The University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Johns Hopkins University raise matching funds to promote research and technology

BALTIMORE, MD (November 13, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Commerce; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and Johns Hopkins University have endowed a total of more than $9.1 million in 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 combined $5.3 million in private funding for each chair and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $3.8 million to support the endowments.

“These endowments will help three of our world-class universities continue their important research activities and help ensure Maryland’s leadership in these fields,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “This initiative has endowed more than $38 million to support innovation and discovery across a range of disciplines over the past five years, and we believe the advancements made at these institutions will help bring business growth and new jobs to Maryland.”

The University of Maryland, College Park received $750,000 to partially match the Pier Giorgio Perotto Endowed Professorship in Computer Science and $750,000 to further match its Clark Leadership Chair in Data Analytics, which was previously matched by $714,000 in E-Nnovation funds.

The Perotto Professorship was created with a generous donation from Michelangelo “Mike” Volpi and Toni Cupal to retain and develop promising computer science faculty members who work in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The inaugural holders of the Perotto Professorship will be Hal Daumé and Tom Goldstein. Created by an investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, the Clark Leadership Chair will enhance the university’s expertise in the fields that underlie data analytics—computer science and mathematics—and areas at the forefront of data analytics-intensive applications.

“These two new endowments will further the University of Maryland’s leadership in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics, all of which are vital areas for research, economic competitiveness and workforce development,” said University of Maryland Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “I especially want to thank our generous donors and the state of Maryland for investing in the University of Maryland, our faculty, and these critically important fields.”

The University of Maryland School of Medicine received approximately $1,143,500 from the E-Nnovation Initiative to support the Howard M. Eisenberg, MD Distinguished Professorship in Neurosurgery. This will enable the Department of Neurosurgery to recruit a high-level neurosurgeon-scientist to continue the legacy of Eisenberg, who was recognized as one of the nation’s top neurosurgeons and pre-eminent experts on traumatic brain injury before recently stepping down as Chair of the UMSOM Department of Neurosurgery after more than 25 years of service. The new recruit will foster innovation and discovery in the field of neurosurgical and translational neuroscience research with a focus on applications towards clinical use and potential commercialization to bring new intellectual capital to the state of Maryland.

“The opportunities created by this investment will have a lasting impact on the future of neurosurgical science and translational neuroscience research at the University of Maryland, as well as create new pathways for technology commercialization by supporting outstanding faculty and related collaborations,” said E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The prestige and funds derived from endowed professorships are an exceptionally effective tool in recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest in the field of medicine.”

The Johns Hopkins University was awarded $1,200,000 in E-Nnovation funds to support the Katey Ayers Professorship in Aging and Mental Health, which will enable the university to hire a new faculty member to establish a Housing and Health Core program.  This faculty member will focus on the funding, policy, clinical and entrepreneurial intersection of public and private funding in housing and health, particularly in community-dwelling older adults.

“Endowed professorships are an incredibly efficient way to support critical areas of research and enable the flexibility and creativity of top researchers,” said Denis Wirtz, vice provost for research at Johns Hopkins University. “We are grateful to Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative and the Maryland Department of Commerce for their investment in the Katey Ayers Professorship in Innovative Care in Aging and Mental Health. This will bolster Baltimore’s intellectual resources in health, housing and social services, with important implications for our community by expanding the Center for Innovative Care in Aging.”

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided more than $38.1 million in funding to leverage approximately $47 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

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