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Eric Baehrecke, Jeanne Lawrence and Alan Mullen appointed to endowed chairs

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

junio 07, 2022

Chancellor Michael F. Collins announced that the University’s Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of three of faculty members to endowed chairs.

Eric Baehrecke, PhD, professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology; Jeanne Lawrence, PhD, professor of neurology and pediatrics; and Alan Mullen, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and academic chief of gastroenterology, join more than 60 named chairs at UMass Chan.

“I invite you to learn more about each of them below. Every endowed chair represents an expression of trust by the Medical School’s philanthropic supporters in the promise of our faculty to advance discovery and the health and well-being of our diverse communities throughout Massachusetts and the world,” said Chancellor Collins.

Eric Baehrecke, PhD

Our Danny Cancer Fund Chair in Biomedical Research II
Eric Baehrecke, PhD, professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology, has been appointed as the inaugural holder of the newly created Our Danny Cancer Fund Chair in Biomedical Research II. This professorship is intended to support the work of a stellar faculty member whose research programs help advance our understanding of cancer biology or facilitate novel cancer therapeutics. Dr. Baehrecke joined UMass Chan in 2007. His research focuses on autophagy, the intricate and orderly process by which cells degrade and recycle their components, which is at the forefront of an exciting era in cancer and other disease research. His interdisciplinary and collaborative research has shown how autophagy works in animal cells and how the genes encoding regulators of this cellular process are altered in cancer and other diseases. He is an enthusiastic teacher and mentor, a highly regarded researcher, and an engaged scientist who has served on editorial boards of numerous journals and advisory boards and as a scholar and visiting professor at institutions around the world.

Jeanne Lawrence, PhD

Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research
Jeanne B. Lawrence, PhD, professor of neurology and pediatrics, has been appointed to the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research, which was established in 2008 to support a senior physician or researcher whose work is focused on neurology, intellectual disability or mental illness. Dr. Lawrence is an internationally recognized leader in the field of epigenetics, chromosome regulation and noncoding RNAs. Her work has profoundly advanced research into the developmental pathology of Down syndrome; specifically, in 2013, Dr. Lawrence and colleagues were the first to demonstrate that the underlying genetic defect responsible for Down syndrome can be suppressed in pluripotent stem cells in vitro using XIST, a discovery that opened new pathways for translational research and, in 2020, led to a groundbreaking study that elucidated a naturally occurring “off switch” for the female X-chromosome. In her forty years at the Medical School, Dr. Lawrence has become a highly regarded thought leader in her field, with more than 130 peer reviewed publications that have been cited more than 15,000 times.

Alan Mullen, MD, PhD

Mary C. DeFeudis Chair in Biomedical Research
Alan Mullen, MD, PhD, who will join UMass Chan on August 1 as professor of medicine and academic chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, has been appointed to hold the Mary C. DeFeudis Chair in Biomedical Research, which was established in 2011 through the generosity of well-known local philanthropist and UMass Chan honorary degree recipient Mary DeFeudis. As a nationally recognized physician-scientist, Dr. Mullen cares for patients with liver disease in his clinical practice while his scientific investigations have helped to elucidate therapeutic targets that might prevent the development or slow the progression of liver cancer and liver fibrosis. Additionally, he serves as a highly engaged teacher and sought-after mentor. Dr. Mullen joins UMass Chan from positions at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. He is a Pew Research Scholar and serves as an editorial reviewer for some of the nation’s most prestigious scientific journals as well as a grant reviewer for the NIH, American Liver Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Liver Disease and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, his MD/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

“I hope you will join me in congratulating these esteemed colleagues on their endowed chairs. I look forward to celebrating their achievement and the steadfast supporters of UMass Chan at Convocation and Investiture ceremonies on Sept. 15,” said Collins.

Related UMass Chan news stories:
Donna and Robert Manning donate $5 million to UMass Chan to establish endowed chairs
Robert Caricchio, Michelle Kelliher and Celia Schiffer appointed to endowed chairs