Larner Holds 2022 Excellence in Research Celebration, Presents Awards

October 31, 2022 by Jennifer Nachbur

The University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine held the 2022 Dean's Excellence in Research three-day celebration October 31 through November 2.
The University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine concluded the three-day 2022 Dean's Celebration of Excellence in Research events with the 2022 Research Laureate Lecture by Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., UVM Distinguished Professor and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, on "Redox Medicine for the Management of Chronic Diseases" on November 2.

The series of events, which launched on Monday, October 31, with the Graduate Student Research Showcase, also featured The State of Research at the College and Dean's Excellence in Research Awards on November 1 and a three-day poster display of postdoctoral research and Larner core research facilities. Each of the events highlighted the hard work and exceptional accomplishments of students, trainees, faculty and staff at the College.

Speakers at the State of Research at the College and Dean's Excellence in Research Awards event included Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., Kirk Dombrowski, Ph.D., UVM vice president for research, Richard Galbraith, M.D., Ph.D., interim senior associate dean for research, and Christopher Berger, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate education and postdoctoral training. 

Following Dean Page's welcome remarks, Dombrowki provided an overview of UVM research goals, which include increasing corporate partnerships and SBIR grants, as well as doubling the number of intellectual property licenses. 

State of Research at the College

In his State of Research at the College presentation, Galbraith reviewed major research-related accomplishments, including the completion and opening of the Firestone Medical Research Building, which he said is "dedicated to team science" and will house the Center for Biomedical Shared Resources on the first floor, Vermont Lung Center researchers on the second floor, UVM Cancer Center researchers on the third floor, and Vermont Center on Cardiovascular and Brain Health researchers on the fourth floor.

He also reviewed several milestones within each of the College's IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, including the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, the Translational Global Infectious Diseases Research Center, the Vermont Center on Cardiovascular and Brain Health and the Northern New England-Clinical and Translational Research Network. Highlights from the UVM Cancer Center include the incorporation of student research fellowships and contributions by Director Randall Holcombe, M.D., M.B.A., to the recruitment of 17 faculty across multiple departments.

Support for training the next generation of biomedical researchers is strong. The Vermont Lung Center currently holds four NIH T32 and one Department of Education training grants. Galbraith shared that according to Director of Medical Student Research and Professor of Medicine Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., a total of 49 medical students have participated in funded research to date.  

The Office of Clinical Trials Research currently has 112 agreements held by 66 unique principle investigators (PIs) and the Clinical Research Center is currently supporting 77 projects run by 48 unique PIs.

In closing the State of Research at the College and Dean's Excellence in Research Awards event, Galbraith explained that over his many years and positions in research at the College of Medicine, "the extraordinary became ordinary." In returning to his interim roles as co-director of the UVM Cancer Center and senior associate dean for research, however, "the ordinary became extraordinary again," he admitted. "Do not take for granted the things that you do, because they are extraordinary," he told attendees.

Graduate Student Showcase and Dean's Excellence in Research Awards

Associate Dean Berger announced the first-place and second-place award recipients in the Junior Division and Senior Division categories for the Graduate Student Trainee Showcase.

Junior Division: First Place: Kanayo Ikeh, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral degree student (mentor: Nimrat Chatterjee, Ph.D.). Second Place: Ally Morrissey, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral degree student (mentor: John Salogiannis, Ph.D.)
Senior Division: First Place: Annalis Whitaker, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral degree student (mentor: Jason Botten, Ph.D.). Second Place: Bay Vagher, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral degree student (mentor: Eyal Amiel, Ph.D.).

The following Dean's Excellence in Research Awards, with respective recipients, were announced by Interim Senior Associate Dean Galbraith and presented to recipients by Dean Page at the November 1 event:

Trainee Awards
* Outstanding Research Publication by a Medical Student: Jennifer Holland, M.D.'22
* Outstanding Research Publication by a Graduate Student: Alex Thompson, Ph.D.'22
* Outstanding Research Publication by a Postdoctoral Fellow: Nicholas Klug, Ph.D.
* Outstanding Research Publication by a Resident: Serena Murphy, M.D. (former colorectal cancer surgery fellow)

Staff Awards
* Clinical Research Coordinator Award: Stephanie Burns, Vermont Lung Center
Scientific Research Staff Award: Scott Tighe, UVM Cancer Center

Faculty Awards
* Clinical Trials Research Award: Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., Medicine
Research Mentorship Award: Jane Lian, Ph.D., Biochemistry
Rising Star New Investigator Award: Ellen McGinnis, Ph.D., Psychiatry
Mid-Career Investigator Award: Valerie Harder, Ph.D., Psychiatry, and Matthew Wargo, Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Research Laureate Award: Sylvie Doublié, Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

Junior Researcher of the Year: Jessica Heath, M.D., Pediatrics
Senior Researcher of the Year: Gary An, M.D., Surgery
Research Grants: Emmett Whitaker, M.D., Anesthesiology & Pediatrics, and Jonathan Riddell, M.D., Surgery & Pediatrics
Innovation Grant: Marjorie Meyer, M.D., and Carole McBride, Ph.D., Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Link to the Graduate Student Research Celebration Showcase Schedule 2022.

Link to full details regarding the 2022 Celebration of Excellence in Research.

View the State of Research at the College presentation slides.

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