CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine
presented four noted researchers and clinicians with the college’s highest honor, the Daniel Drake Medal, on Saturday, May 20.
Drake Medal recipients for 2017 are:
- Kenneth Davis Jr., MD, UC professor of surgery and clinical anesthesiology
- George Deepe Jr., MD, UC College of Medicine Class of 1976 and UC professor of internal medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases
- Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD, Jacob Schmidlapp Endowed Professor and chair of the UC Department of Environmental Health
- Elizabeth Shpall, MD, UC College of Medicine Class of 1980
The Drake Medal
is given annually by the College of Medicine to living faculty or alumni for their outstanding and unique contributions to medical education, scholarship and research. The award was established in 1985 to honor the 200th birthday of Daniel Drake, MD, the founder of the Medical College of Ohio, the forerunner of the UC College of Medicine. Drake was one of the most influential physicians, educators and scientists of 19th century America. He also founded Cincinnati College, the Cincinnati Lancaster Seminary, Cincinnati Public Library, the Western Museum and Commercial Hospital and Lunatic Asylum (known today as University of Cincinnati Medical Center). He also established the Cincinnati Eye Infirmary and the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville.
Davis, Deepe, Ho and Shpall received their medals May 20 during the college’s annual Honors Day at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, during which 159 students received their medical degrees. The four honorees were also celebrated at a dinner at the Queen City Club that evening. Their names, along with biographies and photos, have been added to the Daniel Drake Medal exhibit in the Medical Sciences Building on UC’s medical campus.
Kenneth Davis Jr., MD
Kenneth Davis Jr., MD, has served the UC College of Medicine as assistant dean for medical education, assistant dean for diversity and community affairs and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery. Davis and his wife, Johnie, created the Lucy Oxley, MD, African American Medical Student Scholarship at the College of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Oxley in 1936 was the first African-American to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree at the UC College of Medicine. He has traveled to Tanzania with the Village Life Outreach Project to provide surgical care to people in remote villages and did missionary work in Haiti one year after a devastating earthquake there. In 1989, Davis received the Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching and in 2014 he received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.
George Deepe Jr., MD
George Deepe Jr., MD, has investigated the immune response to Histoplasma capsulatum, which is found worldwide but is endemic to the Mississippi River Valley. The focus of this work has been on regulators, both soluble and cellular, that dictate the fate of the organism once it has entered the lung. He demonstrated that the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α is critically important in host defenses to this fungus. This work presaged the susceptibility of patients who receive the newly developed tumor necrosis factor antagonists, such as infliximab, to fungal diseases. Deepe has pioneered investigations into the role of zinc in host defenses to this fungus. These studies have been at the forefront of the influence of zinc in host resistance, and he has rapidly gained substantial recognition for this cutting-edge work.
Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD
Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD, is internationally recognized for her expertise in the role of hormones and endocrine disruptors in disease development. Focusing on improving precision medicine with predictive analytics, her research employs modern omic technologies to achieve a better understanding of disease etiology. Her breakthrough discoveries identified epigenetic reprogramming as a link between early-life exposure to bisphenol A and elevated risk for prostate cancer. She also found epigenetic biomarkers in cord blood that connect maternal exposure to airborne pollutants with childhood asthma. Using novel animal models and human studies, Ho continues to tackle challenges related to windows of disease susceptibility, life-long and trans-generational impacts of low-dose exposures and mechanisms underlying the early-life origins of adult diseases.
Elizabeth Shpall, MD
Elizabeth Shpall, MD, is a recognized expert in stem cell transplantation. She is the director of the Cell Therapy Laboratory and director of the Cord Blood Bank at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She also serves as professor and deputy chair of the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy and holds the Howard and Lee Smith Chair in Cancer Research. Shpall’s research covers a range of applications, among them: leukemia, lymphoma treatment, anti-tumor immunity enhancement and tissue repair. Many of her studies address the safety and efficacy of stem cell transplantation for patients. She was the founding president and is a current Board member of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Shpall has authored or co-authored nearly 500 research publications and holds two patents.