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July 2005 Issue

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New Faces Soon to be Around at the Academic Health Center

Published July 2005

You will soon notice many new faces around the Academic Health Center.

The naming of David Stern, MD, in May as the new College of Medicine dean was just the first in a series of major additions to the East Campus.

In July, the Genome Research Institute (GRI) will welcome Ruben Papoian, PhD, as professor and director of drug discovery. Dr. Papoian has over 25 years of experience in biomedical research including 15 years in the pharmaceutical sector, most recently with Novartis.

As director of drug discovery, Dr. Papoian will work with UC and industry researchers at the GRI to enhance already-existing collaborations and develop new ideas for turning basic science into promising therapeutics.

"Dr. Papoian will be instrumental in working with the GRI's interim director to maintain the momentum that has been building since that facility's groundbreaking in October 2003," says Jane Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs.

Later this summer, the Department of Neurology grows with the addition of internationally known researcher Timothy Collier, PhD. Dr. Collier, a Millennium Scholar, brings with him a group of experts in Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.

"We've had a real 'brain gain' at UC over the past several years," says Joseph Broderick, MD, director of the Department of Neurology. "Recruitment across the board has been interdepartmental and highly focused on entire disease programs. We are really poised to be one of the best."

Other departments also have welcomed new recruits this year.

The Department of Anesthesia this spring added pain management specialist Hammam Akbik, MD, to its impressive faculty line-up. Dr. Akbik is the medical director of the Pain Management Center at University Pointe.

And in March, Robert Graham, MD, joined the Department of Family Medicine as the Robert and Myfanwy Smith Endowed Chair in Family Medicine.

Since January, the four colleges of the Academic Health Center have welcomed 73 new faculty members, including adjunct and visiting professors.

But with exciting change comes the inevitable at an academic institution: Talented researchers and leaders are constantly being recruited for new opportunities.

In June, David Millhorn, PhD, director of the GRI, announced his appointment as vice president of research at the University of Tennessee (UT). Dr. Millhorn, a Tennessee native, is going home to capitalize on UT's efforts with Oak Ridge National Laboratory--an opportunity he says he could not turn down.

"The chance to direct the research program of a large, multi-campus university system and to be the lead university person at UT-Battelle LLC, the company that manages the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was too good to pass up," he says.

Stephen Liggett, MD, Taylor Professor of Medicine and director of the Cardiopulmonary Research Center, was recently married and is relocating to continue his research at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

"Drs. Millhorn and Liggett are at the top of their respective fields, and we are certainly disappointed to see them leave," says Dr. Henney. "But we have to view these departures as opportunities. Both researchers have built solid programs, and we know we will attract top talent to continue their success. We also anticipate possible collaborations with their new institutions."

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