February 9, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 3
Davidson Invested as Inaugural Schapiro-Carroll Green and Gold Professor of Anesthesiology
In a ceremony held February 7, 2022, Melissa Davidson, M.D., professor and interim chair of anesthesiology and associate dean for graduate medical education at the Larner College of Medicine, was invested as the inaugural holder of the Howard Schapiro, M.D.’80 and Janet Carroll, M.S.N., M.P.H., Green & Gold Professorship in Anesthesiology.
Leaders attending the event included Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., Provost and Senior Vice President Patty Prelock, Ph.D.; UVM Health Network President and Chief Executive Officer John Brumsted, M.D.; and UVM Medical Center President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Leffler, M.D.
This endowed professorship was established through the generosity of Howard Schapiro, M.D., and Janet Carroll, M.S.N., M.P.H., who attended the ceremony, as well as through support from the faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology in honor of their colleague, Dr. Schapiro.
Carr Elected AAAS Fellow
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced the election of Frances Carr, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the Larner College of Medicine and a UVM Cancer Center member, as a 2021 AAAS Fellow. This honor recognizes her “for distinguished contributions to the field of thyroid hormone biology and pathology, and for exemplary leadership positions in two universities and major contributions to science policy for U.S. government agencies.” Dr. Carr, who is now a Fellow in the AAAS Section on Biological Sciences, is among a group of 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators in the AAAS Fellows Class of 2021.
Dr. Carr is an international expert in the area of thyroid hormone biology in development and tumorigenesis. Her lab studies thyroid hormone receptors (TR) and examines the fundamental genomic and epigenomic mechanisms of TR action to suppress tumor progression in hormone-dependent cancers. Among her team’s accomplishments is the determination of the TR-regulated cistromes in anaplastic thyroid cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. Identification of the common signaling pathways reveals critical information about novel therapeutic targets and the etiology of these diseases. Recent studies revealed that selective activation of TRβ induced a less aggressive cancer cell phenotype and enhanced the efficacy of therapeutic inhibitors in aggressive thyroid and breast cancers. The results of these investigations advance the potential of TRβ as a novel molecular target for which activation reduces tumor growth and progression and increases the efficacy of known and experimental therapeutics.
Dr. Carr joined UVM in 2003 as vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College. She joined the Larner faculty as a professor of pharmacology in 2005. She received a Ph.D., in physiology & biophysics/molecular endocrinology from the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Minnesota, and did a research fellowship in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Subsequent to serving on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, she was named senior science advisor to the administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development. She was vice president for research and economic development at Binghamton University-SUNY prior to joining UVM.Pictured above: Dr. Carr (Courtesy photo).
Apply for the VT AHEC Scholars Medical Student Incentive Scholarship/Loan Forgiveness Program
Third- and fourth-year Larner College of Medicine medical students (Class of ’23 and ’24) who are pursuing family medicine, internal medicine, adult primary care, pediatrics primary care, obstetrics-gynecology, or psychiatry, and are committed to future practice in rural Vermont are eligible to apply.Apply online at www.vsac.org.
Stein and Colleagues Publish Pre-Cancer Atlas for Early-Stage Breast Cancer
A team of six UVM Cancer Center investigators, along with colleagues from the University of California-San Francisco, the University of California-Davis, and the University of California-San Diego, have established a groundbreaking pre-cancer atlas that provides guidance for treatment or evidence-informed observation. The report was recently published in npj Breast Cancer, a Nature Portfolio publication.
The culmination of a six-year, National Cancer Institute-funded collaborative initiative, this research establishes the molecular and cellular properties of early-stage breast cancer by combining histological, molecular, and immunological profiling to provide risk markers for tumor progression. The team characterized the mutational, transcriptional, histological, and micro-environment landscape of 39 patient tumors to develop a multimodal breast pre-cancer atlas.
UVM co-authors on the paper include: Mark Evans, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine; Jonathan Gordon, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry; Brian Sprague, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery; Gary Stein, Ph.D., professor and chair of biochemistry; Janet Stein, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry; and Donald Weaver, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. Specifically, both Drs. Stein helped design the study, Drs. Weaver and Sprague selected and annotated the specimen, and Drs. Evans and Gordon helped generate the data.
Tina Mazuzan, Department Administrator, Department of Medicine
Tina Mazuzan joined the University of Vermont in 1998 as a financial specialist for the former Division of Continuing and Distance Education (now Professional and Continuing Education), after working as a food and beverage services supervisor at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. In 2002, she became the business manager for the Department of Medicine, and after a short departure from UVM in 2011, returned in 2013 to again serve as the department’s business manager. She was promoted in 2018 to her current position.
Mazuzan is responsible for overseeing department finances and operations and working with a team that provides pre- and post-award support for research faculty and staff. Mazuzan also works closely with her UVM Medical Center colleagues to align financial needs across the department's 200+ medical faculty.
Outside of work, she enjoys warmer weather, traveling to find it, spending time on Lake Champlain when Vermont weather allows, and spending time with her family and five-month-old mini labradoodle, Ziggy.
Mazuzan says she is incredibly grateful to the teammates she works with every day who make her job enjoyable. “I’ve heard some amazing things over the years,” she admits, adding that the best days are when she gets to listen to a principle investigator enthusiastically talk about the research they are doing.
“Tina has gone above and beyond over the years to help me navigate the department, especially when it comes to understanding budgets and logistics,” says Amanda Kennedy, Pharm.D., professor and quality scholar in the Department of Medicine.Pictured above: Tina Mazuzan.
SARS-CoV-2 will clearly become established as an endemic virus, and we are in the midst of that transition. We’re not there yet, but I think that we have to recognize the reality that all of us will be exposed and infected at some point, the same way we all expect to be infected with flu and other seasonal respiratory viruses at some point over the course of our lifetime.
This is a shift in outlook that can be anxiety-provoking. Yet, with the benefits of vaccination, encouraging treatment options that will hopefully be more widely available in the coming year, and the reduced virulence of Omicron, I firmly believe that we are rapidly nearing a tipping point where moving forward, at both a personal and societal level, we will be able to start incorporating the risk of SARS-CoV-2 into the background of our daily lives rather than having it dominate all aspects of life.”
– Benjamin Lee, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics
(Excerpted from a Q&A blog post featuring interviews with Dr. Lee, Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Emily Bruce, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Yves Dubief, Ph.D.)
Accolades & Appointments
Larner faculty members were recognized January 20, 2022 as part of the Teaching Academy’s 2022 Snow Season Retreat Induction and Awards Ceremony.
Teaching and Educational Excellence Awards and their respective recipients include:
- Innovation in Curriculum Development or Pedagogy Award – The Anatomy Team, including Department of Neurological Sciences faculty members Nicholas D’Alberto, Ph.D., Abigail Hielscher, Ph.D., Nathan Jebbett, Ph.D., Sharon Henry, P.T., Ph.D., A.T.C., Derek Strong, Ph.D., Victor May, Ph.D., and Gary Mawe, Ph.D.
- Innovation in Curriculum Development or Pedagogy Award – Allen Repp, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine
- Outstanding Contribution Award – Halle Sobel, M.D., Associate Professor and Associate Program Director, Department of Medicine
- Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., Educational Leadership Award – Lewis First, M.D., M.Sc., Professor and Chair of Pediatrics
UVM Health Network Medical Group Education Awards and their respective recipients include:
- Continuing Medical and Interprofessional Education Educator of the Year Award – Amanda Kennedy, Pharm.D., Professor of Medicine
- Graduate Medical Education Educator of the Year Award – K. Elliott Higgins, M.D., Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
On January 27, 2022, the medical student Class of 2024 recognized faculty and staff who made an impact on their experience during the first two years of medical school at the Annual Foundations Celebration.
Awards and their respective awardees are:
- AMWA Gender Equity Award: Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Standardized Patient Award: Nicole D'Elisa
- Best Support Staff Award: Tim Moynihan, Ph.D., Director of Academic Achievement
- Silver Stethoscope Award: Pamela Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
- Above and Beyond Award: Andrew Hale, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Foundations Course Director Award: Andrew Hale, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Foundations Teaching Award: Nicholas D'Alberto, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences
- Dean Warshaw Integration Award: William Raszka, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics
- Curriculum Innovation Award: Cate Nicholas, Ed.D., M.S., P.A., Director of Simulation Education and Operations
Medical students receiving awards included Ashleigh Peterson ’22 and Class of 2024 students Eliot Binkerd-Dale, Stephen Halsey, Amanda Nattress, Sean Taylor, Ying Loo, Sydney Cardozo, Max HoddWells, Nick Brunette, Tayler Drake, Morgan Howlett, Colleen McCarthy, Louisa Moore, Nick Brunette, Rachel Wayne, Amanda Galenkamp, Sam Afshari, Molly Mepyans, and Mialovena Exume.Read more about the Foundations Award Celebration.
Class of 2025 medical students Brittney Palermo, Faith Robinson, and Caitlin Early have been appointed as the new organizers for the medical student Social Justice Coalition. They move into these leadership positions as their colleagues in the Class of 2024 head into the clinical clerkship level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum.(Pictured at left, from left to right) Brittney Palermo, Faith Robinson, and Caitlin Early pose for a group photo outside of Larner College of Medicine's Medical Education Building.
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