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May 15, 2019 | Volume I, Issue 5

Mark Nelson

Nelson Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

University Distinguished Professor and Chair of Pharmacology Mark Nelson, Ph.D., was recognized for his achievements in original research with his election on April 30 as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences 

A UVM faculty member since 1986, Nelson is internationally renowned for his research on the molecular mechanisms and cellular communication involved in blood flow, particularly in the brain’s blood vessels.

“Dr. Nelson richly deserves this recognition, based on a body of work that has provided major discoveries in the field of blood flow regulation to the brain,” said Dean Richard L. Page, M.D. “The Larner College of Medicine and the entire UVM community are proud to celebrate his outstanding accomplishment.”

A Fellow of both the American Heart Association and the Biophysical Society, Nelson has received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and an NIH MERIT award. He has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and over 360 invited lectureships.

Nelson also has a reputation as an extremely supportive mentor who creates an “unparalleled scientific environment” for his trainees, according to Osama Harraz, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in Nelson’s lab since 2015.

“Mark’s discoveries have set the investigative direction for researchers around the world,” said David Warshaw, Ph.D., chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, whose contact with several NAS members ultimately helped lead to Nelson’s nomination.

UVMMC Miller Building Donor Celebration

On Saturday, May 11, the UVM Medical Center welcomed 200 donors to a special preview of the new Robert E. & Holly D. Miller Building to celebrate their support and the facility’s June 1 opening. Over 1,000 community members—80 percent of whom have been UVM Medical Center patients—contributed to the $30 million raised for the project. For a sneak peek, watch the video and read more about the project.

Miller Building Video

April/May Research Trainee Showcase


April Research Trainee Showcase

Go to our research showcase page to see past features. 

Stephen Berns, M.D.

Berns Receives Palliative Care Leadership Grant

Assistant Professor of Family Medicine Stephen Berns, M.D., was selected as one of 12 Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns® Scholars Leadership Program Grant recipients. The program aims to identify, cultivate and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders. Berns, who directs the Palliative Care Bridge course in the Clerkship level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, received a two-year scholarship to support his project, titled “Tele coaching Palliative Care Communication Skills for Rural Clinicians.

From Our Patients Banner

UVM Medical Center cardiology patient Shannon Wheeler of Plattsburgh, NY wrote a letter of thanks to her cardiologist, Assistant Professor of Medicine Robert Lobel, M.D., after undergoing a heart procedure last fall. She said:

Shannon WheelerQuote Marks

I first met Dr. Lobel in September of 2018. I explained that I already had three heart ablations and had been in the emergency room several times. Dr. Lobel sat down and explained what I needed to get done. On October 22, 2018, I had the procedure, called SVT ablation, at UVM Medical Center. Dr. Lobel came in, explained what he was doing, and introduced his medical team to me. I thought that was very professional. After the procedure was done, Dr. Lobel came to my room and asked me how I was feeling and explained what he did. He also sat down, drew a picture of a heart, and showed me. Dr. Lobel was great. I would recommend anybody to go to him that has an irregular heart rhythm problem. I also want to praise the nurses, the heart doctors, and the heart floor. The care was excellent. [It has been] five months since I had my heart procedure. Can you tell Dr. Lobel that I feel much better and can you give this letter to him to read? I enjoyed having him as a heart doctor. Thank you.”

Global Health Program Host Countries


Anna Benvenuto, M.D.
UVM Larner College of Medicine alumna and clinical faculty member Anna Benvenuto, M.D.’08, was appointed as Chief Medical Officer at the UVM Health Network Porter Medical Center. She will continue to provide obstetrics and gynecology care at Porter Women’s Health practice, and serve as the medical director of Specialty Services. 

Benjamin Littenberg, M.D.
The Vermont Department of Health has awarded Henry and Carleen Tufo Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., the 2018 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Outstanding Member for carrying out MRC and public health activities in “an incredible way.” The MRC assists in public health emergencies, such as disease outbreaks and major weather events. Littenberg was recognized for his work at the Burlington Emergency Cold Weather Shelter. 

Allison Kurti, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Allison Kurti, Ph.D., has received the American Psychological Association 2019 Young Psychopharmacologist Award. This award honors a young scientist doing original, meritorious work in psychopharmacology and encourages excellence in research at the interface between the disciplines of pharmacology and psychology. 

Sandra Steingard, M.D., and John Brooklyn, M.D.
Howard Center practitioners and Larner clinical faculty members Sandra Steingard, M.D., and John Brooklyn, M.D., along with the Howard Center’s Chief Client Services Officer Catherine Simonson, accepted the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2019 Excellence in Addictions Treatment Award on behalf of the Howard Center. The award recognizes “organizations working to strengthen behavioral health care enhance access to care and support our communities with visionary leadership.”

Gary Atwood, MA, MSLS
Library Assistant Professor Graham Sherriff, MA, MLS (Howe), Library Assistant Professor Daisy Benson, MA, MLIS (Howe), and Library Assistant Professor Gary Atwood, MA, MSLIS (Dana - pictured) recently had an article published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship. “Practices, Policies, and Problems of Learning Data: A Survey of Libraries’ Use of Digital Learning Objects and the Data They Create” looks at how libraries manage the education-related data generated by the digital learning objects that they use. 

American Thoracic Society Logo
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Post-Doctoral Fellow Allison Manuel, Ph.D., as well as graduate students Nicolas Chamberlain and Christopher Dustin have received abstract scholarships for their respective presentations at the 2019 American Thoracic Society (ATS) meeting in Dallas, Texas. 
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Published by the Office of Medical Communications
The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
Copyright 2019