July 22, 2013

Faculty honors

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One of the pleasures of serving as the interim dean and senior vice president is congratulating, on behalf of everyone in the School of Medicine, our faculty as their contributions of hard work and talent are recognized. I have been doing that a lot lately.

Three of our faculty have recently elected to chair study sections at the National Institutes of Health and several others were appointed as permanent or ad hoc members. Study sections review grant applications for the NIH and recommend where research dollars should be invested. By doing so, they steer the course of scientific discovery for the nation. Being chosen to serve or lead a section acknowledges years of hard work, proven expertise and leadership.

Natalia Kedishvili, Ph.D., in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and Linda Overstreet-Wadiche, Ph.D., in Neurobiology, were among those selected to serve on a study committee. Dr. Kedishvili was appointed to the Integrative Nutrition and Metabolic Processes study section; Dr. Overstreet-Wadiche was appointed to the Neurogenesis and Cell Fate study section. William Britt, M.D., in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, was appointment chair of the Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases study section. Paul Goepfert, M.D., in the Department of Medicine’s Infectious Diseases division, will serve as chair of the HIV/AIDS Vaccines Study Section. And Lou Bridges, M.D., Ph.D., director of Immunology and Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine, will chair the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases study section.

Congratulations, also, to our colleagues whose important research was published recently. Nita Limdi, Ph.D., in Neurology, was an author on a recent paper in The Lancet. She led UAB’s effort in a national genomic study that identified a genetic marker that could predict the most accurate dose of warfarin for African Americans. UAB enrolled more patients in the study than any other site, which speaks to our history of tackling health disparities and our dedication to translational science.

Cora Lewis, M.D., in Preventive Medicine, co-authored a paper published in JAMA with evidence showing that early onset of obesity increases the odds that someone will develop heart disease. Both diseases have created health crises, especially in the South and in our home state. Lewis represents hundreds of UAB faculty working to solve these problems for our community.

Andrea Cherrington, M.D., also in Preventive Medicine, and Warner Huh M.D., in Obstetrics and Gynecology, contributed to the public’s understanding of health care and science through interviews with national reporters. An article in The Atlantic quoted Cherrington about the My Diabetes Connect website she spearheaded. Huh, who helped develop the HPV vaccine, spoke with CNN after research showed rates of HPV are lower than expected.

There are many more faculty, staff and students to be congratulated for accomplishments large and small, each significant. Please tell us about your achievements so we can share them.

Our efforts to recruit more outstanding faculty are in full swing. Several recruits will join us soon and will be able to make an immediate impact. We will announce their arrival as soon as we can. I look forward to welcoming them to UAB and to congratulating them for their contributions.