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UMass Medical School faculty appointed to endowed chairs

Newly funded posts supported by Maroun Semaan, UMass ALS Cellucci Fund; existing chairs filled with deserving faculty

April 2017

UMass Medical School will invest three faculty members into newly endowed chairs and three more to existing endowed chairs, according to a vote by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees at its April 12, 2017, meeting.

“We are fortunate to have the support of so many philanthropic leaders who believe in our mission and limitless potential to improve the health and well-being of the commonwealth, the nation and the global community,” Chancellor Michael F. Collins said. “These actions bring to nearly 50 the number of endowed chairs at UMass Medical School.”

Two of the newly endowed chairs are thanks to the generosity of Maroun Semaan, the co-founder and longtime director and president of Petrofac Group. Through his foundation, Semaan has made a gift, bearing his name, to establish the chairs for deserving members of the UMMS faculty. The Maroun Semaan Foundation supports philanthropic activities in the fields of education, health care and social welfare.

“Mr. Semaan has shared with me that it is ‘a special privilege to support the leading research’ at our medical school and that the ‘need to develop cures, new treatments and a deeper understanding of what contributes to human health is critically important. Over time, this work will prove to be a great equalizer for humanity as people around the globe, regardless of status, will reap the benefits of new therapies and biomedical advancements,’” Chancellor Collins said.

The third newly endowed chair was created using support from the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, which has for years been successfully raising funds to support the boldest research ideas in interdisciplinary labs at UMMS. The fund is named in honor of the late Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci. The university’s board approved using a portion of the endowment to create the Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research.

Faculty appointments to these new chairs are (from left):

Mark D. Johnson, MD, PhD, the founding chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, will be the inaugural holder of the Maroun Semaan Chair in Neurosurgery.

Marian Walhout, PhD, professor of molecular medicine and co-director of the Program in Systems Biology, has been appointed the inaugural recipient of the Maroun Semaan Chair in Biomedical Research.

Fen-Biao Gao, PhD, professor of neurology, will be the inaugural holder of the Governor Paul Cellucci Chair in Neuroscience Research.

new endowed chairs established

In addition (below, from left), Brian Silver, MD, vice chair and professor of neurology, has been appointed as the first to hold the Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research, which university trustees approved in 2014.

Neil Aronin, MD, professor of medicine, co-director of the Neurotherapeutics Institute, and chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at UMass Memorial Medical Center, has been appointed to the Higgins Family Professor of Neuroscience. Established in 2000, the Higgins family endowed chair aims to support neuroscience research at UMMS.

Justin Maykel, MD, associate professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Colorectal surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center, has been appointed to the Gladys Smith Martin Chair in Oncology.

new endowed chairs 2


Read the complete story here.