April 23 Founders Day observance to honor UCSF medal recipients and faculty award winners

By Bonz Otsuki on April 18, 2003

The annual Founders Day observance for the University of California, San Francisco will honor the recipients of the prestigious UCSF Medal, as well as the recipients of faculty research and teaching awards.

UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, MD, will present the awards at the Founders Day banquet on Wednesday, April 23 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

The UCSF Medal is the University’s highest honor, equivalent to the honorary doctorate given by many universities. It is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding personal contributions to the health sciences and whose efforts mirror the goals and values of the university.
2003 UCSF Medal Recipients:

T. Robert Burke, a real estate leader who assisted in planning and developing the UCSF Mission Bay campus; Richard N. Goldman, an American philanthropist and Bay Area civic leader; Nancy Hopkins, PhD, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and champion of gender equity in academia, and Charles B. Wilson, MD, DSc, MSHA, a renowned neurosurgeon and professor emeritus who served more than 30 years as a leader at UCSF.

The banquet also will honor the recipients of the foremost honors bestowed each year by the UCSF Academic Senate for distinguished research and teaching.  They are:

Faculty Research Lecturer:  Ronald D. Vale, PhD, has been named as the 46th annual lecturer in recognition of his research achievements.  He is internationally recognized for his seminal and pioneering contributions in the fields of cell biology and biophysics.

Distinguished Clinical Research Lecturer:  Neal L. Benowitz,  MD, is the second faculty member to receive this annual award for outstanding work in clinical research.  He is recognized as a pioneer and world authority on the human pharmacology of nicotine.

Academic Senate Distinction in Teaching Award: This award recognizes faculty in two categories for the first time this year: those who have taught at UCSF for five years or less, and those who have taught for five years or more. 

For five years or less, the award honors Igor Mitrovic, MD, assistant adjunct professor in the Departments of Physiology and Stomatology. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Margo Vener, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

For five years or more:  Susan B. Masters, PhD, adjunct professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, and Melvin M. Scheinman, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Ellen M. Scarr, RNC, MSN, FNP, WHNP, associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing.

The campus community and friends of UCSF are invited to attend the Founders Day Banquet and Medal Ceremony on Wednesday, April 23, at 6:30 pm at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. The cost of the event is $70 per person. For more information or reservations, email or call 415/476-4454.

Hopkins will present a lecture, “Faculty Equity and Diversity: Lessons Learned at MIT,” on Tuesday, April 22, from 1:15 to 3 pm, in Carr Auditorium at the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center campus. 

The lecture is presented by the J. David Gladstone Institutes, UCSF Center for Gender Equity, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (CACSW).
Vale will give the 46th Faculty Research Lecture on Tuesday, April 22, at 3:30 p.m. in Cole Hall, on the UCSF campus at 513 Parnassus Ave. The lecture, open to the campus community and the general public, is titled: “On the Road with Molecular Motors: A Journey from Single Molecules, to Cells, to the Clinic.”

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Additional Biographical Information

T. Robert Burke is co-founder and director of AMB Property Corp., a real estate investment firm. He served on the Board of the Bay Area Life Sciences Alliance (BALSA), a partnership of business and government leaders that assisted UCSF officials in planning and developing the teaching and research campus at Mission Bay. BALSA provided essential assistance in negotiations that resulted in the donation of 43 acres of land for the campus by the City and Catellus Development Corp. BALSA also sponsored an international design competition and supported development of the campus master plan.

Burke also serves on the investment committee of the UCSF Foundation, which is in the midst of a seven-year effort to raise $1.4 billion for UCSF health science initiatives. He has been an ardent supporter of the Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction.

Richard N. Goldman has consistently demonstrated an outstanding commitment as a world citizen by supporting international, national and local organizations, including medical education, research, patient care and health projects at UCSF. In 1951, he and his now late wife established the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, which supports charitable organizations that are devoted to youth, the elderly, the environment and violence prevention. He has donated more than $78 million to environmental organizations, and is president of the Goldman Fund and the Goldman Environmental Foundation, which has awarded the annual Goldman Environmental Prize since 1990 to environmental grassroots activists from regions around the world. Goldman also is a leader in Bay Area cultural, academic and policy organizations.

Nancy Hopkins, PhD, the Amgen Professor of Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a member of the Institute of Medicine, is noted for her work uncovering gender inequities among faculty at MIT and speaking out about the issue at universities across the US. In 1995, she chaired the first Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science at MIT, which documented the disparities in salary, laboratory and office space, access to administrative resources, grant monies raised, publications, and tenure between men and women faculty. The research showed that discrimination - often unintentional and subtle - existed at many levels. The results led to changes in hiring and recruiting for women and minorities at MIT; other institutions since have made similar findings and changes.
Hopkins has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1973. Her laboratory currently studies the genetics of normal development in the zebrafish embryo.

Charles B. Wilson, MD, DSc, MSHA, is UCSF professor emeritus of neurosurgery. A senior member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the UCSF faculty since 1968, he was chair of neurosurgery as well as founding director of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center until 1997.
Patients from all over the world entrusted their brain surgery to Wilson, who developed UCSF’s translational program of basic science and clinical research in the biology and therapy of brain tumors.  He was especially concerned with pituitary disorders and performed more than 3,300 transphenoidal surgeries for pituitary tumors at UCSF Medical Center. He perfected microsurgical techniques in which the surgeon gains access to the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, by entering the sinus cavity.

Over the past decade, Wilson has redirected his primary focus to the organization and delivery of health care, in particular the challenges facing academic medicine in response to an environment of new market forces. He served as Director of Tertiary Care Services at UCSF beginning in 1994, and beginning in 1996, advised the President of the University of California, assembling the UC Commission on the Future of Medical Education. As Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, he currently addresses areas such as emerging medical technologies, academic medical centers, the health care workforce, and the impact of genomic medicine on health and health care.

Ronald D. Vale, PhD, has been a member of the UCSF faculty since 1986.  He is a professor and vice chair in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology. He also is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and William K. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Anesthesia. He and his research group have used a combination of biophysical, structural, and cell biological approaches to understand the mechanisms and roles of molecular motors, small protein machines that transport molecules and organelles inside cells. In 2001, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Neal L. Benowitz, MD, is a pharmacologist renowned for his research on nicotine and tobacco-related health issues.  He has been a member of the UCSF faculty for almost 30 years.  He is chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences and vice-chair of the Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences.

Benowitz has been active in many national and international tobacco-related health issues, applying his basic research findings on the effects and dangers of nicotine to public policy issues. He is the author of more than 360 papers in scholarly journals and books. His lecture related to this award, “Nicotine: Understanding and Preventing the Tobacco Plague,” was presented on October 25, 2002.

Igor Mitrovic, MD, joined the UCSF faculty in 2001 as one of his department’s first full time professorial teachers to address the demands of creating and administering the new integrated curriculum in the School of Medicine. 

He also has substantial teaching responsibilities in the School of Dentistry. His award honors his initiatives to improve the new curriculum, including adding a basic laboratory science program to prepare medical students for research. In addition, he is honored for his role as a mentor to students.

Susan B. Masters, PhD, directs the professional teaching operations in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, overseeing courses that are presented to UCSF medical, pharmacy and dental students. She was one of the principal architects of the highly successful new curriculum in the School of Medicine, and the award honors her “indelible mark on curriculum planning and execution.” Masters also is honored as a master teacher of students and of teachers, with “a remarkable ability to encourage and teach students and lecturers alike to strive for their best,” according to the awards committee.

Melvin M. Scheinman, MD, is honored for “exerting a profound influence on cardiac teaching at local, national and international levels.” A founding pioneer of cardiac electrophysiology, the treatment of heart rhythm disorders, Scheinman was the first to perform catheter ablation in human beings and helped to establish other treatments that are the routine of care today. The awards committee quoted a student in summing up his impact: “Dr. Scheinman has influenced a generation of academic electrophysiologists. Most major universities sport at least one ‘Scheinman fellow,’ and many centers have a former fellow as their chief.”

As a teacher, Scheinman works with every level of medical student and scholar. He leads the electrocardiography elective course for senior medical students, teaches residents and students in his scheduled Rhythm Rounds and CCU Rounds and has created a formal didactic program including review of basic sciences, important clinical advances and journal club. His weekly sessions with cardiac electrophysiology fellows in analyses of difficult tracings are credited as accounting in part for the great competition for cardiac electrophysiology slots at UCSF. As an American Heart Association teaching scholar, he helped produce innovative video teaching aids relative to treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction. He also directs an annual course for the American College of Cardiology on advanced clinical electrophysiology and ablation.

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