2021 Faculty Awards Recipients and Years of Service Recognition

Regents' Awards

Superior Teaching

Teresa A. Scordino, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, College of Medicine

Dr. Scordino directs the OU College of Medicine’s BHL (hematology) course and directed the College of Allied Health’s Pathology course from 2017-2019. She teaches medical, allied health, nursing, physician associate, and dental students in eight courses across the OUHSC campus and is involved in educating pathology residents and hematology-oncology fellows. She is interested in curriculum development, improving formative feedback to learners, and developing innovative ways to teach laboratory medicine to students. She has been the recipient of the Aesculapian Award for excellence in teaching (preclinical sciences), the Dewayne Andrews Excellence in Teaching Award, the Richard W. Leech Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Teacher Award, and is a member of the Academy of Teaching Scholars.

Superior Research and Creative Activity

Yun-Zheng Le, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine

Dr. Le serves as Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Cell Biology and Ophthalmology, Harold Hamm Chair in diabetes Research, and Co-Director of the NIH diabetes CoBRE Animal Core. He is an expert in diabetic retinopathy, neurobiology, and mouse genetic engineering, with over 80 publications (over 2,000 citations). His work is supported by over $9 million from NIH and major vision and diabetes research agencies. Dr. Le’s collaborative nature has made impactful contributions to OUHSC, resulting in successful application, renewal, and execution of over 30 NIH R01 grants and 12 CoBREproject grants. He has trained many students, scholars, fellows, and mentored young faculty.

Superior Professional and University Service and Public Outreach

Dale W. Bratzler, D.O., Professor of Health Administration and Policy, Hudson College of Public Health

Dr. Dale Bratzler is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy in the OU Hudson College of Public Health; Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the OU College of Medicine; Enterprise Chief Quality Officer, OU Medicine; and Chief COVID Officer for the University of Oklahoma. He has devoted nearly 25 years to researching infection prevention and treatment, as well as advising health care leaders on public health topics. Additionally, his contribution to those less fortunate through his public outreach in volunteer service in the clinics of the Alliance for the Uninsured is immeasurable.

Regents' Professorship

Kevin L. Haney, D.D.S., Department of Developmental Sciences, College of Dentistry

Dr. Kevin Haney has served as a Commissioned Officer with the United States Public Health Service, serving as an Area Pediatric Dental Specialist developing courses and providing continuing education to other dental offices throughout the country, and providing dental care to children of multiple southwestern Native American tribes. He returned to the OU College of Dentistry as a Fellow in the Native American Center of Excellence and Assistant Professor of Pediatric Dentistry. Currently, he is the Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Administration, overseeing curriculum and admissions. He is a Professor, Division of Pediatric Dentistry, providing didactic and clinical instruction to dental and dental hygiene programs, as well as other health affiliated programs across the campus.

President's Awards

David L. Boren Professorship

Christopher S. Candler, M.D., Ed.D., Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine

Dr. Candler received a bachelors in Biochemistry from OSU, a MD from OU, and a doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas. He currently serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the college. In this role he oversees all MD program functional areas (i.e., admissions, student affairs, curriculum, and accreditation). During his twenty-four years in medical education he has led college accreditation efforts, managed curriculum reform initiatives, and founded a national journal for the AAMC. He has authored over forty refereed publications and has received over one million dollars of competitive grant funding to enhance medical education.

George Lynn Cross Research Professorship

Min Li, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine

Dr. Min Li is a Professor and Assistant Dean for International Research Collaboration at the College of Medicine, and Associate Director for Global Oncology at the Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) at OUHSC. He is a leading expert on pancreatic cancer (PC) focusing on cancer cell signaling and developing new therapies. Dr. Li's group is the first to identify a key zinc transporter ZIP4, which is aberrantly expressed in PC, and promotes cancer growth, cachexia, and metastasis. He has published more than 170 papers and is supported by multiple NIH grants (3 active R01), and foundation grants. Dr. Li has trained many junior faculties, fellows, residents, and students. Dr. Li is a member and chair of many NIH and DoD study sections, and serves as a senior editor for many journals. He has received several prestigious awards and will be the President of American Pancreatic Association in 2022.

 

William E. Sonntag, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine
Dr. Sonntag has made seminal contributions to the biological basis of aging and the age-related reduction in cognitive function. He established the hypothalamic mechanisms that contribute to the decline in growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 that occurs in mammals. Subsequently, he provided key evidence that deficiencies in growth hormone and IGF-1 lead to cerebrovascular rarefaction and cognitive deficits and that restoration of these hormones improves both vascular density and cognitive performance. These studies were expanded to include a breakdown of the blood-brain-barrier and the appearance of microbleeds that result in neurological dysfunction. His studies led to the concept that cognitive impairment with age is not the result of aging but rather alterations within the endocrine milieu that accompanies aging creating therapeutic opportunities to improve cognitive function in the elderly.

Presidential Professorship

Nelson Ivan Agudelo Higuita, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine

Nelson Ivan Agudelo Higuita is an Associate Professor in the section of Infectious Diseases since 2012. He is an excellent educator and has been recognized with several teaching awards by trainees and faculty. He has mentored students locally, nationally and internationally and has involved them in research projects, authorship of manuscripts, and national/international conferences. He pioneered a pre-travel clinic that belongs to a national consortium funded by CDC, a refugee clinic, and a multidisciplinary clinic for the management of infective endocarditis focusing on those afflicted by substance use. He is also the lead physician of the COVID-19 for OU Medical Center and is the principal investigator of Oklahoma COVID-19 registry and biorepository.
 

 

Shanjana Awasthi, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Shanjana Awasthi is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, where she teaches and mentors undergraduate, pharmacy and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. She holds adjunct appointments as Professor in the Department of
Microbiology and Immunology and Affiliate Member at the Stephenson Cancer Center. Dr. S. Awasthi has been awarded 15 grants, authored 47 publications, and delivered >50 presentations. She holds a US patent for her innovative research. She serves on many campus and national committees, mentors young investigators through American Thoracic Society, and reviews grants for NIH, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

 


Michael H. Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine

Michael H. Elliott, PhD, FARVO is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Physiology at the Dean McGee Eye Institute and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). Dr. Elliott received his B.A. degree in Human Biology and his Ph.D. degree in Physiology and Cell Biology from the University of Kansas where he worked on oxidative protein modifications in the retina. Dr. Elliott continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow under the guidance of Dr. Robert E. Anderson at OUHSC. His current research on caveolins/caveolae in ocular physiology/pathophysiology is/has been supported by the National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, BrightFocus Foundation, American Diabetes Association, Presbyterian Health Foundation, Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, and the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research. Dr. Elliott is a Silver Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), a member of the Alcon Research Institute, and the Trabecular Meshwork Study Club, a glaucoma research think-tank.

 

Emma J. Kientz, D.N.P., Assistant Professor of Nursing Academic Programs, Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

Emma Kientz is an Assistant Professor in the OU Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the Interim Assistant Dean for College of Nursing Programs in Tulsa. With over 40 years nursing experience, she maintains national certifications as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Certified Nurse Educator. Dr. Kientz has demonstrated sustained success in establishing learning opportunities for nursing students on the Tulsa campus including the Bedlam Clinics and interprofessional simulations. She has demonstrated leadership in numerous professional organizations, has peer reviewed publications, and has presented the outcomes of her work at state, national, and international conferences. Her academic interests include interprofessional education, academic practice partnerships, healthy work environments, and student success.

 

Annie Moreau, M.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine

Annie Moreau, MD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, where she also completed her residency training and a fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology and Oculofacial and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Moreau is Chair of the Promotion Committee for the College of Medicine, and also serves as AΩA Councilor and a member of the Admission Board. She was recently appointed Service Chief for OU Medical Center. In 2019, she became a Fellow of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery following rigorous exams and acceptance of an original thesis. She is also an Active Member of the North American Skull Base Society.

 

 

Nasir Mushtaq, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Hudson College of Public Health

Nasir Mushtaq, Ph.D., MPH, MBBS, an Associate Professor with Tenure in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, holds The George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair in Public Health Epidemiology. He is actively involved in teaching and mentoring of graduate, public health, and medical students and research training of clinical residents. His research includes tobacco control and collaborative clinical research. He has made significant contributions to the research mission of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine through his joint appointment. His involvement in research training of clinical residents and collaborative clinical research has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications and scientific presentations.
 

 

Lieschen Quiroz, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine

Dr. Quiroz is an innovative, energetic leader and educator in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). She holds positions of national prominence as a leader in FPMRS, and is a role model and mentor to her peers, junior faculty and trainees. Since joining OU in 2008, she has excelled as a clinician, leader and researcher. She has developed the OUHSC Fellowship program as one of premier programs for FPMRS fellowship training. She is ultimately dedicated to expanding access to care in Women’s Health in the state, and surrounding regions.

 

 

 

Rajagopal Ramesh, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology, College of Medicine

Dr. Ramesh is a Professor of Pathology, The Jim and Christy Everest Endowed Chair in Cancer Developmental Therapeutics, and Co-Leader for the Cancer Biology Program at the Stephenson Cancer Center. His translational cancer research program has led to four Phase I clinical trials for cancer treatment. His 130 research publications have been cited 14,335 times with an h-index of 51. He has given numerous talks at national/international meetings and serves on regional/national committees. He was instrumental in organizing the “END2CANCER” conference. He has mentored over 100 students, fellows, and faculties. He serves as Chair of “NANOTECHOLOGY” study section at the NIH.

 

 

Michael J. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy Clinical and Administrative Sciences, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Michael James Smith began his academic career in August 2002 joining the faculty of West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. In 2009 he joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy with an administrative appointment as Assistant Dean for Tulsa Operations, and in 2017 he transferred to the HSC campus with an administrative appointment as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. During his time with the College of Pharmacy, Dr. Smith worked in collaboration with Dr. Jane Wilson to build a nationally-recognized Leadership Degree Option Program for pharmacy students, and advised PhD students in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Degree Program.

 

Marianna S. Wetherill, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Health Promotion Sciences, Hudson College of Public Health

Marianna Wetherill, PhD, MPH, RDN-AP/LD, Associate Professor of Health Promotion Sciences, Hudson College of Public Health and the OU-TU School of Community Medicine at the Tulsa campus, adopts a highly collaborative, interprofessional approach to advancing nutrition and health equity among vulnerable and other high-risk populations. She is the co-founder of the Culinary Medicine Project, which involves academic, research, and service components. Its curriculum has been integrated across three newly-required academic courses and one elective course at OU-Tulsa, is the subject of an NIH R01-funded randomized controlled trial, and is being disseminated through multiple community, student-led service initiatives.

Provost's Award

Research - Junior Faculty (Assistant Professor)

Michael Stout, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, College of Allied Health

Dr. Stout joined OUHSC in 2016 as a Senior Research Scientist from Mayo Clinic where he received a highly competitive NIH K99 “Pathway to Independence” award.  In 2018, Dr. Stout was appointed as Assistant Professor in the College of Allied Health and a principal investigator for the Oklahoma Center for Gerosciences.  Dr. Stout has 42 publications encompassing his doctoral, postdoctoral and academic appointments – 20 of these since arriving at OU.  During his time at OU, he has secured over $2 million in federal and state competitive grants, mentored trainees ranging from undergraduates through those appointed as faculty and served as a highly lauded collaborator and mentor by scientists at OUHSC, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Stout’s focus on aging and interventional strategies aimed at curtailing disease burden is highly relevant for our state’s aging population and the significant health challenges this presents.

Research - Senior Faculty (Associate Professor/Professor)

Stavros Stavrakis, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine

Dr. Stavrakis received his medical degree and his Doctor of Philosophy (2010) from the University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece.  Dr. Stavrakis subsequently completed his fellowship training in cardiac electrophysiology at OU, joining the faculty in 2012.  Dr. Stavrakis has acquired an impressive national and international reputation in research and clinical professional education. He has published 75 journal articles, 4 book chapters and over 35 abstracts.   He has also received funding from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Stavrakis continues to strive for high quality research and to advance the field of atrial fibrillation and autonomic modulation.

Teaching - Early Career Faculty

Wei Yue, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy

Dr. Yue joined the College of Pharmacy as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 2012, receiving promotion to Associate Professor in 2020. Dr. Yue’s excellence in teaching is evidenced by consistently strong and positive teaching evaluations from graduate and professional students; excellence in mentoring graduate students, research assistants, post-doctoral fellows and residents; and excellence in mentoring student’s for dissemination of knowledge and recognition through publications, presentations and awards. She consistently receives high ratings from both professional pharmacy and graduate students for her teaching. Student evaluation comments include she is a highly effective instructor, bringing passion and student engagement to the learning process.

Other Awards

University Distinguished Teaching Award

Loren Stein, MSN, RNC-NIC, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Academic Programs, Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

Loren Stein is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing. Her primary area of distinguished teaching is clinical nursing skills. She coordinates the skills lab, implements interprofessional learning, has ongoing simulation research, mentors graduate nursing education students, and published a textbook, Concept-based Clinical Nursing Skills. A second area of distinguished teaching is in disaster nursing. She offered a Nursing Student Summer Externship which has received numerous awards. Another area is guiding students in leadership roles in the College of Nursing Student Association (CONSA) as the faculty sponsor. She was nominated for the Margarian Faculty Award in 2018.

Faculty Senate Governance Award

Dale W. Bratzler, D.O., Professor of Health Administration and Policy, Hudson College of Public Health

Dr. Dale Bratzler is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy in the OU Hudson College of Public Health; Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the OU College of Medicine; Enterprise Chief Quality Officer, OU Medicine; and Chief COVID Officer for the University of Oklahoma. He has devoted nearly 25 years to researching infection prevention and treatment, as well as advising health care leaders on public health topics. Additionally, his contribution to those less fortunate through his public outreach in volunteer service in the clinics of the Alliance for the Uninsured is immeasurable.

Patent Awards

Paul DeAngelis, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine
CA Patent 2 701 601: Targeted Glycosaminoglycan Polymers by Polymer Grafting and Methods of Making and Using Same

 

 

 

 

 

William H. Hildebrand, Ph.D.
George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine

US Patent 10,640,535: Identification of Mhc Class I Phospho-Peptide Antigens From Breast Cancer Utilizing Shla Technology and Complementary Enrichment Strategies

US Patent 10,857,219: Compositions Comprising Soluble Hla/M. tuberculosis-Specific Ligand Complexes and Methods of Production and Use Thereof

 

 


Rodney K. Tweten, Ph.D.
George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
JP Patent 6734274: Pneumolysin Mutants and Methods of Use Thereof

 

 

 

 

 

David Kem, M.D (posthumous)
Regents’ Professor and George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Medicine

US Patent 10,899,822: Compositions Comprising D-Amino Acid Peptides and Methods of Production and Use Thereof for Inhibiting Autoantibodies

US Patent 10,975,124: Methods and Compositions for Treating Diseases and Conditions Associated With Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor

 


 

Augen A. Pioszak, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,723,778: Variants of Adrenomedullin and Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide and Methods of Use

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Ballard, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,709,758; EU Patent 3344276: Peptide Inhibitors of Clostridium difficile TcdB Toxin

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Larabee, Ph.D. (left)
Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,709,758; EU Patent 3344276: Peptide Inhibitors of Clostridium difficile TcdB Toxin

 



 

 

Carol Webb, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,876,116: Anti-ARID3A Treatments for Inflammatory Disorders

 

 

 

 



James Tomasek, Ph.D.
David Ross Boyd Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology
US Patent 10,779,517: Animal Wound Model and Methods of Use


 

 

 

 

 

William Berry, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,779,517: Animal Wound Model and Methods of Use

 

 

 

 

 


Jason Spencer Lees, M.D.
Professor of Surgery, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,779,517: Animal Wound Model and Methods of Use

 

 



 

 

Weidong Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,815,219: 2,4-Diaminoquinazoline Derivatives for Inhibiting Endoplasmic Reticulum (Er) Stress

 

 

 

 


 

Mark Lang, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,933,126: Clostridium difficile Immunogenic Compositions and Methods of Use

 

 

 

 

 


Jimmy Ballard, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,933,126: Clostridium difficile Immunogenic Compositions and Methods of Use

 

 

 

 



Vibhudutta Awasthi, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
US Patent 10,953,113: Imaging Agents and Methods of Use

 

 

 

 



LaTasha B. Craig, M.D.
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,975,124: Methods and Compositions for Treating Diseases and Conditions Associated With Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Liang Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,975,124: Methods and Compositions for Treating Diseases and Conditions Associated With Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor

 

 

 

 

 

Xichun Yu, M.D. 
Professor of Research, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine
US Patent 10,975,124: Methods and Compositions for Treating Diseases and Conditions Associated With Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor

Robert A. Magarian Faculty Award

Katherine O’Neal, Pharm.D., MBA, BCACP, CDE, BC-ADM, AE-C, CLS, FAAD
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Clinical and Administrative Sciences, College of Pharmacy

Katherine S. O’Neal, Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical and Administrative Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, has been a faculty member for 7 years, during which she has made significant contributions to the teaching mission of the university. Dr. O’Neal is devoted to effective teaching and has made a great impact on the education of pharmacy students and residents. She consistently receives high instructor ratings from students each year as she brings a genuine passion for teaching and engaging students in the learning process. Dr. O’Neal makes full use of active learning strategies during her teaching experiences and employs team-based learning exercises to encourage application and audience participation. Dr. O’Neal’s teaching philosophy seeks to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills to empower her students as practitioners and patient educators, this extends to creating an attitude of life-long learning. Dr. O’Neal is a strong believer in continuous self-improvement. She continues to refine her teaching acumen by annually attending national conferences with an emphasis on education strategies for students and patients. Dr. O’Neal is an enthusiastic, highly energetic faculty member who is fully committed to her students’ learning and embodies the ideals of faculty who are worthy of the Robert A. Magarian Faculty Award.

Years of Service Recognition