It was standing room only at the 2015 Excellence in Research Awards Nov. 4 in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where the UMMC Department of Research recognized the accomplishments of 27 faculty and staff.
“You can go other places (for health care), but discovery and research differentiate us,” said Dr. Richard Summers, associate vice chancellor for research. “Research is an integrated and relevant part of our mission.”
The ceremony recognized faculty who achieved extramural funding at one of four levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. This year, UMMC also acknowledged patent recipients, outstanding clinical research, translational research, meritorious research service for core leader and support staff, and early career investigators.
Dr. Courtney Bagge, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior, was one of the early career investigators recognized.
“I'm deeply honored,” she said. “These events encourage new and prolific researchers.”
Alexander with her 2015 Platinum Award
One of those more prolific faculty members is Dr. Barbara Alexander, one of two platinum award recipients. A professor of physiology and biophysics, Alexander views mentorship as one of the keys to success.
“I enjoy mentoring and continuing to be mentored,” she said.
Her research centers on the link between low birth weight and future risk for cardiovascular disease.
Correa with his 2015 Platinum Award
The other platinum recipient is Dr. Adolfo Correa, professor of medicine and interim director of the Jackson Heart Study. He researches the role of lifestyle and environmental factors in observed health disparities, such as increased rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Family was a theme at this year's ceremony. With each award granted, Dr. Jane Reckelhoff asked the recipient's “family” in the room to stand. Many researchers had parents and spouses present in addition to their work family: students, technicians, collaborators and mentors.
“While we give individual awards, this is a celebration of all of us,” said Summers.
Platinum Medallion -- $5,000,000 total:
Standing with Summers, center, are 2015 Platinum Award recipients Alexander and Correa.
Dr. Barbara Alexander, professor of physiology and biophysics
Dr. Adolfo Correa, professor of medicine and pediatrics and chief science officer, interim director and principal investigator of the Jackson Heart Study
Gold Medallion -- $1,000,000 total:
Standing with Summers, center, are 2015 Gold Award recipients Duhe, left, and Sims.
Dr. Roy Duhé, professor of pharmacology, professor of radiation oncology
Dr. Mario Sims, associate professor of medicine, science officer in the Jackson Heart Study
Silver Medallion -- $500,000 total:
Standing with Summers, right, are 2015 Silver Award recipients, from left, Liu, Akerley, George and,Smith.
Dr. Brian Akerley, associate professor of microbiology
Dr. Albert Dreisbach, associate professor of medicine
Dr. Eric George, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics
Dr. Xiu Liu, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior
Dr. Andrew Smith, assistant professor of radiology
Bronze Medallion -- $250,000 total:
Standing with Summers, right, are 2015 Bronze Award recipients from left, Romero, Levenson, Vallender, Coolen, Harmancey and Beech.
Dr. Bettina Beech, associate vice chancellor for population health, professor of pediatrics and family medicine and executive director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute
Dr. Lique Coolen, professor of physiology and biophysics and associate dean for postdoctoral studies in the School for Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences
Dr. Romain Harmancey, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics
Dr. Anait Levenson, professor of pathology, adjunct professor of pharmacology and toxicology and member of the Cancer Institute
Dr. Damian Romero, associate professor of biochemistry
Dr. Eric Vallender, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior
Dr. Wael ElShamy, associate professor of biochemistry
Dr. Richard O'Callaghan, professor and chair of microbiology
Dr. Drazen Raucher, professor of biochemistry
Early Career Investigators:
Dr. Courtney Bagge, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior
Dr. Gene Bidwell, assistant professor of neurology
Dr. Kevin Freeman, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior
Dr. Michael Puskarich, assistant professor of emergency medicine
Meritorious Research Service Core Leader:
Dr. Michael Garrett, associate professor of pharmacology and director of the Molecular and Genomics Core Facility
Meritorious Research Service Support Staff:
Kathy Cockrell, researcher in physiology and biophysics
Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research:
Dr. Alan Jones, director of research and vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine
Translational Research Team:
Mississippi Center for Heart Research:
Dr. Merry Lindsey, professor of physiology and biophysics
Dr. Michael Hall, assistant professor of medicine