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Prominent Medical Faculty to be Honored by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Alumni Association - 06/07/2013

Prominent Medical Faculty to be Honored by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Alumni Association

Release Date: June 7, 2013
Carol W. Greider
Carol W. Greider

In what has become a much-anticipated biennial tradition, the JHU Alumni Association will honor 11 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine faculty members at a special ceremony June 7.  The honorees include a Nobel Laureate, a Lasker Award winner, numerous current or former department directors, and other senior Johns Hopkins Medicine directors and leaders. The University Alumni Association awards for both university and medical faculty started in 1973 and honor alumni and other faculty whose distinguished careers and unselfish contributions to society have added luster and prestige to the University and its School of Medicine, according to association officials.

The recognition ceremony will take place in the School of Medicine’s Turner Auditorium  from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and feature award presentations by Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.  This year’s meeting is the first under the leadership of Rothman, who joined Johns Hopkins in 2012.

“Through their professional work and their service to humanity, they make a difference not only at Johns Hopkins, but also around the world,” says Rothman.  “It's an honor for Johns Hopkins to recognize those who have earned such renown."

This year’s honorees, selected from among nominations by the Alumni Association and School of Medicine faculty, are:

Honors alumni who exemplify the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and have brought credit to the university and their profession in the international arena through their professional achievements or humanitarian service.

Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., Neuroscience
A psychiatrist and a neuroscientist, Solomon Snyder has pioneered and revolutionized the study of the brain over the course of his career.  His research accomplishments range from the discovery of opiate receptors in the brain — work for which he shared the prestigious Albert Lasker Award in 1978 — to proving that gases can serve as messengers between nerve cells. For more than 20 years, Snyder served as director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The department now bears his name.

Honors alumni, faculty and friends of Johns Hopkins who have contributed outstanding service over an extended period to the progress of the University or the activities of the Alumni Association.

Carol W. Greider, Ph.D., Molecular Biology and Genetics
The Daniel Nathans Professor and director of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, Nobel Laureate Carol Greider studies telomerase, an enzyme that maintains chromosome ends.  Over the years, she and her colleagues have uncovered what it looks like, how it functions and how it is controlled. Greider continues to study its role in DNA damage and cell death. Her team has developed a mouse model for telomerase deficiency that mimics the stem cell failure seen in inherited human diseases caused by mutations in telomerase.

Richard T. Johnson, M.D., Neurology
Arriving at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1969 as a co-founder of the new Department of Neurology, Richard Johnson was named director of the department in 1988, a position he held until 1997.  For more than 50 years, he studied viral infections of the nervous system, doing groundbreaking work and developing a multidisciplinary laboratory group to study viruses in demyelinating diseases, malformations, neoplasms, and acute and chronic diseases. More than 40 postdoctoral fellows from his laboratory continue to work as active investigators in the field, and 12 have become department directors. Though retired, he continues his teaching and has for the past 15 years been editor of the Annals of Neurology.  He is the founding director of the National Neuroscience Institute of Singapore and a part-time special consultant on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies to the National Institutes of Health and. He has published more than 300 original articles and chapters and edited 10 books. In 2001, he was made a Distinguished Service Professor of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and twice won the Ford Award for Clinical Teaching. He has also received a number of national and international awards, most recently being presented the World Federation of Neurology Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2011.

Honors alumni who have typified the Johns Hopkins tradition of excellence and brought credit to the University by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement or humanitarian service.

David B. Hellmann, M.D., Med ‘77
The Aliki Perroti Professor of Medicine and vice dean and director of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, David Hellmann is a graduate of Yale College and a 1977 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency on the Osler Medical Service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in rheumatology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is a renowned rheumatologist who co-founded in 1998 the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center, the first of its kind in the United States. His clinical care and research focuses on vasculitis, especially granulomatosis with polyangiitis, temporal arteritis, Takayasu’s arteritis and polyarteritis nodosa.  He is one of the leading physicians, teachers and program builders at Johns Hopkins. In 2004, he created the Center for Innovative Medicine, which has helped transform the Bayview campus into a major academic medical center by creating research cores, launching educational initiatives and building a culture that values clinical excellence. The Center’s nationally recognized Aliki Initiative endeavors to imbue all medical students and residents with the importance of knowing their patients as people. The Center’s Miller-Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence is one of the first efforts in academic medicine to define, measure and reward clinical excellence. 

Ralph H. Hruban, M.D., Med ‘85
A Professor of Pathology and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ralph Hruban received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and is a 1985 Johns Hopkins School of Medicine alumnus.  He completed his residency training at Johns Hopkins and spent one year as a fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, returning to Johns Hopkins in 1990 to join the faculty.  Hruban is the Director of the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center and the Division of Gastrointestinal/Liver Pathology, as well as deputy director for research and programs of the Department of Pathology.  He is president-elect of the Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Joseph C. Monastra Foundation, the Michael Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and the Lustgarten Foundation.  Hruban has written more than 500 scientific papers, 80 book chapters and reviews, and five books.  Hruban founded the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry at Johns Hopkins, created an award-winning iPad application to teach pancreas pathology, and recently produced an award-winning documentary on the life of William Stewart Halsted.

Redonda G. Miller, M.D., M.B.A., Med ‘92
A member of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Class of 1992, Redonda Miller is vice president for medical affairs at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, serving as the hospital’s chief medical officer, as well as an associate professor of medicine. In her leadership role, she oversees Medical Staff Administration, Pharmacy, Medical Records, Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, Pastoral Care and Patient Safety. As the hospital’s patient safety officer, Miller spearheads efforts to advance patient safety, service and quality in collaboration with medical, nursing and other colleagues across the hospital. Miller’s research interests include women’s health, physician practice issues and medical education.  An expert on women’s midlife medical issues, Miller lectures widely and writes on women’s health topics, including osteoporosis and menopause.  In 2008, she was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record.  She received this honor for her significant professional accomplishments, community involvement and commitment to mentoring.  She was also voted one of Baltimore’s Best Doctors and Baltimore’s Best Doctors for Women by Baltimore Magazine.

Honors recent graduates of Johns Hopkins (within 10 years of graduation) for outstanding achievement or service in their professional or volunteer life.

Crystal C. Watkins, M.D., Ph.D., Med ‘03
An assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences’ division of molecular psychiatry, Crystal Watkins received both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine under the mentorship of Solomon Snyder in the Department of Neuroscience. As a young investigator, she distinguished herself by being accepted as a Society for Neuroscience fellow and an academic medicine fellow of the National Medical Fellowships and Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc., as well as by receiving a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health. Her thesis research led to a patented treatment for nerve disorders affecting diabetic patients.  Her current research uses neuroimaging techniques in small animal models and human clinical investigations to better understand the neurotransmitter pathways involved in mood disorders and memory in the aging brain.  She employs positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to specifically study immune system pathways and receptors in patients with family histories of bipolar illness, and depression. In 2012, Watkins was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record. She also volunteers with the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, a Johns Hopkins school-based initiative that educates high school students, teachers and parents about adolescent depression.

The Distinguished Medical Alumna/us Award honors those alumni (degree recipients, current and former faculty, fellows and house staff) of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital who have demonstrated excellence and achievement through their personal and professional accomplishments.

Charles W. Cummings, M.D., Otolaryngology?Head and Neck Surgery
A native of Boston, Charles Cummings graduated from Dartmouth College in 1957 and the University of Virginia Medical School in 1961.  He was an intern at Dartmouth and completed a year of general surgery residency at the University of Virginia. He entered the Air Force in 1963, was discharged in July 1965, and entered residency training in otolaryngology?head and neck surgery at the Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, finishing the program in 1968.  Cummings worked in private practice in Boston and on the clinical staff at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary until the end of 1975, when he moved to Syracuse, New York and became an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology?Head and Neck Surgery at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.  Two years later, he became chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology?Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington, where he remained until the end of 1990 when he became director of the Department of Otolaryngology?Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins. He was chief of staff of The Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1997 through 1999.  In 2003, Cummings stepped down as director. He is currently a Distinguished Service Professor at Johns Hopkins, where he continues to care for patients and serves as senior medical director for Johns Hopkins International. 

George J. Dover, M.D., Pediatrics
Given Professor of Pediatrics, director of the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, George Dover is a pediatric hematologist and a world renowned expert on sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition marked by abnormal, crescent-shaped red blood cells—the cells that bind, store and transport oxygen throughout the body. Dover was involved in some of the earliest research to harness the therapeutic potential of fetal hemoglobin, which remains functional for about six months after birth and has superior oxygen-binding and oxygen-carrying capacity. Dover was among the pioneers who developed pharmacological techniques to reactivate the production of fetal hemoglobin in adults as a way to counteract some of the pathologies of sickle cell disease. In the 1990s, Dover and colleague Samuel Charache, M.D., also discovered that the cancer drug hydroxyurea successfully treats the dreaded pain crises of sickle cell anemia and a form of lung disease commonly seen in the condition. Dover has spent four decades at Johns Hopkins, nearly two of them as director of pediatrics.

Eileen P.G. “Patti” Vining, M.D., Med ‘72
A professor of neurology and pediatrics, director of pediatric neurology and director of the John M. Freeman Pediatric Epilepsy Center, Vining is one of the world’s foremost experts on pediatric seizure disorders. She is particularly well known for her holistic approach to epilepsy, which marries the most advanced medical and surgical therapies with a careful consideration of the psychosocial, emotional and behavioral aspects of the condition.  Vining’s research interests include ways to improve neurological and functional outcomes after epilepsy surgery, dietary approaches to treating epilepsy, the effects of antiseizure medications on learning, and the etiology and treatment of Rasmussen’s encephalitis, a rare, severe neuro-inflammatory disorder that causes frequent, unremitting seizures.

Stephen V. Desiderio, M.D.’78, Ph.D. ‘81,
A professor of molecular biology and director the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences and the Immunobiology Program in the Institute for Cell Engineering, Stephen Desiderio has made numerous contributions to our understanding of how immunity develops in health and disease. His work has helped to shape our understanding of how the immune system is able to respond to a diverse set of invaders. His team’s studies have shed light on the relationship between genetic rearrangement — the process by which immune diversity is generated — and the development of leukemia. The team has also discovered key elements of the triggers that turn on immune responses, and most recently has turned its attention to signals that instruct stem cells to become part of the immune system. 

Related Web sites:

Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Awards

Biennial Meeting and Reunion Weekend

For the Media

Media contacts:

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