Names in the News

November 10, 2006

Richard L. Eckert has been appointed chair of the De partment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Eckert comes to UM from Case Western Reserve Uni versity in Cleveland, where he was a professor of physiology, biophysics, dermatology, reproduc tive biology, oncology and biochemistry.

His research focuses on understanding how nor mal surface epithelial cells protect people from illnesses and how those cells are altered by dis eases such as skin cancer.

Awards

Dr. Alessio Fasano, a pro fessor of pediatrics at the UM School of Medicine, has received the first Entrepre neur of the Year Award from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Director of the Mucosal Bi ology Research Center at the School of Medicine and founder of its Center for Celiac Research, Fasano was recognized for his dis covery in 2000 of zonulin, a protein that regulates the permeability of the in testines, as well as for co founding Alba Therapeu tics to turn the discovery into a treatment for celiac disease and other autoim mune illnesses.

Angela H. Brodie, a pro fessor of pharmacology at the UM School of Med icine and a researcher at the UM Marlene and Stew art Greenebaum Cancer Center, has been named 2006 Research Lecturer of the Year by UMB.

Brodie's pioneering work in the role of estrogen in breast cancer led to the development of aromatase inhibitors, a key therapy in the treatment of breast cancer.

Sonja Batten, a psycholo gist with the Veterans Af fairs Maryland Health Care System, has received the Maryland Psychological Association's 2006 award for Outstanding Contribu tion by an Early Career Psychologist to Psycholo gy in Service to the Public.

As a coordinator and a clinical psychologist for the VA's trauma recovery programs, Batten was hon ored for contributions to the well-being of veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Claudia Baquet, asso ciate dean of policy and planning at the UM School of Medicine, has received the 2006 Maryland Rural Summit Impact Award for Outstanding Rural Health Achievement.

Baquet was honored for her leadership of the Uni versity of Maryland State wide Health Network, an organization that promotes community-based prevention and con trol of cancer and tobac co-related disease among local residents and local health care providers.

Grants

Johns Hopkins University biologist Hattar Samer has received a five-year, $625,000 Packard Founda tion Fellowship for Science and Engineering.

The fellowship is one of 24 awarded each year nation wide and bestows unre stricted funds to young faculty members in science and engineering who have been unusually creative. Samer will use the fellow ship to continue his study of how subconscious de fects in response to light influence learning and thinking.

Promotions

Dr. Albert Polito has been named chief of the division of pulmonary medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

Polito came to Mercy a year ago from Johns Hop kins Hospital, where he di rected the Pulmonary Out patient Clinics and the Pul monary Fellowship Pro gram.

He earned his medical de gree at New York Universi ty and did postgraduate residencies and fellow ships at the NYU Medicent er, Bellevue Hospital in New York and the Hopkins School of Medicine.

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