our graduates are staying, and our residency programs matched at a significantly higher rate than even pre-Katrina. We’re gratified at this expression of faith in the quality of our residency programs and educational experience. We are making significant progress in meeting the health care needs of the people in New Orleans area and the state, and the new university hospital downtown will help us remain competitive with residency programs in other states. We are grateful for the Jindal administration’s commitment to getting it built.”

            LSUHSC New Orleans based primary care residency programs did very well; they all filled in the Match. The percentage of LSUHSC medical graduates going into primary care is about 52%. Primary Care specialties included are Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Preliminary, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Medicine-Pediatrics. Ob-GYN is not always included in primary care data; however, in some Louisiana communities the only physician is an OB-GYN.

          Of the 42 residency and fellowship programs based at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, 20 participate in the Main NRMP Match whose results were released today. They are Anesthesiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Preliminary, Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Psychiatry, Radiology, General Surgery, Surgery-Preliminary, Medicine-Pediatrics, and Medicine-Emergency Medicine.

           “This year 50% of our students chose to remain in Louisiana for their postgraduate medical education and training,” said Dr. Steve Nelson, Dean of the School of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. “This is a strong indicator that we are on the right path. While we are encouraged by this trend, if we are to continue to supply the majority of the health care professionals for Louisiana, we must use every resource available to keep our best and brightest physicians here to care for our citizens and that includes a state-of-the-art university hospital in downtown New Orleans. Indeed, the future health of Louisiana depends upon it.”                  LSUHSC medical graduates training in other states will be going to such prestigious programs as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Stanford University, Duke University Medical Center, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mt. Sinai, Vanderbilt, and University of Alabama Medical Center, among others.                                                                                                                                                            The National Residency Matching Program was established in 1952 to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants for U.S. residency positions with residency program choices of applicants.  The program provides a common time for the announcement of the appointments, as well as an agreement for programs and applicants to honor the commitment to offer and accept an appointment if a match results. National studies have found that a high number of physicians set up their permanent practices in the areas where they have completed their residency programs.  Therefore, match results figure prominently in Louisiana’s physician work force. The supply of physicians practicing in Louisiana not only affects access to care, but also local economies and the larger state economy.

           Residency programs begin on July 1, 2009.      


            New Orleans, LA – Research conducted by Allison Berrier, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oral and Craniofacial Biology at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry, and colleagues, provides insights that may help scientists design novel approaches to control wound healing and fight diseases such as cancer and fibrosis. The paper, β1 Integrin Cytoplasmic Domain Residues Selectively Modulate Fibronectin Matrix Assembly and Cell Spreading through Talin and Akt-1, will be published in the March 20, 2009 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research team also included Drs. J. Angelo Green and Kenneth Yamada at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as well as Dr. Roumen Pankov at Sofia University in Sofia, Bulgaria.
            The research concerns the regulation of integrins – proteins on the surface of cells that serve dual roles of anchoring cells within tissues and controlling cell behavior.  Integrins anchor to extracellular proteins found outside the cell and this contact regulates important cellular activities that are critical for survival, proliferation and differentiation in both healthy tissues and tumors. Integrins are involved in the cellular response to injury and infection and are needed to repair damaged tissue.               
            Of the many integrins that exist, the beta-1 integrin is of great interest because it is involved in nearly every cell in the body. Its importance is demonstrated by the fact that mice, which are typically used as models for disease, cannot survive without the beta-1 integrin gene.
Beta-1 integrin is a cell surface protein that spans the membrane and has a portion of the protein outside the cell and a portion of the protein inside the cell. The beta-1 integrin tail is the portion   found inside the cell.  The beta-1 integrin tail has two functions —  it connects integrins to the cellular infrastructure and to signaling pathways.
            This study advances earlier research on the beta-1 integrin tail, that revealed the ability of this integrin tail to provide a scaffold for signaling proteins that control cell survival. The extracellular matrix is a complex mixture containing proteins such as fibronectin and collagen that provide structural support to cells and traction for cell movement. If cells are placed on top of extracellular matrix proteins the cells become activated by their integrins and trigger signaling for the cell to expand or spread over the matrix. Cell spreading is an intermediate step during cell migration on matrix proteins. Prior to the current study it was not clear whether the beta-1 integrin tail recruits the same or different proteins inside the cell to control two different integrin receptor functions outside the cell, namely, formation of fibronectin fibrils and cell spreading.
            The researchers generated a panel of stable cell lines containing different mutations in cells of the beta-1 integrin tail. In the current study, the cell lines were used to determine the role of the beta-1 integrin tail in cell spreading and the production of fibronectin fibrils. Fibronectin is an anchorage protein present in connective tissues and it helps wound healing when it is deposited in damaged tissue. Cells can use their integrins to stretch fibronectin along their surface and this stretched or fibrillar fibronectin provides a docking site to bind additional fibronectin and other factors involved in inflammation and wound healing. An overabundance of fibrillar fibronectin around the cell is characteristic of fibrosis and excessive scarring. Therefore, understanding how cells regulate the ability of integrins to control the abundance of fibrillar fibronectin is of therapeutic interest.
            These beta-1 tail mutations are thought to disrupt the ability of the beta-tail to interact with their recruited proteins. The team found a defect in assembling fibronectin fibrils for the majority of the beta-1 integrin tail mutations. Further studies focused on studying two cell lines that were both unable to form fibrils. When adhesion to fibronectin was examined, one cell line spread whereas the other did not. They demonstrated that specific beta-1 tail mutations can affect cell signaling, cell spreading or formation of fibronectin fibrils. These studies revealed an ability of the cell to sort out different ways of controlling various integrin activities. For instance, the integrin beta-1 tail specifically recruited a protein called talin, found in this study to be important for integrins to form fibronectin fibrils, yet talin was dispensable for early cell spreading events. This ability to selectively adjust particular functions of the integrin may be a key to preventing the progression of diseases associated with abnormal integrin signaling or fibronectin fibril formation such as in cancer and fibrosis.
            “Based upon these studies, the aim of my current research at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Dentistry focuses on those proteins that connect to integrin beta-tails in oral cancer because this knowledge will aid in developing therapeutics that selectively target aberrant integrin functions in oral cancer, ” notes Dr. Berrier.
            “Understanding the mechanisms by which the beta-1 integrin controls the many functions that it regulates is critical to designing drugs that are specific enough to block defective functions of the integrin while simultaneously maintaining normal activities of the integrin in healthy tissue,” said Dr. Green.
            The research was conducted at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health and sponsored, in part, by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.