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Director of Curriculum

Mary Ruebush, PhD

Mary Ruebush, PhD, is one of the nation's most experienced instructors in Microbiology and Immunology for USMLE Step 1 review.

She is the author of Becker’s Step 1 USMLE lecture notes in Immunology and Microbiology, and from 2000 to 2012 was the author of the Kaplan Step 1 Review Notes. Dr. Ruebush received her PhD from the University of Georgia and has taught Infectious Disease, Immunology and Pathology at Bowman-Gray Medical School, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Montana State University, where she received Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Published Books

Medical Immunology Essentials

Medical immunology is the study of how the human body responds to disease. As such, it is a foundational science for pathology and clinical practice.

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It is also arguably the most poorly taught of subjects in medical school, and it is not a subject that can be conquered through memorization. This book reflects the experience of 30 years teaching in the field, converting the molecular complexities of the immune system into a memorable, logical engineering design. Initially, the development of immune cells is followed from their origin in the bone marrow, through their training in primary lymphoid organs, and their recirculation and homing into the lymph nodes and spleen. From there, the sequence of innate inflammation is followed through the potential development of cell-mediated and humoral adaptive immune responses. Once the design of the system is explained, the clinical applications of the immune response in vaccination, diagnosis, and management of immunodeficiency and hypersensitivity diseases, HIV infection, transplantation, and neoplasia. The delivery of this material in a logical and memorable design which emphasizes understanding will serve as the foundation for a great score on board exams, and the basis for a lifetime in learning the new frontiers in this rapidly evolving discipline.

Medical Microbiology Essentials

Medical Microbiology Essentials is designed with the medical student in mind, and emphasizes the critical concepts which must be understood to excel on the licensing boards.

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With an emphasis on how the anatomy and physiology of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites predict the pathogenesis in the patient, this review provides a user-friendly rapid review of the clinical importance of infectious disease to today's doctor. Although most courses emphasize management of the subject by rote memorization, this book encourages the integration of biochemistry, physiology, immunology, pathology and pharmacology to make the material logical and understandable. Issues critical to help students think like a doctor include epidemiology, chief complaint, management of drug resistances and therapy, and natural history of each disease.

Medical Genetics Essentials

This book is designed to provide the medical student with everything needed to ace step 1 board questions concerning medical genetics.

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This subject is handled in a step-wise, simple-to-understand fashion, from the analysis of pedigrees and their complications to the mechanisms which cause abnormalities of chromosome number and shape. The issues of prenatal genetic counseling on recurrence risk using Punnett squares and population analysis within affected families are explained, as well as means of direct and indirect diagnosis of single gene and mitochondrial defects. The Hardy-Weinberg equation is derived and its use is demonstrated in a simple, understandable sequence of steps. Each chapter is followed by open-ended practice questions which are designed to help students work through the logic and mathematical calculations to answer any and all board questions in the field and calm their anxiety on the subject so that they will be able to reason under exam pressure. Finally, the book concludes with step-wise solutions to all the practice questions, so that students can check their work and gain the confidence they need to excel.


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