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2020 Research Recognition Awards honor faculty, staff contributions

Each year, the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies invites faculty and staff of the College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to submit nominations for the Research Recognition Awards.

The 2020 awards were presented immediately following the fall Dean’s lecture Oct. 29.

Started in 2014, the Research Recognition Awards honor the outstanding research achievements of Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center employees.

The event highlights those who have distinguished themselves in several categories. This year’s honorees are listed here.

Career Research Excellence Award

The culmination of the event is the announcement of the Career Research Excellence Award, honoring an individual who, over a lengthy career at Penn State, has dedicated their career to enhancing the research mission through their own research as well as education, mentorship, service and collaborative efforts to further advance science.

This year’s awardee is Richard Legro, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and professor of public health sciences.

Lloyd Prize for Innovative Thinking

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Rongling Wu

Rongling Wu, PhD

In addition to the Research Recognition Awards, a new endowed award of $1,000 was presented by the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies of Penn State College of Medicine during the 2020 Research Recognition Awards ceremony.

The Lloyd Prize for Innovative Thinking is open to any student matriculated at the College of Medicine, any postgraduate trainee holding a graduate or professional degree (e.g., master’s, doctorate) employed by the College of Medicine, or anyone with a faculty-level appointment at the College of Medicine. It is designed to nurture a culture of reflective innovation and celebrate creative minds.

The inaugural recipient of the prize is Rongling Wu, PhD, distinguished professor of public health sciences (Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics) and director of the Center for Statistical Genetics. Dr. Wu was selected from among 14 nominees by a two-level review process that examined the importance of the problem on which he is working, his innovation and his scholarly approach.

Outstanding Collaborative Research Team Award

This award recognizes the research efforts of a group of investigators that transcend the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines to further the research mission. Two teams were honored in this year’s awards.

Gynecological Malignancies Group
Team members include:

Informed medical decision-making collaborative research
Team members include:

A head-and-shoulders photo of Benjamin Levi

Benjamin Levi, MD, PhD

Outstanding Community-Engaged Researcher Award

This award recognizes individuals or teams who effectively invest professional time in communicating their research to the community, engaging the community in the research and/or demonstrating partnership with a community organization in their research.

The 2020 award was presented to Benjamin Levi, MD, PhD, University professor of humanities and pediatrics, for work related to increasing the rate of accurate child abuse reporting.

Samuel Hinkle Junior Faculty Research Award

This award is presented to faculty members who are assistant professors within five years of appointment to Penn State at the time of nomination and selection, in honor of their early-career growth and impact in one or more subject areas.

Two faculty members were honored for 2020:

Outstanding Research Staff Member Award

Several staff members were honored for their contributions to research:

  • Marisa Klein, research compliance specialist, Conflict of Interest
  • Courtney Lester, research project manager, Department of Medicine
  • Amy Longenecker, clinical research specialist, Department of Dermatology and Department of Opthalmology
  • Polly Montgomery, human research technologist, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Kimberly Perkins, research compliance specialist, Clinical Trials Office
  • Rhonda Shaffer, proposal and award generalist, Department of Medicine
A head-and-shoulders photo of Yuka Imamura

Yuka Imamura, PhD

Outstanding Research Publication Award

This award recognizes a groundbreaking research publication highlighting originality and impact that has contributed to the advancement of research.

This year’s award was given to Yuka Imamura, PhD, for Integrative functional genomic analysis of human brain development and neuropsychiatric risks, published in the journal Science in December 2018.

Career Citation Milestone Award

The College of Medicine honors faculty who are the first or last author on publications that have received more than 500 citations (“D Club”) or 1,000 citations (“M Club”) in Scopus since their publication. This year’s awardees, based on the number of citations listed on Oct. 15, 2020, are:

M Club – 1,000 citations

D Club – 500 citations

Read more about the awards here

View a replay of the Dean’s Lecture and Research Recognition Awards

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