Research Excellence Highlighted at Fifth Annual Celebration

November 5, 2020 by Michelle Bookless

The Larner College of Medicine hosted the fifth annual "Dean's Celebration of Excellence in Research" on November 4 and 5. The two-day event highlighted the research being conducted by junior faculty, senior faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students at the College.

Dean's Excellence in Research Celebration - November 4 - 5, 2020

The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont hosted the fifth annual "Dean's Excellence in Research Celebration" on November 4 and 5.

The two-day slate of activities highlighted research being conducted by junior faculty, senior faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students at the College. This year, the event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and kicked off on November 4 with the Graduate Student Research Showcase, followed by a presentation on "Lessons I’ve Learned: How Mentoring and My Dogs Helped Shape My Career" by 2019 UVM Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award recipient and Professor of Neurological Sciences Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D.'97. A recording of Cipolla's presentation is available to watch on YouTube.

On November 5, attendees of the Dean's Excellence in Research Award Ceremony were welcomed by Larner College of Medicine Dean Richard Page, M.D., UVM Provost Patricia Prelock, Ph.D., and Vice President for Research Kirk Dombrowski, Ph.D.

Prelock congratulated and thanked research faculty, staff, and students at the College for their commitment, creativity, and perseverance throughout this year and the pandemic, saying "Your keen ability to navigate, learn, and excel, for me, has been truly awe inspiring...a timely and true embodiment of our land grant mission."

In his "State of Research at the Larner College of Medicine" presentation, Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., highlighted the achievements and accomplishments alluded to by Page, Prelock, and Dombrowski, including 57 COVID-19-related projects, specifically 16 National Institutes of Health proposals. "Since the middle of June, we have been among the most fully functioning research institutions in the United States," said Jensen.

Jensen also spoke of the $105 million in grant funding awarded to the College in fiscal year 2020 and gave an update on the groundbreaking and construction of the Firestone Medical Research Building. Jensen's presentation will be available to view on the College's YouTube channel on Monday, November 9. 

During the award ceremony portion of the program, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Training Christopher Berger, Ph.D., recognized graduate student participants and awardees from the previous day's Research Showcase and Jensen announced the winners of the UVM Health Network Medical Group awards, and Larner College of Medicine faculty, student, and staff awards.

Notably, several new awards were added to both the UVM Health Network Medical Group and Larner College of Medicine research awards. The medical group added the Faculty Practice Junior Researcher of the Year award and the Faculty Practice Senior Researcher of the Year award and the College added two Research Laboratory Staff awards, a Research Laboratory Clinical Research Coordinator award, and a Dean's Clinical Trials Research award.

All award nominees can be viewed in the awards ,ceremony program and winners can be viewed, below.

The awards event culminated with a keynote address, titled “Translating Thought into Blood Flow in the Brain: Capillaries as Sensors of Neural Activity," by 2019 UVM Larner College of Medicine Research Laureate, National Academy of Sciences Member, and University Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pharmacology Mark Nelson, Ph.D.  Nelson's presentation will be available to view on the College's YouTube channel on Monday, November 9.

Graduate Showcase Winners

  • Best Junior Graduate Student Research Presentation: Melissa Boucher
  • Best Senior Graduate Student Research Presentation: Alex Thompson

Outstanding Research Publication Winners

  • Outstanding Research Publication by a resident: Stas Amato, M.D.
  • Outstanding Research Publication by a postdoctoral fellow: Vitor Mori, Ph.D.
  • Outstanding Research Publication by a graduate student: Katharine Beca (Tooke)
  • Outstanding Research Publication by a medical student: Christina Evans (Cahill), M.D., Class of 2018

UVM Health Network Medical Group Awards

  • Research Grant recipients:
    • "A Transradial-Specific Diagnostic Catheter for Cerebral Angiography" — Scott Raymond, M.D. (PI), David M Johnson, M.D., and Rachel Oldinski, M.S., Ph.D.
    • "Using Circulating Tumor DNA (ctDNA) to Predict Minimal Residual Disease, Recurrent Disease, and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with High-Risk Malignant Melanoma" — Jessica Cintolo-Gonzalez, M.D. (PI), Jon Ramsey, Ph.D., Shahid Ahmed, M.D., and Hibba Rehman, M.D.
  • Innovation Grant recipients:
    • "Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs and Experiences of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Vermont" — Devika Singh, M.D. (PI), Jennifer Monroe Zakaras, Independent Consultant; Patsy Kelso, Ph.D., Vermont Health; and Jennifer Read, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., Vermont Health 
  • Faculty Practice Junior Researcher of the Year: Katharine Cheung, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Faculty Practice Senior Researcher of the Year: Elizabeth Bonney, M.D., M.P.H.

Larner College of Medicine Faculty & Staff Awards

  • Research Laboratory Staff Award: Cheryl Collins
  • Research Laboratory Staff Award: Terri Messier
  • Research Laboratory Clinical Research Coordinator Award: Sara Ardren
  • Clinical Trials Research Award: Harold Dauerman, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine
  • Research Mentor: Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine
  • Rising Star New Investigator: Jessica Heath, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Biochemistry
  • Mid-Career Investigator: Jason Botten, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine
  • Research Laureate: Anne Dixon, M.A., B.M., B.Ch., Professor Medicine

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