November 13, 2009

Awards honor research staff members’ many contributions

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Honored with Research Staff Awards were, from left, Brenda Barnes, R.N., Patrick Donahue and Jill Lindner. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Awards honor research staff members’ many contributions

Three Vanderbilt University Medical Center research assistants received awards for excellence at the sixth annual Research Staff Awards luncheon, held last week at the University Club.

• E. Patrick (Pat) Donahue won the Edward E. Price Jr. Award for Excellence in Basic Research.

Donahue began working at Vanderbilt in 1979 and is the assistant lab manager of the Hormone Assay and Analytical Services Core, part of the Diabetes Research and Training Center. He has developed numerous assays and methodologies that make the resource state-of-the-art, wrote David Wasserman, Ph.D., in the letter nominating Donahue. His unparalleled commitment to quality control uncovered an impurity in a product from a supplier and minimized research losses to multiple investigators at Vanderbilt.

• Brenda Barnes, R.N., received the Vivien Thomas Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

Barnes' first clinical research role at Vanderbilt started in 1987, when she joined Lewis Lefkowitz, M.D., in the first clinical research project with HIV-infected patients.

In 1995, she became the Vanderbilt coordinator of the Emerging Infections Program (EIP), an assembly of communicable disease projects that is a collaboration between Vanderbilt, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is the “linchpin of this public health research” wrote William Schaffner, M.D., in his nomination of Barnes.

• Jill Lindner won the award for Excellence in Research Contributing to a Multi-investigator Team.

Lindner came to Vanderbilt as a research assistant in 1975 and has been part of the research team of Mark Magnuson, M.D., since 1991. She worked with Magnuson to launch the Vanderbilt Transgenic/ES Cell Shared Resource and has personally been responsible for generating dozens of genetically modified mice, some of which now reside in repositories like the Jackson Laboratory where they are used by other investigators.

Since 2000, Lindner has coordinated collaborations for the worldwide Beta Cell Biology Consortium.

“The Vanderbilt research enterprise is built on a foundation of bright, talented, hard working, and devoted research staff,” Susan Wente, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research, said at the luncheon. “Without you we would not making discoveries and training future scientists.”

The awards included a crystal trophy and $1,000. They were presented by Wente, George Hill, Ph.D., associate dean for Diversity in Medical Education, School of Medicine, and Ann Minnick, Ph.D., R.N., senior associate dean for Research, School of Nursing.