Prestigious faculty and student awards

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Bernard Roizman, the Joseph Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Virology in the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology, received the National Academy of Sciences’ 2017 Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology for “his many seminal contributions to understanding the mechanisms by which herpes viruses replicate and cause disease.” The award will be presented in April.

Michaela Gack, Associate Professor of in the Department of Microbiology, received a 2017 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science. The prizes were established “to encourage and support young immigrants who have already demonstrated exceptional achievements, and who often face significant challenges early in their careers.” Michaela, a native of Germany, is studying how the intricate interplay between viruses and the host's immune system impacts the outcome of viral infection and disease.

Thomas Gajewski, Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Ben May Cancer Institute, has been awarded an Outstanding Investigator Award by the National Cancer Institute. These awards support scientists who demonstrate remarkable productivity in cancer research. The award guarantees $600,000 in direct costs per year for seven years, providing financial stability to encourage investigators to take on long-term projects with significant potential. Tom is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Vineet Arora, Associate Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery, was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an honor society of physician-scientists who translate findings in the laboratory to advance clinical practice. Vinny has made seminal contributions to the understanding of optimizing patient handoffs and managing resident fatigue during long shifts. She will be inducted in April.

Four colleagues have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The 2016 Fellows are: Geoffrey Greene, the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor and Chair of the Ben May Department for Cancer Research; Zhe-Xi Luo, Professor in Organismal Biology and Anatomy; Clifton Ragsdale, Professor in Neurobiology and Organismal Biology and Anatomy; and Jonathan Staley, Professor in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. The new Fellows will be honored later this month at the AAAS meeting in Boston.

Paul Chang, Professor of Radiology, has received the Radiological Society of North America’s highest honor, the Gold Medal. An internationally recognized expert in the field of imaging informatics, he was a pioneer in creating rapid methods of moving digital radiology images and led many research and development projects related to imaging informatics and enterprise-wide informatics challenges.

Sarah Cobey, Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolution, was awarded the Neubauer Faculty Development Fellowship in the College for 2016-2017.  The fellowship recognizes assistant and associate professors in the College’s instructional programs for effective teaching and mentorship.

I would also like to recognize third-year Pritzker student Santiago Diaz, one of five students in the country awarded an AAMC Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship. The scholarship, awarded by the AAMC, aims to advance Dr. Nicken’s “lifelong commitment to supporting the educational, society, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities.” Santiago was chosen for his accomplishments both within and outside of the classroom regarding the elimination of health care disparities.

Please join me in congratulating them.