LCOM & Department News

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.

 

Past Department Highlights

Congratulations to Jessica Crothers, M.D., Assistant Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on achieving the Notice of Special Interest Team Science award from NIAID for: "Effects of the gut microbiota on oral vaccine response in adults and children." (10/2023)

Nicole BouffardCongratulations to Nicole Bouffard on being awarded the "Scientific Research Staff Award" for 2023. This was presented to Nicole at the September 21, 2023, LCOM Research Excellence Award Ceremony. This is a great honor for Nicole and the Department of Pathology and recognizes her contributions and importance to the department and MIC. (10/2023)

Congratulations to Brian Cunniff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on being awarded a $1.6 million R01 grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study the role of mitochondrial trafficking in regulating cell migration, a key feature of metastatic tumors. (9/2023)

Congratulations to Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on becoming a University of Vermont Cancer Center Program Co-Leader, Cancer Cell. (9/2023)

Congratulations to the following pathology members on receiving research support funds in April 2023. Recipients were: John Kennedy, M.D., $6520 for morphologic and immunohistochemical re-evaluation of renal cell carcinomas exhibiting papillary architecture, with emphasis on tumors demonstrating "type 2" morphology. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., $15,000 for a joint initiative between RBP, UVM Cancer Center, and faculty in the Department of Chemistry. Megan Tarte $745 for Stem Cells, Cell Therapies, and Bioengineering in Lung Biology and Disease ConferenceAlbert van der Vliet, Ph.D., $14,400 for Redox processes in macrophage activation in IPF. (9/2023)

Congratulations to the following faculty members on their promotions: Vikas Anathy, Ph.D., to Professor with tenure, Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., to Associate Professor, John DeWitt, M.D., Ph.D., to Associate Professor, Sarah Nowak Ph.D., to Associate Professor, and Christi Wojewoda, M.D., to Professor. (6/2023)

Bei Zhang, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, did an educational scholarship session titled "Activate Students Learning Outside Classroom." at the 8th International meeting of the Association of Biochemistry Educators. Dr. Zhang also conducted two additional workshops with other ABE members titled "Linking Clinical Presentations to Their Biochemistry: A novel ABE Clinical-Biochemistry Curricular Treat Mapping Educational Tool.", and "Getting to Clerkship and Beyond: Crafting Biochemistry Learning Objectives that Connect and Integrate Basic Science Concepts with Clinical Application." (5/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Maureen Harmon, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Dr. Amer Abu Alfa, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine for being recognized by medical students for their professionalism. Dr. Harmon was recognized for social responsibility and Dr. Abu Alfa was recognized for compassion. (5/2023)

Congratulations to Mary Cushman, Ph.D., M.Sc., professor of medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine, on being named a University Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. (5/2023)

View the story Mammograms of a study by Sarah Nowak, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and researchers at the UVM Cancer Center showing data that fewer women being screened for breast cancer. (4/2023)

vandervliet-habibovic420x280A new study by Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and a team of University of Vermont (UVM) researchers is honing in on why people with asthma often have worse symptoms if they are obese. This new research demonstrates that the gene DUOX1 likely contributes to the connection between obesity and asthma.  The research was published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology and was highlighted as an APSselect article for March 2023. Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D., was the senior author on the paper, along with department of pathology and laboratory medicine coauthors Aida Habibovic, lab research technician;Litiele Cruz, Ph.D., visiting scholar; Vikas Anathy, Ph.D., associate professor; University Distinguished Professor Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.; and additional team members and authors from UVM. Read the full LCOM News story LCOM News (4/2023)

Congratulations to Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for having your proposal, Consequential Validity of Entrustable Professional Activities in Pathology Residency Training selected to receive a Frymoyer Scholars Program project of $48,000 to be funded July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025. (4/2023)

Congratulations to Martin Chang, M.D., Ph.D., on accepting the new role as Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs. (4/2023)

Congratulations to Joanna Conant, M.D., on becoming the new Pathology Student Fellowship Director starting July 1, 2023. (4/2023)

Congratulations to The Cunniff Lab, on receiving funding to support research focused on malignant mesothelioma. The funding was from The Butler Family Foundation Fund for Cancer Research at the University of Vermont Cancer Center. The Butler Fund was established by the Butler family in memory of two loved ones lost to mesothelioma. (03/2023)

Congratulations to the following recipients that received pathology research support funding. Nathaniel Shannon in Brian Cunniff's, Ph.D., lab was awarded $1800 towards the cost of travel to the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM). Litiele Cruz, Ph.D., and faculty mentor Albert van der Vliet, PhD., were awarded $2622 for her project "Characterization of Laminin Oxidative Modifications by Peroxidasin in Pulmonary Fibrosis"Nels Olson, PhD., MPH., $14,582 for the purchase of an Agilent BioTek 405 TS Touch Microplate Washer, Model 405 TSRS. Ashley Volaric M.D.Joanna Conant M.D., and David Seward, M.D, Ph.D., were awarded $13,680 for their project, "The Effect of Epstein Barr Virus Latency on Cellular DNA Methylation Profile of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma". (3/2023)

A number of faculty and students from the pathology and laboratory medicine department presented research at the American Heart Associations Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health (EPI/Lifestyle) Scientific Sessions 2023 in Boston February 28 - March 3. Students presenting were Maggie King, a master in science pathology degree student who was mentored by faculty scientist J. Peter Durda, Ph.D. pathology and laboratory medicine.  Maggie presented on "Complete Blood Count Analysis in the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) Cohort Study with a Point of Care Instrument." Her study is supported by NHLBI. And second-year medical student and 2022 Cardiovascular Research Institute Summer Research Fellow Megan Zhou, mentored by pathology and laboratory medicine associate professor Nels Olson, Ph.D. Megan presented on  "Coagulation Factor IX and Incident Diabetes Risk: The Reasons for Geographic and Race Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study." Also, pathology and laboratory faculty members that were coauthors of presentations given, assistant professor Margaret Doyle, Ph.D., and University Distinguished Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Russell Tracy, Ph.D. (3/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Bei Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, for being selected for a Distinguished Scholar Award by the Association of Biochemistry Educators for her submission entitled "Activate Students' Learning Outside Classroom". Dr. Zhang will be presenting this submission at the 2023 Association of Biochemistry Education Conference. (3/2023)

Congratulations to our 2023 Gender Equity Award Nominees. Gender Equity Champion Award nominee, Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., Chair and Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Our departmental nominees for The Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship- an award for informal or formal mentorship for women or gender diverse college community members, Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., Pam Gibson, M.D., Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., and Christi Wojewoda, M.D. (2/2023)  

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Anderson, M.D., on being selected to receive the Association of Pathology Chairs 2023 Margaret Grimes Distinguished Achievement Award in Graduate Medical Education. This award was made in recognition of Dr. Anderson's outstanding contributions to graduate medical education and his stature as a nationally recognized leader in pathology education. (2/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Dr. Kelly Butnor, M.D., Dr. David "Bebo" Seward, M.D., Ph.D., and Dr. Sharon Mount, M.D., on their news story in The Charlotte News, on their "giant steps in cancer research." Read the full article here:   Humble Superstar (1/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Bundock, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Examiner of Vermont and clinical assistant professor of pathology, for her appointment by the American Board of Pathology, to the Test Development and Advisory Committee for Forensic Pathology 2023. (1/2023)

Dr. Beri Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, presented a panel, at the Snow Season Education Retreat, titled "The Pearls and Pitfalls of Publishing in Medical Education", with three clinicians Dr. Hale, Dr. Halle, and Dr. Rideout. (1/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine on her Awards for  Teaching and Educational Excellence, Learner Assessment, conferred at the Teaching Academy Induction and Award Ceremony on January 11, 2023. (1/2023)

Albert in JapanCongratulations to Dr. Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D., pro-fessor of pathology and laboratory medicine, for being selected as an Invited Fellow to Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, to participate in research in the laboratory of Takaaki Akaike, M.D., Ph.D., professor of environmental medicine and molecular toxicology. The invitational fellowship relates to a Tohoku University initiative that allows Tohoku faculty members to host invited researchers to promote collaborative research in the host lab for up to three months. The objective is to promote joint publications and expand international collaborations. Dr. van der Vliet's visit coincided with a medley of scientific meetings and symposia collectively termed  Redox Week In Sendai 2022 and held October 27-November 1, 2022. The events brought together leading scientists from around the world in the specific research fields of nitric oxide biology, polysulfur biochemistry, and biology. Van der Vliet was co-organizer and speaker at one of the symposiums, and Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., and Brian Cunniff, Ph.D., both professors of pathology and laboratory medicine, also participated as invited speakers. Additional Japanese federal funding supports the exchange of invited researchers, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars to collaborate on research. Read more about the  redox research collaboration  between UVM and Tohoku University. (01/2023) 

Congratulations to Dr. Douglas Taatjes, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and director of the Center for Biomedical Shared Resources, at the UVM Cancer Center's recent annual scientific retreat he and Dr. Alan Howe, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, were chosen from a group of five cross-disciplinary teams that competed for $25,000 in seed funding. They were chosen by a vote of the membership. Each team had 30 minutes to develop an idea with an actionable research plan that aligned with one of several proposed Cancer Center initiatives to address research relevant to the populations of Vermont and northern New York. The funds were awarded for the "Spatialomics and Precision Medicine Pipeline" project. This will be co-led by Dr. Taatjes, Ph.D., and Dr. Howe, Ph.D. (12/2022)

DebraDr. Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., was the invited speaker for the Women in Cytometry reception at the 2022 International Clinical Cytometry Society Annual Meeting in Montreal on October 23. Dr. Leonard presented a talk titled "Leading from Within". Dr. Nicholas Haslett presented a poster at this same meeting. (10/2022)

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., on her Lung Cancer Discovery Award from the American Lung Association. Read the full article here: VermontBiz (10/2022)

Larner Medicine profiles Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., and her research. Read the full profile here: Probing Oxygen's Mysteries (10/2022)

Research News see the news on UVM vaccine trials on eradicating polio and lead investigator Dr. Jessica Crothers, M.D., Read the full article here:  Research News (10/2022)

Congratulations, to Dr. Laura Greene, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and assistant dean for admissions, who recently accepted an appointment as program director of the Pathology Residency Program, effective July 1, 2023. Thank you to Dr. Scott Anderson, M.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, who as served as the program director since 2009. (10/2022)

Congratulations, to Dr. Jason Brazelton, M.D., for being named Physician of the Year by the Vermont Medical Society. "Dr. Brazelton's thoughtful and collabrative approach has improved care in our community and Porter's Medical staff has been incredibly fortunate to work with him." (09/2022)