University of Vermont

Rincon and Vizzard Named 2012-13 University Scholars

Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., and Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D.
Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., professor of medicine, and Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D., professor of neurology, were named 2012-13 University Scholars at UVM. (Photos: Raj Chawla/UVM Med Photo)

The University of Vermont Graduate College celebrated the 2012-13 University Scholars at a reception held April 18, 2012 in the Waterman Building’s Memorial Lounge. Two UVM College of Medicine faculty members were selected as University Scholars this year: Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., professor of medicine, and Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D., professor of neurology.

The University Scholars program recognizes distinguished UVM faculty members for sustained excellence in research and scholarly activities. The Scholars are selected by a faculty panel based upon nominations submitted by UVM colleagues.

Rincon, who joined the UVM faculty in 1996, is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the field of cytokine gene regulation and MAP kinases in T lymphocyte function, as well as in the role of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a variety of immune functions in diseases, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. The recipient of substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a wide variety of private foundations, Rincon has published 120 articles, many of them in the top journals, such as Science and Immunity. A frequent reviewer for numerous journals, Rincon serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Journal of Immunology and editor of the International Journal of Biological Science. She has been appointed to various NIH study sections, and has reviewed projects for the European Research Council and other international funding agencies.

Rincon received a Ph.D. in immunology from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, following which she held positions as a postdoctoral fellow and associate research scientist in immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. A mentor of numerous undergraduate, doctoral and medical students, as well as postdoctoral and clinical fellows, Rincon established and continues to direct the UVM Transgenic Mouse facility at UVM, and has periodically taught an intensive graduate level course on “Genetic Manipulation of Mice”. Her many UVM roles include member of the steering committee for the Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Vermont Cancer Center, Environmental Pathology Training Program, Vermont Lung Center, and Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, as well as a member of the UVM Women’s Mentoring Program.

Vizzard, who is a nationally and internationally recognized expert and leader in system neuroscience related to the neural control of the lower urinary tract system, joined the UVM faculty in 1995. She has developed multidisciplinary approaches and technologies that reveal new insights into the fundamental mechanisms by which the nervous system responds to injury and inflammatory processes related to the genitourinary system and beyond. Her research has been supported by a variety of federal and private agencies including the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Paralysis Association, Interstitial Cystitis Association and Spinal Cord Research Foundation. With more than eighty journal publications, as well as many invited review articles and presentations at research symposia, Vizzard also serves as a grant reviewer for NIH study sections, manuscript reviewer for numerous journals, serves on an editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology, and as an associate editor for other journals.

Highly regarded by her students, her UVM teaching responsibilities have included teaching and administering the large Human Neuroscience course taken by graduate physical therapy students, as well as advanced undergraduates. In addition, Vizzard mentors undergraduate students and has been the research advisor for a number of graduate students, and has also mentored both post-doctoral researchers and UVM faculty. Vizzard earned a Ph.D. in physiology from Thomas Jefferson University, following which served as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her extensive UVM service includes chairing the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and College of Medicine Research Committee.