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National physiological society honors UMMC physiology prof

Published on Monday, August 2, 2021

Physiology professor to receive distinguished lectureship prize

Robert Hester

Dr. Robert Hester, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor and professor of physiology and biophysics, will be the 2022 recipient of the American Physiological Society’s Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship Award.

First presented in 2018, the award is given to an established investigator with a history of excellence in education who is making outstanding contributions to teaching and learning.

Hester, a member of the UMMC faculty since 1985, is the primary architect of HumMod, a computer and mathematics-based tool for modeling human physiology. In addition to its expansive research utility, Hester uses the simulation to teach students how to apply physiologic principles and enhance their understanding of acute and chronic conditions throughout the body. Hester also developed a related education package, “Just Physiology,” based on HumMod.

John Hall

The accomplishments make Hester an “innovator of educational materials for teaching and learning physiology,” said Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, in a letter nominating Hester for the honor.

Hester was also nominated by Dr. Dee Silverthorn, professor emerita of medical education at the University of Texas-Austin. She illustrated Hester’s reputation for teaching excellence outside of Mississippi.

At UMMC, Hester is director of the medical physiology course’s respiratory physiology section and student laboratories. In addition to other courses he has taught through the years, Hester has mentored dozens of medical and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty at UMMC. He also serves as interim chair of the Department of Data Science in the John D. Bower School of Population Health.

Hester has furthered the APS’s educational mission as a member of its Education Committee, co-chair of the refresher course for teaching muscle physiology, faculty for several professional skills courses and reviewer for the journal Advances in Physiology Education.

The Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship awardee receives a $1,000 prize and presents the aforementioned lecture at the upcoming Experimental Biology Meeting, scheduled for April 2-5, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hester’s talk is expected to further interest in and enhancement of educational practices relevant to teachers of physiology.