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UC College of Medicine Honors Exceptional Researchers

UC College of Medicine Honors Exceptional Researchers

Published: 11/16/2017

The College of Medicine celebrated its research successes and congratulated key contributors during the Research Recognition Program Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in the CARE/Crawley Atrium. During the event, faculty members within the college were recognized for their research excellence and contributions in five distinguished categories or as a member of the Gallery of Awardees/Significant Clinical Trialist Program, which have been announced throughout the fiscal year 2017. Remarks were offered by College of Medicine leadership: Dean William Ball, MD, Melanie Cushion, PhD, senior associate dean for research and Brett Kissela, MD, senior associate dean for clinical research and chief of research services at UC Health.

Those being recognized include:

John Morris, MD, a professor in the Division of Hematology Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine, was presented the Clinical Trialist of the Year award. That honor goes to the investigator with exceptional financial support for clinical trials and Morris has brought in more than $1 million in revenue. Morris is the director of experimental therapeutics program that provides new cancer treatment options in phase I clinical trials. He is also co-director of the Comprehensive Lung Cancer Center and associate director for Translational Research at the UC Cancer Institute. Morris is investigating a lung cancer vaccine as well as stem cell and other innovative therapies for treatment of lung cancer.

Michael Tranter, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease, is the recipient of the 2017 Research Rising Star Award. Tranter completed his PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Biochemical Pharmacology at UC in 2010 along with a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in UC’s Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics. He joined the Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease as a faculty member in 2012. Tranter’s research focuses on the mechanistic role of Human Antigen R (HuR) during the development and progression of pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Tranter’s work has been funded by an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant and an R01 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study HuR as a novel mediator of cardiac hypertrophy. He also received an NIH-NCAI sub-award and a UC Technology Commercialization Accelerator Grant to commercialize a bioassay for detecting RNA-protein binding along with numerous internal grants.

Four faculty were recognized for their accomplishments as Mid-Career Research Scientists and they include: Aimin Chen, MD, PhD; Timothy Pritts, MD, PhD;Thomas Thompson, PhD; and Theresa Winhusen, PhD.

Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and his research focuses on chemicals exposure and child health. He is a key collaborator of the Health Outcomes for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) study established with a Children’s Environmental Health Center grant in 2001 awarded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency. His focus in the HOME study is mainly on flame retardants exposure and child neurobehavioral outcomes. Chen is also considered an expert on informal electronic waste recycling in developing countries for mixture exposures, health outcomes and prevention efforts.

Pritts is a professor and chief of the section of general surgery in the Department of Surgery. He completed his MD at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. This was followed by a general surgery residency, PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship at UC. His clinical interests are broad based general and trauma surgery. His research interests revolve around improving resuscitation and care for the traumatically injured and bleeding patient.

Thompson is a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. He oversees the Thompson Laboratory which focuses on two areas of investigation: the study of the structural and functional aspects of TGFbeta family signaling and regulation along with structures of apolipoproteins and how this relates to HDL particles and other related biological functions. The laboratory uses a combination of structural techniques including X-ray crystallography, small angle X-ray scattering coupled with biophysical and biochemical experiments.

Winhusen is a professor in the Division of Addiction Sciences in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. She is one of the foremost experts in conducting multi-site addiction clinical trials in community practice settings, having been the national principal investigator for five multi-site clinical trials in the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s clinical trials network since 2001. Winhusen has conducted NIDA-funded research to identify effective substance abuse treatments with a particular emphasis on treating tobacco and stimulant use disorders and has been awarded more than $12.4 million dollars in NIH funding.

Research service awards were also presented to Ken Greis, PhD, professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and Jerry Lingrel, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. The honors are given to faculty who serve the College of Medicine research mission by volunteering for internal review panels, data and safety monitoring boards, the institutional revenue board, the institutional animal care and use committee and biosafety and radiation safety boards. 

Lingrel chairs the conflict of interest committee for the university.  He also helps support first year medical students to work on research during the summer. Lingrel has also served as the interim chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology which he founded.  He is a University of Cincinnati Distinguished Research Professor.

Greis directs the Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the Graduate Program in Cancer and Cell Biology. During the past year he co-chaired the committee to update and modernize the College of Medicine ARPT guidelines and led a subcommittee for organization and planning of Research Week.  He also regularly facilitates case studies for Ethics in Research along with organizing and teaching faculty mentoring workshops.

This year’s Team Science Research Award was presented to the Laryngeal Biomechanics Laboratory. Members of team are Sid Khosla, MD, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery; Ephraim Gutmark, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in the Department of Aerospace Engineering; Liran Oren, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery; and Jun Ying, PhD, professor in the Department of Environmental Health. The focus and uniqueness of the research group is the use of advance modeling and simulations techniques (developed for aerospace engineering) to study mechanisms in airway, speech, and voice disorders. 

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