USF Health faculty members honored for outstanding research

Four USF Health faculty members were among 11 recipients of the university’s 2013 Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Awards.

Cesario Borlongan, PhD; Chad Dickey, PhD; and Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD, PhD, all of the Morsani College of Medicine;  and Wilbur Milhous, PhD, of the College of Public Health, joined awardees honored at an Oct. 28 awards luncheon hosted by the USF Office of Research and Innovation.

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L to R: USF Senior Vice Provost Dr. Dwayne Smith, USF President Judy Genshaft, award recipient Dr. Benjamin Djulbegovic, and Dr. Paul Sanberg, senior vice president for research and innovation.

The annual awards both celebrate USF faculty members for publications, awards and grants exemplifying their outstanding scholarship and research and underscore the professional recognition that they attracted the previous calendar year from national and international peers. The USF System Research Council selects awardees based on an open competition.

Dr. Borlongan, professor and vice chair for research, neurosurgery and brain repair, and director of the Center for Aging and Brain Repair at the Morsani College of Medicine, was recognized for his research and scholarly work in translational biomedical research.  In 2012 he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science based on his research on stem cell therapy for stroke. He published 23 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as PloS One and Stem Cells and Development, filed a patent application, and became principal investigator on two federal grants, a James and Esther King state grant, and co-investigator on a VA Merit award.

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Cesar Borlongan, PhD, (left) and Chad Dickey, PhD

Dr. Dickey, associate professor of molecular medicine at the Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, was recognized for his research studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. In 2012, he published eight manuscripts in top journals: Journal of Biological Chemistry, Autophagy, Chemistry & Biology, ACS Chemical Biology, and Journal of Molecular Biology. Four papers focused on compounds that target members of the heat shock proteins family, which Dr. Dickey found to have therapeutic potential. This discovery has advanced knowledge of the biological mechanism used by the cell to deal with protein aggregates and led to the discovery of a leading drug candidate for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Djulbegovic is a distinguished professor and director, Division of Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Outcomes Research, Department of Internal Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine. He was recognized for his work in 2012 on the development of two major theories in clinical research and decision-making:  the theory regarding treatment success in clinical trials and the acceptable regret theory.  His contributions include improving the practice of medicine using the following evidence-based medicine methods: predicting and proving the optimal treatment discovery rate, developing a new theory of medical decision-making, and improving patient outcomes and saving resources by generating evidence-based guidelines.

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Wilbur Milhous, PhD

Dr. Milhous, professor of the Global Health Infectious Disease Research Program and associate dean of research, College of Public Health, was recognized for his research translating technology from the laboratory to the field. In 2012, Dr. Milhous was designated a distinguished alumnus from the University of North Carolina for his contributions to the discovery and development of drugs for neglected diseases.  He also completed a five-year appointment representing USF on the Advisory Committee of the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), which holds the world’s largest research and development portfolio for new and innovative antimalarial medicines, and was appointed as an editor of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the leading journal for infectious disease drugs.

Group photo by Aimee Blodgett, University Communications and Marketing