06/02/2005

WVU Names Biomedical Research Leaders

Recruitments, Promotions Advance Interdisciplinary Research Plan

 

Mustafa                                    O'Donnell

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two scientists who bring large research enterprises with them will join the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University this summer. Five other established investigators within the faculty have accepted key posts as leaders of interdisciplinary centers crucial to the reorganization and expansion of health sciences research.

S. Jamal Mustafa, Ph.D., a professor at East Carolina University School of Medicine, is an expert in cardiovascular pharmacology and physiology. He will join the faculties of the WVU Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy.

James O’Donnell, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, well known for his work in the neuro-pharmacology of depression, joins the School of Medicine.

Both will also serve as part-time assistant deans for research in the School of Medicine.

“Each of these scientists brings with him an active, well-funded, NIH-sponsored research program that includes graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other research staff,” noted Thomas Saba, Ph.D., WVU associate vice president for health sciences research and graduate education and associate dean of the School of Medicine. “The investments we have made in health sciences research and graduate programs, and the new facilities being constructed, make this campus a magnet for ambitious and talented scientists."

Dr. Mustafa will become a member of WVU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular sciences, and be a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. He is expected to help build a drug discovery and therapeutics group at WVU.

Mustafa’s research is concentrated on understanding the cellular and molecular receptor mechanisms of blood flow regulation. These mechanisms can limit blood flow to the heart, causing cardiac failure. In a related area of study, Mustafa’s lab will examine the effects of similar receptor mechanisms in the airways, and the development of asthma.

Dr. O’Donnell will join the University’s integrated neurosciences group and serve as a professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, with a joint appointment in Neurobiology and Anatomy. He will build a research group to study behavioral biology and neuropsychiatric disorders.

O’Donnell’s laboratory will continue his well-established work in the integrated use of quantitative behavioral, neurochemical, and molecular approaches to study drugs used to treat psychiatric illness as well as drugs of abuse.

WVU’s strategic research plan includes the development of six interdisciplinary centers for biomedical research.  To date, the University has named five research faculty members, each with a track record of competitive NIH funding, to lead them:

·        Richard Dey, Ph.D., was recently named director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Respiratory Biology and Lung Diseases. Dr. Dey received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and postdoctoral research fellowship training at the University of Texas. Dey also serves as chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy.

·        John Barnett, Ph.D., was recently appointed as director of the new Center for Immunopathology and Microbial Pathogenesis.  Dr. Barnett received his Ph.D. from the University of Louisville and his postdoctoral research training at the University of Tennessee.  Barnett also serves as chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology.

·        George Spirou, Ph.D., is director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neuroscience, and also leads the sensory neuroscience group.  Dr. Spirou received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and postdoctoral training in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

·        Daniel Flynn, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Cancer Cell Biology Research and also serves as associate director for basic research in the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. Dr. Flynn received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University and postdoctoral research training at the University of Virginia. 

·        Matthew Boegehold, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences.  Dr. Boegehold received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona and postdoctoral training at Indiana University. 

WVU is still organizing its interdisciplinary Center for Diabetes and Obesity Research.

“Our ability to recruit top scientists – and to give some of our most successful research faculty members new responsibilities and new resources – means that we are improving the climate for research on the WVU campus,” said John E. Prescott, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “Each of these research leaders is contributing to the advancement of medical knowledge, the fight against disease, and the development of a critical mass of investigators and technology in Morgantown.”

Robert D’Alessandri, M.D., vice president for health sciences, credits all four schools at the Health Sciences Center for improving the quality of research. “The interdisciplinary centers unite faculty members from medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing in a common effort, and we all benefit from that. The recruitment of these leaders is a result of a cooperative spirit that includes all the deans and department chairs.”

- WVU -


05-100
For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
casew@rcbhsc.wvu.edu
bc:06-02-05

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