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University of Iowa News Release


June 2, 2008

Carver College of Medicine to honor distinguished alumni June 6

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will honor the achievements of six individuals at its 2008 Distinguished Alumni Awards presentation and luncheon Friday, June 6, in Iowa City.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the college bestows upon its graduates. Established in 1998, this awards program recognizes former students and colleagues who have transcended their fundamental roles as health care providers, scientists and educators to become leaders in the advancement of medicine.

The awards represent two categories of distinction. The Award for Achievement recognizes UI Carver College of Medicine alumni for significant personal accomplishments in science, medicine and education. The Award for Service is presented to medical alumni for meritorious leadership and service in a professional capacity or to their community, state or nation.

Following are biographical sketches of this year's Distinguished Alumni Award recipients:

--Carol Aschenbrener, M.D., Award for Service

Aschenbrener has worked diligently to prepare other women for leadership in academic medicine. The Dubuque, Iowa native received a master's degree in 1968 from the UI. Following medical school, she completed a medical residency in pathology at the UI in 1975 and then joined the university's medical school faculty. In 1992, she became chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the first woman to head a public academic health center. Among her many professional activities is Aschenbrener's role as advisor and leader with the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women, which prepares senior women faculty in medicine, dentistry and public health for leadership positions in health care and administration. She also developed the Association of American Medical College's (AAMC) Professional Development Seminars for Women in Academic Medicine with former AAMC staff member Janet Bickel, now in its 22nd year. Aschenbrener joined the AAMC in 2004 as vice president for medical school standards and assessment. Today, she serves as executive vice president and chief strategy officer for the organization.

--Roger Ceilley, M.D., Award for Service

A leading contributor to public awareness of sun safety and skin cancer, Ceilley has encouraged sun-safety curricula in elementary school education programs and organized national public educational programs. Ceilley, originally from Cedar Falls, Iowa, earned a medical degree from the UI in 1971 and completed a medical residency in dermatology at the UI in 1977. He has served as past-president of the American Academy of Dermatology, co-authored the academy's guidelines of skin care, and currently chairs the academy's council on communications. As a UI faculty member, Ceilley was instrumental in the Department of Dermatology, where he developed the Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology program and fellowship. Prior to implementing the program, Ceilley learned the Mohs technique of excision for skin cancer from Frederick Mohs, M.D., at the University of Wisconsin. Currently, Ceilley is a community-based dermatologist in private practice in Des Moines and remains an adjunct clinical professor at the UI.

--Billy Hudson, Ph.D., Award for Achievement

Internationally known for his research on hereditary kidney diseases, Hudson, born in Grapevine, Arkansas, received a doctorate in biochemistry from the UI in 1966. Hudson's discovery of the molecular underpinnings of autoimmune and hereditary kidney diseases was key to understanding the pathologies of Alport syndrome and Goodpasture's syndrome. After teaching at the University of Kansas for 22 years, Hudson became the director of the Center for Matrix Biology and the Elliot V. Newman Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University, his home since 2002. As a co-founder of two biotechnology companies, Hudson is currently working to bring a potential treatment for diabetic kidney disease to market.

--John Olney, M.D., Award for Achievement

Noted for his landmark discovery of glutamate as an excitatory neurotransmitter and killer of nerve cells in the brain, Olney coined the term "excitotoxicity," a word now widely used in medical science. Olney's discovery opened an entirely new field of neuroscience research, as glutamate excitotoxicity was found in numerous brain disorders including stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. Originally from Marathon, Iowa, Olney received bachelor's (1956) and medical (1963) degrees from the UI. As an undergraduate, Olney studied the role of glial cells, one of two cell types in the brain, in the disease process leading to multiple sclerosis. For his work, he received the Borden Undergraduate Research Award in Medicine. Currently, Olney is the John P. Feighner Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He recently discovered that certain drugs used in pediatric and obstetric medicine can cause neurons in the developing animal brain to self-destruct. His current research seeks to clarify the relevance of these findings to human neurodevelopmental disorders.

--James Scott, M.D., Award for Achievement

As a leader in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, Scott is an international authority on recurrent miscarriage. A native of Burlington, Iowa, Scott earned bachelor's (1959) and medical (1962) degrees from the UI, and he completed a medical residency (1972) in the UI Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Scott served as chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Utah for 18 years. His research has focused on alterations in the immune response in pregnancy and autoimmunity and its relationship to maternal and fetal disease. Scott's research has played an important role in the understanding of recurrent miscarriage, pregnancy in transplant patients and complications associated with other immunologic problems in obstetrics and gynecology. Since 2001, Scott has been editor-in-chief of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the official journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

--Wayne Yokoyama, M.D., Award for Achievement

As a world authority on natural killer cells and their molecular biology, Yokoyama has made fundamental discoveries in science and medicine. Born and raised on the Hawaiian Islands, Yokoyama completed a medical residency (1981) and fellowship (1985) in internal medicine, specializing in rheumatology, at the UI. His research has focused on white blood cells and their control of infection and cancer. His work has provided insight into clinical outcomes from human diseases, such as resolution versus chronicity of infections. Yokoyama is a professor of medicine, and of pathology and immunology, and he serves as director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and holds the Sam J. and Audrey Loew Levin Chair for Basic Research in Arthritis. Yokoyama was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

Alumni of the UI Carver College of Medicine include all graduates of the university's education and training programs for undergraduate and graduate medical education, associated medical sciences, and graduate basic sciences.

Detailed profiles of the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are available online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Writer: Stacie Carpenter