By Wendy Sarubbi | April 3, 2015 12:36 pm

The College of Medicine’s best and brightest faculty and a biomedical sciences student who wants to be an M.D.-Ph.D. were honored April 1 during UCF’s annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation. Founders’ Day is a time-honored tradition that recognizes some of the university’s outstanding achievements.

The College of Medicine honorees are:

University Awards for Excellence in Professional Service: Dr. William Self

self w boy microDr. Self is an associate professor of microbial metabolism in the college’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences and last year was the College of Medicine’s winner for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He has voluntarily conducted a Super Scientist class at Carillion Elementary in Oviedo, where his sons have attended. In the class, children work with microscopes from UCF and slide samples (all enclosed and non-infectious). “I love to see the look of discovery and excitement in the kids. I also love it when what they predict is completely wrong – and they are surprised by the result,” he says.



Reach for the Stars Award – Dr. Ken Teter

Teter, KenThis honor is given to early-career professors who have achieved noteworthy research or creative activities of national impact. The honorees get a $10,000 annual research grant for three years, which can be renewed based on their promising work. This is the second year UCF has given Reach for the Stars Awards at Founders’ Day.

Dr. Teter is an associate professor in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. His lab focuses on how infections impact human health. His specialty is examining the molecular details of how cholera toxin disrupts cellular functions. If scientists can discover how cholera toxin enters the body, they can devise ways to slam the door on those entryways. Dr. Teter has four federal grants including three from the National Institutes of Health and he is passionate about passing on his love for research to his students. He has many graduate students in his lab who have already published their work in journals.

College of Medicine Winner of University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching – Dr. Ken Teter


College of Medicine Winner of University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching – Dr. Mollie Jewett

Dr. Jewett in lab

Dr. Jewett (right) is an assistant professor at the Burnett School whose specializes in infectious diseases and is researching new methods to improve early diagnosis of Lyme disease. She has organized the yearly Graduate Research Symposium at Burnett, where Masters and Ph.D. students present a year’s worth of research. She also teaches and mentors graduate students in her lab, where she is working to identify genes in B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The infection is spread through the bite of a tiny blacklegged tick and has been reported in almost every state. Untreated, it can cause long-term joint inflammation, heart and brain/nervous system problems.




College of Medicine Winner of University Award for Excellence in Research: Dr. Victor Davidson

Davidson1_Fotor - Copy

A professor at the Burnett School, Dr. Davidson was recently honored with a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his “distinctly superior” long-term research efforts. He has 27 years of continued grant support from the NIH. His research focus is on enzymes – proteins that serve as the body’s powerhouses – and allow chemical reactions for functions like breathing, metabolism and blood clotting to occur much faster than they would otherwise. Dr. Davidson’s research studies how enzymes transfer electrons and activate molecular oxygen while minimizing oxidative damage to the body. Oxidative stress is linked to many conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammatory diseases like arthritis.



Exceptional Student Honoree, College of Medicine: Jeremy Tran   

muller jeremy smile lab1

Tran (right) is a biomedical sciences major in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences who has been extensively involved in research. He has made several research poster presentations statewide, including a 1st place in Life Sciences at the UCF Showcase for Undergraduate Research. He is coauthor with Burnett School faculty member Dr. Mark Muller (left) on a national journal article related to cancer, epigenetics and hypomethylation. He served as research director, director of medical relations and director of public relations for the Pre-Medical American Medical Student Association. After graduating in May, he will attend medical school, where he hopes to become an M.D.-Ph.D. who can care for patients and also research better treatments for disease.




College of Medicine Recognition of Service to the University, 20 Years of Service: Drs. Debopam Chakrabarti: Cristina Fernandez-Valle, Mark Muller, Saleh A. Naser and Otto Phanstiel

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