Faculty and trainee investigations and art showcased during 2023 Celebration of Research
Learners, trainees and faculty receive recognition for their research efforts and artwork
March 6, 2023 — For UF College of Medicine doctoral candidate Alejandro Albizu, presenting his team’s research and learning about what others are investigating outside the field of neuroscience is an exciting opportunity.
“It’s great to see all of my fellow students and to learn about the research happening at the college, especially from other departments that I don’t get exposed to on a daily basis,” said Albizu, whose research focuses on developing an artificial intelligence model to assess the potential impact of brain stimulation on patients with major depressive disorder. “It definitely generates lots of good ideas and new avenues for research.”
Albizu was one of the 486 presenters who filed into the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for this year’s poster session at the 13th annual College of Medicine Celebration of Research. During the two-day event Feb. 27-28, faculty, staff, students and trainees attended a variety of sessions to learn more about the research of their peers, explore how the college is incorporating AI and other technology into its training, and celebrate the achievements of researchers and mentors at the college.
The event kicked off with a keynote presentation by Emery Brown, M.D., Ph.D., the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and the Edwards Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brown discussed why the typical ways hospitals use general anesthesia should be reconsidered and offered insights into how adjustments can improve a patient’s postoperative recovery.
“If you remember any factoid of this lecture, just remember that general anesthesia is not sleep,” Brown said.
New to this year’s festivities was a mentoring excellence roundtable, where Brown and four UF College of Medicine faculty members discussed what it means to be a mentor, sharing their thoughts and advice to an audience of peers and trainees. Panelists included Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute and chair of the department of neuroscience; Barry Setlow, Ph.D., a professor in the department of psychiatry and the 2023 recipient of the Dr. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna Distinguished Research Mentoring Award; Roger Fillingim, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and distinguished professor at the College of Dentistry, who leads the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Mentor Academy; and Nancy Padilla-Coreano, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience. Sara Burke, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience and the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Mavis Agbandje-McKenna Distinguished Research Mentoring Award in 2022, moderated the discussion.
Panelists engaged audience members in a dialogue throughout the event, taking questions and offering advice to trainees looking for guidance in their aspiring careers in health care and research.
Fillingim spoke about the importance of collaborating with mentors or mentees with different personalities, interests and experiences to maximize growth.
“When you’re collaborating, you need to understand your differences from one another and how to use that to deepen the relationship,” he said. “You can learn from each other because of your differences, not in spite of them.”
The Celebration of Research culminated in two award ceremonies to honor faculty, students and trainees, as well as an announcement of a special gift.
At an award ceremony for faculty Monday inside the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, Setlow was recognized with the research mentoring award, while Olga Guryanova, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics, and Coralie de Hemptinne, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of neurology, were recognized as rising star researchers in their respective fields. Todd M. Brusko, Ph.D. ’06, a professor in the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine and research director for the UF Diabetes Institute, and Michael Haller, M.D. ’00, a professor and chief of pediatric endocrinology in the department of pediatrics, received honors as College of Medicine outstanding research scientists.
Medicine-related artwork produced by college trainees was also displayed during a reception following the ceremony, as part of a new edition to the event called Research As Art.
During Tuesday’s poster session and reception, Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf, longtime supporters of medical education technology, made a gift to the College of Medicine in support of AI-related discovery. The first of its kind for the college, the Oberndorf College of Medicine AI Prize will be awarded to second-, third- and fourth-year medical students working on AI-focused team research projects.
Eight faculty, students and trainees were also awarded for their research poster presentations, including third-year pediatrics resident Erin Bruney, M.D. ’20, who won the postdoctoral clinical science poster award for “Racing Toward Disaster: A Retrospective Study of the Injuries Sustained in Children in an Annual International Amateur Motocross Championship in North Florida.”
“This was a 10-year retrospective analysis of injury patterns that we’ve seen through our emergency room and hospital associated with a local annual international motocross event, and what we found was as we suspected, there are a lot of injuries associated with this event,” she said. “As pediatricians, we’re always thinking about advocacy initiatives, how to make things safer for children. And if we can prove that this indeed is a dangerous event, then maybe there are things we could push forward to make it safer for the kids who are participating.”
View a complete list of the poster winners below:
Basic and Translational Science poster award winners
Predoctoral: Yagmur Keser, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology, for “Similarities and Differences of Type III Interferon Signaling at Mucosal Surfaces”
Postdoctoral: Kara Johnson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the department of neurology, for “Pallidal Deep Brain Stimulation Evokes Resonant Neural Activity in Parkinson’s Disease”
Faculty: Dan Jin, Ph.D., an assistant scientist in the Lilian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery, for “Glioma-Driven Dendritic Cell Dysfunction as an Immune Evasion Strategy Against Adoptive Cellular Therapy”
Clinical Science poster award winners
Predoctoral: Carly Kinzer, a second-year medical student conducting research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, for “Is Preterm Delivery Associated with Increased Risk of Postpartum Depression?”
Postdoctoral: Erin Bruney, M.D., a resident in the department of pediatrics, for “Racing Toward Disaster: A Retrospective Study of the Injuries Sustained in Children in an Annual International Amateur Motocross Championship in North Florida”
Faculty: Frank Orlando, M.D., an associate professor in the department of community health and family medicine, for “Long COVID Association with Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case-Control Study”
New Opportunity poster award winners
Artenisa Kulla, a second-year medical student conducting research in the department of medicine, for “Communication Between Oncology Providers and Social Workers Regarding Financial Resources”
Kathryn Pluta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics, for “Exploring Perceived Benefits and Consequences of Vaping Among Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Youth”
The Research As Art award winners
Colton Brown, an undergraduate student researcher in the UF Congenital Heart Center, for his work entitled “Tugging at the Heart Strings”
Gabriel Swords, M.D., a UF neurology resident, for his digital illustration capturing the dynamic flow of information between the researcher and machine
Tiffany Danielle Chisholm Pineda, an assistant director for clinical research at the CTSI, for her poem titled “I Make a Difference”
Evangelos Christou, Ph.D., a professor at the UF College of Health and Human Performance, for his acrylic painting titled “Spinal Motor Neuron in Multiple Sclerosis”
Mohammad Mumtaz, a medical student, for his illustration titled “Beyond Wet Lab”