Keck School of Medicine News and Notes
For faculty and staff of the Keck School of Medicine of USC

October 29, 2014


USC surgeon performs first-of-its-kind robotic kidney surgery
Surgeons at the USC Institute of Urology, part of Keck Medicine of USC, recently used a Food and Drug Administration-cleared laparoscopic device, the high intensity focused ultrasound surgical ablation system to ablate intra-abdominal tumors. The system enables surgeons to penetrate the abdominal cavity with keyhole cuts to eliminate tumors of four centimeters or less. Inderbir Gill, MD, founding executive director, USC Institute of Urology, and chairman and professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, performed the surgery on patient Gary Fradkin, a 62-year-old Van Nuys resident, who went home the same day, three to four days less than patients typically experience with kidney cancer surgery.

Keck Medicine of USC surgeons use robot to perform innovative endovascular procedures
For the first time on the West Coast, surgeons from the Keck School of Medicine of USC used a robot to perform two endovascular procedures on two separate patients on Sept. 30. “It was a success and we are excited about its prospects in more complex endovascular procedures,” said Sung Wan Ham, MD, assistant professor of surgery, division of vascular surgery, who performed the back to back angioplasty and stenting of an occluded femoral artery using the Magellan robot. Fred Weaver, MD, MMM, chief of the division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy, said the technology is a boon for patients at Keck Medicine of USC, which is the fifth medical center in the U.S., and the first on the west coast, to have this type of robot. “We are literally on the cutting edge of the endo applications with this,” said Weaver.

Keck School of Medicine of USC endoscopy expert helps train physicians in Russia
Jacques Van Dam, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, joined a team of 15 preeminent international endoscopists for a two-day training seminar in Moscow last July. The "train-the-trainer" event, sponsored by the World Endoscopy Organization, allowed experts including Van Dam to explain and showcase bast-practice methods for teaching and organizing endoscopic training programs.

Budge named senior associate dean for administration and chief operating officer
Ted J. Budge has been named senior associate dean for administration and chief operating officer of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, effective Nov. 3. Budge comes to the Keck School from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences where he served as senior associate dean and chief financial officer. He was responsible for all financial and human resource operations at Dornsife, which has an operating budget of more than $550 million; 75 academic and administrative departments, institutes and centers; and more than 1,500 faculty.

USC bolsters program to help prepare underrepresented students for doctoral programs
USC is a key partner in a California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) research training program that prepares underrepresented students for doctoral programs. The NIH has given $22.7 million over five years for the initiative, called Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity. Through the program, underrepresented undergraduate students will receive mentoring and research training at CSULB while USC will serve as a research partner institution to help them succeed in doctoral programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, focusing on public health.


Thursday, Oct. 30

Noon. USC School of Pharmacy Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar. "2014 Rock the Pink,” various speakers, USC. PSC 108. Info:

Noon. Department of Medical Education Seminar. "Faculty Development: Root Cause Analysis,” Julie Nyquist, Tatum Korin and Win May, USC. Norris Medical Library, East Conference Room. Info and RSVP: Cris Argosino, (323) 442-2746,

Noon. Research Center for Liver Diseases Seminar. “Intestinal Stem Cell and Metabolic Responses During Gut Adaptation in Short Bowel Syndrome,” Deborah Rubin, Washington University School of Medicine. Hastings Auditorium. Info: Dolores Mendoza, (323) 442-1283,

4 p.m. Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute Seminar. “Sugar, Fat and Big Babies: Is Maternal BMI or Diet to Blame?” Lynn Barbour, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Harkness Auditorium. Info: Christina Ayala, (323) 442-2500,,

6 p.m. USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Talk. “Breast Cancer: Understanding the Risk Factors,” Christy Russell, USC. 1812 Verdugo Blvd., Glendale. Info and RSVP: Celine Petrossian, (818) 952-2213,,

Friday, Oct. 31

Noon. Preventive Medicine Seminar. “New Directions in Population Health Seminar Series, Taking Social Determinants of Health Seriously. What Would It Take To Get Effective Action On A Global Scale?” Jody Heymann, UCLA. SSB 115/116. Info: Susan Largent, (323) 865-0805,

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Noon. Institute for Global Health Lecture. “Character: The Ultimate Survival Tool,” Ethan Zohn, Grassroot Soccer. TCC 450. Info:

1 – 4 p.m. CTSI Workshop. “Utilize Digital & Social Media Data for Your Research (Workshop 4: Digital Scholar Initiative),” Katja Reuter, USC. Harkness Auditorium. Info: Francis Ukpolo (323) 442-1996,

4 p.m. Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series. General (Ret) David H. Petraeus, USC. Mayer Auditorium. Info and RSVP: (code: Petraeus). Live webcast:

5:30 p.m. Ophthalmology Grand Rounds. HC4 Conference Room, third floor. Info: Ty Christopher, (213) 409-5233,  

Wednesday, Nov. 5

Noon. The Saban Research Institute Seminar. “Structure and Function of the Helicobacter pylori CagA Oncoprotein,” Masanori Hatakeyama, University of Tokyo. Saban Research Building, first floor auditorium, CHLA. Info: Laura Rabin, (323) 361-8715,,

Friday, Nov. 7

Noon. USC Women in Management Workshop. “Speaking and Presenting with Authenticity,” Peter Cardon, USC. IRD 305. Info: Ginger Mayerson, (323) 867-2200,, RSVP: WIM members free, non-WIM Members $10

Saturday, Nov. 8

7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Continuing Medical Education. “An Update on Esophageal Diseases.” University Club of Pasadena, 175 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena. Info: Teresa Ball, (323) 442-2555,,

Media Mentions

An Oct. 28 broadcast on NBC News Los Angeles affiliate KNBC-TV featured Keck Medicine of USC, which was the first medical center in Southern California to implant a new wireless device for heart failure patients. David Shavelle, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, implanted the device, which allows him to remotely monitor a patient's vital signs. "We can potentially adjust medications and intervene so that they don't have to come to the hospital," Shavelle said. The device was also covered by City News Service and Univision Los Angeles affiliate KMEX-TV.

An Oct. 28 broadcast on KPCC-FM's "AirTalk" interviewed Sean Nordt, MD, PharmD, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, about prescription painkillers leading to more emergency room visits.

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