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20161101_004Inaugural Dean's Excellence in Research Awards

November 1, 2016

More than 150 faculty, trainees and staff attended the inaugural Dean’s Excellence in Research Awards event, titled “Celebrating Excellence in Research,” at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont on November 1, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in Carpenter Auditorium in the Given Building. Lita Proctor, Ph.D., Program Director for the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health(NIH) delivered a keynote address, and a poster session reception followed the awards ceremony.
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Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., announced the following trainee and faculty awards and respective recipients at the event:

Trainee Awards

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication - Graduate Student

Awardee: E. Ross Colgate, M.P.H., Researcher/Analyst, Vaccine Testing Center and Clinical and Translational Science Ph.D. Student
Nominated by: Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D.
Publication: Colgate RE, Haque R, Dickson DM, Carmolli MP, Mychaleckyj JC, Nayak U, Qadri F, Alam M, Walsh MC, Diehl SA, Zaman K, Petri WA, Kirkpatrick BD. Delayed Dosing of Oral Rotavirus Vaccine Demonstrates Decreased Risk of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Associated With Serum Zinc: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2016; 63: 634-41.

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication - Medical Student

Awardee: Matthew LeComte, M.D. '16, Ph.D., '15
Nominated by: Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D.
Publication: LeComte MD, Shimada IS, Sherwin C, Spees JL. Notch 1 STAT3 -ETBR signaling axis controls reactive astrocyte proliferation after brain injury. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015; 172:8726-8731.

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication - Postdoctoral Fellows

Awardee: Nicholas Farina, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate in Biochemistry
Nominated by: Jane Lian, Ph.D.
Publication: Farina NH, Wood ME, Perrapato SD, Francklyn CS, Stein GS, Stein JL, Lian JB. Standardizing analysis of circulating microRNA: Clinical and biological relevance. J Cell Biochem. 2014; 195:147-163.

Awardee: Vicki Hart, Ph.D., Principal, Heart DataWorks
Nominated by: Brain Sprague, Ph.D.
Publication: Hart V, Sprague BL, Lakoski SG, Hampton JM, Newcomb PA, Gangnon RE, Trentham-Dietz A. Trends in health related quality of life following a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2016; 34(12):1323-1329. 

Trainee Award for Outstanding Research Publication - Residents

Awardee: William Tharp, M.D. '14, Ph.D. '13, Clinical Instructor in Anesthesiology
Nominated by: Don Matthews, M.D.
Publication: Tharp WG, Gupta D, Smith J, Jones KP, Jones AM, Pratley RE. Effects of glucose and insulin on secretion of amyloid-β by human adipose tissue cells. Obesity 2016; 24:1471-1479.

Awardee: Anjali Varigonda, M.D., Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry
Nominated by:  Judith Lewis, M.D.
Publication: Varigonda AL, Jakubovski E, Block MH. Systematic review and meta-analysis: Early treatment responses to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in pediatric major depressive disorder. J Acad Child Adolescent Psych 2016; 55:851-859.

Faculty Awards

Research Mentorship

Awardee: Charles Irvin, Ph.D., Professor; Vice Chair for Research Affairs, Department of Medicine; Director, Vermont Lung Center; Professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Nominated by: Polly Parsons, M.D.


  • Mentored multiple young scientists--PhDs, MDs, post-docs, fellows, and junior faculty including 5 X K08 and 2 X K32 awardees; 
  • T32 program director since 2004 
  • COBRE PI for 17 years
Rising Star New Investigator

Awardee: Jason Stumpff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Nominated by: David Warshaw, Ph.D.

  • Focused on understanding how chromosomes are moved and organized during cell division from the single molecule to whole organism level.
  • Significant advances in our knowledge about mechanisms that preserve genomic integrity, as well as new molecular targets for cancer therapy.
  • National research awards: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Special Fellow Award, March of Dimes Basil O' Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, and Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Research Award.
Mid-Career Investigator

Awardee: Sarah Heil, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry 
Nominated by:
Steve Higgins, Ph.D.

  • $10 million in NIH funding as PI, another $15 million as Co-I; continuously funded since 2004
  • 113 publications to date cited >2,500 times; h-index=24
  • On editorial board of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
  • Permanent member of standing NIH study section (co-chair October 2016)
Research Laureate

Awardee: Ralph Budd, M.D., University Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics; Director, Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Disease; Unit Director, Immunobiology Medicine, Department of Medicine
Nominated by: Polly Parsons, M.D.

  • Continuously funded by NIH for 26 years with more than $60 million in funding including T32, P01 and COBRE grants, >100 publications
  • Many successful mentees – undergraduate, graduate, post doc's, and junior faculty
  • Multiple honors – Pew Scholar, UVM University Scholar, Fogarty International Fellow, Elected member of ASCI and AAP

Helpful Links

Celebrating Excellence in Research
Funding Opportunities & Awards
  • Contact Jennifer Nachbur, LCOM Public Relations Director, by email or 656-7875.