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Two School of Medicine Faculty Members Win Founders Week Awards from the University of Maryland

Friday, October 28, 2011

 Dean Reece congratulates Dr. Strome on his award.

Scott Strome, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, is the recipient of the 2011 University of Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Dr. Strome and David Block, MD, MBA, co-founded biotech start-up Gliknik, Inc. in 2007, to commercialize Dr. Strome’s research into potential therapies for patients with cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. “It is a rare scientist who can be entrepreneurial, while actively keeping pace with the cutting-edge aspects of medicine and, in particular, immunology, while also retaining a keen focus on the ultimate needs of the patient,” Dr. Block said of Dr. Strome.

Gliknik, which is housed here on campus in BioPark II, has invested nearly $1 million in research being done at the School of Medicine.  "I believe the BioPark and Gliknik have both benefited from this partnership," Dr. Strome said. "As a citizen of the campus, David and I believe Gliknik should give back to the University of Maryland community, which we have through offering technical expertise to University scientists; collaborative attempts to obtain extramural funding; and ongoing sponsored research agreements."

Gary Fiskum, PhD, the Matjasko Professor for Research in Anesthesiology, is the recipient of the 2011 Researcher of the Year Award.

Dr. Fiskum, who does research pertaining to mitochondrial dysfunction associated with brain injury and optimizing cerebral resuscitation, has funding in excess of $7 million, but he was still surprised to receive this honor. “I was almost speechless, which is highly unusual for me,” he said with a smile. “I was particularly touched by Dr. Perman (President of UMB) notifying me personally, since we have had a productive and very cordial relationship since he was the chair of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine.”

To his colleagues, though, Dr. Fiskum’s honor comes as no surprise. “In his relentless pursuit of excellence, Gary seeks out other individuals who can both augment and enhance his own skills, while also providing mentoring and guidance to other scientists,” said Margaret McCarthy, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and interim chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics.

Being a mentor is as important to Fiskum as being a researcher.   “There is no greater satisfaction than mentoring scientists who become successful, independent investigators,” he said. It was testament to his skills as a mentor that many of those he has overseen came back to honor Dr. Fiskum at his Researcher of the Year lecture. Said Courtney Robertson, MD, who is now at Johns Hopkins Hospital, “he is the type of mentor who always gives credit to the hard work of his mentees and ‘shines the spotlight’ on them in front of other scientists at national conventions.” Added Brian Polster, PhD, Dr. Fiskum’s first PhD student, who is now an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, “My dedication and approach to biomedical research were shaped by one individual, Dr. Gary Fiskum.”

Since 1996, the University has recognized three categories of excellence during its Founders Week: Teacher of the Year, Research Lecturer of the Year, and Public Servant of the Year. In 2006, the University added the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, to honor a faculty member (or members) who show creativity and resolve in taking basic research from the lab to the marketplace. All but one of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards have gone to School of Medicine faculty.

This year's winner of the Public Servant of the Year award was also from the School of Medicine: Jean Marie Roth, an academic specialist in the Office of Student Research was honored for having led countless drives for the less fortunate as chair of the Staff Senate's Community Outreach Committee, benefiting the likes of Our Daily Bread, the Ronald McDonald House, the Maryland Food Bank, and Cell Phones for Soldiers. She also volunteers with her parish, the Hereford Optimist Club and as an usher at the Hippodrome theater.

Congratulations to all of our School of Medicine winners!

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 Dr. Fiskum delivering his Researcher of the Year speech in Davidge Hall.

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