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Physician who explored space to speak at UToledo College of Medicine commencement May 10

Dr. Scott Parazynski, a pioneering explorer, inventor, astronaut and physician, will deliver the commencement address at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ graduation ceremony Friday, May 10.

A total of 238 degrees will be awarded: 166 doctor of medicine degrees, nine doctor of philosophy degrees, 59 master’s degrees, and four graduate certificates.

Parazynski

The commencement ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. in Savage Arena.

“I am beyond thrilled to come celebrate this great milestone with the healers of the @UToledoMed Class of 2019!” Parazynski wrote on Twitter after he was announced as the commencement speaker.

Parazynski, who earned a medical degree at Stanford Medical School, can easily lay claim to being one of history’s most well-traveled explorers.

He has ascended Mount Everest, spent more than eight weeks orbiting the Earth and more than 47 hours on spacewalks with NASA, visited Antarctica, and conducted scientific research beneath the surface of one of the globe’s highest lakes in Chile.

Parazynski also served as the personal onboard physician for the late John Glenn when the former senator returned to space in 1998, and has founded multiple research and development companies.

“It is an honor to have Dr. Parazynski address our graduates,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “Dr. Parazynski was selected by a committee of medical students and faculty from a national pool in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments both professionally and through personal explorations.”

The College of Medicine will award Parazynski an honorary doctor of science degree.

One of Parazynski’s current projects is with Fluidity Technologies, a company he founded to focus on developing disruptive control devices for everything from drones to surgical robots.

First graduates of joint J.D./M.D. program look to future at the intersection of law and medicine

Mark Fadel came to The University of Toledo well-informed about what lie ahead.

One of his brothers is a surgeon. Another, an attorney. Fadel had seen firsthand the rigors of completing just one of those degrees.

He was embarking on both simultaneously. Law and medicine combined.

Mark Fadel and Alexis Holman are the first graduates of the University’s J.D./M.D. program.

“Watching them go through those programs individually, they sacrificed a lot,” he said. “To do it together was very difficult. It took a lot of perseverance.”

After six years of intense study, switching between medical textbooks and case law, clinical rotations and writing projects, Fadel will join Alexis Holman as the first graduates of UToledo’s J.D./M.D. program.

Holman also is set to receive the valedictorian award at the law commencement ceremony.

“There is a famous quote, ‘Faith is taking the first step when you do not see the top of the staircase.’ That is a great analogy for the program,” Holman said. “There were some challenging moments for us, but I am so happy we saw it through. Graduation will be a special moment.”

One of roughly two dozen such programs in the country, UToledo’s joint degree, established in 2013, is geared toward individuals who are driven to work at the intersection of medicine and law who seek opportunities to shape the future of health-care policy.

D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, said it takes an amazing amount of talent, ambition and perseverance to complete two professional doctorates in such a short time frame.

“The combination of the two degrees can be very powerful. There are a wide range of intersections between law and medicine, and there are only a few people who are fully trained in both,” Barros said. “Recipients of this joint degree are well-poised to be leaders in a wide range of areas, including health-care policy, health-care system management and health-care regulation. We are incredibly proud of Alexis and Mark.”

After graduation, Fadel is going to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for a residency in otolaryngology, more commonly known as an ear, nose and throat specialist. He has already taken the bar exam and expects to learn his results within the month.

Holman will head to the University of Michigan for a residency in anesthesiology. She elected to take the bar exam after learning where she matched for residency.

Each said their respective residency programs were receptive to their dual degrees and the perspective that brings. They intend to continue researching and writing on medical law topics while in residency.

Looking further into the future, Holman and Fadel see a wide range of opportunities to put their unique training to use.

“With the changing face of health care — the shift to bigger medicine and increase in regulation — I was interested in trying to give physicians a seat at the table to help shape the future of care delivery in the United States,” Holman said.

Fadel and Holman already have had their work recognized at a national level, winning the Hirsch Award in the American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition in back-to-back years. Fadel was recognized in 2018 for a piece arguing for stronger limitations on who can opt out of measles vaccinations read the UT News story. Holman won in 2019 for a paper questioning whether the FDA’s processes for determining equivalency between name brand and generic drugs were sufficient; read the UT News story.

“We are very proud of these two for their academic accomplishments and excellence,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs. “They were the pioneers of this new program, and they have set an excellent example. They have a bright future ahead of them.”

Holman and Fadel credited faculty in the College of Law and College of Medicine and Life Sciences for being open to working with them as the first students in the program, and each other for their support during the difficult parts of their journey.

“Watching our friends match, graduate, sit for the bar, and participate in all the exciting things you do at the end of each of these programs was pretty hard to watch,” Fadel said. “We always wondered when it would be our moment and, finally, it came.”

The College of Law commencement is Sunday, May 5. The College of Medicine and Life Sciences commencement is Friday, May 10.

Law student wins American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition

Alexis Holman, College of Law J.D./M.D. joint degree student, was named the Hirsh Award winner in the American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition.

The American College of Legal Medicine is the preeminent national organization for law and medicine. This marks the second year in a row that a UToledo law student has won first place in the annual writing competition.

Holman

As the first-place winner, Holman was asked to present her research for “Is Bioequivalence a Sufficient Measure of Equivalence?” at the American College of Legal Medicine 2019 annual meeting last month in Los Angeles.

The paper focused on the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of generic medications. As generic medications are subject to less extensive review than brand drugs, manufacturers must only prove that they are the “bioequivalent” of the brand drug. Holman researched whether certain classes of brand and generic drugs could be used interchangeably without consequences for the patient.

“In my paper, I aim to establish that the evidence is insufficient to conclude whether using bioequivalence to establish true equivalence is adequate, especially for narrow therapeutic index drugs, which operate over a small range of acceptable dosages and blood concentrations,” Holman said. “Even if the current bioequivalence guidelines are medically sufficient, there are additional issues stemming the regulatory designation of equivalence, such as pharmacy auto-substitution and legal remedies in the case of patient harm from generic drugs.

“Overall, more research must be conducted so that the regulatory and legal framework surrounding generic drug approval can address the many consequences of deeming two drugs interchangeable,” she said.

“FDA approval of generic prescription drugs plays a crucial role in health-care costs and patient access to treatment,” said Elizabeth McCuskey, professor of law, who co-directs the University’s J.D./M.D. and J.D./M.P.H. joint degree programs. “Ms. Holman’s research adds a fresh perspective to this complex regulatory regime, exposing important considerations for doctors, patients and regulators. Her medical education enables Ms. Holman to take a deep dive into the scientific literature informing prescribing decisions, while her legal education enables her to reveal potential weaknesses in the regulatory regime underlying generic approval, as well as the legal rights patients unwittingly give up when taking generic drugs. This interplay of regulation, medical judgment and legal consequences that makes Ms. Holman’s research so valuable exemplifies the interdisciplinary power of UToledo’s J.D./M.D. joint degree program. She is poised to be a leader in health-care policy, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll tackle next.”

Holman was born and raised in Toledo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in brain, behavior and cognitive science from the University of Michigan.

She will complete her J.D./M.D. joint degrees this spring. She matched with her top choice, the anesthesiology residency program at the University of Michigan, where she plans to pursue clinical training and medico-legal research.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Holmes

Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

Alvarez

Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.

Faculty recognized for tenure, promotion

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved during its April meeting tenure for 12 faculty members and promotion of another 31 associate professors and professors.

“We continue to have high-caliber faculty advancing through our tenure and promotion process, and this year’s cohort of faculty members all have very impressive achievements,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The provost also noted the goal in the strategic plan to increase the percentage of professors among the total number of full-time faculty. There were 22 who became fully promoted to professor with the board’s recent action.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor are:

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Xinghao Yan, Information, Operations and Technology Management

• Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas, Management

College of Engineering

• Dr. Carmen Cioc, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Luis Mata, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Kimberly McBride, School of Population Health

• Dr. Shipra Singh, School of Population Health

• Dr. Heather Sloane, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Nezam Altorok, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. Trieu Le, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

• Dr. F. Scott Hall, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

• Dr. Amit Tiwari, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor are:

College of Arts and Letters

• Dr. Melissa Gregory, English Language and Literature

• Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, Geography and Planning

• Dr. Charles Beatty, History

• Dr. Lee Heritage, Music

• Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Philosophy and Religious Studies

• Dr. Patricia Case, Sociology and Anthropology

• Dr. Willie McKether, Sociology and Anthropology

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Iryna Pentina, Marketing

College of Engineering

• Dr. Yakov Lapitsky, Chemical Engineering

• Dr. Hong Wang, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Matthew Franchetti, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Wendy Cochrane, School of Intervention and Wellness

• Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, School of Population Health

• Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, School of Social Justice

College of Law

• Bryan Lammon

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Cletus Iwuagwu, Medicine

• Dr. Ruby Nucklos, Medicine

• Dr. Tanvir Singh, Psychiatry

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. John Gray, Biological Sciences

• Dr. Dragan Isailovic, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Dr. Alessandro Arsie, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Zahoor Shah, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Faculty members promoted to associate professor are:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Sarah Gerken, Anesthesiology

• Dr. Anu Garg, Medicine

• Dr. Dani Zoorob, Obstetrics and Gynecology

• Dr. Jiayong Liu, Orthopaedic Surgery

• Dr. Waseem Ostwani, Pediatrics

• Dr. Eileen Quinn, Pediatrics

• Dr. Richard Baron, Psychiatry

• Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Psychiatry

• Dr. Jason Schroeder, Surgery

Faculty, staff members honored for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

University outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Kupresanin

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Max Kupresanin, academic advisor in University College. He received bachelor of arts and master of public administration degrees from the University and worked at his alma mater as a teaching assistant in 2009 and 2010 before joining the staff in 2014.

“Students put their trust in Max that he will be able to guide them down the path of exploratory studies and into a major that works for them,” one nominator wrote. “As a UToledo grad himself, he knows how campus life and academic life merge to create challenges for students. Max makes sure his students always know he is available with questions and concerns — whether they are about advising or not.” Another noted, “Max thoroughly enjoys working with students. Max is visibly passionate about our student population. He is frequently seen in Rocket Hall walking students to Financial Aid, Student Disability Services and the Counseling Center.”

Kissoff

Dr. Nicholas V. Kissoff, associate professor of engineering technology and undergraduate director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1999. Kissoff received bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering and a doctorate in engineering science from the University.

“Working one on one with all students, whether they are straight out of high school or a transfer student like myself, Dr. Kissoff provides a game plan of classes that is easily laid out so the student can set forth short- and long-term goals to help attain the main goal of graduating with the construction of engineering degree,” one nominator wrote. “He provides all resources available to his students from the inception in the Construction Engineering Technology Program. He informs the students of all possibilities within the program, and steps and tips to help us long after we graduate to be successful engineers.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The cardiologist joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1994. Cooper was appointed interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2012 and was named to the permanent post in April 2013. From 2002 to 2012, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and from 2008 to 2011, he also was director of the UToledo Heart and Vascular Center. He was named medical dean in 2014. Cooper has 95 peer-reviewed publications in print.

“Dr. Cooper is a gifted and rigorous scientist whose research has truly changed the paradigm in the field of hypertension and cardiac research. His innovative work has shifted the focus from the heart to the kidneys as an important and significant and treatable contributor to illness burden in hypertension, renal failure and cardiac events,” a nominator wrote. “Many patients’ lives will be saved, and much future understanding of the complex interactions between the kidney, the heart and vascular disease has been opened up as a result of his extensive body of research.”

Dr. Youssef Sari, professor and vice chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined the University in 2010. Sari has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles.

His research has contributed significantly to the field of drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine; currently, he is focusing on the neuropharmacology of opioid addiction. Sari’s research involves investigating potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of drugs of abuse. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that two key transporters can be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of drugs of abuse, specifically in alcohol dependence. In addition, he has tested and found several drugs that have the ability to increase the expression and functionality of these transporters in animal models. The long-term goal of Sari’s research is to find potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from addiction to these drugs of abuse. “In my 40-plus years [in higher education], I’ve not known anyone who works harder and is more focused on drug and alcohol research, including mechanisms of neurotoxicity, than Youssef,” one nominator wrote. “He is at the cutting edge of his field and looks to be a research leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Jami K. Taylor, professor of political science and public administration in the College of Arts and Letters. Since joining the UToledo faculty in 2009, she has become a respected scholar on transgender politics and public policy with an impressive list of accomplishments: authoring a book and editing a book that were both published by the University of Michigan Press; writing 14 peer-reviewed articles and 11 book chapters; and serving as an associate editor for an encyclopedia of LGBT politics that is being published by Oxford University Press.

“Professor Taylor’s work is path-breaking, widely cited and influential. She has established a substantial national reputation as the leading scholar of transgender rights policy in just 10 years at UToledo,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Dr. Taylor is the country’s single highest regarded scholar working on transgender public policy; she is also a nationally recognized expert in the broader political science subfield of LGBT politics. A quick glance at her CV helps explain why this is the case: She is at once a prolific scholar, producing an enormous amount of peer-reviewed publications each year, and also produces work of such high quality that it is accepted for publication in highly regarded journals and presses and cited frequently by other scholars in our subfield.”

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Dr. Jami K. Taylor and Dr. Youssef Sari.

Bellizzi

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Joe Schmidt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

They are coordinators of Saturday Morning Science, a public outreach lecture series covering diverse topics in science, medicine and engineering, ranging from the physics of baseball to the Flint water crisis to the search for extrasolar planets. The program began in 2005; Schmidt took over coordinating the series in 2008, and Bellizzi has been co-director since 2011. “Over the past six years, attendance has grown dramatically from a small grassroots following to an average audience approaching 150 attendees per presentation,” one nominator wrote, noting the series has relocated twice to accommodate the growing numbers. Speakers include UToledo faculty and other academic researchers, NASA scientists, best-selling authors, and staff members of the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Refinery, and National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Schmidt

“This kind of scientific outreach benefits all participants,” a nominator wrote. “Researchers and other presenters get the satisfaction of sharing their experience and their passion while honing a distinct set of communication skills to make their presentation understandable by a nontechnical audience. Audience members gain knowledge, insight and inspiration. It is the intention of the program to broaden public awareness, literacy and appreciation of the methods and results of science in the hopes of encouraging students to enter scientific careers and citizens to support policies that promote scientific research and discovery.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Bellizzi is the man,” one nominator wrote. “I really have a genuine respect for him. Intelligent, passionate and fair — that’s the type of professor he is. Biochemistry is a difficult course, but he really made me love it. He understands the material and breaks it down for us in ways to comprehend. Things he taught me stuck with me because he teaches in a manner that allows you to understand the material not just memorize it.” Another noted, “He is outstanding not only that he teaches well, but he is always well-prepared. I could always approach him whenever needed to solve any problems related to fields of studies. He will always try to help even though he is not teaching you in the semester. He is a gentleman and deserves to be an outstanding teacher.”

Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres, associate professor of political science and public administration, and director of the Global Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. She has been at the University since 2011.

“Dr. Cáceres is one of the most personable, influential faculty members at the University. I had the pleasure to attend her Principles of Comparative Politics course; it was a rather black-and-white course, but she taught it in such a colorful, lively way. She recognizes students’ strengths and weaknesses early on and determines strategies for their betterment,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Jetsa has exhibited compassion and care for not only me, but many students. She has helped me become a better student by motivating me to work toward my goals.” Another wrote, “Jetsa is the professor every student wishes to have and the mentor a person needs; she is an admirable person.”

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. A member of the UToledo faculty since 2004, Elahnia is director of the Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory.

“I was told by three teachers that I would never make it in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “Then I took a class taught by Dr. Elahinia. I had never had a teacher explain complex material so thoroughly and in a way that everyone could understand. He would stop and ask those who struggled how he could change his method to help them. I have never had a more attentive professor. His belief in me gave me confidence that I belong in engineering. That confidence and belief in me shaped my career. I am a mechanical design engineer for a global company in its research and development department. I know Dr. Elahinia has helped more students than just myself; he is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Karen Green, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation. She has taught at the University since 2015.

“Dr. Green has been a catalyst in the Accounting Department,” one nominator wrote. “She solely developed a new Certified Public Accountant review course that allows master of accounting students to complete their CPA exams. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the program.” “With Dr. Green’s guidance, many students have the competitive advantage of simultaneously testing for the CPA and earning a master’s degree, both before diving into our careers, and we know this is a luxury not available to many young professionals in the accounting field,” another wrote. “Dr. Green is more than a professor; she has become a trusted advisor, cheerleader and reliable friend to all of us. She provides support, guidance, encouragement and direction to all students who cross her path.”

Bryan Lammon, associate professor of law. He joined the College of Law in 2013.

“I have had Professor Lammon for several classes, and I cannot say enough positive words for how he conducts his class sessions,” one nominator wrote. “He actively engages with all of his students and makes the extra effort to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the lectures before moving on. His classroom demeanor is always personable and professional, which makes going to his classses that much more enjoyable.” Another noted, “He has an excellent work ethic, is a great teacher, and he is very friendly, yet with a professional attitude.” “Professor Lammon is one of the most approachable professors I’ve encountered. He is so passionate about the subjects he teaches and it truly shows each class,” another wrote. “It is very clear that he truly enjoys watching his students succeed.”

Dr. Heather Sloane, assistant professor of social work in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. She joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Sloane is a perfect example of what a social worker looks like,” one nominator wrote. “She is patient, kind and sincere in all of our encounters, and she is juggling several different projects with grace and a positive attitude.” “Dr. Sloane is such a loving, thoughtful, selfless professor,” another nominator wrote. “She goes over and beyond to ensure the needs of the students are met.” “Despite all her accomplishments, Heather never acknowledges her success and doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves,” another noted. “She is a behind-the-scenes person and the reason why so many things exist. She is the definition of humility. She deserves this award more than I can express.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Bryan Lammon, Dr. Heather Sloane, Dr. John Bellizzi, Dr. Karen Green and Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres.

Three Distinguished University Professors named

Three scholars have been added to the rank of Distinguished University Professor in recognition of their career achievements in teaching, research and professional service.

The faculty members named Distinguished University Professor were approved and recognized by the UToledo Board of Trustees at its April meeting. They are Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs; Dr. Ashok Kumar, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Dr. Celia Williamson, professor of social work and executive director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

Distinguished University Professors named this month were, from left, Dr. Celia Williamson, Dr. Christopher Cooper and Dr. Ashok Kumar.

“It is our privilege to recognize these individuals with The University of Toledo’s highest permanent honor bestowed upon a faculty member,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Each of these professors is recognized as an outstanding teacher, researcher and professional who has made a great impact on the students who they have mentored and in advancing their fields of study.”

Cooper is an internationally recognized researcher in reno-vascular hypertension and ischemic renal disease. He was the principal investigator on a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in which the team found that stents provided no additional benefits to patients with kidney-related high blood pressure than medication alone, which could lead to fewer surgeries and lower treatment costs. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cooper joined the faculty of the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, then the Medical College of Ohio, in 1994. Throughout his career, he has secured more than $25 million in external research funding and authored or co-authored 96 peer-reviewed articles and nine book chapters.

“As a University of Toledo faculty member, I have been blessed with a number of fantastic mentors, collaborators and trainees, and together we’ve done some exciting things,” Cooper said. “Now my major focus is to create an environment where others can do that, too.”

Cooper is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Fellow of the American Heart Association and Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Kumar is recognized internationally for the development of innovative software and paradigm-shifting methodologies related to air quality and risk assessment to solve complex environmental problems. With a focus on air pollution, Kumar has advanced the understanding of the air quality impact due to public transportation buses running on biodiesel and issues with radon mitigation systems in Ohio.

Kumar, who has been a member of the UToledo College of Engineering faculty since 1980, has received more than $5.5 million in external funding, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles and eight books.

“I am proud to be recognized as a Distinguished Professor of the finest university in the area,” Kumar said. “Very few things in life are entirely the work of one individual. This recognition is no exception. This achievement is thanks to a lot of other people’s hard work. Everyone, from the graduate students to funding agencies to fellow professionals and publishers, deserves credit for recognizing my efforts in the field of air pollution.”

Kumar also has received UToledo’s President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to University Scholarship and Creative Activity. He is an honorary member of the Air & Waste Management Association.

Williamson’s pioneering research on human sex trafficking, the prostitution of women and children globally, and mental health and substance abuse counseling needs for vulnerable populations is recognized internationally.

She founded the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference, which has welcomed to campus thousands of academics and activists from around the world for the past 15 years to end abuse through education, research and advocacy.

Williamson also is the founder of the Second Chance Program, now called RISE, which is the first anti-trafficking program in Ohio, as well as the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, the National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and the Global Association of Human Trafficking Scholars.

“I am both thankful and grateful for this recognition, and I will continue the important anti-trafficking work that needs to be done in our community and around the world,” Williamson said.

She has been a faculty member in the UToledo College of Health and Human Services since 2000 and has received more than $2 million in external funding, and published two co-authored books, two book chapters and 21 peer-reviewed articles.

Also an alumna of UToledo, Williamson has received the University’s Gold T Award and the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award.

Symposium on Research in Psychiatry, Psychology and Behavioral Science this week

The 26th Annual Symposium on Research in Psychiatry, Psychology and Behavioral Science will be held Thursday, April 18, in the Mulford Library Café.

From 11 a.m. to noon, the poster session will take place. There are 37 posters this year with research topics ranging from cognitive factors that influence sexual behaviors and social factors that affect weight loss, to the impact of hearing aid use and object recognition in children.

Hyde

Dr. Luke Hyde, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, will present a keynote address titled “The Long Reach of Early Parenting: A Neurogenetics Approach to the Development of Antisocial Behavior” at noon.

Along with The University of Toledo departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, the symposium is sponsored by the Bowling Green State University Department of Psychology and the University of Michigan- Dearborn Department of Behavioral Sciences.

The principal goal of the symposium is to showcase the basic and applied behavioral research being conducted by faculty members and students in the region, according to Dr. Michele Knox, professor of psychiatry at the University.

For more information on the free event, contact Carol Brikmanis at carol.brikmanis@utoledo.edu.

UToledo develops precise method to test for exposure to toxic algae

Researchers at The University of Toledo have developed a highly accurate method to test for microcystin in blood or urine samples, an advancement that could provide clinicians a powerful new tool in assessing a patient’s exposure to the dangerous toxin.

The discovery is a continuation of the work UToledo has done around harmful algal blooms since the 2014 Toledo water crisis that temporarily left the city without drinkable water.

Dr. David Kennedy, left, and Dr. Dragan Isailovic have developed a test for microcystin in blood or urine samples that could prove to be a powerful new tool to assess a patient’s exposure to the toxin.

“We don’t want to just be known as the people who turned off the tap, we want to be known as the people who come up with the solutions,” said Dr. David Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and one of the researchers involved in the project. “We’re leading in that area, and the way we’re leading isn’t just going to help northwest Ohio — it’s going to help the world.”

Kennedy’s lab collaborated with Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professor of medicine, to develop and test the method. The research was funded from grants awarded from the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative.

UToledo’s microcystin test combines a method for separating the toxic compounds out of blood or urine samples by liquid chromatography with further examination using mass spectrometry.

The test can identify various microcystins and quantify concentrations of six common microcystins, including the types most often found in Lake Erie.

“Together, we have created a reliable tool that hasn’t existed before. From a clinician’s point of view, you can’t underestimate the importance of having certitude in your diagnosis. We’re helping to provide new diagnostic methods for clinicians to rule in or rule out exposure to microcystin,” Haller said.

Most other attempts at testing blood or urine samples for microcystin have relied on the ELISA test, which is the standard method for quantifying microcystins in water but isn’t as effective in biological samples.

“Our method is very sensitive and reproducible for identification and quantification of microcystins in biological fluids,” Isailovic said. “It would be difficult to do this with the same sensitivity and specificity using any other method.”

The findings were published in the Journal of Chromatography A. Other UToledo contributors on the paper were Dr. Dilrukshika S.W. Palagama, David Baliu-Rodriguez, Apurva Lad and Dr. Bruce S. Levison. A provisional patent on the testing method has been filed.

The researchers are exploring opportunities to use the lab’s technology to offer testing of samples to outside entities.

Accreditation restored to UToledo’s Physician Assistant Program

The University of Toledo’s Physician Assistant Studies Program has been granted full accreditation in recognition of the high-quality education provided to students in a program that meets or exceeds national standards.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) notified the University in a letter sent April 11 that its accreditation has been restored. The program is now on accreditation-continued status, which is in effect until its next review in September 2027. The program had been on accreditation-probation status.

“We are proud [the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant] recognized our efforts to enhance the quality of our PA program and continually improve on our processes and procedures,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “We have remained committed to our students in the program throughout this process and are happy to share this positive outcome with them.”

“We are pleased with this outcome, and I want to thank the leadership from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, College of Graduate Studies, and the Provost’s Office for their efforts to develop and implement an action plan focused on enriching the academic experience for the students in our Physician Assistant Studies Program,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said.

The University’s accreditation status is:

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program sponsored by The University of Toledo. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be 2027 September. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.