News & Research

Michigan Medicine Alumni Receive Distinguished Awards

Winter 2020
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Eva L. Feldman (M.D. 1983, Ph.D. 1979), the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology, is the recipient of this year’s Michigan Medicine Alumni Society’s (MMAS) Distinguished Achievement Award. She has devoted her career to understanding neurological disorders and developing new treatments. With over 30 years of continuous National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, she currently leads three NIH grants aimed at understanding how lipids cause nervous system injury and directs a research program of 30 scientists. A principal investigator on the first two FDA-approved stem cell transplant clinical trials for ALS, Feldman is now transferring this therapy to Alzheimer’s disease. 

Joseph M. Metzger, Ph.D., recipient of the MMAS Distinguished Service Award, is professor and chair of integrative biology and physiology at the University of Minnesota and spent 17 years at U-M in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Noted for his numerous teaching awards, Metzger has trained many fellows and students who have gone on to faculty positions at leading academic medical centers around the world. 

The MMAS Distinguished Humanitarian Award went to Robert Z. Gussin (Ph.D. 1965), chair of the Pharmacology Alumni Advisory Committee of the U-M Medical School and a retired corporate vice president of Johnson & Johnson. He has endowed a pharmacology professorship at U-M and a scholarship at Duquesne for members of the Sarasota County Boys & Girls Club, where he serves on the board of directors. 

Feranmi O. Okanlami (M.D. 2011), assistant professor of family medicine and of physical medicine and rehabilitation, received the MMAS Early Distinguished Career Award. In his third year at the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at Yale University, he sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. After intense rehabilitation, he went on to earn a master’s degree, switched his specialty to family medicine, and has spent his subsequent time at U-M advocating for those with disability.