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UMMC faculty, student make HEADWAE, join Leadership Mississippi

Published on Monday, December 28, 2015

Published on December 28, 2015

A longtime physiology professor and a pharmacology graduate student receive an important nomination from the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, while a Cancer Institute director and a UMMC administrator earn the right to be called leaders in Mississippi.   

The Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities has nominated a School of Medicine faculty member and a graduate student at UMMC for its Higher Education Appreciation Day - Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) Award.

Physiologist, pharmacology grad student make HEADWAE with award


Dr. Thomas H. Adair, professor of physiology and biophysics in the School of Medicine, and Ellen Gillis, a graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, will be recognized at the Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning's 29th annual Higher Education Appreciate Day luncheon in early February.

HEADWAE honors one outstanding faculty member and one outstanding student from each participating member institution of the MACU. HEADWAE is sponsored by the Mississippi Legislature and coordinate by the Office of Academic and Student Affairs in the Mississippi IHL.


A 1973 graduate of Michigan State University, Adair earned his MA in 1976 at Western Michigan University and his PhD in 1980 at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. He had fellowship training in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at UMMC from 1980-83. He joined the UMMC faculty in 1980 as an instructor in physiology and biophysics and rose through the ranks to become a full professor in 1989. Recognized many times over for his teaching excellence, Adair is widely published.

A 2011 graduate of Furman University, Gillis received her MS in biomedical sciences from UMMC in 2012. Mentored by Dr. Jennifer M. Sasser, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, Gillis is a dean's scholar who has received several awards for academic excellence.



CI director, UMMC administrator earn Leadership Mississippi credentials

Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, Cancer Institute director, and Dr. Tonya Moore, UMMC administrator for community health services, were among 52 community leaders graduating from the Mississippi Economic Council's Leadership Mississippi class in December.

Each year, the MEC selects community leaders from throughout the state to participate in a year-long program to learn more about Mississippi's culture, economy and history, so they can return home better prepared to improve their communities and the state.

Vijayakumar and Moore also received additional awards. Moore was named one of two valedictorians, representatives the class chose to speak on their behalf at graduation.

Vijayakumar was a member of Group One, a group of eight Leadership Mississippi members who received first place for a group project. The group was recognized for developing a plan to better involve Mississippi business leaders in the MEC's Mississippi Scholars Tech Master Program, which recognizes students who excel in a tech-prep course of study but who do not plan to pursue a four-year college degree.