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VOL. 35 | NO. 17 | Friday, April 29, 2011

Baker Donelson adds new shareholders

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Courtney H. Gilmer

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has elected 13 new shareholders across the firm, including two attorneys in its Nashville office: Courtney H. Gilmer and Samuel F. Miller.

Gilmer concentrates her practice in the areas of bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, restructuring and commercial litigation. She is chair of the Nashville Bar Association Bankruptcy Court Committee and is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute. A 2002 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Ms. Gilmer has been recognized as a “rising star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine. She recently completed a term as chair of the board of directors for the Center for Children and Families, a non-profit daycare facility

Miller focuses his practice on trademark, trade dress, right of publicity, copyright, patent and false advertising litigation. He has twice been elected chair of the Intellectual Property Section of the Tennessee Bar Association, and previously served on the governing board of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association. A 2003 cum laude graduate of Indiana University School of Law, Mr. Miller has been recognized as a “rising star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine in the areas of intellectual property and intellectual property litigation. He is a board member of the Woodbine Community Organization, which provides affordable housing and other services to lower income communities in the Nashville area.

Toxicology society lauds Aschner’s research

Michael Aschner, Ph.D., Gray E.B. Stahlman Professor of Neuroscience and professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has received this year’s Merit Award from the Society of Toxicology.

The Merit Award is the oldest award given by the global organization of toxicology scientists, and highlights Aschner’s exemplary career in research, teaching, regulatory activities and consulting as it relates to toxicology.

Aschner is an authority on metal neurotoxicity, particularly with regard to manganese -- an element in the Earth’s crust used in industrial processes and an essential dietary metal for animals.

High doses of manganese can be toxic to the brain and can cause “manganism,” a syndrome that resembles Parkinson’s disease.

In addition, Aschner has identified the molecular mechanisms of methylmercury neurotoxicity -- the toxic effects of heavy metal mercury on the brain and nervous system.

Aschner also directs the Division of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology and serves as a senior scientist in the Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

Morris Award goes to Tucker

Kim Tucker, founder of the I.C. White Stone Foundation, which serves to empower single mothers in East Nashville with entrepreneurial skills, was awarded the 2011 Mary Morris Award for Exemplary Service to Society by Lipscomb University on Thursday, April 14.

The Mary Morris Award was established to honor another outstanding servant to humanity who died of cancer at age 36 in September 2005. Morris was an associate professor of education and founder of the Center for Character Development at Lipscomb University, which promoted the Character Counts! program in schools, businesses and organizations throughout the city.

Tucker, a Nashville resident has worked in Nashville’s juvenile justice system and the Department of Human Services. A 2003 graduate of Lipscomb’s family relations program, Tucker established the I.C. White Stone Foundation in 2007 to provide the support single mothers need to rise above poverty and dependence on public assistance.

By learning entrepreneurial skills, single mothers do not need to take two jobs or jobs with odd hours, said Tucker. She also schedules classes and college visits to empower this community of women by teaching skills of self-reliance and goal-setting.

Tucker used her own funds to purchase a house in East Nashville, which serves as the site of group activities as well as a site of social enterprise where women cater events and birthday parties, cultivate a garden and operate a mobile kitchen. Programming also includes an investment club teaching financial literacy and self-sufficiency skills and two youth development programs.

VICC investigators shine at conference

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named to the Nominating Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Matrisian has served as AACR president from 2004-2005, as a member of the board of directors and as chair of the Publications Committee.

Matrisian was among dozens of VICC cancer investigators who participated in research education programs during the AACR annual meeting, presenting research posters, giving lectures or serving on panels to debate the latest findings in cancer research.

Reid joins Barge Waggoner

William W. Reid, PE, has joined Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon, Inc. (BWSC) as senior transportation manager in the Nashville office. In this role, Reid will be working directly with project teams to help provide solutions to BWSC clients’ transportation and bridge needs.

Reid has more than 14 years of experience in project management, transportation design and bridge design and evaluation.

A native of Memphis, Reid holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Memphis (1999). He is a licensed professional engineer, and is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Reid is a member of the American Public Works Association (APWA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE).

Political Caucus honors Varallo

The Nashville Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) this week honored Deborah Varallo, president of Varallo Public Relations, during the 11th Annual Spring Revue.

A native Tennessean, Varallo is a leader in the public relations and marketing field having established her own company in 1991. Varallo has been a longtime member of the Nashville Women’s Political Caucus.

“Deborah is a true leader in Nashville serving her community and her industry” said NWPC President Christine Bradley. “It is a special privilege to honor Deborah for her humanitarian work and commitment to women’s organizations and a wide range of charities and nonprofit organizations. Deborah is a true inspiration to many young women looking to leave their mark on society and improve the community in which we live.”

A graduate of Baylor University, Varallo chairs The Davidson Group, an organization that brings people of different ethnic, social and economic backgrounds together. She also currently serves on the boards of Leadership Middle Tennessee, Leadership Middle Tennessee Alumni Board, WIN (a non-partisan women’s political group), The Women’s Fund, Charis Health Center, Girls Scouts of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee State Fair Association. She coordinates the Annual “Media Shoot” for the American Cancer Society’s.

Pharmacology society honors Sanders-Bush

Vanderbilt University Medical Center neuroscientist Elaine Sanders-Bush, Ph.D., has received one of pharmacology’s highest honors — the 2011 Julius Axelrod Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The award, which recognizes outstanding scientific contributions in research and mentoring in pharmacology, was presented to Sanders-Bush during the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington.

Sanders-Bush, professor of Pharmacology, emerita, is internationally known for her studies of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in mood, appetite and memory as well as diseases such as major depression and schizophrenia.

Since joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1969, she and her colleagues have made several pivotal discoveries about serotonin synthesis, metabolism and function.

Her research has contributed to current understanding of mental illness and is aiding the search for more effective anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs.

In 1997 Sanders-Bush led the establishment of an interdisciplinary doctorate program in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt.

She also is former director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, and served as president of ASPET in 2006.

In recognition of her commitment and accomplishments, Sanders-Bush was the first recipient of Vanderbilt’s Levi Watkins Jr. Award for Leadership Diversity in 2002.

Other awards include the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Neuroscience Research and a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Sanders-Bush is the third Vanderbilt faculty member to receive the Axelrod Award. Randy Blakely, Ph.D., director of the Center for Molecular Neuroscience, was recognized in 2008, and Sydney Spector, Ph.D., in 1998.

Neel-Schaffer promotes Deering to VP

Neel-Schaffer recently promoted Joe Deering, P.E., to the position of vice president.

Deering, who has been with the firm for 11 years, will oversee the management of Tennessee Operations, which includes offices in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Jackson.

Neel-Schaffer Inc., is a multi-disciplined engineering firm with offices located throughout the South.

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