Peter Igarashi, M.D., named Head of the Department of Medicine

Photo courtesy of Peter Igarashi

A long-awaited search for the next Head of the Department of Medicine is over, and we are pleased to announce that Peter Igarashi, M.D., will serve as the next Nesbitt Chair and Head of the Department of Medicine, starting on December 31, 2014.

Dr. Igarashi comes from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he currently holds the Robert Tucker Hayes Distinguished Chair in Nephrology, in honor of Dr. Floyd C. Rector, Jr.; is a professor of internal medicine and pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Nephrology at UT Southwestern Medical Center; and directs the UT Southwestern O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center.

2014 National Bike Challenge Winners

Photo courtesy of Lucas Boyle

After five months of daily commuting and weekend riding, 33 members of our Medical School community have taken the top spot on the leaderboard for the 2014 National Bike Challenge in the colleges and universities category. The ridersa combination of first, second, and third year medical students as well as a few faculty memberslogged a total of 19,347 miles biked between May 1 and September 30. The Medical School’s team led the pack each month of the Challenge, maintaining its spot at the top throughout the summer and fall.

The National Bike Challenge is an annual cycling competition that is open and free to all individuals, teams, businesses, and schools across the country. The Challenge officially runs between May 1 and September 30, but the Challenge website allows people to join at any time and record their riding outside of these dates as well. Balvindar Singh, a third year Medical School student, began logging his riding at the beginning of the Challenge in May. Singh was the Medical School’s highest scoring rider, with over 4,300 miles recorded during the Challenge.

“I commute year-round via bike and also use cycling as my primary means of exercise,” Singh said. “I decided it would be a good way to participate in an activity with classmates beyond academics, as well as a motivator to ride.”

Alumni lead nation in Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars

Three Medical School alumni have been selected for the distinguished and highly competitive Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars (RWJF) program. The scholars include Nicole Gergen, M.D., Tyler Winkelman, M.D., and Manik Chhabra, M.D. -- all 2014 graduates of our Medical School. This number marks the highest from any medical school, among the 31 selected for the program.

Pui-Ying Iroh Tam, M.D., awarded Ralph D. Feigin apprenticeship

Photo courtesy of Pui-Ying Iroh Tam

Faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics' Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Pui-Ying Iroh Tam, M.D., has received the highly prestigious Ralph D. Feigin apprenticeship from the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (JPIDS).

The Ralph D. Feigin apprenticeship award celebrates contributions in the pediatrics field.

Beloved mentor and early Chair of Urology, Elwin E. Fraley, has died

It is with great sadness that I write to inform the Medical School community of the passing of Dr. Elwin E. Fraley on July 31, 2014. Dr. Fraley was the second Chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Minnesota and served from 1969-1993

Dr. Fraley was an alumnus of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School and completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was recruited to Minnesota after completing a fellowship at the NIH as one of the youngest chairmen of urology in the country at that time.

During his tenure, he took over the reins of a fledgling Department of Urologic Surgery and nurtured it to international prominence. The department is credited with great accomplishments during the time of Dr. Fraley. Several advances in testicular, prostate and bladder cancer care – including facilitating the establishment of PSA as a marker for prostate cancer – were accomplished.

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research director receives Richard R. Ernst Medal

Kamil Ugurbil (left) receives award, photo courtesy of Kamil Ugurbil

Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D., director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and faculty member in the Department of Radiology, has been awarded the renowned Richard R. Ernst Medal by the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry.

Awarded annually at the Richard R. Ernst Lecture, in Zurich, Switzerland, this honor commemorates Swiss chemist Richard R. Ernst, Ph.D., who received a Nobel Prize in 1991 for his contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research.

Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research awarded grant

A 1.54 million dollar grant has been awarded to the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CASAR) by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Department of Psychiatry faculty member and CASAR director Ken Winters, Ph.D., will lead the upcoming study as principal investigator.

Profile: Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Seaquist

Time spent on these 'Profiles' features is often used making minor edits to the conversational transcript. Tightening grammar, clarifying sentences, and adding proper punctuation is required when converting a spoken interview into one that can be read smoothly from a page. Luckily for me, Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., is practiced in giving succinct, eloquent responses to questions. Maybe this is due to her prominent leadership roles in the field of diabetes research, both locally at the University of Minnesota, and nationally with the American Diabetes Association. Adapting her answers to article-form was as easy as it gets.

Dr. Seaquist grew up in Minnesota and went to Vassar College in New York for her undergraduate education. She returned to the University of Minnesota for medical school and has been here ever since. During her time here she has grown from a promising medical student to a world-class physician-scientist. She is the Pennock Family Chair in Diabetes Research in the Department of Medicine, the President of Medicine & Science for the American Diabetes Association, and has been included on the Mpls/St. Paul Magazine’s list of best doctors eight times.