Honors, Awards + Achievements
Yi Guo, Ph.D., Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., Jiang Bian, Ph.D., and Karen Daily, D.O.
Yi Guo, Ph.D., Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D., Jiang Bian, Ph.D., and Karen Daily, D.O. received a $100,000 grant from the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation for a study, titled “Risk of Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Systemic Adjuvant Therapy: Impact of Comorbidity Burden.”
Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC
Lakeshia Cousin, Ph.D., APRN, AGPCNP-BC, received a $100,000 Pepper Scholar grant from the UF Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center for a study, titled “A Pilot Feasibility Study of a Gratitude Journaling Intervention to enhance Well-being and Exercise Readiness in Older African American Female Breast Cancer Survivors.”
She also received the inaugural UF College of Nursing Impact Award for the wide impact of scholarly work through dissemination beyond the UF College of Nursing.
Zhijian Qian, Ph.D.
Zhijian Qian, Ph.D., received two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI). One is a $2,265,795 grant for a study, titled “The Role of YTHDC1 in Normal and Malignant Hematopoiesis,” and the other is a $2,030,245 grant for a study, titled “The Novel Role and Mechanism of RBM33 in Leukemogenesis.”
Jonathan Licht, M.D.
Jonathan Licht, M.D., received a $200,000 grant from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a study, titled “Adenylate Kinase 2-A Novel Therapeutic Target in Multiple Myeloma.”
Xin Tang, Ph.D.
Xin Tang, Ph.D., received a grant from the UF Research Opportunity Seed Fund for a study, titled “Stopping Pain: All‐Optical High‐Throughput Electrophysiology for Personalized Non‐Opioid Drug Discovery.”
Piyush Jain, Ph.D.
Piyush Jain, Ph.D., received a $419,375 grant from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for a study, titled “Rapid Point-of-Care Detection of Hepatitis C Viral RNA Using Multiplexed CRISPR/Cas Platforms.”
Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D., Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., and Lan Hoang-Minh, Ph.D.
Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D., Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., and Lan Hoang-Minh, Ph.D.,received a $1,892,070 grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for a study, titled “Nanoparticles to Track T Cell Immunotherapy Using Magnetic Particle Imaging.”
Fan Zhang, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D.
Fan Zhang, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Harrison, Ph.D., received a $90,000 UF Research Opportunity Seed Fund grant for a study, titled “Dendrimer-Based Approach to Target Macrophage Subsets as Novel Immunotherapy for Glioblastoma.”
Dr. Zhang also received a $50,000 grant from the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research Inc. for a study, titled “CAR-Macrophage Against Glioblastoma.”
Jane Aldrich, Ph.D.
Jane Aldrich, Ph.D., received a $381,250 grant from the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, titled “Targeting CIP2A for the Potential Treatment of Ovarian Cancer.”
Lisa Scarton, Ph.D., R.N.
Lisa Scarton, Ph.D., R.N., received a one-year, $80,300 subcontract award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for 25% effort on an existing R21 project at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Scarton joins the project “Exploring Food Insecurity as a Social Determinant of Health Among American Indian and Alaska Native Adolescents at Risk for Gestational Diabetes” to examine the relationship between food insecurity and healthy eating self-efficacy and behaviors among American Indian adolescent girls.
John Ligon, M.D.
John Ligon, M.D., received a $50,000 grant from MIB Agents for a study, titled “Using RNA-nanoparticle Vaccines to Overcome the Immunosuppressive Tumor Microenvironment of Canine Osteosarcoma.” He also received a $600,000 grant from The V Foundation, titled “Leveraging RNA-lipid Nanoparticle Vaccines to Induce Immune Response in Metastatic Pulmonary Osteosarcoma.” Additionally, he received a $100,000 grant from the SITC-Amgen Cancer Immunotherapy in Hematologic Malignancies Fellowship, titled “Leveraging CD70 CXCR2-Modified CAR T-Cells for Treating AML.”
Dr. Ligon also earned first place among faculty for his presentation at the UF Department of Pediatrics 2022 Pediatric Scientific Day. Additionally, he received the 2022 H. Jean Khoury Award for Scholarly Excellence from the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. He also organized and directed a CME course, titled “Adoptive Cellular Therapy for Solid Tumors: Prior Experience, Challenges, and Potential for the Future,” at the 2022 American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) Conference in Pittsburgh, PA on May 6. Furthermore, he served as an abstract reviewer for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting.
Demetra Christou, Ph.D., Karen Daily, D.O., Ji-Hyun Lee, Dr.PH., and Danielle Jake-Shoffman, Ph.D.
Demetra Christou, Ph.D., Karen Daily, D.O., Ji-Hyun Lee, Dr.PH., and Danielle Jake-Schoffman, Ph.D., received $50,000 in UF Health Cancer Center cancer and aging pilot funding for a study, titled “Indoor Rowing as a Novel Exercise Therapy for Cardiovascular Rehabilitation in Middle-Aged and Older Breast Cancer Survivors Following Chemotherapy.”
Kiley Graim, Ph.D., and Mei He, Ph.D.
Kiley Graim, Ph.D., and Mei He, Ph.D., received $9,906 in UF Health Cancer Center artificial intelligence pilot funding for a study, titled “AI-Guided Peptide Design for Precision Cancer Immunotherapy.”
Walter Murfee, Ph.D., Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., Yong Huang, Ph.D., and Blanka Sharma, Ph.D.
Walter Murfee, Ph.D., Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., Yong Huang, Ph.D., and Blanka Sharma, Ph.D., received $40,379 in UF Health Cancer Center cancer and aging pilot funding for “Biomimetic Model for Probing the Role of an Aged Microenvironment on Cancer Cell Dynamics.”
Presentations, Accomplishments & Awards
John Ligon, M.D., Joanne Lagmay, M.D., Paul Castillo Caro, M.D., Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., and Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D.
John Ligon, M.D., Joanne Lagmay, M.D., Paul Castillo Caro, M.D., Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., and Elias Sayour, M.D., Ph.D., gave a presentation, titled “Using RNA-Nanoparticle Vaccines to Overcome the Immunosuppressive Tumor Microenvironment of Metastatic Osteosarcoma” at FACTOR 2022 in San Diego, CA from June 23-25.
Bently Doonan, M.D., M.S.
Bently Doonan, M.D., M.S., had a poster accepted to ASCO, titled “CA-4948 for the Treatment of Melanoma Brain Metastases.” The poster was also selected for a panel discussion in the CNS malignancy category.
Mingyi Xie, Ph.D.
Mingyi Xie, Ph.D., gave a presentation at the 27th annual meeting of the RNA Society at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, May 31-June 5, 2022, titled “The Target-Directed MicroRNA Degradation Interactome in Cancer.”
Linda Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., FACE, and Catherine Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., ACSW, M.P.E.
Linda Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., FACE, and Catherine Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., ACSW, M.P.E., were recognized for 10 years of service to UF. They both joined UF in summer 2011 and have made immense contributions to the university and the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Cottler was the founding chair of the Department of Epidemiology and founded HealthStreet in the Gainesville area with Dr. Striley as deputy director. HealthStreet is a community program that provides medical and social services, as well as an opportunity for the community to learn and participate in groundbreaking health research. Other programs they have led include NIDA T32, DIS+SAM, MUSE, ABCD, NDEWS initiatives and more.
Additionally, Dr. Striley participated in an episode of the UF Wellness Talk podcast. She discussed mental health awareness and the stigma associated with mental health as it relates to depression and anxiety.
Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D.
Ramzi Salloum, Ph.D., was a contributing author on the NCI Tobacco Control Monograph #23, titled “Treating Smoking in Cancer Patients: An Essential Component of Cancer Care,” released June 29. It provides a state-of-the-art update on the science, practice and research needs regarding treating patients with cancer who smoke.
Also, Dr. Salloum was chosen as an Outstanding Specialist by Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension agents with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) for his admirable engagement and collaborations with agents, helping them to explore financial toxicity, cancer burden and their role in helping address it. His expertise as a research scientist in implementation science methods and frameworks has led to several successful collaborations with UF/IFAS FCS Extension faculty, which are helping individuals and families involved in his clinical trials. The award acknowledges his remarkable contributions throughout the state that have given exceptional time and resources to support FCS Extension educational programs and opportunities.
Saun-Joo Yoon, Ph.D., R.N.
Naykky Singh Ospina, M.D.
Naykky Singh Ospina, M.D., was elected as one of 11 members of the 2022 National Academy of Medicine Scholars in Diagnostic Excellence program. As part of this leadership program in the National Academy of Medicine — which collaborates with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to address critical issues in health, medicine and policy — she will lead a team developing a framework to better understand communication processes that lead to medical diagnoses and enhance conversations about diagnoses between clinicians and patients.
UF College of Nursing Research Summit and Malasanos Lectureship Winners
Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, received a first place award for her poster with Grace Kuenzli, ABSN student, titled “The Symptom Experience of Postpartum Pain After Scheduled Cesarean Birth,” at the University of Florida College of Nursing’s Research Summit and Malasanos Lectureship. Also, Ara Jo, Ph.D., Latoya O’Neal, Ph.D., Juan M. Munoz Pena, M.D., Thomas J. George, M.D., FACP, Jiang Bian, Ph.D., and Lisa Scarton, Ph.D., R.N., received first place in the Ph.D. category at the summit for their poster, titled “Association of Metformin Dosage and Overall Survival of SEER-Medicare Patients with Stage IV Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” with Tarah Nelson, MSN.
Additionally, LaToya J. O’Neal, Ph.D., Ara Jo, Ph.D., Thomas J. George, M.D., FACP, Juan M. Munoz-Pena, M.D., Merry Jennifer Markham, M.D. FACP, FASCO, Martina C. Murphy, M.D., Jonathan A. Chatzkel, M.D., Yingwei Yao, Ph.D., Sherise Rogers, M.D., M.P.H., and Lisa Scarton, Ph.D., R.N., received second place in the professional category for their poster, titled “A Pilot Study Investigating a Nurse-Led approach to Type 2 Diabetes in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Cancer,” with Anatolia Legaspi, Mariah McClaren, Tarah Nelson, MSN, APRN, Joan Burgos, Jake Cabassa, and Shavondra Huggins, DNP.
Qing Lu, Ph.D.
Anna McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN
Lina Cui, Ph.D.
David DeRemer, Pharm.D., BCOP, FCCP, FHOPA
Ranjala Ratnayake, Ph.D.
Zhigang Li, Ph.D.
Lusine Yaghjyan, M.D., Ph.D.
Lusine Yaghjyan, M.D., Ph.D., was promoted to associate professor and awarded tenure in the Department of Epidemiology.
Dejana Braithwaite, Ph.D.
Zsolt Toth, Ph.D.
Melissa Vilaro, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Melissa Vilaro, Ph.D., M.P.H., participated in the Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Cardiovascular Health-Related Research (PRIDE-CVD) from June 12-15. The goal of the PRIDE-CVD Summer Institute at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University is to instruct scientists/clinicians in multidisciplinary approaches to research in cardiovascular health disparities.
Ryan Thomas, M.D.
Ryan Thomas, M.D., was invited to be an ad hoc reviewer for the NIH/NCI Clinical and Translational R21 and Omnibus R03 (PAR-20-292, PAR-20-052) Study Section. He also served on the 2022 NIH Special Emphasis Panel Group/Scientific Review Group 2022/10 ZCA1 SRB-X (O1) S Study Section.
Mei He, Ph.D.
Mei He, Ph.D., served as a Moore Inventor Fellow Reviewer Committee member and board adviser in June. She also participated in the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis Panel Review in June.
Dominick Lemas, Ph.D.
Dominick Lemas, Ph.D., will mentor UF undergraduate student Ismael Wane on his recently awarded research fellowship through UF’s competitive Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) GatorSTAR program.
Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D.