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Meet medication management in 2022, a collection: Get to know Tika Benveniste, Ph.D. – College of Medication – Information

Meet medication management in 2022, a collection: Get to know Tika Benveniste, Ph.D. – College of Medication – Information

Within the “Meet medication management” collection, leaders throughout the UAB Well being System share their tales and their imaginative and prescient for UAB as Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, transitions to his function as dean of the Heersink College of Medication, CEO of UAB Well being System and CEO of the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance. Thus far, we have now featured Daybreak Bulgarella, Anupam Agarwal, M.D., and Tony Jones, M.D.

This week, the communications group sat down with Tika Benveniste, Ph.D., to speak about her three and a half many years at UAB, how her Holocaust-survivor dad and mom influenced her work ethic, and why she is happy about analysis at UAB at this second.

Since first becoming a member of school in 1986, Tika Benveniste, Ph.D., senior vice dean for Analysis within the UAB Heersink College of Medication, has appreciated the collaborative strategy of science at UAB.
Now, as she appears to be like forward to the long run, she is happy concerning the strategy of evaluating the Heersink College of Medication analysis focus areas for the subsequent 5 years—which comes on the perfectly-timed crossroads of the Heersink naming present and Vickers’ transition to CEO/Dean.

Rising up on the west coast

The that means of onerous work and perseverance runs by way of Dr. Tika Benveniste’s blood. Born to immigrant dad and mom who survived the Holocaust, she grew up in Oakland, California.

“My dad and mom began with actually nothing after they arrived in Oakland after World Conflict II,” she mentioned. “They rebuilt their lives from the bottom up, joined a group, and have become profitable.”

As a baby, Benveniste didn’t perceive the great trauma her dad and mom had been by way of within the Holocaust—her dad shedding his whole household besides one brother—however as an grownup she is aware of their tales instilled traits of resilience and resourcefulness in her id.

“In some methods, it was onerous for me as a result of the traditional teenage angst appeared very trivial to them. On the finish of the day, it taught me tips on how to put issues in perspective,” she mentioned.

Benveniste, an avid reader in her spare time, had entry to varsity campuses early in life, residing simply 5 miles from UC Berkeley. Rising up, she was fascinated with science. “I had an curiosity in biology and science as an adolescent. My mom had a biology background which in all probability influenced me,” she mentioned.

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A profession investigating ‘the mysteries of the immune system’

Benveniste mentioned her undergraduate years are a main instance of how one trainer can affect somebody’s private journey.

“In my junior yr, I had a complicated course in immunology—which was nonetheless a rudimentary area on the time. My trainer, Allan Wilhelm, taught immunology as ‘the mysteries of the immune system,’ and it simply completely grabbed me,” she mentioned.

After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Biology, she spent a yr on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) in a world-renowned immunology lab. That lab work led to a Ph.D. program at UCLA in Immunology.

After her doctoral and postdoctoral work at UCLA, Benveniste got here to UAB in 1986 as a non-tenure incomes assistant professor, after which turned a tenure-earning assistant professor within the Cell Biology Division in 1988.. Since, she has held quite a lot of management positions.

Benvenisteartwork 03An sudden alternative to guide

Whereas there was not a plan in her early profession to be in a management place, in 1995 she was requested by Dr. Dick Marchase to function director of the Graduate Program in Cell Biology. “I believed, ‘why me?’ I used to be flattered however advised him I used to be undecided I had the ability set. And, he mentioned, ‘I’ve watched you, and also you do,’ so I mentioned okay, I’ll do it.” And unexpectedly, Benveniste discovered herself main a program of over 80 graduate college students.

“I discovered it to be tremendously rewarding,” she mentioned about her 5 years serving in that function. “I loved being of service to college students.”

In 1999, she based the Workplace of Postdoctoral Training the place she served as affiliate dean from 1999-2001. “I began trying into the postdoc plight and located a quantity have been underpaid, and had poor advantages and insurance coverage. They wanted to have an advocate for them and their well-being.” When Benveniste acknowledged that want, she approached management, and so they agreed to help a brand new workplace.

She mentioned that figuring out a necessity, proposing an answer, and having it accepted by management shouldn’t be irregular at UAB. In reality, that kind of collaboration and initiative is one aspect that has saved her at UAB for 35 years.

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Main by understanding and empathizing

Benveniste’s CV is intensive and lengthy, showcasing a breadth of expertise in management, science and discovery, educating, and analysis. She has held a number of notable management positions throughout UAB, together with serving as chair of the Division of Cell Biology from 2000-2011, then serving as founding chair when the Division merged with physiology and biophysics and have become the Division of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology in 2012. In 2015, she joined the Dean’s Workplace as senior affiliate dean.

Now, as senior vice dean, her function encompasses every thing associated to analysis, together with cores, area, recruitment and retention, managing inner funding mechanisms, and serving to researchers construct up their infrastructure—all whereas sustaining her personal lab devoted to researching neuroinflammation and the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. She has additionally been very lively as a mentor all through her time at UAB, having graduated 36 college students with the Ph.D. diploma and educated over 30 postdoctoral fellows.

“All the actions I did prior to now inform what I do now,” she said. “I believe my expertise in analysis plus the management exercise provides me credibility as senior vice dean; it’s powerful to ask somebody to do one thing that you haven’t completed your self.”

“I can empathize with chairs as a result of I’ve been a chair. I can empathize with school who obtained a rejection of a manuscript or grant. I can communicate to a number of experiences as a result of I’ve lived and proceed to stay these experiences.”

Benvenisteartwork 02Balancing work

Whereas her plate is full and can solely develop because the Heersink College of Medication grows, Benveniste makes certain to make time for herself.

Normally studying three to 4 books per week, Benveniste’s ardour is historic fiction and nonfiction, particularly the period of World Conflict II. “I additionally just like the occasional trash novel,” she laughed.
She mentioned she does at the least one type of train per day. “I like strolling. I stroll lots,” she defined. “And through the pandemic, I took up boxing. I take classes and am identified across the boxing health club as ‘Tika the terminator.” she mentioned.

Strategizing the way forward for analysis

She brings the identical depth from the boxing ring to her each day work, explaining that her dad and mom raised her to point out up and do the best possible work potential each single day. “The worst factor is having one thing fall by way of the cracks,” she mentioned.

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On the horizon, there are fairly a couple of issues Benveniste is trying ahead to within the subsequent few years, beginning with the route analysis is headed.

“A strategic analysis plan was developed in 2014 and has served us properly, however science modifications quickly. Now we have reached out to each Heersink school member for his or her enter on re-evaluating our precedence areas and creating a brand new plan.”

Benveniste mentioned enter is critical so this will likely be a “ground-up” initiative. “I’m particularly trying ahead to listening to from junior school to grasp what they see as thrilling,” she mentioned.
One other thrilling aspect of the long run is the Heersink household’s historic $95 million present. “It comes at a transformative time,” she mentioned, including that we’re propelling in direction of tutorial excellence.

A pathway to unify mission areas

With Vickers’ function change, she mentioned she appears to be like ahead to “having pretty siloed entities be extra aligned.” There’s an interconnectivity between analysis and scientific environments, she defined.

And whereas a whole lot of fundamental science doesn’t start with the considered curing illness, it does present a basis to scientific analysis—it’s a constructing block. Analysis to scientific care is a continuum. It begins with fundamental science then turns into pre-clinical and translational, ultimately resulting in section 1-3 scientific trials and, lastly, ending on the bedside. The continuum shouldn’t be linear although, and Benveniste is fast to notice that “there’s a whole lot of serendipity in analysis. You might begin down one path and find yourself in a brand new route.”

As we transfer forward, Benveniste predicts that there will likely be extra alternatives to develop a deeper appreciation for what everybody—researcher, educator, supplier, and scientist—does every day, and she or he envisions unified mission areas of analysis, scientific care, and medical schooling.