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Annual awards ceremony recognizes research achievements

Published on Thursday, October 25, 2018

By: Karen Bascom

The University of Mississippi Medical Center held its annual Excellence in Research Awards Oct. 24 in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.

Hosted by the Office of Research, the ceremony recognizes faculty members for their achievements in gaining outside funding. The award levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze - are based on the cumulative amount of extramural funding received by the investigator for their original research.

The 24 medallion recipients, including three platinum, five gold, nine silver and seven bronze all contributed to UMMC’s 314 grants and awards for fiscal year 2018.

Dr. Richard Summers, associate vice chancellor for research, said the event is one of his favorite days of the Medical Center year.

“Research is the lifeblood of our institution,” Summers said. “When the research mission is strong, we are able to help our education and health care missions succeed.”

Summers noted the diversity of this year’s recipients, representing 15 departments and the Center for Telehealth. The group also contains 13 assistant professors, researchers in the early part of their careers who are experiencing success.

“It bodes well for our future,” Summers said. “This diversity is a strength moving forward.”

The Office of Research also granted Discovery Awards. This year’s peer-nominated and reviewed awards recognized an early-career investigator, meritorious research service from the faculty and staff, and outstanding achievement in clinical research.

Platinum Medallion – $5,000,000 total

Dr. Paul May, professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences

A member of the faculty in 1986, May is associate chair for research in his department. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for his work on the motor control of the eyes, eyelids, head, lens and pupil. He is considered one of the preeminent neuroanatomists in the eye movement field in the United States.

Dr. James Rowlett, professor of psychiatry and human behavior

Rowlett joined the faculty in 2013 after 16 years with Harvard Medical School. He is vice chair for research in his department and is co-director of the Neuro Institute-Addictions Program. He has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1994 and oversees a research program on the abuse-related effects of sedative-anxiolytics, opioids and stimulant drugs.

Dr. Wu Zhou, professor of otolaryngology and communicative sciences

Zhuo joined the faculty in 1999 and has developed a research program that investigates balance and eye movement control. Director of the research division in his department, he recently expanded his research program to include translational research in traumatic brain injuries and gene therapy for deafness and balance disorders. His research has been funded by agencies including the NIH, NASA and the American Hearing Research Foundation.

Dr. Richard Summers, left, and Leslie Musshafen, right, congratulate platinum award recipients Dr. James Rowlett, Dr. Paul May and Dr. Wu Zhou.

Gold Medallion – $1,000,000 total

Dr. Susan Buttross, professor of pediatrics-child development

Dr. Eric George, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics

Dr. Romain Harmancey, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics

Dr. Amol Janorkar, professor of biomedical materials science

Dr. Joseph Maher, professor of medicine-hematology/oncology

Among gold award recipients at the ceremony are, from left, Dr. Amol Janorkar, Dr. Eric George, Dr. Romain Harmancey and Dr. Susan Buttross.

Silver Medallion – $500,000 total

Michael Adcock, executive director of the Center for Telehealth

Dr. Licy Yanes Cardozo, assistant professor of cell and molecular biology

Dr. Fan Fan, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology

Dr. Bernadette Grayson, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences

Dr. Michael Hall, associate professor of medicine-cardiology

Dr. Rodrigo Maranon, assistant professor assistant professor of cell and molecular biology

Dr. Aimee Parnell, associate professor of pediatrics-cardiology

Dr. Junie Paula Warrington, assistant professor of neurology

Dr. Melanie Wilson, professor of microbiology and immunology

Among the silver award recipients are, from left, Dr. Licy Yanes Cardozo, Dr. Junie Paula Warrington, Dr. Aimee Parnell, Dr. Bernadette Grayson, Dr. Fan Fan, Dr. Melanie Wilson, Dr. Rodrigo Maranon and Dr. Michael Hall.

Bronze Medallion – $250,000 total

Dr. Denise Cornelius, assistant professor of emergency medicine

Dr. Tearsanee Davis, director of clinical and advanced practice operations of the Center for Telehealth

Dr. Sally Huskinson, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior

Dr. Sydney Murphy, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology

Dr. Frank Spradley, assistant professor of surgery

Dr. Bradley Walters, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences

Dr. Chad Washington, assistant professor of neurosurgery

Bronze award recipients include, from left, Dr. Sydney Murphy, Dr. Frank Spradley, Dr. Tearsanee Davis, Dr. Bradley Walters, Dr. Denise Cornelius, Dr. Sally Huskinson and Dr. Chad Washington.

Early Career Investigator

Dr. Romain Harmancey, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics

Dr. Romain Harmancey, center, receives the Early Career Investigator Award.

Meritorious Research Service-Faculty

Dr. Jeanette Pullen, professor emeritus of pediatrics-hematology/oncology

Dr. Jeanette Pullen, center, receives the Meritorious Research Service-Faculty Award.

Meritorious Research Service-Support Staff

Haiyan Zhang, manager, analytical and assay core, physiology and biophysics

Haiyan Zhang, center, receives the Meritorious Research Service-Staff Award.

Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research

Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, professor and chair of radiation oncology

Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, center, receives the Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research Award.