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March 20, 2012

Two new professorships established

Nathaniel and Helen Wisch
Nathaniel and Helen Wisch

Roger and Carolyn Friedlander
Roger and Carolyn Friedlander

John (Jack) Werren, professor of biology and a leading expert in evolutionary genetics, has been named the first recipient of the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology. The Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professorship in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander will be held by Richard Kreipe, professor of pediatrics and a protégé of McAnarney, professor and chair emerita of pediatrics.

Both gifts supporting the professorships are part of the overall $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology

Trustee Nathaniel “Nat” Wisch ’55 and his wife, Helen, have established a professorship in biology.

“Nat Wisch has lived the ideals of the University of Rochester as a student, a professional, and a trustee,” says University President Joel Seligman. “His generous gift is a sign of his commitment to those ideals, and it will significantly help us to better meet the needs of our students for many generations to come.”

Wisch says he and his wife created the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology to help Rochester attract and retain the very best researchers and educators—scholars who will both advance the field of biology and inspire their students. “Top-rated faculty go where they can get named professorships,” Wisch says.

Professor John (Jack) Werren has been named the first recipient of the professorship. Werren is a leading expert in evolutionary genetics. His research combines genetic, molecular, and population studies to investigate diverse topics in biology. His studies on the genetic basis of shape and size differences between closely related insect species have uncovered mechanisms of growth regulation, which may eventually lead to a better understanding of diseases that involve inappropriate growth, such as cancer. Werren’s research comparing genomes revealed that some animals routinely acquire genes from their bacterial associates—a mechanism that may be important for the evolution of genetic novelty in animals, and which may lead to new genetic targets for pest control. Werren also recently received an NIH grant to explore the venoms of parasitic wasps as a possible resource for new drug discovery.

“Professorships are a wonderful way to acknowledge the excellence of the contributions of our faculty,” says Joanna Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “We are delighted that Dr. and Mrs. Wisch chose to designate the professorship they created to the Department of Biology, which has strong research programs and teaches a large number of students, many of whom major in biology. The first incumbent of this professorship, Professor John Werren, is an outstanding example of this commitment to research and education.”

Werren teaches courses in genetic research and in animal behavior. His contributions to educational outreach include teaching workshops for high school and college instructors, and developing a discovery-oriented laboratory curriculum that is now widely used.

“Jack has an international reputation that enhances the standing of the entire department,” says Gloria Culver, chair of the Department of Biology. “His work extends from fundamental biology to ramifications in human health.”

Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professorship in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander

Roger and Carolyn Friedlander’s names may be found at locations throughout the University, but for the first time their names will accompany a professorship: the Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professorship in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander. The Friedlanders chose to recognize McAnarney, professor and chair emerita of pediatrics at the Medical Center, for her lifetime of work benefitting children locally and internationally.

“Roger and Carolyn’s gift is significant because it honors scholarship and faculty excellence,” President Seligman says. “Lissa McAnarney embodies the very best of academic medicine; she’s a truly respected scientist, teacher, and clinician, who is richly deserving of this honor.”

“As longtime friends of the University and the Medical Center, we are deeply grateful to the Friedlanders for their decades of generosity and for establishing a professorship to honor one of our most esteemed and accomplished faculty members,” says Medical Center CEO Bradford Berk.
The Friedlanders’ commitment will go toward Golisano Children’s Hospital’s $100 million campaign, which will support both a new children’s hospital and major enhancements to pediatric programs.

Roger Friedlander was the chair of the children’s hospital fundraising board in 1993 when McAnarney was named the sixth chair of the Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of what is now Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“We are so fascinated and intrigued by what she has done for children all over the world. She was the perfect person to recognize in this way,” Roger Friedlander says. “This is not just financial involvement; it’s heart to heart.”

Richard Kreipe, who will hold the professorship, is the founding director of the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Program at the hospital and is a board-certified pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist, as well as a fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders. His professional focus for the last 30 years has been on pediatric eating disorders, and he has published numerous research studies, articles, book chapters, position papers, and reviews on the topic.

“Dr. Kreipe is not only one of the most knowledgeable eating-disorder specialists in the country, but also one of the country’s most dedicated advocates for children, and Rochester is fortunate to have him,” says Nina Schor, pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital and the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics at the Medical Center. “We’re delighted the Friedlanders have given us the opportunity to honor both him and Dr. McAnarney through this professorship.”

“This professorship is a fitting honor for Dr. McAnarney, who has always been responsive to whatever the University needs,” says Mark Taubman, dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “The choice of Dr. Kreipe as the first faculty member to hold the professorship doubly honors her because he was one of her former fellows.”

The professorship complements McAnarney’s extensive list of achievements.

“It is a singular honor to be acknowledged by one’s University and by cherished friends with the creation of a professorship in one’s name. There is no other acknowledgement in academics that resonates so deeply,” McAnarney says.

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