Vinayak, Vicini Inducted as Master Teachers in MAGIS Society

The MAGIS awardees stand together as a group dressed in academic regalia
Members of the MAGIS Society of Master Teachers welcomed the group's 2024 inductees. (All images: Charles Siwinski)

Posted in News Stories  |  Tagged , ,

(May 20, 2024) — The MAGIS Society of Master Teachers inducted its newest members during a ceremony before family, colleagues and fellow Master Teachers — an annual tradition marking the start of commencement activities at the medical center.

This year, Stefano Vicini and Ajeet Vinayak were inducted at the 22nd annual ceremony that took place May 16 at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

In 2000, Georgetown University and MedStar Health embarked on a partnership that established a shared commitment to patient care, research and educating the next generation of physicians and healthcare providers. The MAGIS Society celebrates that commitment.

Drawn from the Latin motto for the Society of Jesus, Magis is a Latin adverb meaning “more greatly” and is a shortened form of the Jesuit motto “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” or “toward the greater glory of God.”

Since its inception in 2003, 57 master teachers have been inducted.

In addition, winners of the 2024 Kaiser-Permanente Awards, Jeff Weinfeld, MD, and Sarah Thornton, MD, were recognized.

About Stefano Vicini, PhD

Prof. Vincini in academic regalia
Stefano Vicini, PhD

Stefano Vicini, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center with expertise in cellular neurophysiology, has been a part of the Georgetown community for nearly 40 years. He earned his doctorate in biophysics from the University of Torino in Italy before completing postdoctoral work at Columbia University. With a dual appointment in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics (later renamed the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology), Vicini joined the Fidia Georgetown Institute for Neuroscience, led by the late Erminio Costa, MD, in 1986. He has also been a part of the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN) since its inception.

An internationally recognized leader and a prolific researcher, Vicini’s most notable discovery shows that postsynaptic receptors change during development, affecting the strength, timing and pharmacology of inhibitory and excitatory synapses in the brain. He has published more than 220 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters with more than 18,000 citations of his work, and served on several editorial boards and study sections.

In addition to undergraduate and medical students, Vicini has trained more than 30 graduate students and 19 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have received NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) fellowships and gone on to faculty positions themselves. He is a thoughtful and dedicated teacher and mentor with a dedication to promoting diversity in graduate education and a collaborative environment in his lab, ensuring that members can use their unique skills to improve our understanding of how excitatory and inhibitory synapses are altered in pathophysiological states.

About Ajeet Vinayak, MD

Ajeet Vinayak, MD
Ajeet Vinayak, MD

Ajeet Vinayak, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and a pulmonologist with expertise in critical care at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. His skill in managing critically ill patients and contributions to training future physicians make him a valued member of the medical community at Georgetown and beyond.

A double Hoya, Vinayak earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Georgetown and served as chief resident in internal medicine at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, where he received the Wesley-Oler Award for Outstanding Senior Resident Physician. He then completed his fellowship at the University of Chicago and was recognized with the Outstanding Fellow Award.

Dr. Ajeet receives congratulations from his colleagues
Ajeet Vinayak, MD, (left) receives congratulations from fellow MAGIS member Miriam Toporowicz, MD, MPH.

At the University of Virginia, Vinayak served as medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and helped run the first-year pulmonary physiology course. He was repeatedly recognized for his excellence in teaching, becoming the youngest inductee in the UVA Academy of Distinguished Educators, an elected member of the AOA Society in 2008 and recipient of the Master Educator Award in 2009.

Since returning to Georgetown, Vinayak has been awarded the Laurence Kyle Teaching Excellence Awards from the Department of Medicine multiple times and received several nominations for Golden Apple Awards. His greatest joy and pride come from completing his third year as respiratory module director at the School of Medicine.

Retiring Faculty Recognized

Eleven faculty members who will be retiring from a distinguished career in teaching at Georgetown University School of Medicine were recognized:

Susan Ascher

Klemens Barth

Donna Cameron
Family Medicine

Sandra Jablonski

Yumi Jarris
Family Medicine

Stuart Kaufman

Joel Kupersmith

Kathleen Pirollo

Carlos Suarez-Quian

Dan Wang

Ken Wasserman
Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology