School of Medicine and Dentistry awards endowed professorships
Ten endowed chairs and professorships, four of which are new, officially were awarded in October by University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean Mark B. Taubman, M.D., at the annual School convocation.
In his remarks, Taubman emphasized the importance of endowed professorships. Increasing the number of endowed professorships will be a major goal of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Medical Center in The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, the $1.2 billion fundraising effort announced in October.
“We will need to increase the number of endowed professorships and chairs if we are to continue to be a great institution,” Taubman said. “It is my hope that we will not have enough room for all the chairs awarded at future convocations.”
The four new endowments are: the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professorship, established to support work in translational cancer research; the Robert J. Joynt Professorship in Neurology, created to honor Joynt and support patient-oriented experimental therapeutics of neurodegenerative disorders; the William and Sheila Konar Endowed Professorship in Psychiatry, established to support research, education and treatment of neuropsychiatric and psychiatric disorders or aging and old age; and the C. Jane Davis and C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professorship in Pulmonary Medicine, established to support pulmonary research.
The recipients each received a chair at Convocation. In this album, the recipients comment on their endowed chairs and professorships.
Jean M. Bidlack, Ph.D. (MS ’77, PhD ’79)
Paul Stark Professorship in Pharmacology
“I am deeply honored to be appointed the Paul Stark Professor of Pharmacology. This professorship will enhance the ongoing research in my lab to develop medications for treating drug abuse. All drugs that can become addictive act through the dopamine reward pathway in the brain to increase dopamine levels, which leads to the strong reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse. By targeting this common pathway, we are developing potential medications that will prevent drugs such as the opiates and cocaine from increasing dopamine levels. Additionally, the Paul Stark Professorship will allow my lab to pursue the development of medications to treat chronic pain that will be as effective as morphine but unlike morphine will not produce tolerance and dependence.”
Wallace E. Johnson, M.D. (R ’97)
Ralph W. Prince Professorship in Medicine
“When the Prince Professorship was announced, I was particularly pleased that my faculty colleagues in community-based primary care physician medicine recognized it as an affirmation of the University's commitment to the importance of primary care medicine at the Medical Center and of the contribution these faculty make to the School of Medicine and to the residency training programs. Excellent primary care medicine is at the heart of all initiatives to improve quality and control cost in American health care. Excellence, both in terms of patient outcomes and around the professional satisfaction of primary care physicians, depends on innovations in the primary care practice model. We are moving our primary care towards a team-based, information technology rich, patient-centered model that will support coordinated care and assist patients and family in navigating our complex health care system.”
Craig T. Jordan, Ph.D.
Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professorship
“Receiving the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professorship has been a tremendous honor for me, certainly one of the highlights of my career. I've had the opportunity to personally interact with the Wehrheims on many occasions, and the passion they have shown for cancer research has been truly inspirational. With the support of the Wehrheim endowment, we will be able to initiate new clinical trials for leukemia and related forms of cancer, and bring forward novel therapies for patients who are in dire need of better therapeutic options.”
Karl D. Kieburtz, M.D., M.P.H. (MPH ’85, M ’85, R ’89)
Robert J. Joynt Professorship in Neurology
“The Robert J Joynt Professorship has a special meaning for me, because, since 1980, Dr. Joynt has been my teacher, mentor, and source of inspiration. Many faculty will know him from his roles as chair of neurology and then dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, but the Department of Neurology faculty have had a particularly close relationship with Dr. Joynt, who is a warm, humorous, brilliant, caring man. He inspires me to be better at what I do, principally to translate scientific and clinical observations into new treatments for patients. That ‘translation’ is long, laborious and often unsuccessful. The wit, pluck and humility of Bob Joynt are qualities I hope to draw on in those endeavors.”
Paul C. Levy, M.D. (R ’86, FLW ’89)
Charles Ayrault Dewey Professor of Medicine
“It is a true honor to be named as the Charles A. Dewey Professor of Medicine. Dr. Dewey was the youngest of nine children of Dr. Chester Dewey, a Rochester scientist, educator and founding faculty member of the University of Rochester. This professorship dates back to the very origins of our School of Medicine and was first awarded in 1929. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of a number of visionary chairs of the Department of Medicine who have held this position and used this support to enhance our educational programs, improve the clinical care we provide for our patients and expand our research portfolio. Though major reforms in health care are on the horizon, the Department of Medicine will be both innovative and nimble such that we remain true to our core missions as well as focus on improving the overall health of our citizens of the Rochester region.”
Anton P. Porsteinsson, M.D. (R ’93)
William and Sheila Konar Endowed Professorship in Psychiatry
“The William B. and Sheila Konar professorship supports clinical research into new ways to diagnose, treat or prevent diseases of the brain that affect memory, thinking, behavior and mood. It is the largest gift devoted to supporting clinical research into Alzheimer’s disease that the University has received. The gift comes from two individuals who have been steadfast supporters of the University of Rochester for more than three decades, as well as long-time supporters of efforts related to Alzheimer’s disease. This gift from Bill and Sheila Konar is a game changer for us. Their generous support gives our clinical research effort on dementia a very firm foundation and ensures that Rochester will continue to play a pivotal role in the search for new treatments for years to come. In light of the sheer number of people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related condition, this is a gift that will make a difference in the lives of many, many Rochester families. There is so much more we can do for patients today than we could 20 years ago, and this is made possible largely by the type of clinical research the professorship supports.”
Gloria S. Pryhuber, M.D.
George Washington Goler Chair in Pediatrics
“I am extremely honored to have been chosen as recipient of the George Washington Goler Endowed Professorship. Dr. Goler was a courageous public health official credited with reducing infant mortality in Rochester by 50 percent by providing pasteurized milk and by educating mothers and farmers about the importance of ‘clean’ milk. As a neonatologist, it is my goal to utilize the endowed professorship to strengthen my work in lung disease and immunology, as well as my clinical care and education efforts. I also intend to encourage multidisciplinary collaborations to advance our understanding and care of infants of all gestational ages well beyond what one person alone can do.”
Patricia J. Sime, M.D.
C. Jane Davis and C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professorship in Pulmonary Medicine
“As the first recipient of the C. Jane Davis & C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine Chair, I would first like to thank the Davis family for their generosity. This chair will provide support for our vision in pulmonary and critical care medicine to promote research and education on such diseases as lung scarring, asthma, chronic bronchitis and critical illness. I am privileged to work with a team of talented physicians and scientists, uniquely positioned to positively influence the lives of patients here in Rochester and beyond. Through our efforts at understanding the mechanisms of lung inflammation and scarring, we are translating our laboratory work into potentially new and exciting therapies. With the support of the Davis Chair we will be able to expand our research and teaching missions related to common lung diseases to benefit our patients and to achieve national and international recognition for our programs here in Rochester. I am thrilled to be a part of a bright and productive future!”
Alan V. Smrcka, Ph.D.
Louis C. Lasagna Professorship in Experimental Therapeutics
“My laboratory studies receptor pharmacology with the goal of understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug action. The Louis C. Lasagna Professorship in Experimental Therapeutics will allow us to explore novel areas of receptor function, which perhaps are considered high risk but have high potential payoff. The ultimate goal is to identify new pharmacological approaches to the treatment of disease that will be more effective and have greater specificity than currently available technologies. This includes the direct development of novel pharmacological agents for treatment of disease as well as the development of novel concepts in pharmacology that could alter our approaches to treating disease.”
William Tank, Ph.D.
Lewis Pratt Ross Professorship of Pharmacology and Physiology
“The Lewis Pratt Ross Endowed Chair is one of the oldest endowments at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Lewis P. Ross was a very successful industrialist and philanthropist in Rochester during the early 20th century. He served for more than 20 years on the University board of trustees and was president of that board for 12 years. In 1917, he bequeathed this endowment specifically to fund the Department of Physiology, which was then called Vital Economics. Since then, the chair of the department has been the Ross Professor and the endowment has been used to help fund the scholarly and teaching activities of the department. Hence, I am very honored to be the Ross Professor and to use this endowment to maintain and further promote the excellence of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology into the 21st century. The endowment will be used to enhance our research reputation in the areas of cellular physiology and pharmacology and to continue our excellence in teaching these disciplines to medical and graduate students at the University of Rochester.”
Match Day 2012
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Philip Pizzo, M.D., dean of the Stanford School of Medicine and a Class of 1970 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, discussed the future of medical education during a January visit to Rochester.
Power of Posters
Intrigued by a poster about preventing AIDS that he saw on a Boston subway car in the early 1990s, Edward Atwater, M.D. (M '50), began collecting AIDS education posters to track how different societies viewed and responded to the epidemic.
Praising and sustaining the Rochester model
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