Linkage 3/18: Match Day, Podcast #0.3, and More

Photo by Bruce Powell

Photo by Bruce Powell

Yesterday wasn’t just St. Patrick’s Day for fourth-year medical students around the country – it was also Match Day, the tense and celebratory day when aspiring doctors learn the residency program where they will spend their next 3-7 years. At the Pritzker School of Medicine, green-clad students and supporters absolutely packed the hospital’s Billings Auditorium for the big event Thursday morning, cheering their peers as they were called one by one at random to collect their match envelope. In a local tradition, it literally pays to go last, as students throw into an informal prize pot for whoever has to wait and squirm the longest to pick up their envelope (second-to-last gets a Hershey bar as consolation). In the video below, you can see some of that process – including the outcry when the last envelopes are miscounted – followed by the amazing tension-release of the countdown and unison envelope opening.

The numbers from the day are just as exciting as the video. At Pritzker (recently ranked #12 among medical schools by US News and World Report), 110 students were matched in 24 specialties at 46 institutions, including 23 students who will stay with us here at the Medical Center. The most popular specialties for Pritzker students were internal medicine (25% of the class), general surgery (11%), and pediatrics (11%). Nationally, trends continued to shift for the second consecutive year toward primary care specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics, according to the National Residency Matching Program, a step in the right direction to meet some of the increased demand for primary care doctors expected in the wake of health care reform. MedPageToday’s Kristina Fiore breaks down the numbers.

Podcast 0.3: Transplants, Rock-Paper-Scissors Ecology, and More

We have settled on a name for our young research podcast: Bench to Bedside. However, we are still keeping the training wheels on as we work out the technical kinks and explore the best ways to deliver audio versions of our latest research and medical stories. Please enjoy the third installment of our podcast, featuring a recent coast-to-coast kidney transplant chain that involved the Medical Center, how Rock-Paper-Scissors can explain biodiversity, the fight against indoor air pollution in Nigeria, and the new numbers on the eating disorders epidemic in the United States. As always, we would love to hear feedback on what we’re doing right and wrong at or Bench to Bedside Episode #0.3 by robmitchum


Some people keep ant farms, some people keep multiple flasks of bacteria growing for 13 years (and counting) to study evolution. Ed Yong writes about experiments from Michigan State University that show “tortoise” bacteria can beat out “hare” bacteria over the long run. (And if you’re a science communicator of any sort, do listen to Ed and Carl Zimmer’s “Death to Obfuscation” session from January’s Science Online meeting)

ABC7 Chicago ran a story last night on new treatment protocols for breast cancer, where drug treatment may precede – or sometimes remove the need for – surgical removal of tumors. See why Nora Jaskowiak, associate professor of surgery, says “I always say I’m going to be out of a job as a breast surgeon in the next decade or two.”

Often cases of influenza, a virus, are mistakenly treated with antibiotics, which are designed to treat bacterial infections, not viral disease. A study published this week in PNAS suggests that erroneous treatment might actually cause more harm to the patient than just choosing the wrong pharmaceutical weapon, as mice given antibiotics were less likely to fight off the flu than mice given no drugs at all. The research is the latest to suggest a role for the human microbiome – the immense bacterial ecosystem that exists inside and on our bodies – in regulating our immune response to disease. Alexander Chervonsky, associate professor of pathology, commented on the study for US News and World Report.

About Rob Mitchum (525 Articles)
Rob Mitchum is communications manager at the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
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