UMB recognizes the outstanding work of its faculty, staff, and students each year with awards for Entrepreneur, Researcher, Public Servant, Educator, and Student of the Year.
Photo: Top row (from left): Jeffrey Hasday, Paul Shapiro, Kathleen Neuzil. Bottom row (from left): Shantay McKinily, Yen-Pei Christy Chang, Tural Mammadli
Every fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) commemorates our rich history and celebrates the future we’re building together during Founders Week, which this year runs Oct. 16-19. Among the highlights of Founders Week is recognizing the extraordinary work of our faculty, staff, and students with awards that signify outstanding accomplishment in entrepreneurship, research, public service, education, and academics. Here are the 2023 winners:
DAVID J. RAMSAY ENTREPRENEURS OF THE YEAR
Jeffrey Hasday, MD
School of Medicine
Dr. Herbert Berger Professor of Medicine
Division Head, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Paul Shapiro, PhD
School of Pharmacy
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Associate Dean of Research and Advanced Graduate Studies
Drs. Hasday and Shapiro are co-inventors of technology that is focused on treatments for inflammatory diseases, including acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS), and has been licensed to GEn1E Lifesciences, a biotech company based in Silicon Valley.
Working to develop compounds to target inflammatory processes — with funding from UM Ventures, which is UMB’s tech transfer arm, and the UMB Institute for Clinical and Translational Research — Hasday, Shapiro, and their research team discovered a novel class of drugs that selectively inhibits an enzyme’s role in promoting disease-causing inflammation but preserves the enzyme’s beneficial functions. Previous approaches to target this enzyme had been unsuccessful because the drugs inhibited all enzyme functions, causing unwanted toxicity.
GEn1E Lifesciences purchased exclusive rights to the therapeutics, known as the p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor program, to help its efforts to combat ARDS, which kills 40 percent of the people that contract it due to excess lung inflammation and has few therapeutic options.
Hasday has been with the University of Maryland School of Medicine since 1986 and led the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care since 2001. He is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and critical care medicine, with clinical expertise in acute lung injury/ARDS, sepsis/septic shock, interstitial lung disease, and asthma. His research is focused on the mechanisms of acute lung injury, the effect of body temperature on disease pathogenesis, and the development of therapeutic hypothermia as treatment for ARDS.
Hasday earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in clinical pharmacology at the University of Rochester as well as a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan.
Shapiro has worked at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy since 1999 and was named associate dean of research and advanced graduate studies in December 2022. He previously was director of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ PhD program and department chair from 2015 to 2020. His research focuses on protein kinases and their role in regulating signaling pathways that control cellular functions and dysregulation of protein kinases during disease.
Shapiro earned his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his doctorate in molecular physiology and biophysics from the University of Vermont. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Biochemistry Department.
RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR
Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, FIDSA
School of Medicine
Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH Professor of Vaccinology
Director, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health
Dr. Neuzil is an internationally recognized research scientist in the field of vaccinology. She has led the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMSOM) Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) since 2015 and is regularly interviewed as a vaccine expert by news media.
Neuzil has conducted clinical and epidemiologic studies on vaccine-preventable diseases throughout her career and been instrumental in the global implementation of vaccine programs, most recently for typhoid vaccines. Her research on influenza virus is extensive and includes pivotal epidemiologic studies of disease burden, clinical trials of vaccine candidates, and human challenge studies.
She is the principal investigator (PI) for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers’ Clinical Core as well as the co-PI for the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium Leadership Group, which supports the planning and implementation of research executed by National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Units.
In 2020, Neuzil was named co-director of the Coronavirus Prevention Network, a group of NIH-funded sites that participated in the U.S.-supported Phase 3 trials of COVID-19 vaccines. CVD’s research on the latter informed the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines.
Neuzil has authored more than 300 scientific publications on vaccines and infectious diseases and served on prestigious policy and scientific advisory committees through her career. She is currently a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.
Neuzil is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has won numerous accolades, including the 2020 Marylander of the Year Award from The Baltimore Sun for her COVID-19 leadership. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University, her Master of Public Health degree from Vanderbilt University, and her bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park.
PUBLIC SERVANT OF THE YEAR
Shantay McKinily, MS
School of Social Work
Director, Positive Schools Center
Shantay McKinily has led the Positive Schools Center (PSC) since November 2017, joining the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) initiative after spending 19 years working in Baltimore City Public Schools, including 7½ years as the principal of Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle School.
The mission of PSC, which falls under UMSSW’s Center for Restorative Change (formerly the Social Work Community Outreach Service), is to create positive, supportive, and mindful learning communities where students and school staff can connect, develop, and grow. It partners with local schools and districts to address punitive discipline and dysfunctional school climates.
During her tenure, McKinily has helped grow PSC from a budget of $400,000 and three employees to a budget of $4.8 million, 35 employees, and 10 UMB graduate students, transforming it from a startup program into a nationally recognized educational innovation center. PSC is now the second-largest lead agency in the state of Maryland for community schools. She speaks and offers trainings nationwide, and many organizations visit PSC to learn how to replicate its results in their programs.
The center’s work also is built on a strong racial justice understanding and equity focus, approaching school change through embedding restorative practices, trauma-responsive strategies, social-emotional learning, and community voice into schools’ routines, policies, and culture.
Along with her work at PSC, McKinily leads the Baltimore School Climate Collaborative, a consortium of community-based organizations, universities, Baltimore City schools, and city agencies that shares information and works to collaboratively support, advocate, and review policy that can change the overall culture of schools.
McKinily earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Morgan State University, her master’s in adult and continuing education and teaching from Coppin State University, and is working to obtain her Doctor of Education degree in urban education and leadership from Morgan State.
EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
Yen-Pei Christy Chang, PhD, MS
School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Yen-Pei Christy Chang is an 18-year veteran of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) with a passion for teaching and mentoring who holds secondary appointments in UMSOM’s departments of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Chang has been instrumental to how genetics is taught to UMSOM first-year PhD students from the Graduate Program in Life Sciences and PhD students from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. In 2007, she updated and redesigned the genetics curriculum and has served as the GPILS core course section leader for genetics for six years.
Chang is a popular instructor known for her lectures that take a mutation-to-treatment approach. Her lectures also link molecular changes and genetic diseases to historical events and sociopolitical issues, such as how the Dutch Famine of 1944 led to epigenetic changes in human DNA and diseases.
Chang also is a committed mentor and advocate for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. She directs the KL2 Mentored Career Development Program at UMB’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and hosts grant writing workshops and classes for students, faculty, postdocs, and administrators from UMB and other local and national universities.
As senior program advisor for UMSOM’s Center for Advanced Research Training and Innovation, Chang provides individual grant writing consultations to faculty members. In the last three years, she has worked closely with 47 UMB faculty on grant writing and assisted many of them in obtaining highly competitive funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Chang has earned numerous accolades, including UMSOM’s Faculty Teacher of the Year Award in 2015, 2016, and 2019 (Division of Endocrinology) and the Faculty Mentoring Award from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in 2017.
Chang earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, her PhD in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University, and her master’s in clinical professional counseling from Loyola University Maryland.
STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Tural Mammadli, MSW
School of Social Work
PhD Student, Class of 2025
Tural Mammadli is a fourth-year PhD student from Azerbaijan who has exhibited tremendous academic and leadership skills at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW).
As the former president and a current member of UMSSW’s International Student Association (ISA), Mammadli guides international students and helps them acclimate to the United States. Under his leadership, ISA has conducted events for international students from across UMB to support their professional development and celebrate their cultural diversity. He also is co-chair of UMSSW’s Queer Community Alliance, working to support future LGBTQ+ social workers.
For three years, Mammadli was a member of the research team of Nalini Negi, PhD, MSW, associate professor, working on projects to build upon his research and skills. He’s now on the research team of Darren L. Whitfield, PhD, MSW, associate professor, focusing on research projects aimed at improving the well-being of LGBTQ+ persons of color.
As a research assistant, Mammadli has engaged in mixed-methods data analysis and co-authored papers on the health of minoritized communities including sexual and gender minority (SGM) persons, foreign-born populations, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the SGM community. He also has studied the impact of immigration policies and experiences on the mental health and substance use of refugees and immigrants and evidence-based interventions to address their needs.
Since starting the PhD program, Mammadli has earned three honors: the Donna Harrington Fellowship from UMSSW, the New Investigator Panelist Award from the National Hispanic Science Network, and the Early Career Preventionists Network Award from the Society for Prevention Research.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from George Washington University in 2017 and his Master of Social Work degree from UMSSW in 2020.
Note: Stories about the winners will be published on The Elm in September and October.