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University of Nebraska Medical Center

Current Award Recipients

Graduate Studies Distinguished Alumnus

Kyle P. Meyer, PhD, PT'79, MS'85, FASAHP

Headshot of Kyle Meyer. He is wearing a suit jacket with a UNMC shield pin.

Kyle Meyer is the Founding Dean of the College of Allied Health Professions (CAHP) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). Under his leadership the then School of Allied Health Professions became UNMC’s sixth health professions college in 2015 and in the same year, the College of Allied Health Professions expanded to offer programs at the new Health Science Education Complex in Kearney, NE. In 2016 the College of Allied Health Professions was awarded the Visionary Leadership Award by UNMC Faculty Development in recognition of these accomplishments.

Dr. Meyer served as Director of Clinical Education in the Division of Physical Therapy Education at UNMC from 1991-2006, and Associate Dean and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Allied Health Professions from 2006 to 2015, before assuming his current position.

Dr. Meyer earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy in 1979, and a master’s degree in anatomy in 1985, both from UNMC. He practiced in pediatric physical therapy for over twenty years, and as chief pediatric physical therapist was instrumental in developing the first pediatric physical therapy department at Children’s Hospital, Omaha, NE.

Dr. Meyer served as a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Clinical Instructor Education Board from 1999 to 2002, serving as chair of the committee in 2002, and later helped to develop and author a national training curriculum for physical therapy clinical educators.

Dr. Meyer received a Master of Public Administration degree in 1994 and a PhD in Public Administration in 2007, both from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 2017 he was recognized with the Alumni Award for Excellence in Public Service from the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Dr. Meyer served on the UNMC Faculty Senate for seven years, presiding as Senate President in 2000-01. He currently presides as President of the Midwest Deans Association of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). An ardent supporter of the CAHP and the allied health professions, Dr. Meyer was elected as a Fellow in the ASAHP in 2016 for his record of demonstrated leadership and significant contributions in allied health, becoming at that time one of only 179 individuals awarded the honor since 1981.

Graduate Studies Early Career Achievement Award

Michael Dixon, PhD'03

Headshot of Michael Dixon. He is wearing a suit and tie in front of a blue background.

Dr. Michael Dixon is president and CEO of the UNeMed Corporation, a company that works with faculty, students and staff of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and Nebraska Medicine to help commercialize innovative, new ideas that have the potential to improve public health for Nebraska residents and beyond. Dr. Dixon and the UNeMed staff work to match industry, entrepreneurs and investors with university researchers to foster partnerships for the commercial development of new technology.

Dr. Dixon’s tenure at UNMC began in 1998 when he joined the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases.  Dr. Dixon’s research interests at UNMC were focused in the areas of molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry. In 2003 a move that transitioned him from the bench to the business side of science, Dr. Dixon joined the UNMC technology transfer office and began working with researchers to protect and develop new technology.   
As president and CEO of UNeMed, Dr. Dixon is responsible for setting UNeMed’s strategic path and directing UNeMed’s activities; including efforts to protect, market, and license new technology. Under his leadership, UNeMed has significantly grown its technology portfolio, processing more than 100 new inventions each year. In addition, the University has established a strong culture of entrepreneurship, helping to spin-out 5 or more new startup companies each of the past three years.

Dr. Dixon is a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 32 and a 2011 recipient of the Midlands Business Journal “40 under 40” award.  As an active member of the community, Dr. Dixon serves on several Boards, including Invest Nebraska, non-profit, venture development organization that advises and invests in companies and early-stage business ideas in Nebraska and Bio Nebraska, a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the development and growth of Nebraska’s bioscience industry.

Graduate Studies Honorary Alumnus

Tammy Kielian, PhD

Headshot of Tammy Kielian taken in front of a background of research graphs.

Tammy Kielian received a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991, a MS in Immunology from Kansas State University in 1994, a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1998, and completed postdoctoral training in neuroimmunology at Dartmouth Medical School. In 2001, she established her independent laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and was recruited to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2008 where she is a professor and holds the Choudari Kommineni, DVM, PhD Endowed Professor of Pathology.

Dr. Kielian’s research interests span the fields of immunology, infectious diseases, and neuroscience with a unifying theme of innate immunity.  Her laboratory has a long-standing interest in studying the pathogenesis and immune responses elicited by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) biofilm in the central nervous system and periphery using mouse models of prosthetic joint and craniotomy infection. Her laboratory also collaborates with orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons at UNMC to explore immune responses in patients with prosthetic joint and craniotomy infections with the goal of identifying novel immune biomarkers for infection diagnosis and therapy. Dr. Kielian has served as a regular and ad-hoc member on numerous NIH study section panels and her research program has been continuously funded by the NIH since its inception in 2001 with a total of 134 research publications to date.

Dr. Kielian received the Graduate Student Association Distinguished Mentor Award in 2015, the Outstanding Mentor of Junior Research Faculty Award in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology in 2019, the Outstanding Mentor of Graduate Students Award from the UNMC Faculty Senate in 2022, and was named the UNMC Scientist Laureate in 2016.