Glaser Research Awards Honor Miller School’s Rising Stars

Seventy Miller School faculty, including several department chairs and center and institute directors, gathered in the Clinical Research Building last week to honor this year’s winners of the Stanley J. Glaser Research Awards and hear presentations from last year’s winners.

The recipients of this year’s awards, which provide seed money to young investigators for research that could become the basis for more in-depth studies leading to larger federal funding, are:

  • Coleen Atkins, Ph.D., research assistant professor at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, for her proposal on “Rehabilitation Strategies for Cognitive Disabilities After Traumatic Brain Injury;”
  • Marina Casalino-Matsuda, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine, for her proposal on the “Role of Epithelium-Derived Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 (MCP-1) in Airway Smooth Muscle Hyperplasia in Asthma;”
  • Arumugan Jayakumar, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology, for his proposal on “STAT3 Inactivation in the Mechanisms of Astrocyte Swelling by Ammonia;”
  • Michael Kim, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, for his proposal on “The Role of Munc18-1 in Dendritic Morphogenesis;”
  • Priyamvada Rai, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, for her proposal on “Oxidative Stress-Protective Proteins as Novel Molecular Targets for Improving Efficacy of Androgen Ablation Therapy in Androgen-Responsive Prostate Cancer.”

Richard Bookman, Ph.D., vice provost for research and executive dean for research and research training, said the awards recognize the vision of Glaser, a businessman and philanthropist who saw the importance of encouraging UM’s rising scientists. “We are here to celebrate their achievements and support their innovative research, which enhances the University’s research enterprise,” Bookman said.

In introducing the winners, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., noted this year’s recipients are pursuing impressive ideas with the potential to improve patient care, which was in keeping with Glaser’s goal in establishing the awards in 1991. “Our junior faculty members are vital to providing new contributions to advance medicine,” the Dean said.

Dr. Bookman, a past Glaser awardee, also summarized the University’s research achievements from the last fiscal year and recognized faculty who reached major NIH-funding milestones. They included those who were awarded $1 million or more, investigators on program projects, center grants, and cooperative agreements, as well as faculty who received multiple or first-time awards from the research project grant program.

Last year’s Glaser Award recipients also made presentations. They included:

  • Ren-Hua Chung, Ph.D., research assistant professor of human genetics, for his research on “A Novel Statistical Method Using Case-Control and Family Data with Consideration of Population Stratification;”
  • Kenneth Fields, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, for his research on the “Contributions of the Chlamydial T3S Injectisome to Host Immunity;”
  • Jacob McCauley, Ph.D., assistant professor of human genetics, for his research on “Genetic Diversity in Hispanic Populations as a Resource for Understanding Complex Human Diseases;”
  • R. Grace Zhai, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, for her research on “Molecular Mechanisms of Neuroprotection.”

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