Archives for December 2016

First Pinn Scholars Named

For the past few months we have been talking about the new Pinn Scholars program, an initiative born from strategic planning, one which allows recipients to move their research toward novel areas without the need to obtain external funding.

The Pinn Scholars program is designed to support and recognize our mid-level faculty and is named in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn. A graduate of the UVA School of Medicine Class of 1967, Dr. Pinn is a member of the National Academies of Science, a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and past president of the National Medical Association.

I am thrilled to share with you the first class of Pinn Scholars. They are:

  • Brant Isakson, PhD
    Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
    Project: Identification and characterization of Zika virus interaction with host endothelial cells using intravital microscopy
  • Shayn Pierce-Cottler, PhD
    Professor, Biomedical Engineering
    Project: The role of vascular pericytes in the regulation of inflammation, vascularization, and fibrosis
  • Gordon W. Laurie, PhD
    Professor, Cell Biology
    Project: Development of a structural model of ocular homeostasis to support the development of candidate drugs for dry eye disease
  • Jochen Zimmer, PhD
    Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
    Project: Characterization of how microbial pathogens and symbionts produce capsular polysaccharides

Thank you to all who applied. There were many outstanding applications and faculty who were worthy of this award. I look forward to seeing more applications in the coming year, as this is an ongoing program for eligible faculty (full-time faculty who hold the rank of Associate Professor, tenure optional, or have held the rank of Professor for not more than 3 years at the time of nomination).

I would also like to thank Dr. Pinn for honoring us with the use of her name for this program and our senior faculty reviewers.

Please join me in congratulating Brant, Shayn, Gordon, and Jochen.

Sincerely,

David S. Wilkes, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science

Highlights: December MAC Meeting

Pinn Scholars

  • Dean David Wilkes announced the first recipients of the Pinn Scholars program, an award named in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn. They are:
    • Brant Isakson, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
      • Project: Identification and characterization of Zika virus interaction with host endothelial cells using intravital microscopy
    • Shayn Pierce-Cottler, PhD, Professor, Biomedical Engineering
      • Project:The role of vascular pericytes in the regulation of inflammation, vascularization, and fibrosis
    • Gordon W. Laurie, PhD, Professor, Cell Biology
      • Project: Development of a structural model of ocular homeostasis to support the development of candidate drugs for dry eye disease
    • Jochen Zimmer, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics
      • Project: Characterization of how microbial pathogens and symbionts produce capsular polysaccharides
  • This is the first step in rewarding and recognizing our mid-level faculty, allowing them to move research toward novel areas without the need to obtain external funding.

Financial Advisory Committee Updates

  • Dr. Chris Ghaemmaghami provided an update on the conversations about how to address financial, compensation, and funds flow issues.
  • Background: The funds flow work for FY17 did not define clinical elements. The need to address compensation in most departments is becoming more pressing. After consideration, it was decided to create a customized benchmark, specific to our environment.
  • The compensation vision, as its highest level, is: If a faculty member meets all of their agreed upon effort targets, they will be compensated at a nationally competitive level.
  • In the next 60 days, we need to:
    • Revise effort allocation for all clinical faculty using new definitions;
    • Determine which productivity benchmark you will use for each category of clinical faculty;
    • Determine clinical productivity targets (wRVU and time-based) for each clinical faculty member; and
    • Give specific guidance to each department on the completion of effort and productivity accounting for faculty.
  • Kathy Peck and Dr. Ghaemmaghami will reach out to administrators to assist in advancing this work.

Faculty Titles

  • Dr. Susan Pollart shared a flowchart outlining the pathways to for the appointment of paid and unpaid faculty members. For those who are employed by the School of Medicine, it is important to note titles will stay the same.
  • This is an important process — as we enter into partnerships and expand our footprint with to outlying facilities — we want a uniformity in faculty titles.
  • Dr. Pollart will resend the email communication and attached tools to guide faculty titles and requests on any follow-up questions or concerns before the end of the calendar year.

Dean’s Office Goals

  • After the department/center annual reviews, the Dean’s Office held a retreat based on those meetings. Distilled down, the Dean’s Office created four goals:
    • Create a work environment that enables excellence
      • This includes communicating goals and expectations, increasing diversity, and addressing professionalism, increasing collaboration between basic and clinical research, supporting informed risk-taking, ensuring that faculty understand opportunities for advancement, and increasing opportunities for leadership development.
    • Improve organizational structures and processes
      • This includes applying lean principles (starting in the Dean’s office); ensuring financial accountability across departments; understanding unfunded time and ROI; strengthening IT infrastructure; and establishing strategy to hire funded senior faculty.
    • Build external relationships and enhance development
      • This includes Inova, Novant, pan-University collaborations, CTSA, marketing the School, community engagement, and focusing on philanthropy.
    • Enhance the educational experience
      • This includes interprofessional education, reviewing the CME program, and improving the caliber of PhD students.

Time to Retreat into Research

February in the Commonwealth is cold, windy, and generally unpleasant. This is the perfect time to gather in front of the fireplaces at the Boar’s Head Inn with mugs of hot coffee or tea or chocolate and use the spark of collaboration to re-ignite our research efforts. All faculty are invited (and encouraged) to join their School of Medicine colleagues on Feb. 3-4 for a weekend of presentations and poster sessions on an array of fascinating research topics.

research_microscope_03042016“But I’m busy,” you’re thinking. “What’s in it for me?”

Surely you cannot be too busy to:

  • meet and learn about the research programs of several new SOM faculty;
  • explore shared areas of interest and the potential to collaborate on new research projects; and
  • discover the unexpected.

There will be 11 scientific sessions focusing on diverse topics such as cell-based therapy, population studies in cancer, metabolic diseases, the microbiome, entrepreneurism, and the UVA CTSA initiative. The schedule will offer structured sessions, poster presentations, lunchtime roundtable sessions, and informal receptions — all of which will allow ample time to connect with your peers.

More details will be posted to the retreat’s website as they become available. (Note: As of this posting, there is still time to submit a poster abstract or a roundtable discussion proposal for the retreat. Click here for poster details and here for roundtable discussions.)

Please register here. (Deadline:  Dec. 31.)

Steven S. Wasserman, PhD
Assistant Dean for Research