March 1, 2012


Dean Ray Watts (at right) presents Dr. Albert Tully with a plaque at Medical Alumni Weekend. The plaque thanks Dr. Tully for his fundraising efforts for the Dr. Tinsley R. Harrison Endowed Chair in Medical Resident Education.

I enjoyed meeting many of you at the 39th Annual Medical Alumni Weekend in February, which was a great success. I was honored to present the 20th Annual Constance S. and James A. Pittman Lecture and share our strategic roadmap for the School of Medicine.


Dr. Frances Lund

That roadmap focuses significant attention on attracting leaders in research and clinical care to our faculty. This spring, we welcome Dr. Frances Lund as chair of the Department of Microbiology, where she will hold the Charles H. McCauley Endowed Chair in Microbiology. She is a world-class immunologist whose discoveries have improved our understanding of B cells and showed that they play a larger role in the immune system than previously thought.


Dr. Troy Randall

Another renowned immunologist, Dr. Troy Randall—who happens to be Dr. Lund’s husband and research partner—has come to UAB as well. He will be the inaugural holder of the J. Claude Bennett Endowed Professorship in Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine, where he will apply his expertise in immune tolerance to discover why the body has trouble fighting cancerous cells. Together, Dr. Lund and Dr. Randall are leading experts on the mechanisms of immunity that protect us as well as those that can harm us. They will collaborate with UAB’s research teams in cancer, arthritis, autoimmune disease, and infectious diseases to pave the way for new and better treatment options.


Dr. Richard Shelton

In the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Richard Shelton has joined the faculty as the Charles Byron Ireland Endowed Chair of Psychiatric Research. He is known internationally for improving the understanding of depression and exploring innovative approaches to treating mood disorders. Here he will lead a new Mood Disorders Program that takes a comprehensive approach to research, prevention, and care.

Promoting Leadership

We can all take great pride in the achievements of our faculty, from our newest recruits to those with years of experience in the School of Medicine, whose retention is a top priority. The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees recently named several of our key faculty to endowed professorships and chairs. These positions are prestigious honors, funded by generous individuals, families, foundations, and corporations, and in many cases matched or catalyzed by internal investments, which prove how much the community values the leadership and knowledge we have at UAB and how much our leadership appreciates and respects our faculty.

Dr. Devin Eckhoff was appointed to the Arnold G. Diethelm Endowed Chair of Transplantation Surgery. As director of our Division of Transplantation, Dr. Eckhoff also directs the new Comprehensive Transplant Institute at UAB. In addition, Dr. Sumanth Prabhu, who directs the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and our new Comprehensive Cardiovascular Center, was named to the Mary Gertrude Waters Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Disease.


Members of the class of 1982 reunite at a Medical Alumni Weekend reception. Click to see a slideshow of photos from the weekend.

Dr. Glenn Peters, who has directed the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery for 20 years and is vice chairman of the Department of Surgery, was appointed to the Julius N. Hicks Endowed Chair of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Eben Rosenthal, who helped develop our Head and Neck Cancer Research Program, now holds the John S. Odess Endowed Professorship and is division director of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. Another cancer specialist, Dr. Andres Forero-Torres, is the inaugural holder of the O’Neal-Sokol Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama Endowed Professorship. He is a key figure involved in clinical trials and experimental therapeutics in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Peter Pappas also became the inaugural holder of the William E. Dismukes Endowed Professorship in infectious diseases. Dr. Pappas helped establish both a clinic for transplant patients and the Tinsley Harrison General Internal Medicine Clinical Service at UAB.

Foundation for the Future

I congratulate all of these leaders and eagerly anticipate their next great achievements in research, patient care, education, and the development of bold new treatments. We are actively pursuing funding to support our faculty and programmatic initiatives that make our strategic plan come to life and change the future of biomedical science and medicine. I look forward to sharing our successes with you in the coming months as we move forward.



Senior Vice President for Medicine
Dean, School of Medicine
James C. Lee Jr. Endowed Chair