November 11, 2010

Awards honor invaluable efforts of research staff

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Susan Wente, Ph.D., left, talks with Research Staff Awards honorees, from left, Linda Dupré, Deborah Hunter, R.N., and Deborah Mays. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Awards honor invaluable efforts of research staff

Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center simply could not be done without the contributions of key staff in the laboratory and administration.

A select few are honored for their excellence each year at the Research Staff Awards luncheon. Honorees at the seventh annual luncheon, held last week at the University Club, were:

Linda Dupré, manager of Grants Development at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, who received the award for Excellence in Research Contributing to a Multi-investigator Team;

Deborah Hunter, R.N., director of Quality Assurance in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, who won the Vivien Thomas Award for Excellence in Clinical Research; and

Deborah Mays, senior research specialist in the laboratory of Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., who received the Edward E. Price Jr. Award for Excellence in Basic Research.

Since 1988, Dupré has been responsible for reviewing, critiquing and coordinating hundreds of grants submitted by Kennedy Center investigators to extramural granting agencies.

“The personal and professional strength that she brings to her role has facilitated many VKC investigators to stay competitive and obtain grant funding even during the most difficult of times in the extramural world,” said Kennedy Center director Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., and Director of Operations Tim Stafford in their nomination letter.

Hunter, who is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator, has worked in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program (VVRP) since 2003, and is implementing a quality assurance/quality management plan in the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU).

“Deborah serves as a key to the success of our VTEU research at Vanderbilt,” said VVRP director Kathryn Edwards, M.D., in her nomination letter. “The accomplishments within this program are a direct result of her dedication and support.”

Since 1997, Mays has worked in the Pietenpol lab, where she also participates in the training of graduate students and postdoctoral and clinical fellows.

“Deb is incredibly sharp, productive and makes discoveries at the bench a reality,” said Pietenpol, who directs the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, in her nomination letter. “Without a doubt, her love of research and leadership of projects are integral to the accomplishments of my laboratory.”

The awards included a crystal trophy and a check for $1,000.