University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

2021 State of the School

Notable achievements, accomplishments and developments, as well as a look ahead.

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Below you will find links to key topic areas to explore reflecting accomplishments of academic year 2020-21.

Education

Amanda Wong, P.A. '20 | Alumna, Physician Assistant Studies

Top Education Accomplishments of 2020/2021
Amanda Wong at Space X
 

Education

Students on the steps of pennington building

UNR Med graduates 64 new doctors in first-ever hybrid hooding ceremony

May 14, 2021 • UNR Med hosted its first-ever hybrid (in-person and virtual) hooding ceremony, conferring Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees to 64 fourth-year medical students of the Class of 2021, graduating as northern Nevada's newest physicians.

Students on the steps of pennington building

Aaron Dieringer, M.D., MPH, named as assistant dean of admissions for UNR Med

April 6, 2021 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has named Aaron Dieringer, M.D., MPH, as assistant dean of admissions and chair of the admissions executive committee. 

Students on the steps of pennington building

UNR Med fourth-year medical students receive residency assignments

March 19, 2021 • Fourth-year medical students from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) were among the approximately 18,000 medical student nationwide who learned where they will spend their residencies today as part of Match Day - including in northern Nevada, throughout the state and across the nation.

Students on the steps of pennington building

Myron J. Gomez, M.D., FACS named as surgery co-chair for UNR Med

March 16, 2021 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has named Myron J. Gomez, M.D., FACS as a co-chair of UNR Med's department of surgery.

Students on the steps of pennington building

Medical students honor anatomical donors for their gift of teaching and discovery

December 15, 2020 • Death can advance life. Anatomical donors - those who donate their bodies to medical education and research after passing away, teach medical students about far more than gross anatomy. Anatomical donors essentially become medical students' first patient by posthumously teaching them how to care, work as a team and develop a sense of curiosity and scientific discovery.

Students on the steps of pennington building

Amanda Wong, UNR Med Class of 2020 PA Studies Program graduate, completes aerospace medicine elective clerkship with SpaceX

November 24, 2020 • Amanda Wong, UNR Med Class of 2020 PA Studies Program graduate recently had the privilege of participating in a three-week aerospace medicine elective clerkship with SpaceX and their team of flight surgeons at the space flight company’s rocket development and launch facility in Boca Chica Texas, and shared her experiences. 

Students on the steps of pennington building

UNR Med medical students create a healthy curriculum for Washoe County high school students

September 8, 2020 • A team of medical students from UNR Med is creating and teaching original curriculum to promote preventative care and healthy lifestyle choices among high school students in the Washoe County School District (WCSD).

Physician Assistant Virtual Completion Ceremony

Inaugural Physician Assistant Studies Program Class of 2020 graduates from UNR Med

September 1, 2020 • Two years after the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) launched its new Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program, the inaugural class graduated in a Physician Assistant Studies Virtual Completion Ceremony, becoming the first graduates of the program.

 
White Coat Ceremony

UNR Med welcomes class of 2024 with first virtual White Coat Ceremony

August 7, 2020 • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) today welcomed 70 new first-year medical students with a virtual white coat ceremony. Traditionally, medical students receive their first white coats during an in-person ceremony to mark their educational journeys toward becoming physicians.

Renown Health Affiliation

Danielle Eaton | Senior Director, Research Operations and Administration

Top Affiliation Accomplishments of 2021
Daniel Eaton
 

Renown Health Affiliation

Students and faculty at the see it to be it event

Renown Health and University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine hosted affiliation agreement certificate signing event

June 28, 2021 • Leaders from Renown Health, the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents, University of Nevada, Reno and UNR Med converged for an affiliation agreement certificate signing event.
Students and faculty at the see it to be it event

Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approve Renown Health and University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Affiliation Agreement

June 11, 2021 • The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents voted today at its monthly board meeting to approve an affiliation agreement between the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Renown Health that will establish the first fully integrated health system in Nevada.

Students and faculty at the see it to be it event

Governor Sisolak signs Senate Bill 342

May 20, 2021 • Today, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 342 into law. The bill authorizes the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents to enter into an agreement to affiliate with a publicly or privately owned medical facility or related entity, whether for profit or not for profit, to further promote and enhance a medical education or health education program at a university. 

Students Walking on the football field

Renown Health and UNR Med provide update on proposed intent to affiliate to Nevada System of Higher Education Board of regents

March 5, 2021 • Renown Health and University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) leadership provided an informational update to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents at its March 5 meeting on the due diligence process undertaken by both organizations to explore an intent to affiliate that would lead to the first fully integrated health system in northern Nevada.
Students with alphie

NSHE Board of Regents unanimously approve UNR Med/Renown Health LOI

September 15, 2020 • On Friday, September 11, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents unanimously approved the UNR Med and Renown Health Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore a high-level clinical integration.

 
Renown Health

Renown Health & University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine announce intent to affiliate

August 26, 2020 • Renown Health and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) announced today their intent to develop plans for a proposed long-term partnership designed to enhance Nevada’s medical education system, expand clinical research capacity in northern Nevada and create a world-class health care network.

COVID-19 Response

Mark Pandori, Ph.D. | Director, Nevada State Public Health Laboratory

Top COVID-19 Response Accomplishments of 2021
Amanda Wong at Space X
 

COVID-19 Response

Students on the steps of pennington building

Scientists analyze efficacy of decontamination technology in eradicating bacteria and viruses such as human coronaviruses in frequently worn items

April 20, 2021 • In response to the global need for effective sterilization techniques, researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) collaborated on a study evaluating the efficacy of a dry-sanitizing device. Subhash Verma, Ph.D., associate professor, department of microbiology and immunology at UNR Med, led the study.

Students on the steps of pennington building

Published study: unusual SARS-CoV-2 mutation prominent in northern Nevada in early 2020

March 1, 2021 • A Nevada-based study of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, indicates all major lineages (variants) of the virus worldwide are present in Nevada.
Students on the steps of pennington building

Nevada State Public Health Laboratory detects first confirmed case of South African B.1.351 COVID-19 variant in Nevada

February 18, 2021 • The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has detected the first known case of probable B.1.351 South African variant in Nevada.
Students on the steps of pennington building

Nevada State Public Health Laboratory detects new COVID-19 strain B.1.1.7 in Nevada

January 25, 2021 • The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has characterized the first known Nevada case of the new B.1.1.7 coronavirus strain. The new strain was detected in a sample that was initially tested in the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory (SNPHL).
Student getting a vaccine

Statewide survey shows that 65% of Nevadans and 77% of Nevada health care workers are likely to get COVID-19 vaccine, once available

January 13, 2021 • Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences, Immunize Nevada and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, released the first findings from an ongoing study to learn what Nevadans think about COVID-19 vaccines, and their acceptance toward taking the vaccine - once one is available to them.

 

Tell us your thoughts about COVID 19 Vaccines Survey image

New statewide study launches to understand public and provider attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccine

December 17, 2020 • Researchers at UNR Med, in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences, Immunize Nevada and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, are conducting a study to learn what Nevadans think about COVID-19 vaccines and their acceptance toward taking the vaccine once one is available to the public.

 

Mordechai_Lavi.

Project ECHO Nevada to join new nationwide initiative to fight COVID-19 infection in nursing homes

November 16, 2020 • Project ECHO Nevada, an innovative health care delivery solution out of UNR Med is joining a nationwide training program to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in area nursing homes, and to prepare and equip staff so that they can better protect residents and themselves. This is an essential nationwide initiative in the fight against COVID-19.

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Medical students help Reno’s homeless and underserved amid COVID-19

November 3, 2020 • In mid-March, as Gov. Steve Sisolak was asking Nevadans to Stay Home to limit the spread of COVID-19, a group of University of Nevada, Reno (UNR Med) medical students was thinking about the people in our community who don’t have homes.
COVID testing in the NSPHL

Nevada State Public Health Lab-led team studying COVID-19 reinfection

August 27, 2020 • Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), led by its Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) are studying a likely case of COVID-19 reinfection.

 

Physician Assistant Virtual Completion Ceremony

Reflections from the Dean: The Role a Medical School Plays in a Pandemic

June 9, 2020 • The Washoe County Health District reported its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 on March 5, 2020. What’s transpired since has presented extraordinary challenges to northern Nevada, our state and all who live and work here.

 

 
Peter S Reed

UNR Med expert on aging will testify to U.S. Senate group

June 9, 2020 • Peter Reed, Ph.D., director of the Sanford Center for Aging at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, will testify Thursday before a U.S. Senate group on older adults and COVID-19.

Research

Subhash Verma, Ph.D., | Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Top Research Accomplishments of 2021
Subhash C. Verma
 

Research

Science Signaling Magazine Cover

Scott Earley Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, receives Outstanding Investigator Award from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

January 5, 2021 • Scott Earley Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Signaling in the Cardiovascular System at UNR Med has recently received the Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA) from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

Students on the steps of pennington building

$2.3 million in NIH funding awarded to UNR Med researcher to advance hypertension research and treatments

October 27, 2020 • Yumei Feng Earley, Ph.D., M.D., associate professor, departments of pharmacology, and physiology and cell biology at UNR Med was awarded a competitive, four-year, $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support her research on increased sympathetic nervous system activity which has been found to be a primary precursor of hypertension.
Students on the steps of pennington building

Danielle Eaton, senior director and research manager, UNR Med Clinical Research Center, appointed to dual role as executive director, Sierra Veterans Research and Education Foundation

October 20, 2020 • Danielle Eaton, senior director and research manager for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Clinical Research Center (CRC), has recently been named executive director of the Sierra Veterans Research and Education Foundation (SVREF).

Dr. Rendon at a microscope

$1.5 million in NIH funding awarded to UNR Med researcher to advance understanding of brain-degenerative diseases

October 13, 2020 • Robert Renden, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of physiology and cell biology at UNR Med was recently awarded a competitive, three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify pharmacological approaches for restoring brain energy production, in order to treat brain-degenerative diseases associated with aging.
Heather Burkin

UNR Med Department of Pharmacology's Heather Burkin, Ph.D. receives $1.6 million NIH award for preterm birth research

September 15, 2020 • Heather Burkin, Ph.D., assistant professor, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology, Department of Pharmacology at UNR Med has recently received a five-year, $1.6 million dollar award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the regulation of uterine contractions in relation to preterm birth.

 

Kent_Sanders

Research ‘rock star’ has advanced gastroenterology science and scientists

August 6, 2020 • Research led by Kent Sanders, Foundation professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, has contributed significant scientific understanding of activity in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract known as motility. His research has investigated cellular mechanisms of pacemaker activity and neural control of GI motility. For example, Sanders’ research group was the first to isolate and demonstrate the functions and mechanisms of a special class of pacemaker cells that drive motility in organs of the GI tract.
Students on the steps of pennington building

Dr. Dagda research team discovers possible link between psychological distress, Parkinsons’s and immune system dysfunction with possible implications to the current pandemic

June 30, 2020 • Ruben Dagda, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and physiology, and his research group collaborated with Mariana Grigoruta, M.D., Ph.D., a former graduate student with Dr. Dagda's research group, and Alejandro Martinez, Ph.D., from the University of Juarez in Mexico published "Psychological distress and lack of PINK1 promote bioenergetics alterations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells" in Scientific Reports.

Physician Assistant Virtual Completion Ceremony

UNR Med brain researcher receives $1 million in National Science Foundation funding to study brain synapses

June 30, 2020 • Robert Renden, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of physiology and cell biology at UNR Med, and the UNR Neuroscience Institute, was recently awarded a five-year, $1.1 million CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore how brain cells maintain the energy needed to communicate at contact sites, called synapses.

 

 
notterpek

Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., named as associate dean, Biomedical Research

June 16, 2020 • UNR Med has named Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., as associate dean for biomedical research and professor of physiology and cell biology.

As associate dean, Notterpek will oversee basic science research programs at UNR Med, serve as an advocate for basic biomedical laboratory research, and represent the needs and interests of researchers.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sonia Figueroa and Mirabel Dafinone | Class of 2024, M.D. Candidates - Student Representatives, Council on Diversity Initiatives

Top Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Accomplishments of 2021
Peter Reed
 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Students and faculty at the see it to be it event

Anthem Funds Initiative to Address Nevada’s Physician Shortage, Support Nevada’s Diverse Pre-Med Students and Promote Health Equity

June 22, 2021 • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Nevada's Medicaid health plan has committed $75,000 to fund a new UNR Med initiative called See It To Be It. This initiative will connect aspiring physicians from populations that are underrepresented in medicine and from medically underserved communities with medical students and physicians from similar backgrounds.
Students on the steps of pennington building

UNR Med Cardiologist, Associate Professor, Lorrel Toft, M.D., brings awareness to anti-racism in cardiology practices

March 2, 2021 • Lorrel Toft, M.D., UNR Med cardiologist, associate professor, along with colleagues, have published "How to Build an Anti-Racist Cardiovascular Culture, Community, and Profession," in the in Journals of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

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Diversity in health care starts at the beginning

October 6, 2020 • UNR Med and University Health join in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our ongoing efforts to increase the representation of Hispanics, and others from populations underrepresented in medicine, who serve our community as healthcare providers.
 
Doctors advocating

It’s past time to talk about health care disparities

July 14, 2020 • Black infant mortality is more than twice that of white infants, regardless of mothers’ educational or socioeconomic status. These stats are sickening, but they are not new. Long-standing structural racism has caused stunningly large disparities between white people and people of color. These inequities in health and health care have recently been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic and brought to the forefront by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Community Outreach

Peter Reed, Ph.D., MPH | Director, Sanford Center for Aging

Top Community Outreach Accomplishments of 2021
Peter Reed
 

Community Outreach

Students on the steps of pennington building

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

June 22, 2021 • Jennifer Carson, Ph.D., Dementia Engagement, Education and Research (DEER) Program director, School of Community Health Sciences, envisions a world in which people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias can live well and thrive. "A diagnosis of dementia is so stigmatized and so misunderstood, that people living with dementia and their families often withdraw from their social lives, exacerbating isolation and diminishing well-being," said Carson.
rural-health-day

Virtual Rural Health Day conference to address Nevada’s rural public health infrastructure

November 17, 2020 • UNR Med's John Packham, Ph.D., Gerald Ackerman and Keith Clark discuss key topics being covered at the 2020 virtual Rural Health Day conference
 
aphasia-awareness

June is Aphasia Awareness Month

June 2, 2020 • June is Aphasia Awareness Month, a national campaign to increase public awareness about the language disorder and to recognize people who are living with or caring for people with aphasia. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPA) is increasing aphasia awareness by educating the public on the effects of having aphasia, and aphasia clinical and community services available from UNR Med.