Volume 77
Number 4

Health for All

Fear of Flying

Flying II: High Anxiety

Virtual Vietnam

Uncovering the Past

Wired New World

Enigma: Physics Band

Emory University

Association of Emory Alumni

Current News and Events

Emory Report



Sports Updates






Mice stem cells used to study life-threatening heart conditions

Using stem cells from mice, an Emory researcher is unlocking a mystery once left to poets: the workings of a broken heart.

Samuel Dudley Jr. and his research team at the Cellular Therapy Center at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center are manipulating mice stem cells—cells that haven’t differentiated yet—into perfect replicas of human heart cell mutations. These mutations are linked to arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, that can prove deadly.

“If we can understand how heart cells develop, then we may be able to understand congenital heart defects,”says Dudley, assistant professor
of medicine and physiology at Emory’s School of Medicine. He is studying Long QT syndrome and Brugada’s syndrome, two deadly heart diseases caused by inherited mutations, with an eye to what sequence of cellular events causes some heart cells to “misfire.”
Future cardiac ther-apies, Dudley says, may even include growing replacement tissue for damaged hearts.

















































AFTER NAVIGATING ONE-WAY STREETS, searching for scarce or distant parking, and locating doctor’s offices and labs spread over several blocks, visitors to Emory’s Crawford Long Hospital in midtown Atlanta often are tired and frustrated. But the nearly one hundred thousand patients a year who seek treatment at Emory’s downtown medical facility will soon find high-tech care in a streamlined environment.

A $270-million redevelopment project will consolidate many Crawford Long services into a new medical office tower. Portions of the complex, which will complement but not replace the existing hospital on Peachtree Street, are set to open this year, and the entire facility will be open by 2003.

As Emory Healthcare embarked on one of the largest hospital construction projects ever in Georgia, "we made a commitment to create a premier medical facility that offers convenience, continued clinical excellence, and enhanced community development," says John D. Henry Sr., chief executive officer of Emory Hospitals and Wesley Woods Center.

The centerpiece of the project is a six-story diagnostic and treatment center topped by a fourteen-story medical office building at Peachtree and Pine streets, which includes a glass conservatory with lobbies and waiting area.

The medical tower will bring together related services now spread over several blocks and buildings. For instance, the operating rooms will be near the blood bank, pharmacy, and central supply; the emergency department will be near radiology; and the new birthing center and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) will be on the same floor.

"In the current NICU we’ve been trying to do modern medicine in a sixty-year-old building," says Ann D. Critz, chief of pediatrics. "As part of our belief in supportive care, we encourage families to be with their babies. The new unit will allow this opportunity."

The comprehensive birthing center on the third floor of the tower will have eleven labor and delivery rooms, thirty-six mother-baby suites, the NICU and a general nursery, a lactation support space, and an isolation room that will double as a surgical suite.

Other highlights of the medical tower include: a ground-floor emergency department three times the current size; an outpatient surgery suite with six operating rooms on the lobby level; larger, in-patient surgical suites on the second floor; and an entire floor dedicated to the Carlyle Fraser Heart Center.

All intensive care beds and inpatient beds, except maternity, will stay in the original Crawford Long Hospital building, which is currently the third largest hospital in Georgia. (Emory University Hospital ranks second.)

Since it was founded in 1908, Crawford Long had grown into a hodgepodge of buildings spread over four city blocks. The nine existing buildings on the campus require almost $10 million a year to maintain and modernize. By the time the redevelopment project is complete, eight of these buildings will have been demolished. A transition team is planning strategies for the move, orienting more than two thousand staff members and one thousand doctors.

Despite the chaos, many on staff–like Dale Walker, director of radiology–can’t wait to get into their new space. The radiology department, which spanned three blocks and was spread among four buildings, is now contained on the ground floor of the diagnostic and treatment center. "We’re so excited it’s not even funny," Walker says.–M.J.L.

To find out more about the Crawford Long Hospital redevelopment project, go to www.emoryhealthcare.org.

Doc Hollywood: The Musical is a unique venture–a novel that became a popular movie that now, through the efforts of Emory students and alumni, is setting its sights on Broadway.

Associate Professor of Medicine Neil Shulman’s novel What? Dead . . . Again? (co-written by journalist/novelist Carl Hiaasen, who attended Emory in the early seventies) served as the inspiration for the 1991 film starring Michael J. Fox. The story centers on a young surgeon who sets out for Beverly Hills to make his fortune in the land of face-lifts and liposuction but is waylaid when his car breaks down in a backwater Southern town in need of a doctor.

The musical draws ideas from both the book and the movie, with new dialogue written by Travis Sentell ’01C and Adam Roberts ’01C. The songs and lyrics are by Joshua Tarkan ’01M.

“The play kind of went in a third direction. Neil supplied us with funny anecdotes but was careful not to impose his view over ours, which was really nice,” says Sentell, who earned a dual degree in psychology and religion and is now studying in Scotland on a Robert T. Jones scholarship.

This spring, a sing-through performance at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points by two dozen Emory students and alumni was well received and raised six thousand dollars for WorldPlay, an organization co-founded by Shulman that promotes handmade toys by children from around the world.

In addition to writing novels, health guides, and children’s books, Shulman, who earned his medical degree from Emory in 1971, does stand-up comedy around the country to raise money for charities. “I was delighted with the musical,” Shulman says. “It resonates so strongly with my experience working in rural ERs in Georgia that I felt all those salt-of-the-earth folks in towns like Franklin, Villa Rica, and Carrollton had returned for a real-life rerun.”

The Doc Hollywood: The Musical team has “creative juices that could blow Hollywood away,” Shulman says. “There is a collaborative spirit in the air at Emory. It infected the souls of twenty-five students. It was magical.”

Clay Lockett ’01C, co-producer of the musical, has created a thirty-minute video of performance highlights and spent the summer searching for investors. He’s hoping for a professional Atlanta production by next year, with the goal of bringing Doc Hollywood to the New York stage.

“The story is wholesome, accessible to everyone, with a good message,” Lockett says. “It’s a good family show–with some things that have never been seen before, like a singing pig–that will draw people in.”–M.J.L.

Also in Précis:

A Journey of Reconciliation

Depression and high blood pressure make deadly combination

Growing Green: The Piedmont Project

Library augments literary holdings

A Race of Singers

The Poetry of Natasha Trethewey and Janet McAdams ’96PhD

Remembering Evangeline T. Papageorge ’29M

Emory’s “hidden history” revealed in Oxford Historical Cemetery

Faith Journey: Daniel B. Cole ’93C




© 2002 Emory University