Posts tagged with Faculty and Leadership Updates

Distinguished Faculty Award recipients announced

Francis Straus

Francis Straus, MD'57, SM'64

Each June, I look forward with great pleasure to the reception honoring the Distinguished Faculty Award recipients.  The winners are selected by members of the Faculty Advisory Committee from among the many outstanding nominees in each award category. One of the highlights for me is listening to excerpts from the nomination letters written by faculty. The writers not only detail their colleagues’ accomplishments, they also share observations and experiences that speak to the nominees’ creativity, dedication and passion for teaching, patient care and research.

This year, we have a new award to announce. The inaugural Francis Straus Mentorship Award honors the memory of Dr. Francis H. Straus II, Professor in the Department of Pathology, as a mentor of students, residents, and fellows during his many years as a member of our faculty in the department of Pathology. “We wanted something within the Biological Sciences Division that would endure and acknowledge what Francis was and did,” said his widow, Lorna P. Straus, Professor Emerita of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, in a story in the Spring 2016 issue of Medicine on the Midway.

A reception honoring the Distinguished Faculty Award winners will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. June 27 in the fourth-floor atrium of the DCAM. Please click here to RSVP. We hope you will join us for this occasion to celebrate the work of your faculty colleagues, who are being honored for excellence in the following categories:

Francis Straus Mentorship Award: John P. Kress, Professor of Medicine, and Matthew Brady, Associate Professor of Medicine.

Distinguished Investigator: D. Allan Drummond, Assistant Professor of Human Genetics (Junior Award) and Joy Bergelson, Professor and Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolution (Senior Award)

Distinguished Leader in Diversity and Inclusion: Sonia Kupfer, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Junior Award) and Monica Vela, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Pritzker School of Medicine (Senior Award)

Distinguished Clinician: Kamala Cotts, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Junior Award); Edward Garrity, Professor of Medicine (Senior Award), and Wendy Stock, Professor of Medicine (Senior Award)

Distinguished Leader in Program Innovation: Megan Huisingh-Scheetz, and Katherine Thompson, Assistant Professors of Medicine (Junior Award) and Cathryn Nagler, Professor of Pathology (Senior Award)

Distinguished Educator/Mentor: Lolita (Maria) Alkureishi, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Clinical Sciences Award); John Alverdy, Professor of Surgery (Clinical Sciences Award); and Dorothy Hanck, (Basic Sciences Award).

Distinguished Leader in Community Service and Advocacy: Anna Volerman, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics (Junior Award) and Brad Stolbach, Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Senior Award)

Opening a level 1 trauma center


Our plans to open a level 1 trauma center in 2018 took a major step forward with the recruitment of Selwyn Rogers, Jr., MD, MPH, as the founding director. Selwyn joined our faculty in January 2017 and is leading the recruitment of additional trauma faculty and building the team to support the program, developing the policies and protocols, and establishing a culture that will deliver trauma care of the highest quality.  

Under Dr. Rogers leadership, our trauma center — in addition to providing outstanding care to victims of trauma — will be positioned to make important contributions to our understanding of violence as a public health problem and to develop novel approaches to slowing the epidemic of violence that is plaguing our city.

New named and distinguished professors in BSD

Erin Adams is the Joseph Regenstein Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the College. Her research focuses on how events at the molecular level allow the immune system to discriminate healthy tissue from infected or diseased tissue. Robert L. Grossman has been named the Frederick H. Rawson Professor in Medicine and the College. Bob is the principal investigator for the NCI Genomic Data Commons, a next-generation platform that enables unprecedented data access, analysis and sharing for cancer research. J. Keith Moffat is the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the College. He pioneered the development and use of time-resolved X-ray crystallography to understand the short-lived structural changes that accompany all biochemical and chemical reactions and is a key collaborator in a novel set of X-ray experiments revealing how proteins absorb light.

Faculty and students recognized

I am delighted to share some of the recent honors and recognitions received by members of our faculty.

Michael Rust, Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, is one of 84 Faculty Scholars named by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These organizations have joined forces to support promising early-career scientists who have the potential to perform transformative research. Mike, who studies how and why biological organisms keep time using circadian clocks, was chosen from a field of 1,400 applicants. The five-year grant will allow him to pursue exciting new lines of research.

Huntington Willard, Professor of Human Genetics and president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the medical and health fields. The award recognizes individuals, selected by their peers, who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. Hunt’s discoveries have had a direct impact on human health by advancing understanding of the biology of gene expression.

Neil Shubin, Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, received the Addison Emery Verrill Medal from the Yale Peabody Museum. The Verrill Medal was created in 1959 to honor “signal practitioners in the arts of natural history and natural sciences.” There have been only 18 recipients since the award’s inception. Neil, who is headed to Antarctica next month in search of fossils, was selected for his research on the evolution of new organs, especially limbs.

Mark Siegler, Professor of Medicine and Surgery,  received the 2016 Harvey M. Meyerhoff Leadership in Bioethics Award from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Mark was selected for the 2016 award for his extensive scholarly research and his creation and leadership of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, which has trained more than 400 clinical fellows during the past 35 years. The Berman Institute said that the MacLean Center’s training programs have had “a greater impact than any other clinical ethics training program in the world.”

I invite you to read an important perspective by one of our colleagues on data sharing and the pivotal role it will play in precision oncology. Robert Grossman, Professor of Medicine, is first author of an article, “Toward a Shared Vision for Cancer Genomic Data,” published September 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Bob is the principal investigator for the Genomic Data Commons, the NCI-funded cancer-knowledge platform to enable broad collaboration among researchers.

Finally, two of our Pritzker students recently were named recipients of the Physicians of Tomorrow Chicago-Area scholarship.  The American Medical Association created the Physicians of Tomorrow Awards to honor the academic, personal and professional accomplishments of a select group of students nationwide. Fourth-year students Sean Gaffney and Shilpa Vasishta both have shown an outstanding commitment to caring for the underserved and have made many contributions to our South Side and Pritzker communities.

Recruitment to the BSD

Our Division is fortunate to attract outstanding basic and translational researchers, physician scientists, and clinicians from preeminent institutions across the country. I would like to highlight three recent recruits — renowned in their fields — who have joined us since July 1 as professors.

Zeray Alemseged is a leading evolutionary paleontologist who studies the evolutionary history of the earliest human ancestors, and how these processes were shaped by environmental and ecological factors. In 2006, he reported finding the 3.3 million-year-old bones of a 3-year-old child from the species Australopithecus afarensis in the Ethiopian desert, the earliest skeleton of a child ever found. He joins us from the California Academy of Sciences, where he was a research associate in anthropology. The recruitment of Professor Alemseged underscores our ongoing commitment to eminence in our paleontology program recognized as one of the leading, if not the leading, program in the world. 

Transplant surgeon John Fung was recruited to advance our programs in solid organ transplantation. John is the inaugural director of the new University of Chicago Medicine Transplantation Institute and chief of the Section of Transplant Surgery. This is a homecoming for John, who received both his MD and PhD (in immunology) here, and I am delighted he has rejoined us. Previously, John was at the Cleveland Clinic, where he served as director of its Health System Center, overseeing transplant services in four states.

Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, is a surgeon with expertise in orthopaedic hand, wrist and elbow care, and an active researcher, educator and mentor.  She comes to us from the University of Connecticut. Jennifer has been awarded the prestigious Bunnell Fellowship from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, as well as the American-British-Canadian Traveling Fellowship from the American Orthopaedic Association. She is the deputy editor-in-chief of the Journal of Hand Surgery.

Please join me in welcoming them and the rest of our new colleagues.

Jocelyn Malamy begins new role as BSCD Master

malamy_jocelyn_1.jpgI look forward to collaborating closely with Jocelyn Malamy, PhD, who started July 1 as Master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, Associate Dean of the Biological Sciences Division and Deputy Dean of the College. Jocelyn is a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. She is an esteemed teacher and colleague, and we are fortunate that she is willing to serve the College and Division in her new role.

Jocelyn has many ideas on ways to enhance the educational experience for undergraduates, including closer alignment of our departments with teaching in the College, a research requirement for all biology majors and creating new opportunities for undergraduates at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).  Jocelyn is well recognized by students as an outstanding teacher and is a past recipient of the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

I’d also like to thank Laurie Mets for his many important contributions to undergraduate education during his term as Master of the College. During his tenure, the popularity of undergraduate biology has continued to increase and is the second most popular major amongst our college students.