2021 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 2021 awards were presented immediately following the spring Dean’s lecture May 11.
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 Diane Thiboutot, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research Education, associate director of Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute and endowed professor and vice chair for research in the Departent of Dermatology.
Outstanding Champion of Diversity in Research
This award recognizes employees who have contributed to the research mission of the College of Medicine by promoting diversity. This may be through recruitment of team members or patients from underrepresented groups; successfully mentoring team members from underrepresented groups; or modifying processes to nurture and capitalize on the positive aspects diversity brings to the research team.
The 2021 award was presented to Jennifer Krachnewski, MD, MPH, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine (Division of General Internal Medicine) and professor of public health sciences and pediatrics.
Dr. Kraschnewski is also the co-lead of the Community-Engaged Research Core for Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
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. This year’s award recognized The ONE Group (Oncology, Nutrition, Exercise).
Team members include:
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 2021 award was presented to Lauren “LJ” Van Scoy, MD, associate professor of medicine (Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine) and public health sciences.
Outstanding Education Researcher
This award recognizes scholarly inquiry and investigation related to education, educational processes, and dissemination and practical application of research results.
The 2021 honoree was Benjamin Vipler, MD, an instructor in medicine and a trainee in the General Internal Medicine Fellowship.
Outstanding Research Mentor
This award recognizes outstanding research mentoring. It is intended to be a cumulative award for consistently successful research mentoring that yields publications, funded training or research proposals and career advancement of predoctoral or postdoctoral trainees or junior faculty.
For 2021, the award was presented to Xuemei Huang, MD, PhD. Dr. Huang is the Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Development for the College of Medicine; a distinguished professor of Neurology, Pharmacology, Neurosurgery and Kinesiology; chief of the Division of Movement Disorders in the Department of Neurology; and a member of Penn State Neuroscience Institute, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and Center for Neural Engineering.
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 George-Lucian Moldovan, PhD, for two papers, both published in the Dec. 1, 2020, edition of Nature Communications.
The papers were:
- Identification of regulators of poly-ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitor response through complementary CRISPR knockout and activation screens
- Ubiquitinated-PCNA protects replication forks from DNA2-mediated degradation by regulating Okazaki fragment maturation and chromatin assembly
Outstanding Research Staff Member Award
Several staff members were honored for their contributions to research:
- Robert Brucklacher, research technologist, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Joan Concilio, MPS, web content and design specialist, College of Medicine Department of Marketing and Communications
- Alexandra Confair, research project manager, Department of Pediatrics
- Erica Francis, research project manager, Department of Medicine
- Erin Miller, research project manager, Department of Family and Community Medicine
- Jim Robertson, senior systems analyst, Information Services
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 2021:
- Amy Arnold, PhD, assistant professor of neural and behavioral sciences
- William Calo, PhD, JD, MPH, assistant professor of public health sciences
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 April 30, 2021, are:
M Club – 1,000 citations
- Vincent Chau, PhD, professor emeritus of cellular and molecular physiology, awarded for A multiubiquitin chain is confined to specific lysine in a targeted short-lived protein, published in 1989 in Science – 1,040 citations
D Club – 500 citations
- Vincent Chau, PhD, professor emeritus of cellular and molecular physiology, awarded for Ubiquitin is detected in neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaque neurites of Alzheimer disease brains, published in 1987 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America – 515 citations
- Hui-ling Chiang, MS, PhD, professor emeritus of cellular and molecular physiology, awarded for A role for a 70-kilodaton heat shock protein in lysosomal degradation of intracellular proteins, published in Science in 1989 – 646 citations
- Howard Eisen, MD, professor of medicine, awarded for Everolimus for the prevention of allograft rejection and vasculopathy in cardiac-transplant recipients, published Aug. 28, 2003, in the New England Journal of Medicine – 946 citations
- Andrew Francis, PhD, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health, awarded for Catatonia. I. Rating scale and standardized examination, published Jan. 1, 1996, in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica – 550 citations
- Richard Legro, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology and professor of public health sciences, awarded for Evidence for a genetic basis for hyperandrogenemia in polycystic ovary syndrome, published Dec. 8, 1998, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America – 506 citations
- Mitchell Machtay, MD, associate dean for clinical cancer research, professor of radiation oncology and medicine and member and associate director for clinical research, Penn State Cancer Institute, awarded for Factors associated with severe late toxicity after concurrent chemoradiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer: An RTOG analysis, published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology – 888 citations
- Ralph Norgren, PhD, professor emeritus of neural and behavioral sciences, awarded for two publications – Taste pathways to hypothalamus and amygdala, published March 1, 1976, in the Journal of Comparative Neurology – 567 citations; also, The taste reactivity test. I. Mimetic responses to gustatory stimuli in neurologically normal rats, published March 24, 1978, in Brain Research – 829 citations
- Blaise Peterson, PhD, associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology, awarded for Calmodulin is the Ca2+ sensor for Ca2+-dependent inactivation of L- type calcium channels, published in March 1999 in Neuron – 675 citations
- Robert Zelis, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, awarded for Endothelial function in chronic congestive heart failure, published June 15, 1992, in the American Journal of Cardiology – 504 citations
View a replay of the Dean’s Lecture and Research Recognition Awards
(Penn State Health ePass login required)
If you're having trouble accessing this content, or would like it in another format, please email the Penn State College of Medicine web department.