Gator Kudos: Spring 2023

Recent awards and achievements of the UF College of Medicine community

Faculty and staff

  • Mark A. Atkinson, Ph.D., the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research, Jeffrey Keene Family Professor and director of the UF Diabetes Institute, is the recipient of the 2023 Harold Rifkin Award for Distinguished International Service in the Cause of Diabetes. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding research, evaluation and care in diabetes with an international impact.

  • Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., has been elected to the Association of American Physicians, an honor recognizing outstanding credentials in basic or translational biomedical research. Mitchell serves as the co-director of the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy, the Phyllis Kottler Friedman Professor in the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery and the director of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

  • William Hauswirth, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of ophthalmology, is one of the 2023 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame for groundbreaking advancements in gene therapy. Hauswirth is recognized for developing the first gene therapy drug, Luxturna®, to treat both adults and children with inherited retinal disease, and for his work restoring vision to the functionally blind.

  • Nicole Paradise Black, M.D., M.Ed., a professor in the department of pediatrics, has been selected as a member of the second class admitted to the National Academy of Distinguished Educators in Pediatrics, or NADEP. The purpose of NADEP is to recognize elite medical educators, foster the exchange and dissemination of innovative ideas and accelerate the development of junior and mid-career educators.

  • Jose Abisambra, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience, has been named a co-editor-in-chief for the journal Brain Research. The journal — whose editor-in-chief for the past six years has been Matthew J. LaVoie, Ph.D., the Fixel Family Chair, co-director for the UF Center of Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease and the associate chair for research-neurology — is a premier outlet for neuroscience research.

  • Tyler Loftus, M.D., an assistant professor in the department of surgery, has been named the artificial intelligence editor for the journal Surgery.

  • Juan Mora, M.D., an assistant professor of anesthesiology and medical director of the Ayers Pain Medicine Surgical Center, along with anesthesiology clinical research manager Amy Gunnett, R.N., CCRC, and clinical research coordinator Amanda Slater, received an award for excellence in a nationwide National Institutes of Health-funded pain management study. The sequenced strategy for improving outcomes in people with knee osteoarthritis pain study is a multicenter trial aimed at reducing opioid reliance in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The study is part of the NIH’s broader HEAL initiative. The UF Health study site received this award for being a member of the team with the best outcomes for factors such as patients enrolled, data entry completion and timely query resolution.

  • Eileen M. Handberg, Ph.D., ARNP, FACC, has been awarded the 2023 Distinguished CV Team Member Award by the American College of Cardiology in honor of contributions to the cardiovascular profession. Handberg, a professor of medicine and director of the cardiovascular clinical trials program in the division of cardiovascular medicine, was recognized for her achievements along with all 2023 Distinguished Award winners during convocation at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology in March in New Orleans.

  • Josef Neu, M.D., a professor in the department of pediatrics and co-director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program, has won the 2023 Avroy Fanaroff Education Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The award is given annually by the Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine of the American Academy of Pediatrics to an individual for outstanding contributions in neonatal-perinatal medicine for health care students, professionals or the public.

  • Khanjan Shah, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiovascular medicine, has been selected as a recipient of a Society for Angiography and Interventions 30 in Their 30s award, which recognizes early-career interventionalists who epitomize the qualities expected of future leaders in interventional cardiology. Shah was recognized at the organization’s annual meeting May 18.

  • Michelle L. Gumz, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of physiology and aging, received the American Physiological Society’s Paper of the Year Award 2022 alongside lab members Lauren G. Douma, Ph.D.; Hannah Costello, Ph.D.; Gene R. Crislip, Ph.D.; Kit-Yan Cheng and Charles S. Wingo, M.D., for their work titled “Kidney-Specific KO of the Circadian Clock Protein PER1 Alters Renal Na* Handling, Aldosterone Levels, and Kidney/Adrenal Gene Expression.”

  • Chief anesthesiology resident Tatsiana Kryvitskaya, M.D., received the SEAd Sprout Award from the Society for Education in Anesthesia for her abstract titled “Implementation of Point-of-Care Ultrasound Curriculum in an Anesthesiology Residency Program at the University of Florida.” Kryvitskaya was invited to give an oral presentation at the society’s spring meeting, and her abstract received the top scores in its category.

  • Clinical assistant professor Aditya Shirali, M.D., received the Paul LoGerfo Research Award from the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons at the 2023 Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • The UF Research Foundation has named five College of Medicine faculty members as UFRF Professors for 2023. The recognition goes to faculty with a distinguished current record of research and a strong research agenda that is likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields. Among the honorees are Eric Wang, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology; Philip Efron, M.D., a professor in the department of surgery; Matthew E. Merritt, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology; Jada Lewis, Ph.D., a professor in the department of neuroscience; and Carol Mathews, M.D., a professor and chair of the department of psychiatry.

  • Robert McKenna, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, is one of four university-wide winners recognized for the Doctoral Dissertation Mentoring Award, supported by the UF Graduate School. The award rewards excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral students through their final dissertation project. Along with McKenna, Eric Wang, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology, was selected as a winner at the college-level of the competition.

  • Jessica S. Heft, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, has received the 2023 College of Medicine GME Unsung Hero and GME Program of the Year awards. These awards, bestowed based on nominations from housestaff, recognize a faculty member who goes above and beyond the expectations of their position to support the education of housestaff and the program that best exemplifies innovation and/or contributions to improve and advance wellness, education, clinical experience or career preparation.

  • Several College of Medicine faculty, learners and trainees received awards during February’s annual Celebration of Research event. Awardees were selected for their achievements in basic and translational sciences, clinical science, depictions of research as art, research mentorship and more. View a complete list of the winners.

  • Members of the M.D. class of 2023 chose Shelley Collins, M.D., as this year’s Hippocratic Award winner. The honor is annually bestowed by the graduating medical class to an instructor who emulates one of history’s great teachers.

  • During this spring’s faculty meeting, several clinicians were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the College of Medicine with Clinical Excellence, Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement awards. View a complete list of spring faculty award winners.

  • During UF’s Medical Education Week in March, the Society of Teaching Scholars and Office of Educational Affairs recognized passionate teachers at the College of Medicine with accolades and welcomed new society members. View a list of the Society of Teaching Scholars awardees and new members.

  • Eight college faculty and staff were recognized with 2023 UF Superior Accomplishment Awards on April 20. The program recognizes faculty and staff who contribute outstanding and meritorious service, efficiency and/or economy or have made an impact on the quality of life provided to students and employees. Lei McDevitt, Ph.D.; Martin Noguera, M.S.; Connie Philebaum; Donald Weinbrenner; Teresa White and Allison Gohsman, M.P.H., were recognized in the administrative supervisory category. Kathy Green was recognized in the administrative professional category and Nila Radhakrishnan, M.D., was recognized in the academic professional category.

Learners and trainees

  • Neurosurgery resident Megan Still, M.D., is the recipient of the 2023 Lisa Hannegan Humanitarian International Neuroscience Scholarship. With the scholarship, Still will conduct clinical research and a needs assessment in a teaching hospital in Sierra Leone to support the goal of establishing the first Sierra Leonean neurosurgery department and training program.

  • Medical students Raja Al-Bahou and Priyanka Devaguptapu were selected to join the summer 2023 cohort for RISE: Developing Future Leaders in Academic Medicine & Science. Medical schools can nominate two second-year students to attend a two-and-a-half-day seminar at the Association of American Medical Colleges Learning Center in Washington, D.C. Participants have demonstrated a willingness and ability to impact the culture and/or learning environment at their medical school.

  • Medical students Angela Arata and Tran Ngo, along with M.D.-Ph.D. student William Dodd, were selected to join the 2023 Association of American Medical Colleges Learner Summit, the first convening of medical students, residents, fellows, Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D. and postdoctoral program students interested in professional and leadership development, as well as critical issues in academic medicine. Held in Washington, D.C., from June 16-18, the event will include a mix of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and workshops that focus on critical issues in academic medicine and a journey toward a career in the field.