Three UNMC faculty members receive universitywide awards

April 09, 2012

Howard Gendelman, M.D., Richard MacDonald, Ph.D., and Jonathan Vennerstrom, Ph.D., have received the University of Nebraska's highest honors for research, teaching and innovation.

"The University of Nebraska is home to some of the country's best," said University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken. "Our faculty is deeply committed to providing high-quality education to students, conducting research that benefits Nebraska and the world."

Dr. Gendelman and research excellence

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Howard Gendelman, M.D.
Dr. Gendelman -- chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and Larson Professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases -- received the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award.

Dr. Gendelman developed the theory that the interplay between the immune system and the brain can be harnessed to counter the death of brain cells due to viral infection or during neurodegenerative processes. The theory wasn't immediately embraced -- but time has proven his theory to be valid.

Dr. Gendelman continues to forge new collaborations to develop treatments for neuro-AIDS, Parkinson's and other types of dementia and he is one of the top 0.5 percent most-cited scientists in the world.

Watch a video about Dr. Gendelman.

Dr. MacDonald a teaching hero

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Richard MacDonald, Ph.D.
Dr. MacDonald, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, has received the Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA).

Dr. MacDonald had no formal educational training before he took his first faculty position at UNMC, but he has emerged as one the top teachers on campus. He has won UNMC's Outstanding Teacher of the Year award three times, has developed new courses and routinely receives high evaluations from his students.

One student noted that the only complaint he had heard about Dr. MacDonald was that students wished he taught more sections.

Watch a video about Dr. MacDonald.

Dr. Vennerstrom a world-renowned innovator

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Jonathan Vennerstrom, Ph.D.
Dr. Vennerstrom, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, received the Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA).

Dr. Vennerstrom is one of the world's leading experts in anti-malarial drug development -- critical work, given that there are more than 300 million cases of malaria each year and that malaria causes more than 2 percent of deaths worldwide.

Dr. Vennerstrom has worked to develop new treatments, which have on multiple occasions won the "Project of the Year" award from the Medicines for Malaria Venture. The program is supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A recent drug Dr. Vennerstrom has developed has the potential to be a single-dose cure for malaria when used in combination with other drugs.

Watch a video about Dr. Vennerstrom.

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Moorthy P Ponnusamy
April 09, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Dear Drs Congratulations to all of you for your achievements. A special wish to Dr. MacDonald............ Moorthy Ponnusamy, BMB