Tarr, Hamera earn Kemper fellowships at KU Medical Center

KU has presented the last two Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence of 2010 to professors at KU Medical Center.

The $7,500 fellowships were awarded to Merrill Tarr and Edna Hamera. Tarr is a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the School of Medicine, and Hamera is an associate professor with the School of Nursing.

The Kemper Fellowships recognize outstanding teachers and advisers at KU and are determined by a seven-member selection committee. The William T. Kemper Foundation and KU Endowment provide funding for the award. More than $1.2 million has been awarded in the past 15 years.

The William T. Kemper Foundation was established in 1989 after the death of the Kansas City, Mo., banking executive and civic leader. The foundation supports Midwest communities and concentrates on initiatives in education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.

Tarr has been with the School of Medicine for 41 years. Along with teaching, Tarr is also the director of medical education for molecular and integrative physiology. He also helps run the newly integrated cardiopulmonary and renal-endocrine modules.

In the laboratory, Tarr’s research focuses on electrophysiological and contractile properties of heart tissue. Currently, he is investigating the effects highly reactive oxygen species and/or free radicals have on ionic currents that generate electrical activity in single heart cells.

Tarr received the Bohan Teaching Award last year.

Hamera has been with the School of Nursing for 35 years. She expands her traditional teaching role by including several Web-based graduate courses. She also practices at an indigent clinic and mental health center as an advanced practice nurse.

Hamera’s research examines better ways to provide individuals with schizophrenia the training needed to successfully negotiate complex environments.

She was presented with the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Distinguished Service Award in 2008.

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