Two COPH faculty awarded 2017 Outstanding Research Achievement Awards

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The USF College of Public Health’s Dr. Thomas Unnasch, USF Health distinguished professor, chair of global health and interim chair of environmental and occupational health, and Dr. Amy Alman, assistant professor of epidemiology, are among 17 faculty members from across the USF System with the 2017 Outstanding Research Achievement Awards. The ceremony was held in the Galleria at the USF Research Park in Tampa on Oct. 23.

USF faculty were recognized for their national and international research achievements in 2016 by their peers on the USF System Research Council (Photo by Aimee Blodgett).

USF faculty were recognized for their national and international research achievements in 2016 by their peers on the USF System Research Council (Photo by Aimee Blodgett).

The annual awards, which are part of an open competition judged by the USF System Research Council, are given to USF faculty members who have received national and international peer recognition for their research and achievements in 2016.

USF System President Judy Genshaft and Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise, presented the awards, including a check for $2,000 in recognition of each winner’s research accomplishments.

“The USF System is rapidly gaining national and international prestige because of the strength of its faculty and the outstanding quality of their research,” Sanberg said. “While our students are the first beneficiaries in learning the new knowledge this research generates, the impact of this ground-breaking work is felt in the wider community and across the world.”

Dr. Thomas Unnasch (Photo by Rocky Jalil).

Dr. Thomas Unnasch (Photo by Rocky Jalil).

During 2016, Unnasch and his collaborators published 14 research articles in peer reviewed journals, including papers in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and Nature Microbiology.

He received a new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases five-year, individual research R01 grant to conduct research on vector control measures to supplement mass drug distribution for the elimination of river blindness.

Unnasch’s laboratory was also one of four that form the Southeastern Center of Excellence for Research in Vector Borne Diseases – one of only four such centers designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Amy Alman (Photo by Caitlin Keough).

Dr. Amy Alman (Photo by Caitlin Keough).

Alman is a subject matter expert on the oral-systemic connection in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. In 2016, she received $628,000 for year one of a five-year, $2,930,000 R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine the relationships between the compositional and functional characteristics of the oral microbiome, type 1 diabetes, and subclinical CVD.

This project builds on her dissertation work at the University of Colorado and on pilot studies conducted since she arrived at the COPH to continue her focus on understanding the relationship between novel risk factors and CVD, particularly in those with type 1 diabetes.

“Receiving this award and recognition was a great honor for me and I am very thankful for the many opportunities afforded to me at USF to expand my research,” Alman said.

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health

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