Dean's Celebration of Excellence in Research

The Dean's Celebration of Excellence in Research is a two-day event to highlight the research being conducted by junior faculty, senior faculty, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate students at the University of Vermont and the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

The most recent Dean's Celebration of Research in Excellence occurred on Monday, October 28, 2019 and Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

The two-day celebration included a series of events:

  • The Graduate Student & PostDoc Research Showcase provided a venue for developing scientists to share their amazing work and research stories with the Larner College of Medicine community and an opportunity to earn prizes. Each presenter spoke for 12 minutes or less about their research, followed by 3 minutes of Q&A. Presentations were considered for two prizes in each of three categories - junior graduate student, senior graduate student, and postdoctoral trainee. 
  • The Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award Ceremony and Lecture titled "Trials and Trails in Science: Opportunity at Every Fork in the Road (but which direction to take?)" was presented by Senior Associate Dean for Basic Research, Biotechnology and Graduate Studies at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Richard Moss, Ph.D.'75.
  • The keynote presentation Joshua Chodosh, M.D. MSHS, the Michael L. Freedman Professor of Geriatric Research and Professor of Medicine and Population Health at NYU School of Medicine and Director of the Freedman Research Center on Aging, Technology and Cognitive Health. Chodosh's presentation, "The Joy and Tribulations of Pragmatic Trials - the Journey of one Clinician Scientist" was attended by more than 70 faculty, staff and students at the Larner College of Medicine.
  • The Dean's Excellence in Research Awards: included a presentation by Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., on "The State of Research at the UVM Larner College of Medicine," and an awards ceremony. The awards ceremony included a presentation of awards for Outstanding Research Publication by a Graduate Student, Outstanding Research Publication by a Medical Student, Outstanding Research Publication by a Postdoctoral Fellow, Outstanding Research Publication by a Resident, Senior Researcher of the Year at the UVM Health Network Medical Group (UVMHNMG), Junior Researcher of the Year at the UVMHNMG, and faculty awards for Research Mentorship, Rising Star New Investigator,  Mid-Career Investigator, and Research Laureate.

2019 Dean's Excellence in Research Award Winners

The Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Trainee Showcase

Junior Graduate Category

Winner: Lucy Pilcher for “The role of snoRNAs in the adult heart.” Pilcher's mentor is UVM Professor of Medicine, Jeff Spees, Ph.D.

Runner Up: Levi Bonnell, M.P.H. for "Body Mass index increases with commercial development in rural areas, but decreases in urban areas." Bonnell's mentor is UVM Professor of Medicine, Benjamin Littenberg, M.D.

Senior Graduate Category

Winner: Christopher Dustin for "Oxidation-driven IL-33 secretion and type 2 signaling is dependent on DUOX1-induced IL-33 feedback mechanisms.” Dustin's mentor is UVM Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Albert Van der Vliet, Ph.D.

Runner Up: Nicolas Chamberlain for  "Lung epithelial PDIA3 plays a critical role in influenza infection." Chamberlin's mentor is UVM Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Vikas Anathy, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Winner: Elias Klemperer, Ph.D. for "Who remits from opioid use disorder without treatment? Findings from a nationally representative US survey.Klemperer's mentors are UVM Associate Professor of Psychiatry Andrea Villanti and UVM Professor of Psychiatry Rick Rawson.

Runner Up: Kirsten Tracy, Ph.D. for “Mitotically associated long non-coding RNA MANCR supports the metastatic breast cancer phenotype." Tracy's mentors are UVM Professor of Biochemistry Jane Lian, UVM Professor of Biochemistry Gary Stein, and UVM Professor of Biochemistry Janet Stein.

Trainee Awards for Outstanding Research Publication

Graduate Student

Blas Guigni for "Electrical stimulation prevents doxorubicin-induced atrophy and mitochondrial loss in cultured myotubes."  Guigni's mentor is UVM Professor of CardiologMichael Toth, Ph.D.

Medical Student

Charles Nicoli for "Association of Rurality With Survival and Guidelines-Concordant Management in Early-stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer." Nicoli's mentor is UVM Assistant Professor of Radiation - Oncology Nataniel Lester-Coll, M.D

Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel Douce, M.D. for"Risk factors for cancer associated venous thromboembolism: The venous thromboembolism prevention in the ambulatory cancer clinic (VTE‐PACC) study. " Douce's mentor is UVM Associate Professor of Hematology - Oncology Neil Zakai, M.D.


Mayo Fujii, M.D. for "Post-Discharge Opioid Prescribing and Use after Common Surgical Procedure.." Fujii's mentors are UVM Assistant Professor of Surgery Christos Colovos, M.D. and Professor of Surgery Gary An, M.D.

UVM Health Network Medical Group Awards

Junior Researcher of the Year

C. Matthew Kinsey, M.D., M.PH.

Senior Researcher of the Year

Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Grants    

William Tharp, M.D., Ph.D.

Jessica Heath, M.D.

Innovation Grants

Steven Lidofsky, M.D., Ph.D. and Andrew Hale, M.D.

– Peter Jackson, M.D.

Larner College of Medicine Faculty Awards

Research Mentorship

Matthew Poynter, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine

Rising Star New Investigator

Benjamin Lee, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Mid-Career Investigator

Neil Zakai, M.D., M.Sc., Associate Professor of Medicine

Research Laureate

Mark Nelson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pharmacology