Wound Healing Pioneer Appointed to NIH’s Nursing Research Advisory Council

The Miller School’s Marjana Tomic-Canic, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery and director of the Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine Research Program, has been appointed to the national advisory council of the NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Drawn from the fields of nursing, basic, translational and clinical science, public and health policy, law, and economics, members of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research serve as the nursing institute’s primary advisory board.

As a council member, Tomic-Canic will help make recommendations to support the overall NINR goal “to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and improve palliative and end-of-life care.” A former nurse who dedicated her professional life to basic and translational research in wound healing, Tomic-Canic will have an important role in conducting a second level of review of grant applications that have been scored by scientific review groups, reviewing the Institute’s extramural programs, and making recommendations about its intramural research activities.

“Dr. Marjana Tomic-Canic is an excellent choice for the NIH nursing research advisory council,” said Lawrence Schachner, M.D., Chairman and Harvey Blank Professor of Dermatology and Director of the Division of Pediatric Dermatology. “She is at the forefront of cutting-edge translational research in wound healing and has the unique perspective of a former nurse. The outstanding leadership skills she has shown as a member of our integrated translational wound healing team will serve the nursing research advisory council very well.”

A long-time NIH grantee who has led significant discoveries in the basic science of wound healing, Tomic-Canic said she is “very excited and truly honored” to be appointed to the council. “It is a big responsibility and, at the same time, a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the scientific future and new developments that will help shape research agendas in support of current and future health care needs and anticipate future challenges and priorities,” she said.

Among her many accomplishments, Tomic-Canic and her collaborators identified the first gene, the first set of miRNAs and a unique molecular pathway that halts wound healing in patients. They also conducted the first microarray studies on patients with chronic ulcers.

A faculty member of the Program in Biomedical Sciences for Human Genetics and Genomics and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, and an associate member of the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, she pioneered the use of genomics approaches as diagnostic and prognostic tools for wound healing, and the development of new drugs that accelerate healing through local, sustained gene delivery.

She is a member of the Wound Healing Society, the Society of Investigative Dermatology, the Association of Advanced Wound Care, the American Diabetes Association, the New York Academy of Science, the American Association of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry and as associate editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

In recognition and appreciation of her outstanding scientific accomplishments, Tomic-Canic also was invited last year to present a lecture on wound healing for the NIH’s prestigious Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

Chaired by NINR Director Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., R.N., the advisory council consists of six ex officio members, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the NIH, or their designees, and 15 members appointed by the Secretary. Four others will be joining Tomic-Canic as new members, including Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, Ph.D., R.N., associate vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer, and professor and Dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University, and Jillian Inouye, Ph.D., associate dean for research and the Tony and Renee Marlon Angel Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Nursing and School of Allied Health.

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