Noteworthy news from the School of Medicine

Awards, grants, fellow elections, and more

Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, a fellow in Neurological Surgery and a native of Ghana, has won the 2019 Young Woman in Medicine Award from the GUBA Awards, a Ghanaian achievement organization based in the United Kingdom. The GUBA Awards celebrate excellence and innovation among Ghanaian and African individuals and organizations working for the advancement, empowerment, and progression of the African community in the diaspora.

Hoover Adger Jr., a professor of pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine section chief, has won the 2019 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Recipients of the award are chosen on the basis of their significant contributions to medical education, research, clinical care, and community engagement.

Danielle Amundsen, a medical student, has received a 2019 Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine. The fellowship is the only medical-student award dedicated to nurturing a career path for physician-scientists in tropical medicine and is awarded annually to full-time medical students at accredited medical schools in North America. Fellows receive airfare and up to $1,000 in living expenses for a clinical training or research project that takes place in an area where tropical diseases are endemic. Amundsen traveled to India for her project, "Evaluation of Hypoxia and Increased Work of Breathing as Specific Criteria for Diagnosing Radiographic Pneumonia in Young Children in India: A Sub-study of the Indian Network for Streptococcus Pneumoniae and PVC Impact Research."

L. Mario Amzel, a professor and the director of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires. The honor recognizes Amzel's prolific research in the areas of biophysics and biophysical chemistry, his numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, and his commitment to international academic collaborations throughout his career.

Jeff Bulte, a professor of radiology and radiological science, has been named a fellow of the World Molecular Imaging Society. Bulte, director of cellular imaging at the Institute for Cell Engineering, was recognized for his contributions to the field of molecular imaging and his continued support of the society.

Jeanne Clark, a professor of medicine and the director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, has been awarded the inaugural Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing the Careers of Women in Medicine by the American College of Physicians, a national organization of internal medicine physicians.

Nathaniel Comfort, a professor of the history of medicine, is the author of an essay published by PBS as part of the promotional material for American Masters: Decoding Watson, a documentary about the work and legacy of scientist James Watson, famed for discovering the double-helix structure of DNA. Watson repeatedly called DNA "the secret of life." But, Comfort asked in his essay, "did Watson discover the secret of life—or invent it?"

Peter Devreotes, a cell biologist whose research centers on the movement of animal cells, has been awarded the 2019 E.B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology. The society's highest scientific honor is awarded annually to a member who has made significant contributions to the field of cell biology.

Allen O. Eghrari has been selected for The Baltimore Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Class of 2019, which recognizes business leaders in Baltimore. Eghrari, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and a specialist in cornea, cataract, and external eye diseases, is a co-founder of startups Treyetech, which develops devices to facilitate cornea transplantation, and LuckyVision, which pioneered transplantation in dogs to reverse blindness from corneal endothelial diseases.

Jennifer H. Elisseeff, the Morton F. Goldberg Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, professor of biomedical engineering, and director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center, has won a Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health's High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program. The award supports scientists with outstanding records of creativity pursuing new research directions to develop pioneering approaches to major challenges in biomedical, social science, and behavioral research. The 2019 award was presented to only 12 scientists in the United States. Elisseeff's award was based on her work titled "Biomaterials-Directed Regenerative Immunotherapies."

Robert L. Findling, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has earned the 2019 Norbert and Charlotte Rieger Award for Scientific Achievement from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The award recognizes the most outstanding scientific paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from July 2018 to June 2019. Published in February 2019, Findling's study, "Lithium for the Maintenance Treatment of Bipolar I Disorder: A Double‐Blind, Placebo‐Controlled Discontinuation Study," examines the long‐term safety of lithium through a randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled discontinuation trial. The study found that continued treatment with lithium is associated with better outcomes and is generally well‐tolerated in pediatric patients with bipolar disorder.

Thomas Lloyd, an associate professor of neurology, has been awarded a Muscular Dystrophy Association research grant totaling $300,000 over three years to study accelerating regeneration in a xenograft model of inclusion body myositis.

Nicholas R. Mahoney, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, has received the Edwin C. Augustat YASOPRS Rising Star Award, also called the 2018 Spring Rising Star Award, from the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Foundation. (The "Y" in YASOPRS stands for "young," which refers to foundation members who have been in practice for eight or fewer years.) Mahoney, who bested nearly 20 competitors, received the award for his delivery at the YASOPRS Rapid Fire Case Presentations: "Trends and Variance in Coding and Case Logging by ASOPRS Fellows." He also received a certificate and $500.

Erika Matunis, a professor of cell biology, has been named a fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon ASCB members by their peers. Matunis' research focuses on how stem cells renew and differentiate.

Sally Ong, an ophthalmology fellow in her second year of an Advanced Specialty Training Program at the Wilmer Eye Institute, received the Raymond R. Margherio Award at the 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Retina Society. The award is presented annually to a vitreoretinal fellow who is sponsored by an active member of the Retina Society. Ong was sponsored by Adrienne W. Scott, an associate professor of ophthalmology, who is also her mentor. At the meeting, Ong presented her work titled "Retinal Thickness and Microvascular Changes in Children With Sickle Cell Disease Evaluated by OCT and OCT Angiography."

Jeffrey D. Rothstein, a professor of neurology and director of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research, has been awarded a Muscular Dystrophy Association research grant totaling $300,000 over three years to study the mechanism of cell-specific injury in C9ORF72-ALS and frontotemporal dementia.

Cynthia Sears, a professor of medicine and oncology, has received the Harriet P. Dustan Award for Science as Related to Medicine by the American College of Physicians, a national organization of internists. Established in 1958, the award recognizes outstanding work in science (nonclinical or clinical, biochemical, biological, physical, or social) as related to medicine.

Charlotte Sumner, a professor of neurology and neuroscience, has been awarded a Muscular Dystrophy Association research grant totaling $300,000 over three years to study the role of mutations in the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) gene in distal SMA and CMT.

Aaron A.R. Tobian, a professor in the Department of Pathology, has been elected to membership in the Council of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an honor society of physician-scientists. Eighty new members were elected for 2019.

Jeremy Walston, a geriatrician and the Raymond and Anna Lublin Professor of Geriatric Medicine, has been named one of four principal investigators of the newly launched Clin-STAR Coordinating Center. The center has been tasked with developing "a multifaceted, national platform to promote and enrich the career development, training, and transdisciplinary research of clinician-investigators across the United States, particularly early stage investigators who are committed to careers in aging research," according to the American Federation for Aging Research, which was selected by the National Institute on Aging to lead the National Program Office of the center.

Daniel R. Weinberger, a professor of psychiatry, neurology, neuroscience, and genetics, and the director and CEO of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, was awarded the National Academy of Medicine's Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health. The honor, for which he received a medal and $20,000, recognized his pioneering research on the developmental origins of schizophrenia.

T.-C. Wu, a professor of pathology, has received a Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award from Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland. The 2019 Scholar-Innovator class represents a portfolio of drugs-in-the-making with the potential to significantly improve human health. Wu received his award to support his work augmenting universal immunity to combat cancer.

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