Recent Perelman School of Medicine awards and accolades
Nicholas L. Balderston, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress, was awarded the 2021 Klerman Prize for Exceptional Clinical Research by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. The annual award recognizes outstanding clinical and basic research in the field of mental illness. Dr. Balderston’s lab uses experimental design, psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and neuromodulation to explore the mechanisms that mediate the expression and regulation of fear. The ultimate goal of his research is to lay the foundations for novel neuromodulatory treatments for people suffering from severe anxiety.
Alexander C. Huang, Assistant Professor of Medicine, has been named a Damon Runyon-Doris Duke Clinical Investigator by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Huang, who studies T-cell responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors and their role in efficacy and toxicity, is one of six young medical professionals working on developing new cancer therapies under the direction of a leading scientist to earn recognition . Each awardee will receive a total of $ 600,000 and the Foundation will withdraw up to $ 100,000 of the medical school debt owed by the awardee. Dr. Huang is Gerald P. Linette, a professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine.
Denise LaMarra, director of Penn Medicine’s Standardized Patient Program, was named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE). Ms. LaMarra, who has served as director since 2006, helps Standardized Patient Program serve thousands of learners in all professions and at all levels of learning at Penn Medicine. Ms. LaMarra led the creation of a standardized patient management system (SPMS) that several other medical schools in the United States and Canada have acquired to facilitate hiring, scheduling, expense management, and other related administrative tasks.
Meghan Brooks Lane case, David E. Longnecker Associate Professor of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Computer Science, was selected by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine as a member of their 2021-2023 New Voices cohort of 22 junior executives Academia, industry, government and nonprofits. Dr. Lane-Fall and other new members are rising stars in their field and were selected from almost 300 applicants in a competitive assessment process. In 2018, NASEM launched the New Voices program to bring different perspectives from young US executives to important dialogues about shaping the future of science, engineering and medicine.
Sally Nijim, a student at the Perelman School of Medicine, along with her team of four other emerging medical innovators, took first place in a national pitch competition hosted by MD ++. The Innovation Pitch competition brought together teams of medical students from across the United States to develop and propose solutions to improve health systems or improve current health practices. Ms. Nijim and her team developed the concept for iKidney. The proposal included creating personalized kidney care for patients with chronic kidney disease that combined hardware (blood pressure and kidney function analysis in real time) with personalized software and coaching.
Christoph A. Thaiss, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, is part of a multidisciplinary group of young researchers selected as part of the new Scialog: Mitigating Zoonotic Threats initiative to address the global threat to human health posed by animal-borne infectious diseases. Sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the three-year initiative will fund select projects that aim to transform the way we detect, prevent, and treat new and emerging pathogens. As part of his work at Penn Medicine, Dr. Thaiss state-of-the-art sequencing-based technologies to decipher the effects of environmental factors, including microbial pathogens, on systemic physiology.
Neha Vapiwala, Professor of Radiation Oncology and Associate Chair of Radiation Oncology, and Amit Maity, Morton M. Kligerman Professor and Associate Director of Radiation Oncology, were named among the 28 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) fellows. The ASTRO Fellows program recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to radiation oncology through research, education, patient care, and / or services in this area. Drs. Vapiwala and Maity will be honored during the organization’s 63rd annual meeting in Chicago in October.