February 11, 2016

Bedwell named interim chair of Biochemistry

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bedwell2David M. Bedwell, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and associate director of the Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Center, has been named the interim chair of the UAB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics.

“I’m honored that the leadership of the SOM has given me the opportunity to lead the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics during this interim period,” Bedwell said. “On behalf of the Biochemistry faculty, I would also like to express our collective gratitude for the years of outstanding service that Dr. (Tim) Townes has provided.”

Tim Townes, Ph.D., who served as chair for 15 years, stepped down from the leadership role in December. A national search for a permanent department chair is expected to begin later this year.

Bedwell’s research lab studies the mechanistic details of translation termination and Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay, a cellular mechanism that regulates mRNA abundance based on the presence of nonsense mutations in eukaryotes. Researchers in the lab are also investigating pharmacological agents that can suppress nonsense mutations in genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis and Hurler Syndrome.

“David is an accomplished researcher, educator and leader who is very active in support for his colleagues,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “I am confident he will be an outstanding department leader and strong member of the SOM leadership, working closely with other department chairs and members of the senior leadership team.”

Bedwell was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2011. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and chair of the Molecular Genetics B study section for the National Institute of Health. He has reviewed manuscripts for more than 50 scientific publications, including Science, Cell and Nature.

At UAB, Bedwell is chair of the School of Medicine Faculty Council and Promotions Committee, chair of the Faculty Senate Graduation Curriculum Committee and member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. He’s also a member of the Department of Biochemistry’s Internal Review Committee, the School of Medicine Space Policy Committee and the NIH T32 Cell and Molecular Biology Training Grant Executive Committee.

He’s also served on thesis committees for 94 doctoral students—including 10 students in progress of completing their thesis—and three masters degree students in departments throughout the School of Medicine.

Bedwell came to UAB in 1988 as an assistant professor of Microbiology before becoming an associate professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology in 1996. He was promoted to full professor in 2003, and holds additional secondary appointments in the Departments of Genetics and Biology, as well as roles in the UAB Multipurpose Arthritis Center, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and UAB Center for AIDS Research. He earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University in 1979 and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 before completing postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology.