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VCU School of Medicine Faculty Appointed as First Incumbents in Endowed Positions

The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors recently appointed six distinguished VCU School of Medicine faculty members to newly created chairs and professorships.

Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D.
Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D.
  • Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D.,is the first incumbent of the Mann T. and Sara D. Lowry Professorship in Oncology, the purpose of which is to recruit and retain a nationally recognized cancer researcher at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Since 2001, Spiegel has served as professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and has established an outstanding record of teaching, research, service and administration. Spiegel has built an international reputation for her pioneering work on new lipid mediators that regulate cell growth and cell death. Her research track record has continually generated significant external funding for her research activities from the National Institutes of Health. Spiegel serves on multiple national and professional committees and provides leadership in numerous research settings. She also is co-leader of the Massey Cancer Center's cancer cell biology research program. Spiegel has been honored by VCU with the University Distinguished Scholarship Award. In addition, she received one of the three Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement Awards in 2007.
Laura A. Siminoff, Ph.D.
Laura A. Siminoff, Ph.D.
  • Laura A. Siminoff, Ph.D., is the first incumbent of the Theresa A. Thomas Memorial Foundation Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. The endowed chair aims to recruit and retain an eminent researcher in cancer prevention and control at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Siminoff, professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Health, is recognized as a national and international expert on breast cancer, informed consent and organ transplantation. For 20 years, Siminoff's record as a researcher has earned her continuous funding from various institutes within the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, the Alzheimer's Association and others. She also serves on multiple national and professional committees and provides leadership in numerous research settings.
Andrew C. Larner, M.D., Ph.D.
Andrew C. Larner, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Andrew C. Larner, M.D., Ph.D., is the first incumbent of the Martha Anne Hatcher Distinguished Professorship in Oncology at VCU, the purpose of which is to recruit and retain a reputable researcher at the VCU Massey Cancer Center. A professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Larner is a premier researcher of the molecular biology of signal transduction and interferon gene regulation. His experience includes research at the Cleveland Clinic Research Foundation, as well as many contributions to national scientific organizations. Larner is well-funded by two RO1 NIH grants and a grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Society. According to School of Medicine officials, Larner is a pre-eminent researcher in his field who is committed to training the next generation of scientists, physicians and health professionals at VCU.
Norbert F. Voelkel, M.D.
Norbert F. Voelkel, M.D.
  • Norbert F. Voelkel, M.D., is the first incumbent of the E. Raymond Fenton, M.D., Chair in Pulmonary Disease at VCU. The endowed chair aims to support a distinguished faculty member in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. Voelkel, professor in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at VCU and director of the Victoria W. Johnson Center for Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Research, is a leading researcher of pulmonary and vascular physiology and pathophysiology. This endowed chair was created by Dr. E. Raymond Fenton, who graduated from the MCV School of Medicine in 1930, and his wife. Voelkel's past experience includes a distinguished career in research and education and quality management at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His scholarly works are published in prestigious peer review journals.
Diomedes Logothetis, Ph.D.
Diomedes Logothetis, Ph.D.
  • Diomedes Logothetis, Ph.D., has been named chair of the School of Medicine's Department of Physiology and will hold the John D. Bower, M.D., endowed Chair in Physiology. Logothetis is an internationally recognized leader in the study of ion channels. He received his doctoral degree in physiology and biophysics from Harvard University in 1987 and served on the faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1993, where he established a record of teaching, research, administration and service. At Mount Sinai, Logothetis also served as dean of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences; directed the Medical Scientist Program; and received multiple awards for teaching, including the Excellence in Teaching Award in three consecutive years. For the past six years, he has served as professor and vice chair in the departments of Physiology and Biophysics and currently in structural and chemical biology. Logothetis serves on multiple national and professional committees and provides leadership in numerous research settings.
Paul Fisher, Ph.D.
Paul Fisher, Ph.D.
  • Paul Fisher, Ph.D., is the first incumbent of the Thelma Neumeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. He is a professor of human genetics and interim chair of the department and will have an appointment in the Massey Cancer Center. Fisher developed techniques for gene discovery and carried out groundbreaking research in the identification and validation of genes involved in tumor growth and suppression, including the Mda-5 and Mda-7 genes. His discoveries have led to a number of novel therapeutic strategies that are being pursued for various types of cancer based on these genes. He has authored nearly 300 original articles and his research program is currently sponsored by five NIH grants, including a Program Project grant. Fisher received his doctoral degree in mammalian genetics from Rutgers University. He recently served as professor of clinical pathology, Michael and Stella Chernow Urological Cancer Research Scientist, director of neuro-oncology research and a full member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University School of Medicine.

In addition to the new professorships mentioned above, Steven Grant, M.D., associate director for translational research at the Massey Cancer Center and co-leader of the cancer center's cancer cell biology program, holds the Shirley Carter Olsson and Sture Gordon Olsson Endowed Chair in Oncology, which was newly elevated from a distinguished professorship.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.