Here are this week’s Accolades, a roundup of some of the honors and accomplishments of College of Medicine and UAMS faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students I’ve heard about recently!
Newly Endowed Surgery Leadership Chair
Congratulations to Dr. Ron Robertson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery, on his investiture last week as the inaugural holder of the Gilbert S. “Gil” Campbell, M.D., Ph.D., Chair in Surgical Leadership and Innovation. This is a well-earned honor for Dr. Robertson, whose commitment, integrity and vision for the future of surgical care in Arkansas perfectly reflects the name and intent of this endowed chair.
Dr. Robertson has devoted his 28-year career to UAMS and Arkansas, where among many contributions he was instrumental in developing the statewide trauma system. In addition to his current role as Chair of Surgery, he serves as Director of Surgical Services, Trauma Medical Director and UAMS Chief of Staff. He has received many other honors, including the Health Care Heroes Physician of the Year Award from Arkansas Business in 2018. Dr. Robertson considers his greatest achievement to be the more than 140 Surgery residents he has trained and countless medical students he has mentored to date.
The chair’s namesake, the late Dr. Gil Campbell, was a nationally renowned surgeon who served as Chair of Surgery at UAMS from 1965 to 1983 and then as a Professor Emeritus until 2000. The chair was established with generous contributions from family, former trainees and colleagues of Dr. Campbell. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
National Orthpaedics Honor
Congratulations to Dr. R. Dale Blasier, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, on receiving the 2022 Spine Advocacy Award from the North American Spine Society (NASS). Dr. Blasier will be honored during a ceremony this Thursday at the NASS Annual Meeting in Chicago. The award recognizes NASS members who have made exceptional contributions to the federal advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and members of the society. Dr. Blasier has served on many committees and councils on behalf of NASS and other national organizations in the speciality over the past two decades. At UAMS, Dr. Blasier led the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program from 2003 to 2021. The College of Medicine recognized his impact on education with the 2022 Master Teacher Award last May. Learn more about Dr. Blasier’s accomplishments in his NASS honoree bio.
Subcortical Surgery Expertise
Dr. J.D. Day, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and a nationally recognized expert in subcortical surgery, is Co-Editor of a first-of-its-kind textbook on open and parafascicular channel-based approaches for subcortical and intraventricular lesions. The subcortical white matter space is one of the most intricate and least understood regions of the brain, but major strides have been made in the ability to image, navigate and safely treat subcortical tumors and other lesions over the past decade. Dr. Day and Co-Editors Dr. Gabriel Zada from Keck School of Medicine and Dr. Gustavo Pradilla with Emory School of Medicine assembled evidence and knowledge from subcortical experts to provide a major foundation for future development of the field.
Harnessing AI for Cancer Care
The Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) is the only U.S. institution participating in a massive European project to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for cancer care – and the team’s expertise in cancer imaging data management is being lauded as the best in the world. DBMI Chair Dr. Fred Prior is leading UAMS’ efforts in the EuCanImage Project under an $894,074 grant UAMS received from the European Commission in 2020. Dr. Prior also heads The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), which is based at UAMS and funded by the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Prior, Dr. Jonathan Bona, and Ph.D. candidate Michael Rutherford are returning to Europe this month for on-the-ground work relating to the project. Other members of the UAMS project team are Dr. Lawrence Tarbox, Kirk Smith, William Bennett and Tracy Nolan. Learn more about the international significance of the project and UAMS’ contributions on the DBMI website.
Geriatrics Team Published
Dr. Pankaj Patyal, a first-year postdoc in the lab of Professor and Department of Geriatrics Chair Dr. Jeanne Wei, is the first author on a study by the group published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Second-author Bachkhoa Nguyen, is a fourth-year medical student at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. In “Rho/SRF Inhibitor Modulates Mitochondrial Functions,” the team reports the effects of CCG-1423, an inhibitor of the Rho A family of GTPases and serum response factor (SRF), which reduces oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial genes and function, and which could be useful for assessing its potential clinical application in conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Insights on the Monkeypox Outbreak
A research team led by Dr. David Ussery, Professor of Biomedical Informatics, has identified genetic mutations in the monkeypox virus that may explain the rapid spread of the virus compared with past outbreaks. The team’s findings were published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Co-authors were UAMS postdoctoral fellow Dr. Visanu Wanchai and Dr. Trudy Wassenaar, a genomics consultant and frequent UAMS collaborator, who was first author. Read more in the UAMS Newsroom.
Reducing the Stigma of Addiction: It’s up to all of us
Do you think addiction only happens to certain kinds of people? Are you worried that you or someone you love may have a substance use disorder and you don’t know how to help? Kudos to Dr. Michael Mancino, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Addiction Services and Treatment (CAST) in the Psychiatric Research Institute, for leading an innovative and important new online training opportunity available to all UAMS team members. The “Shatterproof Just Five Education” module, now available in Workday, will raise awareness about addiction and help to reduce the stigma that compounds this dramatic problem in our state. I encourage College of Medicine team members to take advantage of this training. Click here for information on how to access Shatterproof Just Five Education.