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Dr. Jon Simmons, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was selected to receive the American College of Surgeons’ 2014-2019 George H.A. Clowes Career Development Award for his research.
"I am truly humbled to receive such a prestigious award,” Dr. Simmons said. “To receive the highest research award given to a young surgeon by the American College of Surgeons speaks volumes about the quality of research that is conducted at USA.”
Dr. Simmons said the award represents the work of many people, including Dr. Mark Gillespie, chair of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine. “Dr Gillespie and his laboratory staff created the foundation for this research,” he said. “This unique collaboration between the USA Department of Pharmacology and the Division of Trauma & Surgical Critical Care is enabling us to take our research from the laboratory to the patient's bedside.”
Dr. Simmons’ research project, titled “Mitochondrial DNA DAMPs – a Pharmacological Target in Preventing Multiple Organ Failure,” focuses on the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction in patients after a traumatic event such as a car accident.
These patients often die from organ failure – e.g. kidney or respiratory failure – that was not associated with the original injuries. “We recently published a report that links this organ failure to the release of mitochondrial DNA into the blood stream,” he said. “Our next step is to use medications that were developed by our lab to treat these patients to prevent kidney and lung failure after traumatic events.”
Dr. Simmons said the award also demonstrates the impact of the USA Trauma Center on a national level because of the combination of quality patient care and research. “Dr. Richard Gonzalez, chief of trauma, and Dr. William Richards, chair of surgery, have been instrumental in creating the vision for our trauma center that cultivates this type of national recognition," he said.
The winner of the Clowes Award is selected by the Scholarship Committee of the American College of Surgeons each year and is given to a surgeon in the early stages of his/her career who shows promising development as a surgeon-scientist. This award offers a means to facilitate the career development of individuals pursuing careers in surgical research by enhancing the monetary support of their research efforts. It is a five-year award that provides $45,000 each year to enhance the ability to conduct quality research.
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