Celebrating Excellence in Research at the College – 2017 Achievements

November 17, 2017 by Jennifer Nachbur

Vermont is among the top ten states in per capita research funding in the U.S., according to a State of Research at the College presentation delivered by Larner College of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., at the Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards event held November 13, 2017. The last of three 2017 Celebrating Excellence in Research events held at the College on November 10 and 13, 2017, the awards ceremony recognized the accomplishments of faculty, residents, medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

Jon Lorsch, Ph.D., director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Gary Stein, Ph.D., UVM chair of biochemistry, Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research ,UVM Larner College of Medicine. Photo by: Andy Duback.

Vermont is among the top ten states in per capita research funding in the U.S., according to a State of Research at the College presentation delivered by Larner College of Medicine Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., at the Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards event held November 13, 2017. The last of three 2017 Celebrating Excellence in Research events held at the College on November 10 and 13, 2017, the awards ceremony recognized the accomplishments of faculty, residents, medical students, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. 

(Celebrating Excellence in Research events photo gallery and video of the Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards)

In addition to the awards, the celebration also included a Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Trainee Research Showcase on November 10 and a lecture by 2017 UVM Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award recipient and Chair of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics David Warshaw, Ph.D.’79 on November 13.

A total of 23 graduate students and postdoctoral trainees participated in the research showcase. Three categories of awards were announced. In the Post-Doc Division, Gabriela Bucini, Ph.D., received first place for “Protecting herd health: Interactive agent-based modeling used to reduce the impact of disease in livestock industries;” Kirsten Tracy, Ph.D., was runner-up for “Mitotically associated long non-coding RNA MANCR affects cell cycle in breast cancer.” In the Senior Graduate Division, first place went to Dominique Lessard for “Novel Kinesin-3 Motor Behavior is Regulated by Tau;” Devin Champagne was runner-up for “ABC transporter mediated chemoresistance is fueled by mitochondrial metabolism.” In the Junior Graduate Division category, Leslie Sepaniac received first place for “Different Mechanisms of Micronucleus Formation and Impact to Genomic Stability;” runner-up was Alex Thompson for “Post-translational Modification of the Kinesin Motor Eg5 Alters its Function in Mitosis.”

Presenters at the 2017 Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards event included Dean Frederick Morin, M.D., who provided a welcome, and keynote speaker and National Institute of General Medical Sciences Director Jon Lorsch, Ph.D., who presented “Basic Research: The Foundation on Which Advances in Medicine are Built.”

Among the highlights shared during Jensen’s State of Research at the College presentation were such achievements as 1,168 peer-reviewed publications in 2016, nearly $70 million in research grant funding in FY2017, a new $20 million Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research Network grant with Maine Medical Center, and a commitment to the development of a new Health Services Research Center.

Deans Jensen and Morin presented the following:

Trainee Awards:

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication/Graduate Student: Andrew Lombardo (mentor: David Warshaw, Ph.D.’79, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics)

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication/Medical Student: Katharine Runte, M.D. (mentor: Markus Meyer, M.D., Medicine)

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication/Postdoctoral Fellows: Matthew Albaugh, Ph.D., (mentor: Hugh Garavan, Ph.D., Psychiatry)

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication/Residents: Kara Landry, M.D.'15, Clinical Instructor in Medicine (mentor: Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., Medicine)

Norman R. Alpert Research Prize

Matthew Poynter, Ph.D., professor of medicine, presented the Norman R. Alpert Research Prize to graduate student Jamie Stern (mentor: Christopher Berger, Ph.D., Molecular Physiology and Biophysics)

UVM Health Network Medical Group Awards

Claude Deschamps, M.D., president and CEO of the UVM Health Network Medical Group, presented the following awards:

Junior Researcher of the Year:
Kim Dittus, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine

Senior Researcher of the Year: Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., professor of medicine

Research Grants: Andrew Solomon, M.D., associate professor of neurological sciences, and Richard Watts, Ph.D., associate professor of radiology; Sarah Guth, M.D, assistant professor of psychiatry; James Hudziak, M.D., professor of psychiatry and Marjorie Meyer, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Innovation Grants: Leigh-Anne Cioffredi, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, Erica Gibson, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, Abigail Crocker, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, Andrea Villanti, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry; Abiy Ambaye, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Pamela Gibson, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Douglas Taatjes, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine.

Deans Jensen and Morin presented the following awards:

Faculty Awards

Research Mentorship: Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine

Rising Star New Investigator: Vikas Anathy, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine

Mid-Career Investigator: 
Christopher Huston, M.D., associate professor of medicine

Research Laureate:
Gary Stein, Ph.D., chair of biochemistry, Perelman Professor of Cancer Research and director, UVM Cancer Center

View the Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards slide presentation here.

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