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September 01, 2015

Faculty recognized with endowed professorships

men wearing medals
From left: Joel Seligman, Dirk Bohmann, David Foster (brother of Donald Foster), Robert Strawderman, and Mark Taubman

Joel Seligman, Marjorie Morris, Peter Knight, and Mark Taubman
From left: Joel Seligman, Marjorie Morris, Peter Knight, and Mark Taubman

Cardiac surgeon Peter Knight was installed in July as the inaugural holder of the Marjorie B. Morris Endowed Professorship in Cardiac Surgery.

Clifton Springs resident Marjorie Morris established the endowed professorship with a $1.5 million commitment to advance cardiac surgery techniques and programs. She was inspired by the expertise and compassion provided by Knight, whom she met after experiencing weakness and difficulty breathing caused by a faulty mitral valve.

“The care I received was excellent, and I was able to go home within a week,” says Morris, who raised three children with her late husband, I. A. (Drew) Morris, longtime owner of G.W. Lisk Company.

Knight replaced the valve, resolving the life-threatening situation and restoring Morris’s energy—allowing her to continue enjoying time with her family, gardening, and the arts.

Knight studied at Dickinson College and earned his medical degree at New York Medical College. He completed a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, joined the faculty in 1989, and was named professor in 2012. In addition to providing patient care, he supervises cardiothoracic fellows and residents and mentors premed students interested in cardiothoracic surgical research.

“We are deeply grateful for Mrs. Morris’s generosity as we establish this professorship to further patient care, research, and education,” says Mark Taubman, CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “First-rate surgeons like Peter Knight are part of what attracted me to practice medicine in Rochester. Peter, in particular, makes our community a great place to receive care.”

Dirk Bohmann was installed to the Donald M. Foster, MD Professorship in Biomedical Genetics, and Robert Strawderman was installed as the Donald M. Foster, MD Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics at an August ceremony.

Donald Foster ’50M (MD) was a longtime supporter of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. He established a provision for the University in his estate plan to continue his support. After his death in 2013, the two professorships were created in recognition of his loyalty and generosity.”

Strawderman has more than 20 years of experience working with interdisciplinary teams of scientists on projects focused on clinical research, health care delivery and evaluation, and various areas of public health. His research includes statistical methods for risk and outcome prediction in medicine and those for evaluating the cost and quality of health care.

Bohmann, director of the genetics, genomics, and development graduate program, focuses his research on the molecular biology of gene and cell regulation as it applies to topics such as aging or the movement of cancerous cells in living tissue. He is the author of nearly 100 papers, and in 2010 he received the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Cancer Research.

“Dirk and Robert are exemplary clinicians, scientists, and mentors,” says Taubman. “They are also great people. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to recognize them in this way, and I look forward to seeing the ways in which they continue to lead us to new levels in care, research, and the training of our students.”

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