Faculty Accomplishments

We publish faculty and student accomplishments in every edition of URMC Pulse, highlighting both the prestigious honors our faculty/students receive, as well as the prominent leadership/advisory posts to which they are appointed.

To submit an accomplishment, please e-mail pulse@urmctoday.com a short paragraph that includes (1) the faculty member’s/student’s credentials, (2) a brief explanation of the honor, and (3) a brief summary of the history and/or mission of the organization bestowing the honor. For students, please also include a hometown and the degree they are pursuing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently appointed URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., to the NYS Respond Commission, one of three bodies created to broaden emergency preparedness in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Berk joins a 27-member group to study the response to the November storm and make recommendations to ensure systems are in place for adequate training of emergency responders, protection of hospitalized patients’ health and safety, timely communication with the public, and effective coordination across all levels of government for a rapid response. A report is expected in early 2013.

Chin-To Fong, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, is the 2012 recipient of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award. Fong received the award on Nov. 3 at the organization’s annual meeting in San Francisco. Administered through the Organization of Student Representatives, the award aims to reinforce the importance of humanistic qualities among medical school students and faculty. Rochester medical students Bradley Hunter and Michael Hunter nominated Fong (each school is allowed to nominate one individual for this highly competitive honor), saying he doesn’t merely teach the foundation of genetics and molecules – he exemplifies the qualities of a caring and compassionate mentor.

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester named Katrina Korfmacher, M.S., Ph.D., the 2012 recipient of the Harriet Susskind-Rosenblum “Advocate’s Spirit Award” for her work advancing the science of environmental health. The honor was presented at the Coalition’s 11th annual ARTrageous Affair Breast Cancer Gala in October. Korfmacher, an associate professor of Environmental Medicine, serves as director of URMC’s Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement Core. Her work focuses on vital community issues, like lead poisoning, hydrofracking and air quality. She participates in myriad local, state, and national organizations related to community environmental health.

In November, assistant dean for the Office of Medical Education and Student Affairs Brenda D. Lee, M.Ed., was presented the United Way’s Howard Wilson Coles Community Leadership Award. The award pays homage to individuals who demonstrate outstanding servant leadership and have made a positive impact on the lives of the people of the Rochester region. Lee, also an assistant professor of Medical Humanities, has mentored numerous medical students who have gone on to healthcare leadership positions across the country. She also has been active in the community, serving on many boards and leading fundraising activities for the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Sojourner House, the YWCA, the Urban League, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, the American Baptist Churches of Rochester-Genesee Region, and Wilson Commencement Park.

J. Lowell Orbison Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., was a featured speaker for Vanderbilt University’s Flexner Discovery Lecture Series in early December. The prestigious series boasts top scientists speaking on the highest-impact research in science and medicine. Maquat, who serves as Director of the University’s Center for RNA Biology, discussed “Tales from the Cellular Underworld: mRNA Decay and Disease."

Elizabeth R. “Lissa” McAnarney, M.D., professor and chair emerita of Pediatrics, will receive the 2013 John Howland Medal from the American Pediatric Society, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pediatric Society. McAnarney earned the award because of her groundbreaking work helping to develop the board-certified subspecialty of Adolescent Medicine, her research examining the best ways to care for pregnant adolescents and her career-long commitment to education and mentorship. She will officially receive the Howland medal and an honorarium in May 2013 at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Paul G. Rothberg, Ph.D., FACMG, professor and director of the Molecular Diagnosis Section for the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, recently was appointed to the Molecular Oncology Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the nation’s leading organization of board-certified pathologists. The committee advises the College on public policy and scientific matters related to molecular pathology, including: developing guidelines for laboratories and testing; keeping abreast of practical applications of new modalities; supporting state of the art practice of molecular diagnostics; and developing and maintaining proficiency testing, surveys, and educational programs in the field. Rothberg also recently became a member of the Clinical Practice Committee of the Association for Molecular Pathology, founded in 1995 and comprised of individuals from academia, government, and industry, including basic scientists, laboratory directors, medical technologists, and trainees.

Peter J. Papadakos, M.D., FCCP, FCCM, director of Critical Care Medicine and professor of Anesthesiology, of Surgery, and of Neurosurgery, was awarded a fellowship from the American Association of Respiratory Care at the 58th International Respiratory Convention in November. Cited for his contributions to the profession and his research on lung disease and medical education, Papadakos, who also serves on Medical Advisory Board of this 52,000-member professional group, presented three lectures at the meeting – one on patient safety, and two on his research in ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) therapy.

Eric M. Phizicky, Ph.D., dean’s professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. This year, AAAS awarded 702 members this honor because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Phizicky, a member of the University’s Center for RNA Biology, came to the Medical Center in 1987 and has spent his career working to understand how tRNA is made and how it does its job in the cell: helping with the translation of genes into proteins. Peers elected him an AAAS Fellow "for [his] major contributions to the basic knowledge of tRNA (transfer RNA) processing and turnover, and for the development and widespread distribution of powerful genome-wide technologies.” This year’s AAAS Fellows will be presented with an official certificate during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February.

James R. Woods Jr., M.D., received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District II in New York City this fall. Woods, the Henry A. Thiede Professor and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was recognized for his “tireless dedication to ACOG activities and ongoing commitment to women’s health care.” ACOG previously recognized Woods with an award for Outstanding District Service to District II in 2010. A pioneer in using multimedia resources and simulation technology to improve communication among care providers to benefit patient safety, Woods is founder and senior editor of Peri-FACTS, an online multimedia journal on critical issues in obstetrics and gynecology that is used by 70 hospitals across New York state, 600 hospitals nationally, and 230 nursing schools. Peri-FACTS has 30,000 students and subscribers worldwide.

Student Accomplishments

M.D. /Ph.D. student Youssef Farhat won first place in a video contest sponsored by the Orthopaedic Research Society, for a three-minute film using simple images and narration to explain how our lives are touched by the study of the musculoskeletal system. In the film – titled Who Cares About Orthopaedic Research? – Farhat explains that orthopaedic conditions like fractures, arthritis, back pain, and cancer, have an impact on nearly everyone at some point from birth to old age. The Society created the Video Outreach Competition to make science more accessible to the public. Farhat will be honored at the ORS annual meeting this weekend in San Antonio, Texas, which is expected to be attended by approximately 2,500 othopaedic scientists. He works in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the UR Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, and is pursuing a doctorate in biomedical engineering in the lab of Hani A. Awad, Ph.D.

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