March 8, 2018

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UMMC faculty, students garner science academy awards; UMMC surgeon achieves Fellow status

Metabolic, bariatric society taps UMMC surgeon as Fellow

Portrait of Dr. Kenneth Vick

Dr. Kenneth Vick, professor of general surgery, has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Vick directs the Medical Center’s Metabolic and Bariatric Program.

asmbslogo.pngUnder his leadership, the bariatric program received accreditation from the American College of Surgeons. That national accolade comes from the College’s Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. It signifies that the Medical Center’s program meets the essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity.

The program also is designated as a Center of Excellence.

State science academy recognizes UMMC faculty, students

Several Medical Center faculty, staff and students received awards at the 82nd Mississippi Academy of Sciences meeting Feb. 22-23 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

maslogo.jpgThe MAS is a multidisciplinary scientific organization open to students and professionals statewide. Its mission is to foster communication among scientists, promote science education and provide expertise to organizations across Mississippi.


Dr. Ralph Didlake, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, received the 2018 Dudley Peeler Award for his contributions to the Academy.

Didlake, professor of surgery and director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, is an MAS lifetime member. He contributes regularly to the annual meeting, serving as a plenary speaker and student research mentor in recent years.

The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Dudley Peeler, UMMC professor emeritus of neurosurgery and director of the department’s research laboratory, served as the MAS executive director for several years.

UMMC swept the health sciences presentation competition for graduate students. Jessica Bradshaw, a Ph.D. student in microbiology and immunology, won first place for “Oligopeptide-binding Proteins AliC and AliD Alter Protein Expression and Mediate Virulence of Non-encapsulated Streptococcus Pneumoniae.” Caleb Martin, medical student, won second place for “Prevalence and Associated Virulence of Non-encapsulated Streptococcus Pneumoniae.” India Byrd, medical student, won third place for “Mississippi’s Gastroschisis Burden: Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Intestinal Atresia in Neonates with Gastroschisis.”

In the undergraduate health sciences division, John Overton, Millsaps College student in the Medical Center’s SURE Program, won third place for “Reversal of alcohol-induced cognitive deficits by an inverse agonist selective for α5 GABA-A receptors.”

Murrah High School students in UMMC’s Base Pair Program won the top three awards for the high school group. Oluwatosin Akinyemi won first place for “Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Attenuates Lipopolysaccharide-induced Brain Hippocampal Injury and Improves Cognitive Impairment in Juvenile Rats.” Matthew Araujo and Alton Chambers won second place for “Finite Element Modeling of an All-ceramic Three-united Fixed Dental Prosthesis.” Breanna McNair won third place for “Cyclophosphamide Protects Against Renal Injury but Not Hypertension in an Experimental Mouse Model of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.”

A UMMC student and a UMMC faculty member each received second place in the manuscript competition. Ruiqi Feng, a School of Pharmacy student, won for “The Structure Activity Relationship of Ginsenosides on Hypoxia-reoxygenation Induced Apoptosis of Cardiomyocytes.” Dr. Hana Nobleza, assistant professor of neurology, won for “Challenges and Ethical Issues in the Course of Palliative Care Management for People Living with Advanced Neurologic Diseases.”

In the Mississippi INBRE graduate symposium, Dr. Gouri Mahajan, a scientist in the Department of Psychiatry, won first place for “Altered Neuro-inflammatory Gene Expression in Hippocampus in Major Depressive Disorder.” Mohammad Hasan, a Ph.D. student in microbiology and immunology, won fourth place for “Dynamin is Critical for Mouse Cytomegalovirus Maturation and Envelopment.”