Maryland Commerce Supports Research Professorships at Eight Higher Education Institutions
Eight local colleges, universities raise matching funds to promote research and technology through Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative
Baltimore, MD (October 19, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Commerce joined eight local colleges and universities in endowing a total of $21.2 million to fund a dozen 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 a total of more than $10.6 million in private funding for each chair and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $10.6 million to support the endowments.
The schools receiving the matching funds are Goucher College; Hood College; Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland, College Park; and Washington College.
“Maryland’s culture of innovation is one of our strongest assets and a major driver of economic growth and new business attraction,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “We are proud to support this large and impressive cohort of E-Nnovation awardees as they continue their important, cutting-edge research.”
Goucher College was awarded $1 million for the Endowed Professorship in Biological Sciences and Chemistry, which is also supported by $1 million in matching funds. The award will support a faculty position in the biochemistry and molecular biology major, which will help prepare undergraduate science students to pursue advanced graduate and professional degrees in biological sciences, chemistry, and medicine. The faculty member will teach in Goucher’s nationally-ranked post-baccalaureate pre-medical program, and the professorship will increase research opportunities for students on campus, as well as provide opportunities for potential internships and hands-on work with local organizations, governmental agencies, and Maryland STEM companies.
“We are thankful for the Maryland Department of Commerce’s support of our vision to enhance our biological science and chemistry programs,” says Goucher College President Kent Deveraux. “Goucher’s rigorous liberal arts curriculum is focused on educating students to become real-world problem solvers, and this E-Nnovation grant will help us prepare a diverse group of students to succeed in STEM research and innovation across the region.”
Hood College received $1 million, matched by a $1 million commitment from Drs. Ruth Whitaker Holmes and G. Burtt Holmes, to establish an Endowed Dean for behavioral and health sciences. This position will expand existing offerings in the health sciences and develop ties to area health organizations to provide applied learning opportunities for future health professionals.
“We are excited to use this award to establish the endowed dean position, which will develop cutting-edge programs in much-needed health care professions, and deepen our ties to the Frederick community and Frederick Health,” said Hood President Andrea E. Chapdelaine.
Johns Hopkins University received two awards totaling $2.95 million to support research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The David Robinson Professorship in Vestibular Neurology, supported by $1.8 million in matching funds, will support a highly innovative, collaborative, and entrepreneurial diagnostic medical technology-focused research program spearheaded by Dr. Newman-Toker, professor of neurology, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology. The central component of the program is a unique approach to the diagnosis of stroke and other neurological disorders through advanced eye movement detection systems.
The George W. Hambrick, Jr., M.D. Professorship in Dermatology, supported by $1.15 million in matching funds, will support a highly collaborative precision immuno-oncology research program developed by Dr. Janis Taube, a dermatopathologist and expert in next-generation tissue-based biomarkers for immunotherapy. Taube has developed a new platform in partnership with Dr. Alex Szalay, an astronomer, Big Data expert, and professor in the university’s department of astrophysics. The platform, called “AstroPath,” combines astronomy with pathology to identify predictive biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Taube anticipates the platform will support the creation of numerous highly-skilled jobs and result in tens of millions of dollars of revenue from research and associated clinical care, as well as extended corporate investment surrounding intellectual property and associated technology development.
“These E-Nnovation professorships are a stunning investment in two collaborative and brilliant clinician scientists, Drs. Janis Taube and David Newman-Toker,” said Johns Hopkins University Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz. “While diverging in their ultimate goals, these professorships both improve health care for patients by propelling the advancement of smart diagnosis and treatment. As always, we are deeply grateful to the Maryland Department of Commerce for this visionary program that improves research, the economy, and our home state.”
Morgan State University received $3 million, matched by $3 million earmarked from funds received from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, to establish three endowed professorships. The Endowed Chair in Brain Science in the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences will serve as the anchor faculty for the new Center for Brain Health Disparities, a transdisciplinary research and training center that will conduct cutting-edge research in brain science with a focus on the brain health of African Americans; the Endowed Chair in Psychometrics and Predictive Analytics in the James H. Gilliam Jr. College of Liberal Arts will build the expertise to develop and use culturally sensitive and technically appropriate assessment tools for high-stakes testing and the measurement of human behavior; and the Eugene M. DeLoatch Endowed Chair in Cybersecurity Engineering in the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering will have a transformative impact on Morgan’s research landscape by developing a critical strength in the emerging areas such as the Internet of Things and Secure Embedded Systems design, in hopes of fostering interdisciplinary research collaborations with faculty across the University and beyond.
“Morgan is serious about continuing along its path of becoming a recognized, world-class research university anchored in urbanism and the HBCU tradition of excellence. Through the support of the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund, we will leverage these three fully funded endowed professorships to further advance and make critical contributions in rising areas of STEM,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “This is a significant first for our University, placing us in an advantageous position not only to build for our future but to ensure there is a future for others, and we’re excited about all of the possibilities that await.”
The University of Maryland, Baltimore, received two awards totaling $1.25 million to support research professorships at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The Alicia and Yaya Viral Pathogen Research Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology, supported by matching funds of $750,000, will allow for continued research by virologist Dr. Matthew B. Frieman and the establishment of a new Center for Pathogen Research, of which Frieman will be the director.
The William E. and Sally H. Brown Professorship in Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders, supported by matching funds of $500,000, will allow the school to recruit a senior-level physician-scientist with experience in tech transfer to help commercialize therapeutic innovations that originate in the laboratory.
“The University of Maryland, Baltimore continues to attract and retain the highest level of research and education talent with this support from the Maryland E-Nnovation Fund Initiative,” said UMB President Dr. Bruce E. Jarrell. “Powerful research at UMB yields powerful discoveries, enriches our academic environment, and contributes to economic development here in Maryland.”
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County received $1 million, matched by a $1 million anonymous gift by a distinguished UMBC economics graduate inspired by Fred and Virginia Pausch’s legacy of giving and creating opportunities for people worldwide through education. The funds will establish an endowed professorship in economics in the name of the Pausch family, who had a profound impact on the alum’s life during their time at UMBC. The Pausch Professorship will contribute to the award-winning research and academic leadership of the economics department in UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS).
“UMBC’s economics department actively seeks to expand the learning opportunities we provide to students in this high-demand field,” said Kimberly R. Moffitt, interim dean of CAHSS. “To fulfill the important collaboration requirements of the MEIF grant, the Pausch Professor will have access to strong corporate partners eager to engage with UMBC. They will also be able to participate in UMBC’s community engagement initiatives in economics and academic partnerships—in Maryland, nationally, and internationally. The Pausch Professor will be an integral part of continuing to strengthen UMBC’s national pipeline for students from all backgrounds to get excited about and pursue graduate degrees and careers in economics, finance, and associated fields.”
The University of Maryland, College Park received $1.14 million to fully match the Brendan Iribe Endowed Professorship in Computer Science and the Brendan Iribe Endowed Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Created by an investment from alumnus Brendan Iribe, these endowed professors will work to enhance the university’s expertise in the areas of robotics/autonomy and artificial intelligence/machine learning.
“Our renowned research and academic programs in robotics and machine learning will be further enhanced by these two new Brendan Iribe Endowed Professorships,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “I want to thank proud Terp Brendan Iribe and the state of Maryland for recognizing the value of research that helps us tackle grand challenges, while significantly contributing to the economic competitiveness and workforce development in our state.”
Washington College was awarded $1.25 million, matched by private donors, to provide a $2.5 endowment supporting a Chair in Natural & Cultural Resource Initiatives at the College’s Center for Environment & Society. This professorship is part of the College’s new Past is Present initiative, which will focus on environmental archaeology, cultural resource management and the linkages between heritage and natural resources.
“This is an important step forward in protecting and managing the remarkable natural and cultural resources with which our region is so blessed,” said Jon Seidel, director of Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society. “There is a logical, but often unrecognized, alliance between those of us who work in these fields, and this position will build ties and strengthen our collective efforts. In particular, ecotourism and heritage tourism are powerful economic engines for the Eastern Shore, and we look forward to enhancing the opportunities for communities to benefit from this potential.”
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $64.9 million in funding to leverage $71.2 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, visit commerce.maryland.gov.