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An investment in promise

Cell biologist Jamie Moseley was recently selected as the recipient of a very competitive research award administered by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

By Kate Villars

One day in late March while meeting with several colleagues, James Moseley, Ph.D., saw an e-mail notification from the Pew Charitable Trusts pop up on the screen of his laptop. "I couldn't resist opening it," admits Moseley, an assistant professor of biochemistry at DMS.

Few in his shoes would have been able to contain their curiosity. Several months earlier, Moseley—a cell biologist—had been chosen as Dartmouth's sole nominee for the prestigious 2011 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Would this be the answer he had been hoping for, he wondered?

"I saw the first word—'Congratulations!'—and I was over-the-moon excited," says Moseley about the moment when he learned that he'd been selected as a Pew Scholar.

For a promising early-career scientist like Moseley, the endorsement that comes with this award is as significant as the funding it provides. "The Pew's scientific review board is made up of a very impressive list of scientists, so the fact that they consider my ideas worthwhile is a tremendous honor," says Moseley.

Each year, a select group of institutions, including Dartmouth, is invited to put forward just one young investigator each for the highly competitive award, which provides $240,000 in funding over four years. Past Pew Scholars are an elite community of scientists that includes three Nobel Prize winners, three MacArthur Fellows, and two recipients of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award.

Famous footsteps

Learn more about the Pew Scholars program
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Career development
"The Pew Scholars Program selects the brightest young researchers in biomedical sciences for their support," says Duane Compton, Ph.D., DMS's senior associate dean for research. "Jamie is one of several top-notch young researchers who have come to Dartmouth in the past year, and we have a strong reputation for nurturing their career development. He has an outstanding track record of accomplishment, and this prestigious award will provide important recognition and support for him to succeed in these very competitive times."

Moseley came to DMS last summer from the lab of Nobel laureate Paul Nurse at Rockefeller University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. It was there that he began the work he is now pursuing in his own lab—probing the mechanisms by which cells measure their size and shape and use that information to control the cell cycle. This area of inquiry is important to understanding the misregulated and uncontrolled cell growth that occurs in many types of cancer.

"It's that kind of promise that the Pew Scholars Program invests in," says the chair of biochemistry.

"One of Jamie's strengths is his ability to distill very complex questions down into testable models," says Charles Barlowe, Ph.D., chair of biochemistry. "Already, he's published 20 papers in some of the field's most prestigious journals. It's that kind of promise that the Pew Scholars Program invests in. I think we can look forward to a bright future and to exciting discoveries from him here at Dartmouth."

Moseley eagerly anticipates the chance to pursue his best ideas—a freedom that comes along with the Pew Scholars award. "Pew wants us to think openly and think big," says Moseley. It's evident he is ready to do just that.

A legacy of teaching and learning

"Chuck had a natural curiosity," says a former colleague of the late Charles Ravaris, in whose memory a lectureship was recently funded.

By Kate Villars

When remembering the late Charles Ravaris, M.D., former colleagues and students describe his compassionate rapport with his patients, his love of teaching and mentoring, the depth of his knowledge and curiosity, and his ability to defuse difficult situations with humor.

Every person interviewed for this story also recalled the pride with which the Dartmouth-Hitchcock psychiatrist and DMS professor emeritus wore his trademark white coat—always spotless and freshly ironed every day.

"He didn't consider it a badge of authority," explains Alan I. Green, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry. "I think for him it was a symbol of his dedication to his profession and of his respect and care for his patients."

Ravaris's attention to the appearance of his white coat seems to have been the exception to the rule for a man whom his wife, Jacqueline Ravaris, describes as "very interested in people, but not very interested in the trappings of life."

It was for that reason that she and her three sons decided that the most fitting memorial to her husband and their father would be to establish an annual lecture in his name in the Department of Psychiatry. Its emphasis will be on recent advances in mood and anxiety disorders, which was Ravaris's area of research interest.

Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DH.

"I was really touched that the family wanted to do this," says Green. "This kind of gift is extremely important to our department, to the Medical Center, and to the Medical School. By providing the funds to bring in nationally and internationally recognized speakers to share their knowledge with our trainees and faculty, this lectureship will perpetuate the ideals that Chuck Ravaris stood for."

Role model
Those ideals included a deep commitment to public sector psychiatry. "Chuck was passionate about caring for mentally ill people who were involuntarily hospitalized," says Alex de Nesnera, M.D., a DMS '86 who says Ravaris was an important role model. De Nesnera trained under Ravaris in the DMS Department of Psychiatry and later worked with him at New Hampshire Hospital, where de Nesnera is now associate medical director.

Ravaris was also a dedicated teacher, and former students describe how mentoring infused his daily work as an attending physician—whether through modeling compassionate listening during patient interviews or engaging trainees in treatment planning. "He influenced me greatly in my learning process as a resident and helped me to develop my identity as a physician," says de Nesnera. "His teaching style was one that I try to emulate now."

Douglas Noordsy, M.D., a Dartmouth-Hitchcock psychiatrist who did his residency training under Ravaris, remembers him not only as a teacher, but also as a lifelong learner. "Chuck had a natural curiosity," says Noordsy. "He loved being part of the learning and teaching process. Long after he retired, he still came to grand rounds, and he'd be excited to hear about the work other faculty were doing and what they were learning from it. I think that speaks to why this lectureship is a wonderful way to remember him."

The inaugural Charles L. Ravaris, M.D., Memorial Lecture took place on May 10.

"This is a key aspect of our teaching," says Green, "and perpetuates the name of a greatly respected and very much loved member of our department."

Grateful patients give back
Grateful patients and families often express appreciation with gifts to D-H. Irene Hart did so by establishing a charitable gift annuity, which also provides income during her lifetime. "My husband received superior care at DHMC. The attentive staff made sure my needs were met as well. There is no one who has higher regard for Dartmouth- Hitchcock than I do," says Hart. Learn more »

Scholarly award
DMS doctoral student Katelyn Byrne won one of just seven Research Scholar Awards given in 2011 by the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation. The $10,000 scholarships seek to encourage young investigators to choose melanoma research as a career. "Kate's findings have already made an important contribution to the field of mela noma research," says Mary Jo Turk, Ph.D., Byrne's mentor.

Kate Villars is assistant director of development communications for DMS-DH

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