Hank Seifert, PhD, John Edward Porter Professor of Biomedical Research, has received a second-consecutive Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For three decades, his work has focused on the evolution of the infectious agents that attack humans.
“The award truly recognizes the quality and originality of the research my group has produced,” said Seifert, professor in microbiology-immunology. “The long tenure of this funding means we won’t have to write a competitive renewal for some time and we can take some risks in generating innovative research directions.”
Seifert received a MERIT extension from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 2008. The new MERIT Award will provide funding through 2023.
Erica Marsh, MD, assistant professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology-Reproductive Endo & Infertility at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a reproductive endocrinologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was honored by the Chicago Urban League in May as an innovator in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at its annual summit.
She was recognized for her work as the founder of the Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program.
The Scholars Program offers enriching experiences that enable outstanding high school students at Westingthouse College Prep the opportunity to explore potential careers as physicians and biomedical scientists. Those selected are exposed to some of the country’s leading physicians and researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine through mentoring, lectures, and other hands-on experiences.
“Our goal is to give a unique opportunity to inspire and lead students to work toward an advanced degree in medicine or research,” says Dr. Marsh.
John Csernansky, MD, Lizzie Gillman Professor, chair of psychiatry, and chair of the Stone Institute of Psychiatry at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, became president of the Society for Biological Psychiatry at their annual meeting in May. The Society is one of the largest psychiatry research organizations in the world.
During the ninth annual Lewis Landsberg Research Day at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, faculty and research staff, along with students of medicine at many different levels, participated in the event to share research.
In addition to a number of other awards, two Mentors of the Year were recognized for their valuable contributions to the professional development of their colleagues and students. The awardees included Basic Science Mentor: Stephen Miller, PhD, Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology, and Clinical Science Mentor: Jack Kessler, MD, Ken and Ruth Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology.
Also part of the Research Day program was the Tripartite Legacy Faculty Prize in Translational Science and Education, which was bestowed upon Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, chair of preventive medicine, and director of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (NUCATS). The award is presented to a faculty member who embodies excellence in research that emphasizes translational approaches, teaching, mentoring, and leadership.
Watch the Research Day video here.
In late April, approximately 80 new members were elected into the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians at an annual joint meeting.
Among the inductees were three Feinberg School of Medicine faculty members.
Gokhan M. Mutlu, MD, associate professor in medicine-pulmonary, and Puneet Opal, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, joined more than 3,000 physician-scientists elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). The ASCI is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies. Members are elected based on their scholarly achievement in biomedical research.
Dr. Mutlu’s career has focused on the mechanisms that underlie the development and resolution of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is relevant to a number of conditions such as pneumonia, ARDS, and air pollution-induced cardiovascular events.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Opal runs a neurological practice focused on movement disorders and disorders of the cerebellum. His research studies the progressive dysfunction of the cerebellum in genetic and acquired degenerative syndromes.
Susan Quaggin, MD, director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute and chief of the Division of Medicine-Nephrology, joined more than 1,200 active members in the Association of American Physicians. A nonprofit organization, the AAP is focused on the pursuit of medical knowledge and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine. (Read more about Dr. Quaggin’s work.)
Neil Stone, MD ’68, Robert Bonow MD Professor, professor of medicine-cardiology, and a member of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Institute and Center for Behavior and Health, chaired a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) panel that in 2008 began rewriting the nation’s Cholesterol Guidelines, called ATP IV, which were originally developed in the late ‘80s.
Dr. Stone was also a member of the earlier NHLBI panels.
“The new guidelines are meant to provide physicians with a feeling of certainty when they prescribe medications for patients with high-risk conditions, as well as to understand those areas where the best science and the patient’s preference affect a decision,” says Stone.
The cholesterol panel focused on low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol cut points, as well as the evidence behind the use of lipid-lowering drugs.
This time around, Stone is clear to point out the panel’s commitment to science, with a focus on data from randomized clinical trials.
“It’s been a challenging experience as we have tried to avoid an emphasis on expert opinion to be sure that clinicians get the benefit of what the evidence really shows,” Stone explains. “What makes this so difficult is synthesizing all of it into a brief and practical set of guidelines.”