By Wendy Sarubbi | April 7, 2014 9:46 am

College of Medicine faculty and an undergraduate student were honored for their significant achievements and academic contributions at the annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation on April 2. UCF President John C. Hitt said the accomplishments recognized at the annual convocation continue to confirm the pursuit of excellence by those at the university.

Dr. William Self was the College of Medicine’s winner for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Dr. Self has taught at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences since 2003 and is a “highly sought after mentor and teacher” for undergraduates, said his award nomination from Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs and interim director of the Burnett school.

“I can’t say enough that Dr. Self consistently demonstrates his commitment to education and excellence in all that he does,” Dr. Peppler wrote, noting that Dr. Self’s undergraduate mentees have published more than 10 scientific articles.

Students in his courses, including Microbial Metabolism, Structure-Function in the Biomedical Science core, and Applications of Calculus I and II, applaud Dr. Self for his enthusiasm, humor and engaging style. “He is an incredible instructor that can truly inspire students to learn,” one student wrote.

Dr. Kenneth Teter was the college’s honoree for excellence in research. Dr. Teter’s research focuses on toxin-mediated diseases like cholera. His lab works to understand the cell biology that allows a toxin to cross a cell’s membrane barrier and infect it. Understanding this process could lead to the development of new therapies against diseases like cholera, an acute infection of the gut that can kill within hours if untreated. The World Health Organization reports more than 100,000 people die each year from cholera, caused by unsafe drinking water and improper sanitation.

Dr. Teter’s lab is also looking to improve the delivery of anti-cancer drugs to target cells. By improving the medicinal value of the drugs through better delivery functions, physicians could lower the drugs’ toxicity and the devastating side effects caused by many cancer treatments.

Dr. Teter’s work has been extensively funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); five different grants have totaled $3.1 million. In addition, he has been awarded two patents and has served as an ad hoc reviewer for grant applications to the UK Medical Research Council, the Italian Ministry of Health, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the NIH.

Catherine Gutierrez was the College of Medicine’s student honoree. A double major in biotechnology and microbiology & molecular biology at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Gutierrez has been extensively involved in research while at UCF and has several pending publications.

She attended the University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Student Scholars Program last summer, where she was involved in digestive and liver research at the National Institutes of Health Center for Metabolic and Liver Diseases.  As part of a STEM Initiative Program, Gutierrez also participated as a research intern at Sanford-Burnham Research Institute.

She volunteers at Shepherd’s Hope, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Florida Hospital East, American Red Cross, Give the Kids the World, Relay for Life, and organized a HIV/AIDS barbecue for more than 100 children born with HIV/AIDS.  For fun she sings soprano in the College of Medicine Capella Group. She plans to graduate in May and has already been accepted into the Case Western Reserve University Minority HIV Research Training Program and multiple medical schools.

Two College of Medicine faculty were honored at Founders’ Day for their length of service. Dr. Roseann White, associate director of the Burnett school and professor, was honored for 45 years of service to UCF. Dr. Diane Jacobs, professor of microbiology, was honored for 20 years of service.

Post Tags

Related Stories