Maryland Commerce Supports Five New Research Professorships at Three Universities

Johns Hopkins University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and University of Maryland, College Park raise matching funds to promote research and technology

BALTIMORE, Md. — The Maryland Department of Commerce; Johns Hopkins University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and University of Maryland, College Park have endowed a total of $10.1 million in five new research professorships. The endowments were made through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the colleges and universities. The schools raised $5.7 million in private funding for each chair and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $4.4 million to support the endowments.

“Maryland is home to many of the top academic institutions in the world, and we are proud to support their groundbreaking research with these endowments,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “Now in its third year, the program has endowed nearly $25 million to colleges and universities around the state, helping to fund advances in a wide range of research, including disease management and drug discovery, cybersecurity, and a number of environmental projects.”

Johns Hopkins University received a total of $2 million in endowments, split between the Endowed Fund-Branna and Irv Sisenwein Estate and the Jennison Family Professorship in Neurosurgery. The funding for the Endowed Fund-Branna and Irv Sisenwein Estate will be used to develop novel and alternative treatments for ocular neovascular diseases and will address the growing need for more effective treatments for ocular neovascular diseases while enhancing the academic research infrastructure at Johns Hopkins and in the state. The funding for the Jennison Family Professorship in Neurosurgery supports research to enable the early detection and monitoring of cancers using a simple blood test.

“Johns Hopkins is thrilled to once again be part of MEI, and we are truly grateful to the Maryland Department of Commerce and the visionary donors who make this incredible program possible,” said Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University. “With their support, our physician-scientists are pursuing bold new avenues of research that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on the lives of cancer patients and those with ocular neurovascular diseases. We are proud to partner with the state of Maryland as we pursue these cutting-edge studies that hold such promise.”

The University of Maryland, Baltimore also received two grants in this round. The Dr. Bizhan Aarabi Professorship in Neurotrauma received matching funds of $570,000 to sustain and expand the School of Medicine’s research, clinical, and entrepreneurial efforts in addressing severe stroke and traumatic brain injury, including faculty recruitment and recognition. The second award of $850,000 supports the Dr. Martin Helrich Professorship in Anesthesiology. This award will allow the School of Medicine to increase translational research programs in the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland, Baltimore for groundbreaking biomedical research.

“The E-Nnovation Initiative has been a tremendous catalyst in launching healthcare innovation and discovery at UMB,” said Dr. Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. “These funds allow our faculty to accelerate research benefitting patients not only in Maryland, but around the world.”

The University of Maryland, College Park received $1 million for the Ray R. Weil Distinguished Endowed Professorship in Soil Science, which will support the research enterprise of an endowed Professorship in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, providing statewide support for agricultural businesses through research investment. The professorship holder will strengthen partnerships to expand the University’s statewide presence in soil science and strengthen the economic impact of agriculture in Maryland. Aligned with Governor Hogan’s announcement of the Maryland Healthy Soils Program last spring, the primary function of the program is to assist and educate farmers on how to improve their soil health, yield, and profitability.

“We are extremely grateful to the Maryland Department of Commerce for its matching funds in support of more innovative and profitable agricultural production systems throughout the state,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean and director of the University of Maryland, College Park’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Soil is one of the most important components of agriculture, providing the main source of nutrients farmers require to grow crops. Through the Ray R. Weil Distinguished Professorship in Soil Science, we will strive to become an even better partner to the state through our research, teaching and non-formal extension education.”

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $24.5 million in funding to leverage $28.7 million in private donations. The funding 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.

About Maryland Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information,

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