10 appointed to endowed positions

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Environmental headshot of Dr. David Schneider (Professor/Associate Dean, Graduate Biomedical Sciences), October 2015.David Schneider

Ten faculty were appointed to endowed chairs or professorships during the Nov. 4 meeting of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. The board also voted to approve endowments for four chairs, a professorship and a lectureship.

Five were named as the inaugural recipients of endowed positions.

David Schneider, Ph.D., professor and senior associate dean for Graduate Biomedical Sciences, is the first holder of the Louise T. Chow, Ph.D.-Heersink Endowed Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UAB. Support for the new chair was provided by a 2021 gift from Marnix E. Heersink, M.D., to  help fund new endowed positions.

Schneider is known for exceptional work in the education and training of masters and doctoral students, and his honors include the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for Joint Health Sciences in 2019.

Daniel ChuHeadshot of Dr. Daniel Chu, MD (Associate Professor, Surgery - Gastrointestinal) in white medical coat, November 2020.Daniel Chu , M.D., M.D., associate professor of surgery, is the first to hold the Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., F.A.C.S. Endowed Chair in the Department of Surgery at UAB. Support from the Heersink gift also converted the endowment to chair from endowed scholar to enable UAB to recruit and retain a surgeon-scientist with expertise in pancreatic cancer, surgical disparities, surgical education and/or surgical oncology.

Dr. Chu, a leader in gastrointestinal surgery and active researcher, has completed 66 published manuscripts and 10 book chapters, and he serves on the editorial boards and as associate editor for peer-reviewed publications.

Sarah MacCarthy
Sarah MacCarthy 300Sarah MacCarthy, Sc.D.
, Sc.D., associate professor of health behavior, is the first holder of the Magic City LGBTQ Health Studies Endowed Chair. Support from Cameron McDonald Vowell was used to convert the endowment to chair from endowed professorship. The endowment will be used to recruit and/or retain a faculty expert whose focus on LGBTQ health studies will be valuable to LGBTQ communities across the South and the continuing advancement of LGBTQ health studies.

MacCarthy has a national reputation as a researcher of racially and ethnically diverse sexual and gender minority populations, and she has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers.

Environmental headshot of Dr. Ray Watts, MD (President), October 2020.Ray Watts, M.D.
President Ray Watts, M.D., is the first holder of the Charles S. Ackerman Endowed Professorship in Parkinson’s Disease, which also was approved by UA Trustees. The new position is supported by a bequeath from Ackerman.

Dr. Watts, a neurologist, previously was chair of the Department of Neurology and holder of the John N. Whitaker Endowed Chair in Neurology. He has published widely about experimental therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease and, since 1997, has co-edited the textbook, Movement Disorders: Neurologic Principles and Practice.

Suzanne LapiEnvironmental headshot of Dr. Suzanne Lapi, PhD (Professor, Radiology), September 2021.Suzanne Lapi, Ph.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and chemistry, is the first holder of the Emmet O’Neal II Endowed Professorship in Lung Cancer Research in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was approved by the board during its September meeting.

Lapi, a senior scientist in the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, has more than 100 publications and a track record of grants in the area of isotope production, molecular imaging and training of the next generation of radiochemists. She also directs the Cyclotron Facility and is vice chair of research in the Department of Radiology.

Jane Banaszak Holl 300Jane Banaszak-Holl, Ph.D.
Four more women were appointed to endowed chairs in the schools of Health Professions and Medicine.

Professor Jane Banaszak-Holl, Ph.D., is the next holder of the L.R. Jordan Chair in Health Services Administration in the School of Health Professions.

Banaszak-Holl has had more than 30 projects funded by renowned organizations such as the Veteran’s Administration and the National Institutes of Health. She is a long-serving member of Health Organizations Research Association, Gerontological Society of America and American Sociological Association.

Karen CropseyEnvironmental headshot of Dr. Karen Cropsey, PsyD (Professor, Behavioral Neurobiology), September 2021.Karen Cropsey, Psy.D., Psy.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology and vice chair for clinical research, is the new holder of the Kathy Ireland Endowed Chair for Psychiatric Research in the Heersink School of Medicine.

Cropsey has published more than  150 manuscripts in the field of psychiatric research and neuroscience, and she is aan associate editor for Drug and Alcohol Dependence and a journal reviewer for several key psychiatric and addiction-related publications. She has an outstanding track record of continuous extramural support for her research, including competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health and various funding sources.

Karen GambleHeadshot of Dr. Karen Gamble, PhD (Associate Professor, Psychiatry - Behavioral Neurobiology), 2019.Karen Gamble, Ph.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair for basic research, is the new holder of the F. Cleveland Kinney Endowed Chair in Geriatric Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology in the Heersink School of Medicine.

Gamble is internationally respected for her pioneering research on regulation of circadian rhythms and sleep, including disruption of circadian rhythms with aging and diseases. She has published more than 80 scientific papers, receiving numerous grants and contracts to research this effort.

Renee HeffronRenee Heffron 300Renee Heffron, Ph.D., Ph.D., professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Center for AIDS Research, is the new holder of the Jim Straley Endowed Chair in AIDS Research in the Heersink School of Medicine.

Heffron, a member of the International AIDS Society, is recognized as an international leader in HIV-prevention research for her pioneering research and scholarship supported by continuous extramural funding support.

Head shot of Dr. Surya Bhatt, MD (Assistant Professor, Pulmonary/Allergy/Critical Care), 2017.Surya Bhatt, M.D.The board also renamed a professorship and appointed a new recipient.

Surya Bhatt, M.D., associate professor of medicine, is the new holder of the Endowed Professorship in Airways Disease, which previously had been named the Endowed Professorship in Lung Development and Regeneration in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Bhatt, a leading physician-scientist in his field, has served as principal investigator for numerous research projects to improve the health of those afflicted with lung disease and COPD, in particular. He is the medical director for the Pulmonary Function and Exercise Physiology Laboratory, the UAB Telehealth Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and is an assistant medical director for the UAB Lung Health Center.

Endowed chair, lecture approved

The UA System trustees also approved a resolution to create the Helen and Robert Whitley Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at UAB, after additional gifts were received from Richard J. Whitley, M.D., the Loeb Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatrics, to convert the endowed professorship named for his parents to an endowed chair. This endowed chair will be used to recruit and/or retain an expert faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics with a focus on translational research that bridges basic science and improved clinical care.

The University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UABHSF) provided funds for the Kirby I. Bland, M.D., Endowed Lectureship in the Department of Surgery within the Heersink School of Medicine. The endowed lectureship is named for Bland, a long-time professor of surgical oncology and chair emeritus of the Department of Surgery, who is internationally renowned for his contributions to surgical oncology and his distinguished career as a general surgeon, researcher and editor.