October 2020 Distinctions

October 2020

Todd M. Brusko

College of Medicine


Todd M. Brusko, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, has been named scientific director of the UF Diabetes Institute. Brusko will oversee efforts toward building research and equipment infrastructure within the institute, expanding research collaborations and the recruitment of faculty. His laboratory serves as the advanced cytometry and cell sorting core for the JDRF-sponsored Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes, or nPOD, program.



Versie Johnson-Mallard


College of Nursing

Versie Johnson-Mallard, Ph.D., WHNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, an associate dean for student affairs, has been appointed to the Board on Gulf Education and Engagement of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She will provide strategic guidance to the program, support the development of the next generation of environmentally and scientifically literate citizens and engage diverse future generations to address the scientific, social and environmental challenges associated in the Gulf of Mexico.



Staja “Star” Booker



Staja “Star” Booker, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor in the department of behavioral nursing science, has been elected to the board of directors for the U.S. Association for the Study of Pain. In this role, Booker will represent the interests of early career scientists, including junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and others beginning their career in pain management.




Folakemi Odedina


College of Pharmacy

Folakemi Odedina, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research in the college and a professor of radiation oncology in the UF College of Medicine, has been elected to a three-year term on the Minorities in Cancer Research Council of the American Association for Cancer Research. Odedina’s research program focuses on the predictors of health disparities and cost-effective, community-based behavioral interventions to improve the health of Black men.




 Natalie DeanCollege of Public Health and Health Professions

Natalie Dean, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of biostatistics, has received UF’s Excellence Award for Assistant Professors for 2020. The award is one of the university’s top honors for a junior faculty member. She is the principal investigator on a five-year $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop innovative vaccine study designs so that agencies can implement vaccine trials quickly and effectively in the event of an outbreak.



Arch G. Mainous III

Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., a professor in the department of health services research, management and policy, has been elected to membership in the Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida. He was elected for his “enhanced knowledge and practice of primary care by improving antibiotic use, physician-patient communication and detection of cardiovascular and diabetes care.”




Claudia Senesac


Claudia Senesac, P.T., Ph.D., a clinical associate professor in the department of physical therapy, received the Change It Champion Award from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a nonprofit organization that is leading the fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She was recognized for her years of commitment and compassion for the Duchenne community and her leadership in ensuring physical therapy is at the heart of daily care for families.