University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

DEPARTMENT OF Neurological Sciences ~ 2015 Annual Report

Gregory Holmes, M.D., Chair

The Department of Neurological Sciences is devoted to becoming one of the best translational research departments in the country through integration of the basic neurosciences with the clinical neurosciences in each of our three missions: research, teaching and clinical care.

To this end we continue to foster collaborative interactions between basic scientists and clinicians with shared interests in understanding neurological functions in health and disease. Two areas of investigation have emerged from these interactions involving the study of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with common neurological disorders — specifically, multiple sclerosis (MS) and migraine. Gary Mawe, Ph.D., who studies the enteric nervous system, has teamed up with MS specialist Angela Applebee, M.D., and headache/ migraine specialist Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., to initiate new translational studies addressing gastrointestinal symptoms in MS and in migraine.

In fiscal year 2015, Neurological Sciences faculty continued to seek out grant funding with a strong record of success, including a new R01 from the NIH to Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D., entitled “Targeting Parenchymal Arterioles in Acute Stroke Treatment.” Similarly, Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D., was awarded a competing renewal to her R01 from the NIH entitled “Developmental Plasticity of Micturition Reflexes,” while Andrew Solomon, M.D., likewise received a renewal of his National Multiple Sclerosis Society pilot project “Misdiagnosis in MS: A Multicenter Database Pilot Study.” Rodney Scott, M.D., Ph.D., received additional funding from the NIH in the form of an R25 award entitled “Summer Research Experience in Neuroscience for Undergraduates.” Understanding the basic underpinnings of neurological disorders remains central to our educational and clinical missions. Our clinical programs at the University of Vermont Medical Center continued to provide excellent neurological care to patients throughout FY 2015 while Neurological Sciences faculty remained active in clinical trials.

Dr. Cipolla was chosen as one of four University Scholars for 2015–2016. The University Scholars program recognizes distinguished UVM faculty members for sustained excellence in research, creative, and scholarly activities. Dr. Cipolla has made significant scientific discoveries and contributions to the field of smooth muscle biology encompassing the disciplines of cell biology, pharmacology, and physiology. Her contributions to our understanding of smooth muscle physiology have been applied to the medical disciplines of neurology, including obstetrics and gynecology, where she has made contributions to our understanding of cerebral arteries in stroke and preeclampsia.

Finally, in FY 2015, the department welcomed new educator pathway faculty members Sean Flynn, Ph.D., Liana Merrill, Ph.D., and Sarah McCarthy, Ph.D. as well as new clinical faculty members Argirios Moustakas, M.D. (General Neurology and Neuro-Oncology), Danilo Vitorovic, M.D. (Epilepsy), Alissa Thomas, M.D. (Neuro-Oncology), and Deborah Hirtz, M.D. (Pediatric Neurology).

Last modified January 28 2016 10:18 AM