December 4, 2020

2020 Faculty Excellence Award winners announced

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development this week announced recipients of the school’s annual faculty awards, which recognize excellence in teaching, research and mentoring.

“The Wayne State University School of Medicine is home to faculty members who are among the best academic physicians and scientists in the nation. They are not only outstanding teachers and researchers, but they are leaders in innovation and scholarship,” said Basim Dubaybo, M.D., vice dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development. “The College Teaching Award is but one example of how the School of Medicine recognizes excellence in teaching and in promoting the professional development of students and trainees. Teaching is also recognized by awards focusing on clinical and research teaching, two of our most valued academic objectives. The  Research Excellence Award is a similar honor afforded to individuals dedicated to biomedical research. The school also recognizes excellence in mentorship and leadership, especially among women faculty members. Awards dedicated to those committed to mentoring junior colleagues and to Women in Medicine and Science recognize the best among us on an annual basis.”

Dr. Dubaybo said that it is noteworthy that awardees are selected by fellow faculty members. “Peer recognition is among the most sincere and objective forms of recognition and allows the School of Medicine to continue to have the highest standards of academic excellence.”

Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, and of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, received the Kamran S. Moghissi, M.D., Endowed Faculty Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching. The award is presented annually to a faculty member who, through long and meritorious teaching of basic sciences, has left a mark of excellence and provided students with a critical understanding of the faculty member's discipline.

“I am honored and encouraged by this award,” said Dr. Zhang, who joined the faculty in 2009. “To a faculty member in a basic medical science department, one purpose of doing research is to educate graduate and medical students and to train next-generation scientists. Such opportunities and commitments are truly rewarding.”

The Outstanding Research Achievement Award was presented to Assia Shisheva, Ph.D., professor of Physiology with a joint appointment in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics. The award recognizes a basic science or clinical faculty member who has made significant and career-long contributions to the advancement of an area of biomedical, behavioral, clinical or medical research.

The Women in Medicine and Science Leadership Award, given to an individual who has supported and/or brought recognition to women faculty members or activities for women faculty through participation in the school’s program, was presented to Claire Pearson, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine.

Anne Messman, M.D., associate professor and vice chair of Education for the Department of Emergency Medicine, received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for a faculty member who has served as an outstanding mentor to other faculty and demonstrates a gift and passion for mentoring other faculty.

The Excellence in Clinical Science Teaching Award is given to a faculty member who, through long and meritorious clinical or behavioral science teaching, has left a mark of excellence and provided learners with a critical understanding of the clinical medicine. This year the award goes to Diane Levine, M.D., professor, vice chair of Medical Education and clerkship director in the Department of Internal Medicine.

Research Excellence Awards are given to faculty members who demonstrate excellence and achievement through research. This year’s winners include:

Research Excellence Award – Basic Sciences Researcher

Hyeong-Reh Kim, Ph.D., Department of Pathology
Sokol Todi, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology
Nerissa Viola, Ph.D., Department of Oncology
Robert Wessells, Ph.D., Department of Physiology

Research Excellence Award - Clinical Researcher

Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, Ph.D., Department of Oncology
Jason Mateika, Ph.D., Department of Physiology

Research Excellence Award - Physician Scientist
Lobelia Samavati, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine. "I'm very honored to have my work recognized with this research award. Such honor is a way of appreciation by the scientific community at WSU and motivates me to pursue science with an ever-increasing sense of vigor," said Dr. Samavati, who joined the faculty in 2005." 


The College Teaching Award is given to faculty members who show excellence and achievement through teaching in the School of Medicine. This year’s recipients include:

Muhammad Jaffar, M.D. – Department of Anesthesiology
Domenico Gatti, M.D., Ph.D. – Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
Maik Huettemann, Ph.D. - Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, and Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
Mark Favot, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine
Laura Smylie, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine
Juliann Binienda, Ph.D., Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences
Luis Afonso, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Zeenat Bhat, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Ijeoma Nnodim Opara, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Pragnesh Patel, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Sanjay Revankar, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Neelima Thati, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Jarrett Weinberger, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine
Maysaa Basha, M.D., Department of Neurology
Deepti Zutshi, M.D., Department of Neurology
Steven Kalkanis, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery
Jay Berman, M.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Kang Chen, Ph.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Asif Alavi, M.D., Department of Oncology
Jing Li, Ph.D., Department of Oncology
Guojun Wu, Ph.D., Department of Oncology
Jeffrey Zonder, M.D., Department of Oncology
Reecha Bahl, M.D., Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences
Ryan Thummel, Ph.D., Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences
Stephen Lemos, M.D., Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Syed Raza, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Jian Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology
Rouba Ali-Fehmi, M.D., Department of Pathology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Elizabeth Secord, M.D., Department of Pediatrics
Lynn Smitherman, M.D., Department of Pediatrics
Rodrigo Andrade, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology
Michael Bannon, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology
Scott Millis, Ph.D., Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Robert Wessells, Ph.D., Department of Physiology
Jeffrey Stanley, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
Shibany Taormina, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences
Mark Haacke, Ph.D., Department of Radiology
Lawrence Diebel, M.D., Department of Surgery
Michael White, M.D., Department of Surgery
Steve Kim, M.D., Department of Surgery, Department of Oncology 
Steven Lucas, M.D., Department of Urology

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