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School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

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Student Recognition

Welcome to Student Recognition

Daniel T. Watts Research Symposium

Traditionally held in the early Fall, the Watts Research Symposium is structured as a series of research poster presentations by students and post-doctorals in the science disciplines. The program is coordinated through the Office of Graduate Education in the School of Medicine by a Student Committee composed of representatives of participating units. Poster presentations of ongoing research by students in all areas of science are welcome; in the past several years presentations have come from the Schools of Pharmacy, Engineering, Nursing, and the College of Humanities and Sciences as well as presentations by students in the School of Medicine.

The impact of Dr. Watts on the development of research and graduate education is apparent in the annual increase of Ph.D. graduates through the period of his tenure. His emphasis on strong research programs and the recruitment of faculty committed to both teaching and research established the foundation on which the stature of the institution was progressively built.

In 1966, the Medical College of Virginia created a School of Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies in order to enhance the quality of health professions instruction, research and graduate education. Dr Daniel T. Watts was recruited as the first Dean of the School with the objective of achieving national recognition in selected areas of research and graduate training.

Daniel T. Watts, former Dean of the School of Basic Health Sciences and Graduate Studies was a nationally recognized pharmacologist. In 1946 and 1947 he worked on projects to determine human tolerance to the acceleration forces experienced in aviator ejection seats. From 1947 to 1953, he taught pharmacology at the University of Virginia. He served as Chair of Pharmacology at West Virginia University from 1953 to 1966 before coming to the Medical College of Virginia (soon to become Virginia Commonwealth University) in 1966. Dean Watts held strong interest in intercollegiate athletics as well as biomedical research and graduate education. He retired as Dean of Basic Health Sciences in 1982.

Graduate Student poster day was instituted in 1984 with the following objectives: to display the breadth of research to new students; to give graduate students and post-doctoral trainees experience in the format of scientific presentation; and to facilitate collaboration among faculty in different departments and schools. Graduate students and a faculty advisor organize graduate student poster day. Graduate students from all schools on both campuses are invited to participate.

In 1982, the Daniel T. Watts Student Awards and Activity Fund was established to honor Dr. Watts for his support of the academic and research activities of graduate students. This fund supports in part the Graduate Student Poster Day Symposium. In 1989, the research honors day was renamed in honor of the first Dean of the School of Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies, Daniel T. Watts, for his support, encouragement and advancement of graduate research.