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Professional Notes: March 2024


Professional Notes is a round-up of awards, presentations, papers, and other professional achievements of SLU faculty, staff members, and students.

Faculty and Staff

Awards and Accolades

Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. (Pharmacological and Physiological Science)was honored by the American Academy of Neurology and selected as the 2024 recipient of the Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain. The Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain was given in "recognition of her outstanding achievements in Pain research." This award will be presented at the 2024 AAN Annual Meeting that will be held in Denver on April 13-18. Her talk "Novel molecular insights in neuropathic pain drive translational opportunities for therapeutic intervention," is scheduled on April 15.

Salvemini also was elected Councilor of The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). ASPET is a 4,000-member scientific society whose members conduct basic and clinical pharmacological research and work for academia, government, large pharmaceutical companies, small biotech companies, and non-profit organizations. Management of the Society is vested in the Council. She will begin her three-year term on July 1, 2024.

Alexei Demchenko, Ph.D. (Chemistry) in the Department of Chemistry at Saint Louis University and the Immediate Past Chair of the ACS CARB Division, has received the 2024 Melville L. Wolfrom award for outstanding service to CARB and the field of carbohydrate chemistry.

Kelvin L. Pollard, II, M.D. (Internal Medicine) has been accepted to the second cohort of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) MedEdScholar Program. The program provides mentorship to both early career faculty members and educators who are new to scholarship, with a focus on those from backgrounds historically excluded from medicine and publishing. The program helps mentees develop scholarly publishing skills to increase their representation in leadership roles in academic medicine.

Flavio Esposito, Ph.D. (Computer Science) received the 2024 Comcast Innovation Fund award in the form of an unrestricted industry gift of $80,000. This is the second time that Esposito has received this competitive award during his time at SLU, the first being in 2021. The Comcast Innovation Fund is a competitive award given to about 20 research scientists in the world every year. It was created "to support technology and public policy research that contributes to the betterment of the Internet, and the continued evolution of connectivity products and services."

John Tavis, Ph.D. (Molecular Microbiology & Immunology) was recently invited, and accepted, to a position on the Scientific Advisory Board of for the Institut Hopitalo-Universitaire (IHU). The IHU is being started after recently receiving €50M from the French government for centers of excellence. The IHU aims at addressing current and future challenges in hepatology by integrating basic, translational, and clinical research expertise. The Institute ambition is to transfer efficiently new concepts and innovation to the clinic, thus contributing to the cure of chronic liver diseases (CLDs) through affordable and sustainable precision medicine.


Keon L. Gilbert, DrPH (Behavioral Science and Health Equity) and colleagues published the research essay 'Achieving the Health Equity Agenda Through Transformative Community-Engaged Strategies' in the CDC's publication titled "Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy."

Echu Liu, Ph.D. (Health Management and Policy) and colleagues published the research, "Ambient particulate matter and in-hospital case fatality of acute myocardial infarction: A multi-province cross-sectional study in China."

Cheryl Rathert, Ph.D. (Health Management and Policy) and colleagues published the study "System justification theory as a foundation for understanding relations among toxic health care workplaces, bullying, and psychological safety" in the 'Health Care Management Review' publication.

Mamoun Benmamoun, Ph.D. (International Business) published the article, "Reinventing International Business Education: Integrating the Power of Generative AI" in AI Insights.

Esmeralda Aharon (Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Saint Louis University School of Medicine) was a contributing author to "Tenacity: Deconstructing GRIT Collection," a #1 International Best Seller. Aharon is the Faculty, Staff, and Community Engagement Program Director in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Tenacity is a compilation from more than 40 women.


Susan Tebb, Ph.D. (Social Work) traveled to India in January representing the International Association for Yoga Therapists where she was a guest at S-VYASA University for the 25th Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and Its Applications (INCOFYRA) in Bengaluru Jan. 3-6, 2024, titled Integrative Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. Tebb then traveled north to Chandigarh where she was interviewed by the local media about her experience as a retired Professor from Saint Louis University attending and presenting “The Role of Yoga in Cancer Care in the US”, at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for the Mind Body Intervention: Emerging Status workshop Jan. 8, 2024 and then “Advancing Yoga in US Cancer Care: Addressing the Barriers” at the Expert Meeting, Benefits and Barriers of Yoga Research on Jan. 9, 2024. Both days were directed by Dr. Akshay Anand.


From left: SLU students Vaishali Lingutla, Erika Collins, Catlin Crowley Clemmons and Billy Quick.

From left SLU students Vaishali Lingutla, Erika Collins, Catlin Crowley Clemmons and Billy Quick. Photo submitted.


Research from SLU Ph.D. student Yi Huang, Travis Loux, Ph.D. (Biostatistics) and colleagues published the research, "The relationship between chronic diseases and mental health: a cross-sectional study" in the 'Mental Health & Prevention Journal.'

SLU students Kirstin Palovick, Emily Hunter, and Mintesnot Teni with professor Anne Sebert Kuhlmann, Ph.D. (Behavioral Science and Health Equity) published the research article "Period Product Insecurity Is Increasing in the United States: Trends from 2018 to 2021" in the Journal of Women's Health.


The American Society for Biochemistry and molecular Biology Undergraduate Research Award grants $1,000 to support each awardees summer research project.

Suhjin Lee is a sophomore Health Management, Bioethics and Health Studies major working in the lab of Uthayashanker Ezekiel, Ph.D. (Clinical Health Sciences). In addition to serving as a professor in the Clinical Health Sciences department, Ezekiel is the faculty advisor for the Saint Louis University chapter of the ASBMB.

Lee's project used isogenic cell lines to manipulate experiments that the lab team had done in the past using Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs. The main project focuses on determining how C-terminal binding protein 1, or CtBP1, affects neuronal development and the Wnt pathway. The Wnt signaling plays a significant role in axon, dendrite and dendritic spine formation.

The preliminary studies indicated that when neural stem cells are differentiated into neurons, the addition of the Wnt inhibitor, XAV939, prevented neurite formation only in heterozygous mutant cells. These results suggested the CtBP1 allele dysregulates the Wnt pathway and thereby inhibits neuron differentiation.