Four University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health researchers have been recognized with prestigious awards from the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS), in recognition of their excellence and outstanding performance in support of clinical and translational research.
Clinical and translational research plays a large role in the school’s mission to use innovative research to advance health and health equity in communities. Translational science, often called a “bench to bed side” approach, links basic science laboratory findings with new clinical approaches for preventing, diagnosing, and treating illness.
The awards were announced at the ACTS Translational Science 2021 virtual conference held March 30-April 2. The recipients were nominated by a committee based in the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR).
“We had the privilege of nominating a truly outstanding slate of candidates for ACTS awards to be conferred at the annual Translational Science 2021 meeting,” says Allan Brasier, MD, ICTR executive director and SMPH senior associate dean for clinical and translational research. “It is with great pleasure, but little surprise, that we announce four local winners. Please join ICTR in congratulating this outstanding group.”
Molly Carnes, MD, MS, professor of medicine, psychiatry, and industrial & systems engineering (College of Engineering), earned the Distinguished Educator Award. She was recognized for her international stature as an educator, mentor, and leader, in addition to her accomplishments as a clinical investigator.
Her work on how unconscious bias hinders the advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in academic medicine has contributed to rigorous career development programs and evidence-based interventions. This work hopes to continue to improve the circumstances of future generations of clinical and translational researchers and enhance the overall quality of the biomedical workforce.
An award for Addressing Health Equity Through Partnership and Innovation Award went to Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, PhD, professor of kinesiology (School of Education) and medicine. She was nominated for her sustained body of research contributions focused on health equity, injustice, and issues of disparity in care.
Through local and national collaborations, Farrar-Edwards has identified key barriers underrepresented populations face in obtaining optimal health care and participating in clinical research, and has developed effective strategies to overcome those barriers.
Betsy Rolland, PhD, MLIS, MPH, director of team science & research development for ICTR and the UW Carbone Cancer Center, received the Team Science Award. Rolland was nominated for her sustained scholarly contributions to advancing team science and national stature in the team science community. In addition, she was recognized for specific contributions to developing evidence-informed approaches to advancing innovation, supporting rigor and reproducibility, and advancing leadership training for translational teams.
A fourth awardee, Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, professor of human oncology and pediatrics, was given the Edward H. Ahrens, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-Oriented Research. He is nationally and internationally known for his innovative patient-centered research leading to new standards of care for lethal pediatric cancers.
Sondel’s work focuses on preclinical and clinical analyses of graft-versus-leukemia reactions, anti-tumor immune destruction with Interleukin-2, and tumor reactive monoclonal antibodies to facilitate tumor killing by leukocytes. In addition to his research, he maintains a prodigious teaching and mentoring portfolio, provides substantial local and national service, and is a sought-after provider of clinical care.
Awardees from the School of Medicine and Public Health represent four of the 11 Translational Science 2021 Awards announced at the conference. All of the school’s awardees perform their work in partnership with ICTR, an institute that was founded in 2007. ICTR fosters interdisciplinary partnership between four UW–Madison health sciences schools (Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine) and the UW–Madison College of Engineering, plus the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wisconsin. The institute is supported through a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health and an award from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.