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Luzuriaga, Szabo appointed to newly endowed chairs at UMMS

UMass Medical School Communications

December 10, 2014
  Katherine Luzuriaga,
  Katherine F. Ruiz de Luzuriaga, MD
  Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD
  Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD

Two newly endowed chairs at UMass Medical School were approved today by the university’s Board of Trustees, according to Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

The Board voted to establish the UMass Memorial Health Care Chair in Biomedical Research, which will be dedicated to supporting biomedical research. This is a positive example of the collaboration between the institutions, and will appropriately celebrate the shared mission and special partnership that exists between UMMS and UMass Memorial, Chancellor Collins said.

Katherine F. Ruiz de Luzuriaga, MD, professor of molecular medicine, pediatrics and medicine; vice provost for clinical and translational science and global health; and director of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science, has been named the inaugural recipient of the UMass Memorial chair. 

Dr. Luzuriaga is one of the nation’s leading physician investigators in academic medicine.

Her research has provided key insights into viral and host factors that result in persistent viral (HIV, EBV, CMV) infections in children. She has been active in translational research that led to new ways to diagnose and treat pediatric HIV-1 infection and she led the first trials that demonstrated that early infant therapy markedly limits the establishment of HIV reservoirs. Luzuriaga has held several leadership positions within the U.S. National Institutes of Health-sponsored Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials networks and currently serves on the NIH NCATS-CTSA Steering Committee. As the founding director of the UMMS Office of Global Health, Luzuriaga has taken a leadership role in several global health initiatives, including the medical school's Liberian Ebola relief project funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Collins also announced the establishment of a second Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research endowed chair, to which the board has approved the appointment of Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine, associate dean for clinical and translational science and director of the MD/PhD Program. Dr. Szabo is an internationally recognized leader in the field of liver disease. Her research focuses on mechanisms for regulation of immunity and inflammation in liver diseases, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and viral hepatitis. Her work has led to a more thorough understanding of viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Further, she has made seminal advances in the role of miRNA and innate immunity as they apply to various liver diseases, and she has worked to bring new therapies for liver diseases to the clinic. Szabo’s leadership among esteemed peers around the world is evidenced by her induction into the Hungarian Academy of Sciences this fall. She also serves as the president-elect of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and will become that organization’s president in 2015.

Luzuriaga and Szabo will be officially invested in the fall of 2015 at the annual Convocation and Investiture ceremonies.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Faculty awarded medals of distinction and endowed chairs, professorship at Convocation and Investiture
Szabo inducted into Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Grant affirms UMMS MD/PhD program ‘among the best’
Szabo to NY Times: Development of drug for NASH very exciting
Foreign Policy names Luzuriaga a ‘Leading Global Thinker of 2013’ for HIV research
Luzuriaga named vice provost for clinical and translational research
Discovery prompts new hope for pediatric HIV cure at UMMS
Researchers describe first 'functional HIV cure' in an infant
Early HIV treatment aids long-term viral suppression in teens