LCOM & Department News

UVM Hosts NIH NERIC Conference & Leahy Visit

August 14, 2017 by Jennifer Nachbur

The Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) and Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (VCIID) at the University of Vermont hosted more than 300 National Institutes of Health-funded biomedical researchers from across Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Delaware for the North East Regional IDeA Conference (NERIC) August 16 to 18, 2017 at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy delivered remarks at the conference on August 17.
The Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) and Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (VCIID) at the University of Vermont hosted more than 300 National Institutes of Health-funded biomedical researchers from across Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Delaware for the North East Regional IDeA Conference (NERIC) August 16 to 18, 2017 at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy delivered remarks at the conference on August 17.

Vermont is one of 24 states in the country designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as eligible for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA. The IDeA program, which is based in the Research Capacity Building section of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, provides funding designed to build the infrastructure for biomedical research in smaller states like Vermont, in order to boost the careers of biomedical researchers, and grow and diversify the biomedical workforce in the state. In general, IDeA awards help develop research programs at both university and baccalaureate institutions and ensure faculty can be competitive for NIH funding.  

Once a decade, the North East Regional IDeA Conference (NERIC) is held in Vermont. The 2017 meeting was led by UVM faculty members and IDeA Award Principle Investigators Judith Van Houten, Ph.D., and Ralph Budd, M.D. Van Houten leads the VGN, which is funded through an INBRE – IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence – award. UVM also has two COBRE – Center of Biomedical Research Excellence – awards, which support the VCIID, which is led by Budd, and the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health at UVM. The VGN is in its third five-year phase and has been supported by $56 million in IDeA grants. The VCIID has been supported in its three phases by $27 million from IDeA. The newest Center on Behavior and Health is currently supported by an $11.5-million-dollar IDeA grant.  

The goal of the NERIC conference is to provide a platform for biomedical scientists to learn from colleagues about the latest research in the region in the areas of infectious diseases and immunology, neuroscience, bioinformatics, development and genetics, and cancer. A special session on entrepreneurship will feature experts from the NIH, U.S. Patent Office, and business and venture capital fields. In addition, there will be career development sessions for undergraduate and graduate students, who will also have an opportunity to present their research via posters, which allows them to share complex ideas in short, “elevator pitch” style settings. UVM core facilities, which feature the latest cutting-edge technologies and encourage sharing of research resources to stretch tax payers’ dollars, will also be highlighted at the conference.    

Senator Leahy addressed conference attendees about the importance of sustaining funding for agencies such as the NIH, and the Research Capacity Building programs that fund IDeA.  As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy has championed funding for such science agencies as the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency.

UVM President Tom Sullivan and Provost David Rosowsky joined Budd and Van Houten in welcoming attendees at the conference’s opening on August 16. 

Among the UVM and VGN faculty members who presented at the NERIC meeting are: Jason Botten, Ph.D., UVM assistant professor of medicine, who recently received a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to produce human neutralizing antibodies to hantavirus by cloning the immunoglobulin genes from B cells of patients who have survived hantavirus infection; Iwona Buskiewicz, Ph.D., UVM assistant professor of pathology, a recent R21 grant recipient, who just published an important study in Science Signaling showing that the type I Interferon signature in blood lymphocytes of lupus patients is driven in part by oxidative stress-induced aggregation of a protein known as mitochondrial anti-viral signaling protein (MAVS); Keith Mintz, Ph.D., UVM associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, whose work with the VGN Proteomics Core focuses on the identification of proteins needed for fimbrae secretion and biofilm development in the oral pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans; Bill Landesman, Ph.D., a professor of biology at Green Mountain College, who is conducting a  tick research project with support from a $75,000 grant from VGN; Clarissa Parker, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Middlebury College, whose research on mapping genes in mice associated with the behavioral and physiological traits that characterize drug withdrawal is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse through NIH’s R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program; Gina Mireault, Ph.D., a professor of behavioral sciences at Johnson State College, whose research project, which involves undergraduate research assistants, is examining how infants discover humor and amusement and how that relates to bonding, attachment and development.

Learn more about the NERIC conference.

 

Department Highlights

Congratulations! Jo Conant, M.D. has received the ‘Gender Equity in Medicine and Science Rising Star’ award. This award recognizes a woman or gender minority* faculty or staff member at the Larner College of Medicine who is in the early stage of their career, and who demonstrates excellence in contributions to students, colleagues, and/or the institution in the areas of gender equity and inclusion through service, program development, teaching, research or beyond. The awardee also shows the promise for future contributions and leadership in their field as well as in achieving goals for the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion. (02/2022)

LCOM class of 2024 Foundations Awards, Winners and nominees from our Department: Dr. Rebecca Wilcox- nominated for the AMWA Gender Equity Award | nominated for the Foundations Teaching Award; Dr. Pam Gibson– awarded the Silver Stethoscope Award | nominated for the Foundations Teaching Award | nominated for the Dean Warshaw Integration Award; Dr. Jo Conant– nominated for the Silver Stethoscope Award | nominated for the Dean Warshaw Integration Award; Medical Student Matt Hodd-Wells awarded the Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General Pathology (01/2022)

Congratulations! Dr. Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. has been appointed Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the Larner College of Medicine. Read her story. (01/2022)

Congratulations! Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.– Dean’s Research Laureate Award (Professor) Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger was presented the Dean’s Research Laureate Award on 10/27/2021 at the LCOM State of Research Address and Awards. Please see the PDF slide that was presented at the program. (10/2021)

Heading to clinical trials..."UVM researchers celebrate ‘first-of-its-kind’ mesothelioma treatment headed to clinical trials" – My Champlain Valley News.  University of Vermont researchers have made a breakthrough in their study of possible treatments for malignant mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure. (10/2021)

Terri Messier, research analyst and lab manager for the Cunniff lab, has been highlighted in the "Meet the Staff" section of the the Larner College of Medicine Dean's Newsletter, October 20, 2021 | Volume III, Issue 20. (10/2021)

Congratulations! Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D. has been named a 2021 Fellow of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine. SfRBM annually confers the special title of Fellow to members who have made outstanding contributions to the association as well as in the field of free radical chemistry, redox biology and antioxidants. (09/2021)

Well done! Christina Wojewoda, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, has received, along with her colleague Daniel Rhoads, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, the 2021 College of American Pathologists (CAP) Laboratory Improvement Programs Service Award. The award honors an individual(s) serving within the ranks of the CAP Council on Scientific Affairs who has demonstrated exceptional service. The two pathologists serve as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the CAP microbiology committee. (08/2021)

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Dr. Albert van der Vliet, Dr. David Seward and their team members for this outstanding acknowledgement (see pdf) from the The American Physiological Society; "your article has been selected for APSselect  (http://apsselect.physiology.org/),  a collection from the APS that showcases some of the best recently published articles in physiological research." (7/2021)

2020-2021 Teaching Award This award is nominated for and voted by medical resdients for idividuals going above and beyond for resident education. Nominees this year: Dr. Agnes Balla, Dr. Kelly Butnor, Dr. Rebecca Wilcox and Dr. Bronwyn Bryant. The winner this year is Dr. Agnes Balla. (06/2021)

Dr. Joanna Conant has become a member of The Teaching Academy at Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. The Teaching Academy sustains and supports an interdisciplinary community of educators who value the scholarship of teaching and learning while facilitating educator development; improve the efficiency and quality of medical education through collaboration and scholarship; and promote an academic environment that increases the value and impact of educators locally, regionally, and nationally.Congrats to Jo on this achievement! (06/2021)

Congratulations to Dr. Arti Shukla on receiving the SAASCR 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award for her seminal contributions to the field of cancer research. Well done Arti!! (5/2021)

SAASCR award 2021

Congratulations!  To Pam Gibson, M.D. who has been awarded 2021 Gender Equity Champion Award which honors Larner College of Medicine community members (faculty, staff or students) who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and service to the advancement of women and those with underrepresented gender identities beyond the scope of their job, area of research, or training. Also, to Joanna Conant, M.D. on her nomination for 2021 The Rising Star Emerging Professional Award which honors a Larner College of Medicine woman or gender minority faculty or staff member who is in the early stage of their career, and who demonstrates excellence in contributions to students, colleagues, and/or the institution in the areas of gender equity and inclusion through service, program development, teaching, research or beyond. (02/2021)

LCOM Foundations Awards: Congratulations to Ron Bryant, M.D. on receiving the Foundations Teaching Award which recognizes the faculty member who provided the most outstanding teaching activities within the foundations curriculum. Also, congratulations to award nominees: Pam Gibson, M.D. for both the Above and Beyond Award and the AMWA Gender Equity Award; Andrew Goodwin, M.D. and Christina Wojewoda, M.D. for the Silver Stethoscope Award and Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. for the Dean Warshaw Integration Award. (01/2021)

LCOM Teaching Academy Recognition for P&LM faculty: Deborah Cook, M.D. and Anne Stowman, M.D. were inducted as Master Teachers and Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. was inducted as a Distinguished Educator. (01/2021)

Mark Fung, M.D., Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, has been elected as a new Trustee of the American Board of Pathology. His 3-year term will begin January 2021. Read about it here. (12/2020)

Sarah A. Nowak, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Larner College of Medicine was named the inaugural Blodwen S. Huber Early Career Green and Gold Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. (12/2020)

David J. Seward, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Larner College of Medicine was named the inaugural Elmer R. Huber Early Career Green and Gold Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. (12/2020)

Terri Messier, Research Analyst and Lab Manager of the Cunniff lab was recently awarded a Dean's Excellence in Research Award from the Larner College of Medicine. Terri has served the UVM community for over 25 years both as a scientist and steward of professionalism. Congratulations Terri!! (11/2020)

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D. on her selection as a new Fellow of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM) in recognition of her outstanding contributions in the field of redox biology and to SfRBM. (09/2020)

Congratulations to Dr. Joanna Conant, M.D. on her acceptance into the Teaching Academy's Medical Education Fellowship Program. Only 8-10 faculty from across the Larner College of Medicine are selected for participation in the program. Well done, Jo! (08/2020)

Associate Professor, Dr. Laura Greene, MD, has been appointed Interim Assistant Dean for Admissions for the Larner College of Medicine. (08/2020)

Congratulations to Bei Zhang, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, the newest graduate of the Medical Education Fellowship Program. The cohort style program is for Larner College of Medicine educators who seek additional preparation for teaching across the medical education continuum. (07/2020)

UVM Health Network’s Genomic Medicine Program is highlighted in the recent issue of Vermont Medicine Magazine, read it here. (05/2020)

Department efforts in COVID-19 research & testing are ongoing at UVM LCOM and the UVM Medical Center. The Rutland Herald/Times Argus ran the following story on these efforts. Teamwork & Testing (04/2020)

DLaward

LCOM Gender Equity Awards Department Chair, Dr. Debra Leonard received the Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship. Additionally, Dr. Pam Gibson was nominated for the Gender Equity Champion Award; Dr. Rebecca Wilcox was nominated for the Gender Equity Outstanding Achievement in Medicine and Science Award and Dr. Christi Wojewoda was nominated for the Rising Star Emerging Professional Award. (03/2020)

Excellence in Education The department was well represented at the Class of 2022 Foundation Awards. Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. received the AWMA Gender Equity Award, the Above & Beyond Award, the Foundations Course Director Award and the Foundations Teaching Award. Well done, Dr. Wilcox. Additional department nominees were Dr. Pam Gibson and Dr. Christi Wojewoda for the AWMA Gender Equity Award and Dr. Pam Gibson and Dr. Rebecca Wilcox for the Dean Warshaw Integration Award. Congratulations to our outstanding faculty for nominations and awards! (1/2020)

Dr. Bei Zhang, Associate Professor on the Education Scholar Pathway has been inducted into the Teaching Academy at the Larner College of Medicine at the Master Teacher level. Congratulations, Dr. Zhang! (1/2020)

Dr. Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph. D., our department chairand the Genomic Medicine Team announce the start of the Genomic Population Health Initiative. A pilot project offering Genomic DNA Testing is now underway within the University of Vermont Health Network. Read more here... (2019)

Dr. William Pendlebury, M.D., professor emeritus of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, has been selected to receive the 2019 Vermont Medical Society’s (VMS) Founders’ Award. The award recognizes Pendlebury’s leadership role and advocacy in “the fight for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia in Vermont for the past 35 years.” He will receive the award November 2 at the VMS 206th Annual Meeting in Stowe, Vt.(2019)

Yvone Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Jos van der Velden, Ph.D. (both Pathology & Laboratory Medicine faculty) and senior author, Charles Irvin, Ph.D. (Medicine), published "The Effect of Flavored E-cigarettes on Murine Allergic Airways Disease" in Nature Scientific Reports. The study has been cited in stories by several news outlets: U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay; American Journal of Managed Care; Medical News Bulletin; and  Medical Daily. (2019)

Dr. Mark Fung, M.D, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for Population Health, was recently named to the board of directors for the Project Santa Fe Foundation, which “focuses on demonstrating the power of longitudinal clinical laboratory data to proactively augment population health in a value-based healthcare environment.” (2019)

Dr. Bronwyn Bryant, M.D. was named a 2019 Frymoyer Scholar for her project, “Validating Entrustable Professional Activity-Based Assessment to Determine On-Call Competency in Pathology Residents”. (2019)

Dr. Rebecca Wilcox, M.DDr. Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. was selected, by the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2019, to be the commencement keynote speaker. Read more... [Photo credit: Andy Duback 2019] (2019)