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University of South Florida

Three named Distinguished USF Health Professor for 2022

Three USF Health faculty members were each recently named 2022 Distinguished USF Health Professor, USF Health’s highest recognition for faculty.

Stephen B. Liggett, MD, Karen D. Liller, PhD, CPH, and Usha Menon, PhD, FAAN, were each presented with the designation, a promotion that recognizes outstanding faculty who have clearly distinguished themselves in their fields and are known nationally and internationally for their research and scholarly activity.

Dr. Steve Liggett

Dr. Stephen Liggett is the associate vice president for research at USF Health and the vice dean for research at the Morsani College of Medicine. He also is a professor of internal medicine and of molecular pharmacology and physiology and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Dr. Liggett holds 15 patents and has more than 25 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for studying genomics and receptors as they relate to heart and lung disease. His lab studies the genetics, genomics, and molecular and cellular biology of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).  He discovered the first nonsynonymous polymorphism of a GPCR, subsequently defining its function in cells and genetically modified mice. GPCRs are the targets of ~50% of currently prescribed drugs.  Delineation for the extensive variability within the superfamily opened the modern era of pharmacogenomics, where drug targets are now considered. The laboratory studies GPCRs in relation to heart and lung disease, but casts a broad net to understand inter-individual variability.

Dr. Karen Liller

Dr. Karen Liller is professor in the USF Health College of Public Health specializing in public health and injury prevention, and is COPH’s Strategic Lead for Policy, Practice and Leadership and founder and director of the Activist Lab. Dr. Liller’s teaching, research, and service activities largely focus on public health and the prevention and control of child and adolescent injuries. She has been the recipient of several awards/honors such as the first State of Florida Injury Prevention Award, the Tampa Bay Business Healthcare Hero Award and was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also has received several national and state grants related to injury prevention. Dr. Liller has published extensively in top peer-reviewed publications and was named one of the top 15 national women scholars in health education and health promotion. She is the editor of “Injury Prevention for Children and Adolescents: Research, Practice, and Advocacy,” published by the American Public Health Association. She also is the co-lead editor for the “Certified in Public Health Exam Review Guide” published by the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Usha Menon

Dr. Usha Menon is professor and senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF Health College of Nursing. Dr. Menon has been consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other national foundations, garnering approximately $60 million in total research awards. She has contributed 80 peer review publications and has provided more than 150 presentations at national and international meetings. She has served on multiple NIH study sections and national society committees. Her primary research interests have been in optimizing cancer screening regimens and reducing racial and ethnic disparities in cancer and other health outcomes. Her interests in nursing education have focused on increasing diversity of thought, scholarship, and innovative curricular elements. Her global health interests include nursing workforce and curricular development in Ethiopia and India, as well as initiating cervical cancer “screen and treat” programs in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Dr. Menon is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, a recipient of the NIH National Research Service Award, and an inductee of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

The Distinguished USF Health Professor award recognizes senior faculty across all USF Health colleges and programs for their substantial achievements in the areas of research, teaching and service. Faculty members are nominated by their deans, recommended by their peers and selected through a rigorous process of internal and external review of each nominee’s credentials.