The 11th annual School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences' Research Day was held Oct. 27, 2017, in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union at UMMC. The all-day event began with breakfast and selected oral presentations from post-docs. Following the oral presentations, posters filled the Nelson Student Union gymnasium, where the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows showcased their research. During the Distinguished Alumni Luncheon, Dr. Robert Hester received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Robert Hester is a native of Starkville, MS and a Biological Engineering graduate of Mississippi State University. He did a year of graduate work in Mechanical Engineering at MSU then completed a PhD in Biomedical Engineering jointly from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He joined the faculty at UMMC in 1985 and rose from the rank of Assistant Professor to his current rank of Professor where he is also the Director of the Center for Computational Medicine and a Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor.
Dr. Hester's graduate research, under the tutelage of Dr. Arthur Guyton, focused on mechanisms responsible for skeletal muscle blood flow control. Dr. Hester was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Duling at the University of Virginia where his research used microcirculatory techniques to demonstrate that both arteriolar oxygen levels and wall shear rate are not regulators of arteriolar diameter during exercise.
As a faculty member at UMMC, Dr. Hester's research continued to focus on control mechanisms of blood flow, leading to the finding that exercise in obese animal models can normalize vascular function. In collaboration with the UMMC Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Hester's laboratory also made significant contribution to our understanding of the pathological responses following orthopedic trauma.
Dr. Hester's current research focus is continuing the computational simulation of human physiology started by Drs. Guyton and Coleman in the 1970s. For the last 15 years he has been leading the development of HumMod and other integrative physiological models. Dr. Hester is also President and CEO of HC Simulation, LLC, a software company developing HumMod for commercial purposes.
His research has been funded by NIH, NSF, and American Heart Association. Dr. Hester has over 40 years of experience in research in integrative physiology. He has also held numerous national leadership positions including President of the Microcirculatory Society and Program Chair of the American Physiological Society.