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Allyn L. Mark MD to be recognized as Distinguished Mentor on October 16th

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The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will present the Distinguished Mentor Award to Allyn L. Mark, M.D., professor and Roy J. Carver Chair in Internal Medicine.

The award ceremony, which begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday, October 16, also will feature the Distinguished Mentor Lecture by Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D., professor of cell biology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University. Spiegelman, an internationally known expert in the transcriptional regulation of energy metabolism in mammals, will present “Brown and Beige Fat: Basic Biology and Novel Therapeutics.”

All events will take place in the Prem Sahai Auditorium of the Medical Education and Research Facility. A reception will follow in the nearby atrium.

The Distinguished Mentor Award honors current or former Carver College of Medicine faculty members for outstanding mentoring and substantial impact on trainees who have, in turn, led distinguished careers. The Distinguished Mentor Lecture brings to the UI leading scientists who embody the ideals of the award and its recipient.

The Distinguished Mentor Award and Lecture were established and are supported by a gift to the UI Foundation from UI graduates Nancy Granner and Daryl Granner, M.D., of North Liberty, Iowa.

Distinguished Mentor Awardee Allyn Mark is recognized internationally for his research in neural control of the circulation and mechanisms of hypertension, but his greatest passion is as a mentor to trainees and young faculty.

Encouraged by UI professors to pursue a career in academic medicine, Dr. Mark took to research under the mentoring of John Eckstein and, subsequently, Francois Abboud. Dr. Mark comments: “In addition to outstanding mentors, I have been blessed with exceptional faculty colleagues at Iowa and distinguished scientific colleagues at other institutions. These colleagues, including young faculty and trainees, have often been rewarding mentors to me.”

Dr. Mark is credited by former trainees and faculty for inspirational mentoring during his career as Director of the Cardiovascular Division, as Associate Dean for Research and, most recently, as Founding Co-Director of the UI Obesity Research and Education Initiative.

Dr. Mark trained 20 physicians and scientists who now have independent research programs and faculty positions, many as leaders and distinguished mentors themselves. One commented: “An aspect that sets Dr. Mark apart as a mentor is his ability to predict and prepare his fellows for the future.” Another wrote: “Successful mentorship yields successful academicians and also creates the next generation of mentors. Allyn epitomizes both of these qualities inherent in the best of mentors.”

His former trainees wrote of his continuing mentorship and career guidance, even at a distance, after they have established independent research and faculty careers elsewhere. One wrote: “Little did I know that what began as a four-month sabbatical in his laboratory to learn microneurography would lead to a career- long mentorship.”

A remarkable feature of Dr. Mark’s career is his record of promoting, guiding, and empowering research program development and leadership among young faculty. His colleagues wrote: “This is a form of mentoring that has enriched the college and continues to this day.” A leading faculty wrote: “While still a junior faculty, Allyn asked me to take over the direction of a prestigious program. I was unsure of my ability to do so, but Allyn was not. His confidence in me gave me confidence in myself—a pearl in excellent mentoring.”

His colleagues commented that Dr. Mark’s commitment to his own research renewal has served as a role model: “He taught me that you are never too old to immerse yourself in a new area.” “His trainees have been the biggest beneficiaries of his own enterprise and endeavors.”

Mark concludes: “For me, biomedical research and mentoring have afforded unparalleled opportunities for intense interactions and lasting friendships with trainees and colleagues and for career renewal. This has enlarged my world in ways far beyond my research.”

This year’s Distinguished Mentor Lecturer, Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D., is the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School. Through his research, he has elucidated processes that control fat cell differentiation, insulin sensitivity, and pathways of glucose and lipid metabolism. His work has applications to diabetes, obesity, neurodegeneration, and cancer.

Nancy Granner and Daryl Granner both received bachelor's degrees at the UI in 1958. Daryl Granner, a Distinguished Alumnus of the UI, also received a Master of Science degree and a medical degree from the UI in 1962. He was a UI College of Medicine faculty member from 1970 to 1984 and directed the endocrinology division from 1975 to 1984. Granner currently is professor emeritus of internal medicine and physiology, as well as founding director emeritus of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the UI.

Related: A mentor at heart, Allyn Mark enjoys his work with trainees, young faculty

Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

Media Contact: Dawn Goodlove, 319-384-9492