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The New Issue of Opportunities to Explore is Out Now!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Read the March 20 - March 24, 2023 Issue

Wyatte Hall Joins Congressional Briefing on Language Access for Deaf Children

Friday, February 24, 2023

Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., presenting at the Education and Advocacy Summit.
Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., presenting at the
Education and Advocacy Summit

Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), took part in a congressional briefing at the U.S. Capitol on February 22 to advocate for earlier and better language access for deaf children. The briefing was part of the eighth annual Education and Advocacy Summit hosted by the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.  

Hall, who is also an assistant professor in Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and the Center for Community Health & Prevention at URMC, has studied the prevalence and impact of language deprivation on deaf children and adults for almost 10 years. While most children share a common language with their parents and have access to that language from infancy, the majority of deaf children are born into hearing families that use spoken language and many have delayed access to language. 

Read the full article.

Paula Vertino Named Senior Associate Dean for Basic Research

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Paula Vertino
Paula M. Vertino, Ph.D.

Paula Vertino, Ph.D., an accomplished cancer research scientist and leader at the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been appointed senior associate dean for Basic Research effective February 1, 2023.

Vertino was recruited to Wilmot in 2018 to transform its research endeavors by breaking down silos and promoting collaboration and team science. She enjoys identifying commonalities and bringing people together in a “grass roots” approach.

She sees her new role as an opportunity to interact more broadly across the Medical Center to enhance cross-programmatic communication; to work with institutional leadership to create an environment that fosters faculty and trainee success; and to further integrate the basic and clinical research enterprise – something that’s been top-of-mind since she joined the University.

Read the full article in the URMC Newsroom.

January 27, 2023: Research Update from Steve Dewhurst

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Traditionally, as a new year starts, we take a moment to reflect on the year that just ended – and on the year to come. As we come to the end of this first month of 2023, it seems timely to do so now. 

Jeff Koslofsky in Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs created this terrific infographic which presents some of the key facts and figures around our research mission in 2022. What isn’t captured in this image is the tremendous amount of creativity, innovation, hard work and passion that faculty, staff, and learners pour into their science. 

For many of us, research is also deeply personal. If you have a few minutes, this inspiring December news piece on Arielle Sheftall’s research is exemplary of that.   

Sheftall, a 2022 recruit in the department of Psychiatry, recently received one of only four NIH Director’s Transformative Research Awards; the $4M grant will fund her research on using digitally enabled peer-to-peer support, as well as at-home nerve stimulation, as early intervention approaches for teenagers at high risk for suicide.    

Another theme that emerges from the year-in-review is that of mentoring, and its critical importance to the success of all members of our SMD research community. In October, Nikesha Gilmore, a faculty member in the Wilmot Cancer Institute (Wilmot) and the department of Surgery coauthored a guest editorial for The Hematologist, together with two colleagues at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The article addresses the unique challenges faced by Black faculty in academia, and the negative impact of systemic racism and bias. It also identifies mentorship as an important part of the solution. As Gilmore notes, mentorship “can keep people from saying – ‘I’m done. I’m not doing this anymore.’” In a November news feature on this article, Gilmore adds that:  

“You need a mentor to say, ‘I have faith in you. You can do this.'”   

I couldn’t agree more.   

Importantly, Gilmore also credits her own mentors at the U of R for the positive effect they have had on her career success, including Jacques Robert (her PhD mentor), as well as Michelle Janelsins-Benton and Supriya Mohile, scientific leaders within Wilmot, and key contributors to her subsequent growth as an early stage faculty member. That’s making a positive difference, and something we can all aspire to. 

Looking to the year ahead, we’ll be continuing with hybrid work in many venues, but in others, we’ll be moving to increasing levels of in-person participation. As many of us know first-hand, in-person professional scientific meetings are back, as are in-person social gatherings, as exemplified by the December SMD Philosophy meeting, which was a celebratory gathering of our research community. That community building effort needs to continue and redouble, particularly for those who have recently joined the SMD research family and who have not (yet) had opportunities to build in-person peer connections and support networks.  

Over the next several months, University-wide strategic planning efforts will also continue to move forward. A central aspect of the plan will be to strengthen our reputation as a leading global research University, while also: providing outstanding educational opportunities for our learners; investing in health and healthcare; supporting the success and well-being of our people; and continuing our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, across all the University’s missions. 

In the short-term, our PhD applicant interview weekends are just around the corner, on February 3-4 and March 3-4. I encourage you to participate actively in that process, and to help our interviewees understand what’s special about doing research here. 

Finally, I want to thank each of you for the little things you do every day to make this place better; the small gestures or kind words that make others around you feel valued and welcome. It’s those small details that linger in the heart. 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

- Maya Angelou  

Steve Dewhurst, PhD 
Vice Dean for Research 

PHOTOS: GEPA December 2022 Philosophy Meeting

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


E’Lissa Flores, Ph.D (’18) Talks Authenticity, Moving from L.A. to Rochester, and Keys to Networking

Wednesday, January 4, 2023


"What sets you apart is who you are and how you work with others."

E'Lissa Flores, Ph.D., a 2018 graduate of our Translational Biomedical Science program, credits being her authentic self as a big reason she's in a career she loves today.

Flores recently joined us for a live LinkedIn career discussion to talk the importance of authenticity, as well as:

  • Her role as scientific program manager at the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) and what it's like working in the non-profit sector
  • How our PREP program helped launch her into her Ph.D.
  • Overcoming imposter syndrome through the help of mentors
  • The importance of networking and not just re-connecting with colleagues when you need something
  • What she did to get better at science communications
  • Moving from Los Angeles to Rochester, and more

Check out the full replay on our LinkedIn page.