MSUToday
Published: Oct. 5, 2015

College of Osteopathic medicine honors outstanding faculty

Five Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty members received the College Advisory Council Awards at the faculty meeting on Sept. 29. Margaret Kingry, associate professor of pediatrics, presented the recognition on behalf of the council.

Monique Floer, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology

Early Promise of Research Excellence Award

Floer, who came to MSUCOM only three and a half years ago, has organized a laboratory and established herself as an expert in the composition of macrophages. She is especially interested in their chromatin, and how these components might play a role in influencing how genes act, or don’t act, in response to attacks on the immune system. Macrophages are the first responders to infection, necessary for wound healing, and play an important role in atherosclerosis. She was cited for “her intensity and dedication” to her research.

Frances A. Kennedy, professor of radiology, human anatomy division

Basic Science Faculty Excellence

Director of the histology laboratory, Kennedy teaches in two physiology courses, two anatomy courses, and two systems courses for MSUCOM’s first- and second-year students. The winner of six student teaching awards, she is known for her creative and comprehensive approaches to instruction and explaining complex concepts in clear and concise ways to students. Her expertise in smoothly shifting the laboratory instruction in histology from physical slides to virtual microscopy was recognized.

Robert B. Stephenson, associate professor of physiology

Outstanding Curriculum Contributions

Throughout his 36-year career at MSU, Stephenson has been known as a quintessential teacher, receiving more than 20 teaching awards from students. Whether it is developing a 1000-page study guide or creating a new cell biology course, he is known for “his innovative and exceptional contributions.” He was cited as “instrumental in development and implementation of the new curriculum.”

John E. Thornburg, professor emeritus, pharmacology and toxicology

Distinguished Service

In 1970, Thornburg served as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in pharmacology before enrolling as a student at MSUCOM, completing his D.O. and internship, and returning as assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology and of family medicine in the college in 1977. A distinguished career followed, including leadership positions in clinical practice, in pharmacology, in family medicine, and in residency and internship education. He has held a wide variety of consultantships, and served on numerous university, college and departmental committees. Thornburg’s teaching and research accomplishments are significant. He served as the chairperson of the board of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, and received the American Osteopathic Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2012.

Stephanie W. Watts, professor of pharmacology and toxicology

Research Excellence

Watts, who also serves as the associate dean for MSU’s Graduate School, is internationally recognized for her innovative approaches to the study of the effects of serotonin in hypertension. She particularly focuses on vascular smooth muscle pharmacology, physiology and function, and has received 16 awards for her research. She also has a vaulted reputation as a research mentor, especially for young women. A principal investigator in the NIH’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training grant, one of only 17 such programs in the nation, Watts champions excellence in education in the laboratory, and is known for her excellence in collaboration on any team she serves.