Winter 2020
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The Leonard G. Miller Professorship in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences was inaugurated in June 2019. Miller earned one of the first degrees in materials engineering at U-M in 1955 and went on to cofound a successful manufacturing, engineering, and consulting firm. He’s received care at the U-M W.K. Kellogg Eye Center and is a friend of Paul R. Lichter, M.D., professor emeritus and immediate past chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Miller has funded two high-powered microscopes for the department and supported the eye center’s expansion campaign. Rajesh C. Rao, M.D., who will serve as the first Leonard G. Miller Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and is also an assistant professor of pathology, hopes to advance treatments for blinding diseases. 

J. Michelle Kahlenberg, M.D., became the inaugural Giles G. Bole, M.D., and Dorothy Mulkey, M.D., Research Professor of Rheumatology in July 2019. Mulkey, M.D. (Fellowship 1972), one of the first women to train in rheumatology at U-M, made an endowed estate gift to the Division of Rheumatology in honor of her mentor and advocate Bole, who became dean emeritus of the Medical School in 1996 and died in 2011. After 30 years in private practice, Mulkey retired in 2006 and died in 2014. This professorship honors Bole’s and Mulkey’s devotion to patient care and the education of trainees. Kahlenberg, also an associate professor of internal medicine, says the professorship “stands for integrating patient data with basic science bench work to … allow for personalized medicine and better patient care.” 

Richard Joseph Auchus, M.D., Ph.D., became the inaugural James A. Shayman and Andrea S. Kevrick Professor of Translational Medicine in July 2019. The endowment honors Shayman, the Agnes C. and Frank D. McKay Professor and professor of pharmacology and of internal medicine, and his late wife, Kevrick, a garden designer who died in 2015. Shayman takes pride in “knowing that there will be a legacy supporting physician-scientists who will pursue important questions long after I am gone.” Auchus, who is also professor of pharmacology and of internal medicine, says, “My hope is to improve the health of adults with rare genetic endocrine diseases. We want them to be able to just take the medicine and go on with their day.” 

Vincent B. Young, M.D., Ph.D., became the inaugural William Henry Fitzbutler Collegiate Professor of Internal Medicine in August 2019. Fitzbutler, son of an enslaved coachman and a British indentured servant, was the first African American graduate of the U-M Medical School in 1872 and spent his career championing diversity, equality, and social justice. His wife, Sarah Helen McCurdy Fitzbutler, was the first African American woman to receive a medical degree in Kentucky. Young, also professor of internal medicine and of microbiology and immunology, hopes to honor the spirit of the Fitzbutlers as a physician, mentor, medical educator, parent, and active community member. 

Steven M. Archer, M.D., became the inaugural Ida Lucy Iacobucci Collegiate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in August 2019. In 2009, Iacobucci, a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and pioneering specialist in eye muscle disorders, included a bequest in her estate plans for a professorship and requested that Archer be the first to hold it. Iacobucci, affectionately known as Miss Ida, died in 2017. “When I arrived at Kellogg, Miss Ida cooked a welcome dinner for me,” recalls Archer. “It was the beginning of a long collaboration. … [She] came to me with a number of clinical ideas that no one had ever thought about.” 

Rebecca Cunningham, M.D. (Residency 1999), became the inaugural William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine in September 2019. Created through gifts from the Barsan family, faculty, alumni, friends, and the Department of Emergency Medicine, the professorship honors Barsan’s contributions to clinical care, research, and medical education at Michigan Medicine since his 1992 appointment as professor of surgery. Cunningham, who is also the U-M vice president for research, professor of emergency medicine, and professor of health behavior and health education at the School of Public Health, led the formation of the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) consortium to rebuild the field of firearm injury research through the largest National Institutes of Health investment to date on the topic. 

Julie Lumeng (M.D. 1997) became the inaugural Thomas P. Borders Family Research Professor of Child Behavior and Development in October 2019. Established by Borders bookstore cofounder Thomas Borders and his wife, educator Carmel Borders, the professorship supports work that examines the connections between socioemotional wellness, brain function, behavior and development, physical and mental health, and the effects of trauma and stress on young people. Lumeng, also a professor of pediatrics and professor of nutritional sciences in the School of Public Health, worked with the Borders family to support the Reach Out and Read program at U-M. Mr. and Mrs. Borders believe supporting the emotional and physical well-being of children is vital, not only to increase academic achievement but also to improve the overall care and resources available to children and families. 

Alan V. Smrcka, Ph.D., became the inaugural Benedict R. Lucchesi Collegiate Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology in November 2019. The endowment, established through gifts from Paul Hoff, M.D., Department of Pharmacology faculty and staff, former students, and the Medical School, honors Lucchesi (Ph.D. 1961, M.D. 1964), a longtime U-M researcher and clinician who was one of the first to determine that the beta blocker propranolol could be used to treat heart arrhythmias. He also helped develop the first FDA-approved nitroglycerin patch. Smrcka, also a professor of pharmacology and professor of biophysics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, has spent his career researching possible therapies for heart failure and inflammation and improving the safety of opioid analgesics. 

Vanessa K. Dalton, M.D. (Residency 2001), became the inaugural Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D., Collegiate Professor of Global Women’s Health in November 2019. Named for Johnson (M.D. 1979), who was the longtime Bates Professor of the Diseases of Women and Children and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the professorship honors his efforts to establish the first private medical school in Ghana and improve global maternal health. Dalton, who is also associate chair of research for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and co-director of the Division of Gynecology, directs the interdisciplinary U-M Program on Women’s Healthcare Effectiveness Research and hopes her research will “empower women and provide better outcomes.” 

Yi Sun, M.D., Ph.D., became the inaugural Theodore S. Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D. and Patricia Krause Research Professor of Radiation Oncology in November 2019. Established through an estate gift from Patricia Krause in honor of her doctor, Theodore Lawrence, who is the Isadore Lampe Professor of Radiation Oncology and chair of the department, the professorship supports innovative research in new treatments for cancer. An active and positive person, Patricia “Patte” Krause asked her friends not to mourn her passing, but to remember her by letting the little things go and by following their passions. “She has made an incredible difference,” Lawrence says. “Science is expensive, and the resources provided by the professorship will enable us keep moving forward to benefit patients. Dr. Sun has done beautiful research to facilitate advances … and this will be instrumental in continuing that trajectory.” Sun, also a professor of radiation oncology, is working on validation of Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase (CRL) as a promising cancer target for anti-cancer drug discovery.

In December 2019, Megan Haymart, M.D., became the inaugural Nancy Wigginton Endocrinology Research Professor of Thyroid Cancer and Francis Worden, M.D., became the inaugural Nancy Wigginton Oncology Research Professor of Thyroid Cancer. Jim Wigginton established the professorships in memory of his wife, Nancy (known to many as “Punya”), a thyroid cancer patient at U-M who died in 2013. Praising his wife’s kindness and generosity, Wigginton says, “[S]he really did personally what I’m trying to do financially. I know that she wanted to make a difference.” The professorships are meant to further research that helps improve patients’ quality of life by increasing life expectancy and reducing the side effects of treatment. The inaugural recipients are particularly meaningful to the Wigginton family because they both helped treat Nancy. Haymart is also an associate professor of internal medicine, and Worden is also a professor of internal medicine.