Five OHSU Faculty Members Singled Out For Honors

02/25/11  Portland, Ore.

Five Oregon Health & Science University faculty members have been recognized for exceptional efforts in support of the university’s research, teaching, service, collaboration and leadership missions. They are the winners of the 2007 OHSU Faculty Senate Awards.

The awards recognize OHSU faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained and significant record of meritorious academic accomplishments. The winners – each of whom has received $3,500 from the OHSU Foundation – are:

Research:   Michael V.Danilchik, Ph.D., professor in the department of integrative biosciences in the School of Dentistry. Danilchik works at the interface between cell and developmental biology, using sea urchin and amphibian embryos to study mechanisms of early morphogenesis, when rapidly dividing cells first begin to differentiate and organize themselves into functional tissues. He pioneered the use of confocal microscopy live cell imaging at OHSU. His research – which has had continuous funding support from the National Science Foundation since 1986 – has focused on gaining a better understanding of how embryonic cells modify general cellular  mechanisms to generate the earliest features of the embryo’s body plan. He currently is working on understanding cytoskeletal and membrane dynamics during embryonic compaction when dividing cells start to organize and function as epithelia.

Teaching:  William Hersh, M.D., professor and chair of the department of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology (DMICE) in the School of Medicine. Hersh has been a pioneer and international leader in the rapidly evolving field of biomedical informatics. Under his leadership, OHSU has developed one of the nation’s most respected academic programs in the field, which focuses on the use of information to improve health care and biomedical research. Informatics education was first offered at OHSU in 1992 through the award of a training grant by the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. A formal master’s degree program was launched in 1996 and a Ph.D. program in 2003. Hersh spearheaded the program’s foray into distance learning in 1999 and the program recently accepted its 500th student. More than 200 students were enrolled this year alone both on the OHSU campus and in the distance-learning program. Hersh also led the development of the 10x10 program in collaboration with the American Medical Informatics Association, which aims to educate 10,000 health care professionals in informatics by the year 2010. He also chairs the working group on education of the International Medical Informatics Association and o the medical informatics subcommittee of the American College of Physicians.

Service:  Carol A.P. Christlieb, R.N., M.S., associate professor and director of academic programs at the Ashland campus of the School of Nursing. Christlieb was recognized for “extraordinary service” for the leadership role she has played in implementing the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE) program and for her active participation on a multitude of state and local health-related boards and task forces and in School of Nursing activities. OCNE is a collaborative mechanism established in response to the state’s critical nursing shortage to foster a dramatic expansion in the capacity and enrollment of Oregon’s nursing programs. Through OCNE, students at the state’s eight community colleges, through a shared curriculum created in collaboration with OHSU, can earn an undergraduate nursing degree from OHSU without leaving their home campuses. Additional activities include membership on the Jackson County Public Health Advisory Board, which she chaired for three years; Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education Coordinating Council; Ashland Oregon Parish Nurse Advisory Board; Ashland Community Hospital Board; Rogue Valley Manor Board and the Asante and Providence Home Health and Hospitce Advisory Boards.

Collaboration:  Paul G. Tratnyek, Ph.D., professor in the department of environmental and biomolecular systems in the OGI School of Science & Engineering. Tratnyek, an environmental chemist, was cited for his skill at finding ways to bring things together—whether carbon atoms, disparate disciplines or people—and contributing to the collaborative environment at OHSU. His research activities have been focused on the application of nanotechnology to basic and biomedical science in partnership with scientists at OHSU as well as other universities and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has investigated, among other things, the use of nano-sized particles of iron for cleaning up contaminants in groundwater, soil and sediments. Recognizing that most new frontiers of science are at the interface between disciplines, he has been a champion of developing interdisciplinary education for students. In organizing a special session on nanotechnology in a recent national meeting of the Blood Brain Barrier Consortium, he was credited with facilitating new collaborations between School of Medicine colleagues and the wide range of national nanobiology experts he had assembled.

Leadership:  Curtis Bell, Ph.D., senior scientist at the OHSU Neurological Sciences Institute. Bell, who is retiring, was honored for his 42 years of leadership at NSI and in the larger community. The awards committee cited him for providing “a mature, stabilizing influence in the politics and administration of our scientific community.” In his own research he has studied the central processing of sensory information in animals to provide insight into human perception and learning. He has been regarded, said the committee, as the ‘go-to-guy’ for investigators across the Institute on a wide variety of research problems. He also has been an active leader in promoting science education in Portland, inspiring students at all levels with respect to the wise and respectful use of science. In addition, the awards committee took note of Bell’s active leadership in the greater Portland community for human rights and peace advocacy, which has been manifested in his work with Amnesty International, the Oregon Interfaith Roundtable for Peace, and PDX Peace, the latter a coalition of peace action groups in the Portland area.