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Awards honor profound impact of research staff

Jun. 20, 2019, 8:45 AM

by Bill Snyder

Laboratory and administrative personnel at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were honored last week for research excellence during the 15th annual Research Staff Awards luncheon at the Kimpton Aertson Hotel in Nashville.

Recipients of the 2018 Research Staff Awards are:

  • Stephen Gannon Jr., CCRP, program director for operations and project implementation for the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs), who received the Award for Excellence in Research Contributing to Multi-Investigator Teams;
  • Xiaotao Lu, MS, senior research specialist in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, recipient of the Edward E. Price Jr. Award for Excellence in Basic Research; and
  • Sachin Paranjape, external clinical research consultant and research assistant III in the Autonomic Dysfunction Center, who received the Vivien A. Thomas Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

Gannon, a Certified Clinical Research Professional, came to VUMC in 2014 as clinical research coordinator in Pediatric Neurosurgery. In 2017 he was appointed program director for SOCKs, which facilitates collaborative research across multiple surgical disciplines at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Stephen Gannon Jr., CCRP

In her nomination letter, SOCKs director Chevis Shannon, MBA, MPH, DrPH, research associate professor of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, wrote that Gannon “is the person you count on to address the small things and … troubleshoot and fix the big things.”

“He has been extremely instrumental in the expansion of the SOCKs program and I believe is one of the main reasons we continue to be successful,” Shannon added.

Lu came to Vanderbilt in 1990 after earning her master’s degree in Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing. For 26 years she has worked with Mark Denison, MD, to advance understanding of coronaviruses, one of which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Xiaotao Lu, MS

In his nomination letter, Denison, the Craig-Weaver Professor of Pediatrics and interim director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, wrote that “the success of the lab and my research program would not have been possible without her technical expertise, work ethic, scientific capabilities and independence.”

Lu’s award is named for the late Edward E. Price Jr., an internationally known research assistant in the Department of Biochemistry and in the Cardiovascular Physiology Core who died in 2007.

Paranjape came to VUMC in 1992 as a research assistant in Biochemistry. Four years later he joined the Autonomic Dysfunction Center, internationally known for defining and treating often-debilitating neurological disorders of blood pressure regulation.

Sachin Paranjape

In his nomination letter, center director Italo Biaggioni, MD, David Robertson Professor of Autonomic Disorders, wrote that “Sachin’s work was pivotal in our successful completion of the 1998 Neurolab mission, which entailed some of the most complicated human experiments carried out in space.”

Paranjape also was nominated by Cyndya Shibao, MD, MSCI, associate professor of Medicine, and Bonnie Black, RN, NP, a past recipient of the Vivien A. Thomas Award, named for the pioneering surgical technician who began his career at Vanderbilt in the 1930s.

Each recipient was given an award check and crystal trophy.

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