Pre-health Director and Assistant Professor of Biology
Education: bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree from Sir Salimullah Medical College in Bangladesh; doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Mississippi Medical Center
Millsaps College has a rich history of preparing students for medical school. The College now has a faculty member focused on strengthening student preparation for medical school, dental school and other health-related programs.
Dr. Naila M. Mamoon joined the faculty in August 2010 as pre-health director and assistant professor of biology; she is an instructor of pharmacology and toxicology and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
"Naila Mamoon brings an intense focus on pre-health students and their advising. She is the faculty member whose primary responsibility is personalized, specialized attention to student preparation for medical careers. She trained as a physician and brings additional expertise in pharmacology and toxicology to our instruction," said Dr. Tim Ward, associate dean of sciences and professor of chemistry.
Mamoon said she counsels students about pre-requisites for medical, dental and other health-related programs, required standardized tests, and even extracurricular activities. "Medical schools look for students who have good MCAT scores, good GPAs and also who are well rounded," she said.
Mamoon said she plans to discuss the results of practice standardized tests with students to help them identify subject areas that need more attention. "That will help them improve their test scores," she said.
Ward said one of his top priorities for Mamoon is to advise and mentor freshmen who have identified themselves as interested in health professions. It is imperative that students interested in pr-health fields like interacting with people and are studious and committed, she said.
Ward said plans call for Mamoon to examine the Millsaps curriculum, including course content, medical mentoring programs, and MCAT preparation. Outreach to prospective pre-med students will also be a focus.
Mamoon currently teaches human physiology. Her training will allow her to also teach human gross anatomy, pharmacology and toxicology. Physicians from UMMC and the community have been invited to her physiology class to teach students how to take a patient's history in a short amount of time and how to perform physical examinations; it's a way to make the classroom experience more relevant to clinical practice.
Ward said he would like to add a clinical correlations biochemistry course that looks at diseases and biological responses, such as sickle cell disease.
In collaboration with the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience at UMMC, Mamoon is currently conducting research to determine if an environmental factor such as chronic stress predisposes a person to develop mental illness by influencing the epigenetics of neural pathways. Her project, directed at investigating the epigenetics of cell differentiation in leukemia cells, has recently received funding from the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. She hopes to have Millsaps students assist with her research.
Mamoon has a bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degree from Sir Salimullah Medical College in Bangladesh and a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
New this year is the establishment of a Pre-Health Advisory Board made up of medical professionals in Mississippi. The board will provide advice on curriculum, outreach to students, serve as guest speakers and mentors, and assist in fundraising for program initiatives to enhance student learning. Current members of the Pre-Medical Advisory Board are Dr. Gene Barrett, 1970; Dr. Ben Brock, B.S. and B.A. 2005; Dr. Vonda Reeves-Darby, B.S. 1978; Dr. Kent Darsey, B.S. 1974; Dr. Raymond Martin, B.S. 1942; Dr. Don Mitchell, B.S. 1964; Dr. Earl Stubblefield, 1964; Dr. Meredith Travelstead, B.S. 1993; Dr. Frank Wade, B.S. 1980; Dr. Carla Webb, B.S. 1997; Dr. Lamar Weems, B.S. 1953; Dr. Virginia Anne Jones-Whitley, B.A. 1968, and Dr. Terrel Williams, B.S. 1976.