UMass Medical School Faculty Vitality Award recipients announced

UMass Medical School Communications

May 04, 2015
  (L-R) Jie Song, PhD; Gerard Aurigemma, MD; and Daniel Kirsch, MD, are three of seven faculty members who received Faculty Vitality Awards from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
  (L-R) Jie Song, PhD; Gerard Aurigemma, MD; and Daniel Kirsch, MD, are among the seven faculty members who received Faculty Vitality Awards from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
   
  Elifce Cosar, MD; Matthias Walz, MD; Rachel Gerstein, PhD; and Oguz Cataltepe, MD, are four of seven faculty members who received Faculty Vitality Awards from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
  (L-R) Elifce Cosar, MD; Matthias Walz, MD; Rachel Gerstein, PhD; and Oguz Cataltepe, MD, are among the seven faculty members who received Faculty Vitality Awards from the Office of Faculty Affairs.
   

Seven UMass Medical School mid-career and senior faculty members were chosen to receive the first Faculty Vitality Awards to enhance their research and acquire new skills and knowledge in their respective practices.

“Faculty career paths are rarely linear,” said Luanne Thorndyke, MD, vice provost for faculty affairs.

“Faculty may need to explore new directions to remain current, productive and fully engaged in the missions: the Faculty Vitality Award facilitates those opportunities,” said Dr. Thorndyke, a professor of medicine. “We are grateful for the funding that enables us to support the career flexibility of this crucial group of academic medical faculty.”

The Vitality Awards are funded by a grant awarded to the Office of Faculty Affairs from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support faculty career flexibility and are matched by support from the awardees’ departments.

This new award enables mid-career and senior faculty to acquire skills and knowledge in a new area of research, education or clinical practice with the guidance of an experienced mentor. The award is intended to promote academic vitality, career development and rejuvenation. It is also meant to advance the mission of the institution and ultimately improve the quality of patient care throughout the community, said Thorndyke.

The awards were given to individual faculty members or faculty teams to support projects in areas ranging from basic science and translational research to education, clinical practice and commercialization efforts in areas relevant to the academic missions. The recipients include:

  • Gerard Aurigemma, MD, professor of medicine, for “Advanced Imaging Techniques for the Study of Left Ventricular Structure & Function in Stress Cardiomyopathy,” to enhance his skills—and the institution’s resources—in the use of MRI for research and diagnosis of heart disease.
  • Oguz Cataltepe, MD, professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics, for “Developing a New Implant and Endoscopic Instrument for Hydrocephalus Management,” to design and test a new approach to the treatment of hydrocephalus, a devastating brain disorder in young children.
  • Elifce Cosar, MD, clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, and Matthias Walz, MD, FCCP, associate professor of anesthesiology and surgery and chief of vascular anesthesia, for “Creating a Curriculum for the Training of Anesthesia Residents and Critical Care Fellows in the use of Point of Care Ultrasonography in Perioperative,” to enhance their clinical skills in bedside ultrasonography and train residents and students in these techniques.
  • Rachel Gerstein, PhD, associate professor of microbiology & physiological systems, for “Personalized Medicine for B-cell Lymphoma,” to learn new research techniques in next generation sequencing and bioinformatics to advance her research on the fundamental mechanisms of cancer.
  • Daniel Kirsch, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, award for “Enhancing College Mental Health Services & Workforce Development,” to expand mental health support for the local college community and to train psychiatry residents in counseling college students, a very vulnerable population.
  • Jie Song, PhD, associate professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation, for “The Commercialization of Synthetic Bone Graft Technologies,” to enhance her skills in working with commercial partners to translate the innovative materials developed in her laboratory into applications for clinical practice.
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