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Students encouraged to engage in research

Efforts will pay dividends later

By Richard Heck
December 9, 2008

Become involved in research activity, no matter how small, “and it will pay dividends in the future,” Dan Culver, D.O. (’96), told students during the December 8 session of the OU-COM Alumni Research Series.

“In the modern era of medicine, if you’ve done a little bit of research, you will be in a better position to judge what you see clinically,” Culver said in his noontime lecture, “Sarcoidosis: Insights from the bench-bed nexus.”  

Culver is a staff physician in the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine and in the Department of Pathobiology, both at Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His clinical and research interests center
on the manifestations and management of sarcoidosis, a multi-systemic disorder that occurs most frequently in the lungs but can be found in almost any organ.

Culver introduced his research by relating the case study of a 62-year-old vascular surgeon who had contracted tuberculosis during his internship decades ago but was only recently complaining about shortness of breath. “Why such a long latency?” Culver wondered about the physician’s delayed onset of symptoms. 

Part of the answer had to do with the patient’s sarcoidosis. Culver now conducts research to help determine the cause of sarcoidosis. “Nobody has ever pinned down (the cause),” he said, though researchers suspect a combination of genetics and geographic variances, possibly an inhaled agent. 

Culver has identified some possible answers, which need further study,
he said. He noted that medical research is always a group effort; more than 13 researchers at various medical and academic institutions have collaborated for his research.

Culver, whose own clinical and research interests came about by chance, also advised students to keep an open mind before choosing a specialty.

“Medicine today is a more interactive field with many specialties and opportunities. If you find something fun, you should continue to do it,” he said. 

Culver is an ad hoc reviewer and editorial advisor for various peer-reviewed journals including Thorax, the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management, the Journal of Bronchology, the Quarterly Journal of Medicine, and Arthritis Care and Research.

In addition, Dr. Culver has presented a variety of abstracts and preliminary communications at the American Thoracic Society, the Society of Leukocyte Biology, and the World Association of Sarcoidosis. He is a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and a member of several professional associations, including the American Thoracic Society, the American Osteopathic Association and the World Association of Sarcoidosis.

At OU-COM, Culver was class president in 1992-93 and Student Government Association president in 1993-94. He completed his internship at South Pointe Hospital, followed by an internal medicine residency and a pulmonary/critical care medicine fellowship, both at the Cleveland Clinic. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University. Currently, he is a member of the OU-COM Society of Alumni and Friends board of directors.

Culver has two brothers who also are OU-COM graduates:
Andrew K. Culver, D.O. (’99)
, and Thomas Culver, D.O. (’04).

The Alumni Research Series is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Society of Alumni and Friends.


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