Three distinguished faculty members invested as named professors

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Convocation 2011, UMass Worcester, September 15, 2011

Investiture ceremony honors benefactors as well

By Mark Shelton
UMass Medical School Communications

In front of an audience that included friends, families, faculty and benefactors, two UMass Medical School professors—and a professor-to-be—were invested into endowed positions at UMMS that were created with just these sorts of leaders in mind: faculty at the top of their fields in fields that have an important human impact.

“What struck me most, in learning about Eleanor Eustis Farrington are all of the not-so-obvious connections that in fact link her world with mine,” said Melissa J. Moore, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, who was invested as the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Moore, who joined UMMS in 2007, is a founder and co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute at UMMS. “As we see in research every day, everything is indeed connected to everything else. . . By maximizing the connections—with other researchers in other fields—by maximizing these connections, you see how to make the whole. I can say without reservation that there is no other place I’d rather work.”

A native of Virginia, Moore earned her doctorate in biological chemistry at MIT, where she also did her postdoctoral research with 1993 Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD. A pioneer in RNA biology—crucial to understanding how organisms express genetic traits across generations—Moore is interested in “post-transcription” gene regulation, a crucial step in gene expression.



Melissa J. Moore, PhD, was invested as the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research.



Julia D. Andrieni, MD, was invested as the third Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine, one of the most innovative endowed professorships at UMMS. Dr Andrieni is associate professor of medicine and UMass Memorial Medical Center chief of general internal medicine. In accepting the role as McCann Professor, Dr. Andrieni said, “I’m so honored and so appreciative of this recognition, and so excited about the opportunity it affords. I’m also so grateful to my ‘mosaic’ of mentors here and throughout my career, who have always exulted in the possibilities. That’s what I hope to instill in those I work with.”


Andrieni and Franklin

Julia D. Andrieni, MD, was invested the third Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine, with help from Patricia D. Franklin, MD, MBA, MPH, who held the professorship before Dr. Andrieni.


During her term as the Joy McCann Professor, Andrieni would like to establish a continuum of mentoring for women at all levels, support a defined program of mentorship and establish a professional and social network.

In 2004, UMMS was selected by the Florida-based Joy McCann Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation that supports excellence in medical, nursing and science education, to receive funds to establish the Joy McCann Professorship for Women in Medicine. The three-year professorship recognizes a female faculty member who has demonstrated leadership in medical education, research, patient care and community service, and has provided mentorship of students and colleagues.

Jeremy Luban, MD, invested as the David J. Freelander Professor of AIDS Research, is new to UMMS—or rather, will be when he returns in the new year to establish his laboratory. He came to Worcester for Investiture from his post as professeur ordinaire in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Geneva. “I am so happy to be here with so many new friends and colleagues,” said Dr. Luban. “I graduated from medical school in 1987, the same year that the Freelanders lost their son, David, at the age of 32; their wish to support research honors him, and is an exceptional honor for me to be here in this role.”


czech and luban

Michael P. Czech, PhD, helps Jeremy Luban, MD, as Dr. Luban is invested as the David J. Freelander Professor of AIDS Research.

Photos by John Gillooly 


Luban has been working on HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases since he was a medical student at Columbia in the 1980s. He is the author or co-author of 84 original peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial boards of four prestigious scientific journals. One of his most significant contributions to the field is the discovery of cellular factors that are important for HIV-1 replication or which confer immunity to the virus.

He joins UMMS as professor of molecular medicine and co-principal investigator of the NIH-funded UMass Center for Aids Research (CFAR).

The David J. Freelander Professorship was established by Robert and Aviva Freelander to honor their second son, a noted artist who died of AIDS in 1987.

In closing the investiture ceremony, Chancellor Michael F. Collins remarked on “the splendor of this community and these leaders who excel in their endeavors—teaching, patient care, research, mentorship; it is a privilege to recognize those whose generosity helps us do what we do.”

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