Three University of Tennessee Health Science Center faculty members are being highlighted in the Memphis Business Journal (MBJ) this month for their outstanding leadership and contributions to the biosciences.
Colleen Jonsson, PhD, professor and Endowed Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology; Monica Jablonski, PhD, FARVO, Hamilton Endowed Professor; and Maria Gomes-Solecki, DVM, professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, are included in the publication’s monthly “Women Who Lead” feature, which recognizes women leaders in various industries in the Memphis metro area. The May issue focuses on the biosciences.
The paper’s editorial team selected the honorees, who are well-known for their game-changing leadership, from propelling life-changing biomedical research forward, to developing intellectual property and creating start-up companies, to navigating the challenges of the pandemic.
Each are highlighted in a special print and online feature in the MBJ.
- Dr. Jonsson is director of the UTHSC Institute for the Study of Host Pathogen Systems and director of UTHSC’s Regional Biocontainment Lab (RBL). She has synergized infectious disease research among an interdisciplinary group of faculty across the UTHSC research enterprise, and has played a lead role in UTHSC’s response to the pandemic, transforming the RBL into a COVID-19 research facility early in 2020. Her impact on the pandemic includes leading collaborations with nearly 200 academic and industry entities to test antivirals and disinfectants using in vitro and in vivo models, as well as working with the city of Memphis and Shelby County to map the spread of variants.
- Dr. Jablonski is vice chair, professor, and director of Research in the Department of Ophthalmology, and professor in the Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Genetics, Genomics and Informatics. She is also associate dean of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the founder of OculoTherapy, LLC. Dr. Jablonski successfully developed a topical microemulsion-based formulation for delivery of hydrophilic drugs to the posterior pole of the eye. The microemulsion was created to combat the shortcomings traditionally linked to standard eye drops. Her spinoff company, OculoTherapy LLC, is working toward commercializing this and other technologies.
- Dr. Gomes-Solecki is an inventor, co-founder, and scientific advisor of US BIOLOGIC, Inc. and president and CEO of Immuno Technologies, Inc. She is known in the field of Lyme disease research as an expert developer of oral vaccines based on commensal bacteria for prevention and treatment of microbial diseases. During the pandemic, she worked on ways to test the general population in Memphis for the SARS-CoV-2 antibody.