University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Medical Communications

Zvara and Class of 2014’s Lam Receive Recognition at National Urology Meeting

Peter Zvara, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery
Peter Zvara, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery (Photo: UVM Medical Photography)

Peter Zvara, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of surgery in the division of surgical research at the University of Vermont (UVM), and Michael Lam, M.D., a recently graduated medical student in the UVM College of Medicine’s Class of 2014, received second place in what is considered the most prestigious urology prize in the world – the Diokno-Lapides Essay Contest – for an essay on their joint research project on urinary bladder physiology. The researchers were recognized at an awards event held in conjunction with the American Urological Association Annual Meeting that took place in Orlando, Fla., May 16 to 21, 2014.

Established in 1985 and formerly named the Jack Lapides Essay Contest, the Diokno-Lapides Essay Contest was renamed and expanded in 2013 to carry on a nearly 30-year history of recognizing excellence in urology. The award honors Jack Lapides, M.D., chair of urology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Ananias Diokno, M.D., former chair of urology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and chief medical officer and an executive vice president of the Beaumont Health System, for their contributions to the field of urology. Urologists, residents and fellows throughout the world, in both the private and academic settings, are invited to submit essays, which can be the work of an individual or group. Each essay is judged by an independent panel. As the second-place winner, Lam received a plaque and an honorarium award of $1,000 to attend and present at the meeting.

Zvara conducts both basic and translational research in the areas of lower urinary tract dysfunction, bladder outlet obstruction-induced neuroplasticity, and sensory innervation of the lower urinary tract. Since joining the UVM faculty in 1999, he has developed a robust program for teaching and mentoring undergraduates, medical students and urology residents in urology research. Zvara was a nominee for a 2014 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award.

“Working with these motivated individuals has been productive and mutually beneficial,” says Zvara, who engages students at the ground level, providing an opportunity to gain research experience, present their work, and compete with their peers on an institutional, national and international level.

Over the past several years, Zvara has had the opportunity to collaborate with both UVM undergraduate and medical students, urology residents at Fletcher Allen Health Care, as well as a number of leaders in the field of neurourology research at UVM, nationally and internationaly. Co-authors on the essay paper include Travis Mann-Gow, a technician in the Zvara Lab, and Benjamin King, M.D.’12, a third year urology resident.

In addition to the Diokno-Lapides Award, this research has recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health though the High Priority, Short-Term Award (R56) funding mechanism.