Research and Technology
State, universities endow $14.9 million in research professorships
By Nick Sohr /
September 10, 2015

Six new research professorships have been endowed with $14.9 million in private donations and state funding, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced Wednesday. The state funds were committed through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative, which matches private donations to universities for basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields.

The University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland Baltimore; and Johns Hopkins University each received $2.1 million through the program to be split among a pair of new professorships at each school.

"The discoveries made and students trained at Maryland universities are among the greatest advantages we have as a state. These endowments will further strengthen our higher education institutions and pave the way for bold new research and innovation," DBED Secretary Mike Gill said. "We are proud to be partners in this endeavor with the world-renowned universities we have here in our State."

University of Maryland, College Park

Reginald Allan Hahne Endowed Chair in Computer Science, $1.5 million private donation from Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe, $1.05 million MEI match

The second chair endowed by Iribe will be filled by an internationally distinguished computer scientist with expertise in virtual and augmented reality, and establish a larger research team in the field.

Michael and Eugenia Brin Endowed Chair in Mathematics, $2.5 million in private donations, $1.05 million MEI match

The second Michael and Eugenia Brin Chair in the Department of Mathematics will attract an internationally distinguished mathematician. The professor will educate students in mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics and conduct research tied to areas of Maryland's economy.

"The world's best universities attract and support distinguished educators by endowing academic chairs. With this state funding, we can recruit two more outstanding faculty members to the University of Maryland who will educate students and conduct research that will change our lives," said Jayanth Banavar, dean of the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. "We thank Elizabeth Iribe and the Brins for creating a lasting legacy that will benefit our state and our world for years to come."

University of Maryland Baltimore

Endowed Professorship in Entrepreneurial Surgical Science, $1.1 million in private donations, $1.1 million MEI match

The professorship will seed a unique program to quicken the pace of developing feasible bioengineered surgical solutions and speed the creation of new technology and commercial applications for it.

Robert C. Gallo Distinguished Professorship, $999,500 in private donations, $999,500 MEI match

The professorship in the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology will further basic and applied research in HIV/AIDS and other virally-linked diseases as well as vaccine development.

Johns Hopkins University

Professorship in Water & Public Health, $1.25 million private donation from William C. Clarke, III, a member of the Bloomberg School's Health Advisory Board, $1.05 million MEI match

Housed in the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences, the professor will address emerging contaminants of concern, safe production of drinking water, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and sustainable water reuse for domestic, industrial and agricultural practices.

Reta Honey-Hiers Professorship for Tarlov Cyst Disease, $1.25 in million private donations from Mary Ellen Pease and Charles Scheeler, $1.05 million MEI match

The professorship will focus on the development an integrated Maryland Tarlov Cyst Initiative. It will advance research and clinical care relevant to neurogenetics and interventional neuroradiology in the study and management of Tarlov Cyst Disease, allowing the creation of a multidisciplinary center of excellence.

"At a time when our scientists and researchers face a challenging funding landscape, we thank our state leaders for their vital support and their recognition that research universities are where bold discovery and innovation happens," University President Ronald J. Daniels said. "This initiative is a wonderful example of the possibilities ignited through public and private partnership.

Added Provost Robert C. Lieberman: "These professorships are an excellent example of the ways in which Johns Hopkins connects the laboratory and the classroom to real-world issues affecting individuals, communities, and society as a whole. These awards are an investment not only in our scholars but also in improving the lives of people across Maryland, and the world."

MEI was created by the General Assembly in the 2014 legislative session and was appropriated $8.5 million in FY2016. Applications for the remaining $2.1 million yet to be allocated are due Nov. 1. MEI dollars can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment. Individual institutions cannot claim more than a quarter of available MEI funds, unless the program's allotment is not fully allocated.


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