Maryland Supports Research Professorships at Three Higher Education Institutions

Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore raise matching funds to promote research and technology through Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative

BALTIMORE, MD (November 1, 2023) – The Maryland Department of Commerce joined Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in endowing nearly $13.5 million to fund 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 colleges and universities. The schools raised a total of $7.2 million in private funding for the chairs, and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants totaling $6.25 million to support the endowments.

“Maryland Commerce is thrilled to partner with our state’s world-class universities to accelerate cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines, including health care, artificial intelligence, and economic justice,” said Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative helps lay a foundation of innovative thought and technology that will eventually lead to new entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.”

Johns Hopkins University received two awards, one to support research in ocular regenerative medicine and one to explore the use of artificial intelligence in health care.

Commerce provided $1.5 million for the Boone Pickens Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, an award matched by $1.5 million in qualified donations to the university. The professorship will support the research and entrepreneurial ventures of Dr. Amer Riazuddin, associate professor of ophthalmology, whose work can make Maryland a leader in ocular regenerative medicine research.

Another $1 million was awarded in support of JHU’s James Carey Endowed Professorship in the Center for Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence; that award was matched by $1.97 million in qualified donations to the university. The funds will help the university attract world-class researchers to Maryland to explore how artificial intelligence can be used to address complex healthcare challenges.

“We are deeply appreciative of the continued partnership and vision of the Maryland Department of Commerce,” said Johns Hopkins University Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz. “These two E-Nnovation professorships – launched within our School of Medicine and Carey Business School – will advance clinical and technological solutions and provide value along the spectrum from individual patients to the broader healthcare system. We commend the Authority for recognizing the potential impact of these innovative research programs – one that will facilitate new discoveries and cost-effective solutions to preserve eyesight and prevent blindness, and the other that will accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare and application of ethical AI in medicine.”

Loyola University Maryland received an E-Nnovation award of $1 million, matched by another $1 million in qualified donations, to support its Endowed Professorship in Innovation. This will allow the university to retain Professor Michael Tangrea, a specialist in biotechnology and cancer research, who was named to the position in 2020. The award will support Tangrea’s efforts to expand research in biology and other health sciences fields, and enhance the institution’s focus on research and entrepreneurship.

“Recognizing the importance of the biohealth industry in our state, Loyola University Maryland is grateful for the support from the Department of Commerce and private donors who are enabling us to retain Dr. Michael Tangrea as the endowed professor of biology and innovation,” said President Terrence M. Sawyer, J.D. “The funding supports his efforts to educate the next generation of leaders through our new biohealth major, develop advanced technologies for cancer diagnostics, and nurture student innovators in the Simon Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.”

The University of Maryland, Baltimore received three E-Nnovation awards to support research in neurosurgery, bioengineering and social work.

An award of $750,000, matched by $750,000 in donations to the University of Maryland, Baltimore, will endow the J. Marc and Philippe Simard Neurosurgery Research Lab. A professor of neurosurgery, pathology and physiology who has been on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine for 30 years, Dr. J. Marc Simard is close to a breakthrough in developing an alternative treatment for some strokes and traumatic brain injuries that will not require dangerous brain surgeries.

Another $1.5 million was awarded to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry to fund the Karen J. Ivers, D.D.S. Endowed Professorship in Bioengineering. Matched by a $1.5 million donation from Dr. Ivers, the award will support a professor specializing in advanced biomaterials, tissue engineering, and reparative medicine in the field of oral, dental, and craniofacial science.

The University of Maryland School of Social Work received a $500,000 award, matched by $500,000 in qualified donations, to support the newly created Woodside Professorship.  The school plans to use this position to recruit a world-class researcher in financial social work and economic justice to Maryland; this researcher would focus on bringing financial stability and prosperity to vulnerable and underserved communities in the state.

“Support for these endowed professorships represents a significant investment in scientific advancement, economic development, and social justice for all Marylanders,” said University of Maryland, Baltimore President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS. “This enables UMB to attract and retain the most innovative research minds and also to expand educational opportunities for the next generation of healthcare, law, and social service professionals.”

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided more than $78 million in funding to leverage $87.9 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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