University of Nebraska Medical Center

Current Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumnus Award

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

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

Upon earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Dr. Meyer began his career – that now spans over four decades – as a physical therapist. He practiced pediatric physical therapy for over twenty years, and was instrumental in developing the first pediatric physical therapy department at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, NE.

He returned to his alma mater in 1991 as a faculty member and Director of Clinical Education in the physical therapy program. He went on to hold several leadership positions throughout his over 30-year career at UNMC. He served on the UNMC Faculty Senate for seven years, presiding as Senate President in 2000-01.

He was later appointed Associate Dean and Senior Associate Dean for Allied Health in the College of Medicine prior to being named the Founding Dean of the newly created UNMC College of Allied Health Professions in 2015. In that same year, the College of Allied Health Professions expanded to the new Health Science Education Complex on the University of Nebraska Kearney campus. 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 a Credentialed Clinical Trainer for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Clinical Instructor Education and Credentialing Program (CIECP) and the Advanced Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program for twelve years. He was a member and chair of the national APTA Clinical Instructor Education Board and co-authored a national training curriculum for physical therapy clinical educators, the Advanced Credential Clinical Instructor Program.

In 2016, Dr. Meyer was elected as a Fellow in the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions (ASAHP) 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. He currently presides as President of the Midwest Deans Association of the ASAHP.

Dr. Meyer also holds a Master of Science degree (anatomy) from UNMC, and both a Master of Public Administration and a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska Omaha. In 2017, he was recognized with the Alumni Award for Excellence in Public Service by the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Early Career Achievement Award

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

Michael Dixon, PhD'03

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, a 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.

Honorary Alumnus Award

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

Tammy Kielian, PhD

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.