November 17, 2022

Lapi appointed as first holder of the Emmet O’Neal II Endowed Professorship in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB

Written by Amanda Dunn

Lapi The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama System recently approved the establishment of the Emmet O’Neal II Endowed Professorship in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. This endowed professorship, funded from the bequest of O’Neal Industries in memory of Emmet O’Neal II, will support lung cancer research. O’Neal Cancer Center Senior Scientist Suzanne Lapi, Ph.D., has been appointed as the first holder of this endowed professorship.

Lapi was recommended for this professorship by Anupam Agarwal, M.D., interim dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, with the concurrence of UAB leadership. Lapi serves as the Radiology vice chair of research, director of the Cyclotron Facility and the Radiochemistry Laboratory, professor of Radiology and division director for advanced medical imaging research, co-leader of the Experimental Therapeutics program at the O’Neal Cancer Center, and a senior scientist with UAB’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, as well as the Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

“I am honored to be the first holder of the Emmet O’Neal II Endowed Professorship” said Lapi. “The outstanding supportive environment at UAB is simply unmatched and I am beyond thrilled to continue to grow our molecular imaging program here. I am grateful for the support of the leadership of UAB, Radiology and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, in particular Drs. Anupam Agarwal, Cheri Canon and Barry Sleckman, as well as my exceptional research team whose hard work has made this possible. Finally, I am very grateful for the O’Neal family and this incredible gift to UAB”.

Lapi received her Bachelor of Science, Masters of Nuclear Chemistry, and Doctorate of Nuclear Chemistry degrees from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. She completed her postgraduate fellowship in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2007.  She started her career as an assistant professor in Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was also an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Department of Chemistry, the Division of Biology, and Biomedical Sciences. She transitioned to a tenured associate professor at Washington University in 2014.

In 2015, Lapi joined UAB as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Radiology and Department of Chemistry. She advanced to become the vice chair of Translational Research in the Department of Radiology in 2018 and the vice chair of research in 2021. Additionally, she serves as the Cyclotron Facility Director in the Heersink School of Medicine. Her research program has been continuously federally funded since 2009 and she has been awarded many academic honors and has served on numerous committees and councils including National Institutes of Health Review Panels.

The board noted that it is exceptionally honored to have an individual with Lapi’s experience and abilities on the UAB faculty, and it concurs in the University’s decision to honor her as one of the leaders in this field of medicine by naming her the first holder of the Emmet O’Neal II Endowed Professorship.

“The bestowing of this professorship is in recognition of Dr. Lapi’s scientific accomplishments in cancer imaging, her leadership and national recognition in this field, and her contributions to the research missions of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and UAB,” said Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D, director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We are very proud to have her become the first holder of this important new professorship, and we are most grateful to the O’Neal family for endowing this position.”