Basic Science is Focus of New Endowed Professorships
James B. Kaper, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, was invested as the James & Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor on January 10 before a packed audience at Westminster Hall. Surrounded by family, friends, past and present colleagues and distinguished scientists, Dr. Kaper joined the elite group of faculty who have been bestowed the honor of holding one of 82 endowed professorships established at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).
The professorship was the first of two made possible by the James & Carolyn Frenkil Foundation with matching gifts from the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce. The second Dean’s Professor will be invested to Margaret McCarthy, PhD, who is Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology. Carolyn Frenkil, who is President of Center City, Inc. and 10-30 W. North Avenue, LLC, is a longtime member of the UMSOM Board of Visitors. She and her late husband, James Frenkil, MD, UMSOM Class of 1937, have been generous benefactors to the UMSOM initiatives over the years.
Dr. Kaper, an internationally-recognized microbiologist with specific expertise in the molecular pathogenesis of diarrheal disease pathogens, has served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology since 2007. He has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1982 as PI of a variety of R01, P01, U19, T32 and other awards, with $21 million in past NIH funding and almost $7 million in current NIH grants. He holds five U.S. patents and numerous international patents for cholera vaccines, and has developed the first live oral cholera vaccine approved by the FDA, along with his longtime clinical collaborator, Myron Levine, MD, Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor, Department of Medicine, and Associate Dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases.
The ceremony was hosted by UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, along with Mary Pooton, Assistant Dean for Development at UMSOM and Dr. McCarthy. Additional speakers included Carolyn Frenkil, and two former colleagues of Dr. Kaper: Harry L.T. Mobley, PhD, The Frederick G. Novy Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School and James P. Nataro, MD, PhD, MBA, the Benjamin Armistead Shepherd Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia School of Medicine.
“In today’s competitive environment, it is critical that we are able to recruit, retain and reward our top faculty,” Ms. Frenkil said in her remarks. “Endowed professorships are the most effective way we have to do that.”
“In particular,” she added, “we must make basic science a top priority for philanthropic support. This is the cutting-edge research that should never be taken for granted. It is what germinates the seed for discovering cures that save human lives every day.”
Dr. Kaper’s esteemed career was highlighted by the speakers, including Dr. Mobley who noted that Dr. Kaper’s more than 370 articles and book chapters have been cited more frequently than those of 99.9 percent of all scientists.
Dr. Kaper credited his success to the mentors he has had over his career, and to the outstanding group of more than 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who trained in his lab, many of whom now hold leadership positions in preeminent academic institutions.
Endowed professorships provide our outstanding faculty members with the critical resources they need to sustain and expand the promising research they endeavor to carry out, while at the same time enabling them to launch new initiatives to educate and train future physicians and scientists,” said Dean Reece. “No one is more deserving of these endowed professorships than Dr. Kaper and Dr. McCarthy, who will be invested this spring.”
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $530 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu/
Investiture Image Gallery