November 3, 2021

Dr. M. N. V. Ravi Kumar, professor in the College of Community Health Sciences and founding director of The University of Alabama Center for Convergent Bioscience and Medicine, was appointed by the UA Board of Trustees as a Distinguished Research Professor – one of the University’s most prestigious awards.

The title recognizes UA faculty who have amassed international successes in their fields and received extensive peer recognition for their scholarly contributions and noteworthy academic service.

The Kumar Lab works to develop novel therapies for immune-inflammatory diseases by adopting an integrated approach that combines innovative drug delivery strategies with new drug-discovery and drug-repurposing. Kumar was the first to propose and demonstrate non-competitive active targeting nanosystems and its application to human health and diseases. Kumar-lab employed this platform in the treatment of difficult to treat diseases such as lupus, diabetes, acute kidney injury, and intraocular inflammation using rodent and canine models.

Kumar receives extramural grants and generates high-quality publications and patentable technologies. His research has won him several awards including the Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientists (2007); Tom Gibson Memorial Award by British Society of Plastic Surgeons & the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (2008); British Pharmaceutical Conference Science Medal (2009); T. Nagai outstanding researcher advisory by the CRS (2018); and Distinguished Scientist Award of the International Journal of Nanomedicine (2020). He is Elected a Fellow of American Association for Pharmaceutical Scientists (2018), Elected a Foreign Fellow, European Academy of Sciences (2020), Elected a Fellow American Association for Advancement of Science (2020) and Elected a Foreign Member, Academia Europaea (2021). He was recently featured on The Medicine Maker ‘Power List 20 for 2021’.

Kumar holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences, College of Engineering.

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, professor in the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, will be honored Dec. 8 by the National Medical Fellowships with the NMF Distinguished Alumni Award for her impact on the advancement of health equity and health-care research in rural and underserved communities. The award will be presented at the virtual NMF Atlanta Champions of Health Awards.

“NMF holds the Champions of Health Awards to support our important mission and to honor those individuals who have made a lasting impact on health care and diversity in health care,” NMF’s Gina Lee Gossett said in a letter to Payne-Foster. “You are most deserving of this award, and we would like to honor you for your work in fighting health inequity and highlighting the importance of rural health research.”

The mission of NMF is to eliminate racial and health-care disparities and help build a pipeline for a more diverse health-care workforce. The private national organization is solely dedicated to providing scholarships and support to medical and affiliated health professions students who are underrepresented in health care. In the past 75 years, NMF has supported more than 32,000 students with more than $45 million in scholarships.

Payne-Foster is a preventive medicine and public health physician and in addition to her faculty role, she is also deputy director for Community Outreach for the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research. She teaches medical students and interacts with undergraduate and graduate students at The University of Alabama in her role as coordinator of health-related service-learning activities and in research endeavors in rural and underserved communities in Alabama. Her research interests are in health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes; bioethics and medical ethics; and diversity and cultural competency issues in health care.