Spring 2012
News and Notes

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Hogan accepts visiting professorship

Reno pediatrician and allergist Mary Beth Hogan, M.D.
Mary Beth Hogan, M.D. was invited to perform a pediatric allergy/immunology visiting professorship in China last fall. She presented her latest research involving the early onset of pollen allergy in children with allergic rhinitis and asthma to Chinese medical students at Yuying Children's Hospital, Wenzhou Medical College and the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine.

Spogen appointed to AAFP board

Reno family physician Daniel Spogen, M.D.
Daniel R. Spogen, M.D., family medicine chair in Reno, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a professional organization representing 100,300 physicians and medical students nationwide. As a board member, he will advocate on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.

New grant will establish another COBRE

Under a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the School of Medicine and the University of Nevada, Reno will establish a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence that focuses on the cell biology of signaling across membranes. The center will train and support young biomedical researchers to conduct research to better understand how cells and cellular compartments communicate with each other and how defects in such communication may trigger disease.

Neuroscientist Christopher von Bartheld, M.D., is the principal investigator and program director and will be assisted by Grant Mastick, Ph.D., developmental neurobiologist and associate professor in biology. Researchers in several disciplines will contribute to this center including physiology and cell biology, biology and biochemistry.

The Cell Biology Center is only the third COBRE grant that has been funded in Nevada. The other two COBREs are on "Ion channels in cardiovascular disease" and "Smooth muscle plasticity" and all three of Nevada's COBRE proposals have originated from the School of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Cell Biology.

Students earn honors at Bierkamper Convocation

Twenty-two graduate and medical students presented their research findings at the Annual George G. Bierkamper Student Research Convocation in January. Pictured above with David Lupan, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, is graduate student winner Milad Motarjemi for his presentation entitled "Testing the Predictions of a Simplified Model of Thin Filament Regulation: Activating Motility Through Kinetic Inhibition." Nichole Joslyn took the honors for medical students with her presentation "A Bioinformatics Approach to Determine the Presence of Collagen Type IV in Petromyzon marinus."

Fildes, Brown earn recognition for traffic safety work

The Strategic Highway Safety Plan partners recently honored John Fildes, M.D., professor of surgery, with its 2011 Leadership Award, for his willingness to lend time and expertise for outreach and education events and his ability to share knowledge to health care professionals and the general public about the importance of traffic safety.

Bill Brown, also of the surgery department, was recognized by the Safe Community Partnership for his efforts to compile trauma and traffic data for Nevada and using the data to educate and inform others.

Diabetes education program now accredited

The University of Nevada School of Medicine's diabetes education program, located in the diabetes center in Las Vegas, was recently named an accredited diabetes education program by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Kirgan earns lifetime achievement award

The Nevada AIDS Project presented faculty oncology surgeon Daniel Kirgan, M.D., above center, its lifetime achievement award at a gala event on AIDS Awareness Day last December. The award honored those who have made a difference in the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS in the Las Vegas Valley. Nominated by his peers, Kirgan received the honor for his work as chair of University Medical Center's institutional review board, which overseas research projects and clinical trials at UMC.

New leadership structure sees establishment of Office of Academic Affairs

A major change in the leadership and structure of the School of Medicine's academic programs took place on Jan. 1, 2012 with the formation of the Office of Academic Affairs. This office is responsible for the design, implementation, management and evaluation of all programs in medical student education, medical school admissions, student affairs, faculty development, faculty affairs and continuing medical education.

  • Melissa Piasecki, M.D., professor of psychiatry, agreed to take on the newly-created role of senior associate dean of academic affairs and lead the office.
  • Deborah Kuhls, M.D., professor of surgery, has assumed the role of associate dean for academic affairs in Las Vegas.
  • Tim Baker, M.D.'04, assistant professor of internal medicine, is the new associate dean for medical education.
  • Jennifer Hagen, M.D.'93, associate professor of internal medicine, takes over the position of associate dean for faculty development while continuing to serve as program director of the internal medicine residency program in Reno.
  • The work of Peggy Dupey, Ph.D., as the associate dean for admissions and student affairs; Beverly Neyland, M.D., as assistant dean for admissions and Melissa O'Brien, director of continuing medical education, continue as part of this new structure leadership.
  • Gwen Shonkwiler, Ph.D., former interim dean of medical education, joins the Office of Academic Affairs as assistant dean for evaluation and assessment.

Kolonic wins inaugural Goodman Award

Kathryn Kolonic, M.D., family medicine resident, pictured with Steven Zell, M.D., won the inaugural Philip H. Goodman Award for Resident Excellence in Critical Appraisal, for her presentation on vitamin D treatment for the prevention of falls in older adults. For her efforts, she will receive support to attend the national medical conference of her choice.

Editor's Note: With the Spring 2012 issue, we introduce News and Notes, two pages dedicated to the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows at the School of Medicine.