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Spotlighting innovation and discovery on campus

Residents, faculty and staff share their latest research, garner awards during annual Celebration of Research event

Nipa Shah, MD, sees many advantages of being affiliated with an academic health center. Among them is the opportunity to conduct research that directly and positively impacts the patients she serves.

Shah is heavily involved in projects and clinical trials addressing coordinated patient transportation, a culturally sensitive approach to address weight loss, and telemedicine options for patients living with HIV. She’s also part of the efforts to propel the recently opened Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT.

"Research sets us apart from those in private practice in a meaningful way,” said Shah, a professor and chair of community health and family medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “The best part of research is the positive impact I hope it has on vulnerable populations in our community. I also hope our findings support similar initiatives nationwide."

Shah’s efforts have been recognized in a significant way. She is the winner of the 2018 Robert C. Nuss Researcher/Scholar Award. The accolade is given to a UF COMJ faculty member who has a distinguished record of current research that places that person among the leaders in his or her respective academic discipline.

Shah received the award during the college’s annual Celebration of Research event, held May 24 at the Learning Resource Center on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. The event also featured platform and poster presentations, the awarding of several other awards and the special recognition of students from nearby Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts.

“Finding time for research in our busy lives is difficult. Recognition such as this is very encouraging. I felt honored and supported to receive this award,” Shah said.

“As a mother of two teenagers, a full-time chair and someone who constantly struggles with finding balance, it felt wonderful to be rewarded for the extra commitments I took on,” she added. “I hope to serve as a role model for junior faculty, especially women. If I can do it, so can they.”

Keynote speaker presents on nicotine addiction

David Drobes, PhD, a professor of oncologic studies and psychology at the University of South Florida, was the keynote speaker during Celebration of Research. He is a senior member and associate director of the Tobacco Research and Intervention Program at USF’s Moffitt Cancer Center.

Drobes shared some of his research on tobacco use, tobacco dependence and treatment for addiction. He spent a good portion of his lecture discussing the impact of nicotine.

“Fundamentally, it all comes down to nicotine,” Drobes said about what causes addiction. “We know that nicotine very closely resembles other drugs of self-administration and abuse.”

Drobes’ slideshow presentation also touched on the emergence of electronic cigarettes and the efforts to reduce the amount of nicotine in conventional cigarettes. He believes having federal mandates to reduce nicotine can lead to a healthier citizenry, though an audience member asked why his main focus isn’t to get everyone to quit smoking.

“It sounds great in theory, but it’s not that easy to do,” Drobes said. “Nicotine addiction is powerful.”

Tina Bottini, assistant dean for research administration and compliance at UF COMJ, said Drobes was the perfect person to have as the keynote speaker, given his background in health outcomes and behavior.

“Dr. Drobes gave an excellent presentation that tied in well with our strengths on this campus,” Bottini said. “I think he appealed to a wide audience — even to the Darnell-Cookman students, as he touched on the importance of smoking prevention.”

Poster and platform presentations

This year, Celebration of Research featured 119 platform and poster presentations by residents and fellows; 22 poster presentations by faculty, postdoctoral associates and affiliated staff; and 10 projects by students from Darnell-Cookman.

Among the researchers who submitted presentations, six received poster presentation awards and six garnered platform presentation awards for their excellence:

Poster Presentation Winners

  • 1st place: Dmitry Yaranov, MD, medicine; Effects of D-Allulose on Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Response to a Standard Oral Sucrose Load: Results of a Prospective, Randomized, Cross-Over Study
  • 2nd place: Joshua Levine, MD, medicine; Microfidelity (MiFi) Ablation Technology Versus Standard Ablation Catheter for Atrioventricular Nodal Ablation: A Comparative Pilot Study of Time to Success
  • 3rd place: Warren Sher, MD, emergency medicine; Characterizing Pain's Impact on Emergency Department Revisits: An Exploratory Study
  • 4th place: Aysha Mubeen, MD, pathology and laboratory medicine; PAX-8 Antibody as a Useful Adjunct in Detection of Cystoisospora in Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded Tissue: A Study on Cholecystectomies With Cystoisospora Infection
  • 5th place: Rubymel Knupp, MD, obstetrics and gynecology; Risks Factors Predicting Postoperative Urinary Tract Infections Following Reconstructive Surgery for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
  • 6th place: Karan Seegobin, MD, medicine; Does Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy Increase the Risk of Multiple Cancers? A Pilot Study at the University of Florida, Jacksonville: 2011-2016

Platform Presentation Winners

  • 1st place: Emily Winograd, PharmD, emergency medicine; Pediatric Guanfacine Exposures Reported to the National Poison Data System, 2000-2016
  • 2nd place: Stevie Bennett, MD, obstetrics and gynecology; Does an Abnormal 50-Gram Glucose Screen Followed by a Normal Glucose Tolerance Test Increase Adverse Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes?
  • 3rd place: Melanie Mitta, MD, obstetrics and gynecology; Outcome Comparison Before and After Implementation of a Standardized Prenatal Depression Screening Tool for Obstetric Patients at UF Health Jacksonville
  • 4th place: Ashleigh Weyh, DMD, MPH, oral and maxillofacial surgery; Overutilization of Computed Tomography for Odontogenic Infections
  • 5th place: Krista Gonzales, MD, medicine; The Effect of Nicotine and High-Dextrose on Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells
  • 6th place: Anushi Patel, MD, radiology; A Retrospective Comparison of Patients Receiving EKOS Thrombolysis for Massive or Sub-Massive Pulmonary Embolism to Historic Controls Receiving Medical Therapy

“Celebration of Research was again a success. We had some great platform and poster presentations, and several researchers were recognized for their outstanding work,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of UF COMJ. “This event really shows the energy this campus has in the research arena, and we look forward to growing and further developing this as we move forward.”

Click here to view additional photos from Celebration of Research 2018.

For the media

Media contact

Dan Leveton
Media Relations Manager (904) 244-3268