MU Health Students, Faculty Receive Awards at Annual Health Sciences Research Day

Leaders from University of Missouri Health and the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (iCATS) announced the winners of 15 student research awards, two faculty mentor awards and the faculty Dorsett L. Spurgeon, MD, Distinguished Medical Research Award during the annual Health Sciences Research Day on Nov. 17.

“Our goal for Health Sciences Research Day is to showcase the outstanding research that students are conducting at the University of Missouri and to encourage collaboration by sharing our research with colleagues,” said Jerry Parker, PhD, associate dean for research at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. “We take great pride in our students’ novel studies in health sciences research, which might ultimately lead to new treatments and better lives for patients.”

In addition to student research awards, the Spurgeon award is presented annually to a researcher from the MU School of Medicine for outstanding accomplishments early in his or her career. This year’s award winner was Timothy Domeier, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology. The winner receives a plaque and $5,000.

“The Spurgeon Award allows the School of Medicine to highlight world-class research from our newest scientists as it follows a pathway from scientific labs to medical treatments for patients,” said Patrick Delafontaine, MD, Hugh E. and Sarah Stephenson Dean of the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Two MU School of Medicine faculty members also were recognized at the award ceremony for their outstanding mentorship. Martin Katz, PhD, professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Junior Faculty Research Mentoring, and Teresa Lever, PhD, professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Trainee Research Mentoring.

In addition, the deans of the MU School of Medicine, the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the MU School of Health Professions presented awards to students for their research abstracts. The winners receive plaques and $500.

Natalie Kukulka, a second-year medical student sponsored by Raghav Govindarajan, MD, assistant professor of neurology, won the MU School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for the project, “Clinicodemographic Predictors of Vaccine Preventable Infections in Myasthenia Gravis.”

Undergraduate students Victoria Moss and Paulina Simon, and graduate student Clair Custer, all sponsored by Mili Kuruvilla-Dugdale, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders, won the MU School of Health Professions Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for the project, “Word Complexity Effects on Tongue Motor Control.”

Chantra Promnoi, RN, a nursing doctoral student sponsored by Lorraine Phillips, PhD, associate professor with the School of Nursing, won the MU Sinclair School of Nursing Dean’s Award for Outstanding Student Research for her research project, “Social Connectedness, Physical Activity and Sleep Quality in Thai Older Adults.”

Awards also were presented to students for basic science and clinical research in two categories: Category I, undergraduate students, medical students and summer research fellowship participants; and Category II, graduate students, resident physicians, medical fellowship physicians and post-doctoral researchers.

Research Day Award Recipients

Category I Clinical

1st place – Meghna Srinath, M2, sponsored by Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, MD, Department of Endocrinology; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

2nd place – Helena Lam, M2, sponsored by Christopher Newey, DO; Chadd Kraus, DO; Neuroscience Critical Care Department and the Department of Emergency Medicine

3rd place – Ashly Ruf, M4, sponsored by Jacob A. Quick, MD, Division of Acute Care Surgery

Category I Basic

1st place – Deborah Peana, M2, sponsored by Timothy L. Domeier, PhD, Department of Medical Physiology and Pharmacology

2nd place – Lauren Gillespie, M1, sponsored by Martin L. Katz, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology

3rd place – Sadie Allen, undergraduate student, sponsored by James R. Sowers, MD, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research Center

Category II Clinical

1st place – Dorothea V. Megarani, DVM, graduate student, sponsored by Rebecca A. Johnson, RN, PhD, FAAN, FNAP, College of Veterinary Medicine and Sinclair School of Nursing

2nd place – Bharath Yarlagadda, PGY-3, sponsored by Senthil Kumar, MD, Department of Cardiology

3rd place – Sajal Patel, MD, PGY-3, sponsored by Abdallah Dalabih, MD; Department of Child Health, Pediatric Critical Care

Category II Basic

1st place – Omonseigho Talton, PhD student, sponsored by Laura Schulz, PhD, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health

2nd place – Kasun Kodippili, graduate student, sponsored by Dongsheng Duan, PhD, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

3rd place – Kaleb Sellers, graduate student Casey M. Holliday, PhD, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences