research chair named in honor of
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Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)
has announced it will name a newly endowed research chair to honor
one of its most esteemed faculty members. The John J. Kopchick,
Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Eminent Research
Chair was announced at a Jan. 17 luncheon held to recognize the
world-renowned endocrinologist and his contributions to the college,
the university and the medical profession.
Named after Kopchick, himself the
Milton and Lawrence H. Goll Eminent Scholar
and Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology, the chair will be
held by a researcher to be recruited into the OU-HCOM Department of
Biomedical Sciences in 2016. The $5 million endowment is supported
by both the Osteopathic
and Ohio University.
“John is extraordinary, in every sense of the word,” said
Richard A. Vincent,
president and CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation.
“He is known nationally and internationally for his remarkable work
in endocrinology and as a highly respected scientist at Ohio
University. On campus and around Athens, he is known as an effective
mentor, professor and friend. This recognition is but one
demonstration of our intense pride in having him associated with the
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.”
Thanking the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, Ohio University, the
Heritage College, and his closest colleagues, friends and family in
attendance, Kopchick said he was extremely humbled and speechless
when told the chair would be named for him.
“This position is such an
honor,” he said. “The
John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed
Eminent Research Chair—those words are very special. Thank
Kopchick is known internationally for his 1989
discovery of a compound that became the basis for a drug that treats
acromegaly, a disorder that can cause excessive growth of organs and
bones, and can lead to premature death. The treatment has improved
thousands of lives and has earned substantial royalties that support
Ohio University research programs.
But as OU-HCOM Dean Jack Brose, D.O., explained at the
luncheon, Kopchick’s achievements extend well beyond
the drug developed based on his research. He is an
extraordinary mentor and leader who has received numerous national
and international awards; has published more than 290 scientific
articles; and has been involved in three start-up companies.
“John has a remarkable ability to inspire others and to build
research teams. Through his mentorship he has helped shape the
careers of many other scientists,” said
Brose, who also serves as Ohio University’s executive dean for
health affairs. “I think we know only part of the
legacy that John Kopchick will leave one day when he retires, but to
date his contributions to the college, to the university, to the
field of endocrinology and to the medical profession are tremendous.
It is such a privilege to be able to recognize an esteemed faculty
member and his life’s work by naming this research chair in his
Endowed chairs and named professorships are
among the highest honors an academic institution can bestow upon its
faculty members. Speaking on the
importance of endowed research chairs, Ohio University President
Roderick J. McDavis said that such positions help recruit faculty
colleagues who will be tomorrow’s leading researchers.
“We have many distinguished scholars at Ohio University, many
professors here who are shining lights, but among the brightest of
those is John,” McDavis said. “Thank you for the countless lives you
have improved and saved, and for lifting Ohio University up all over
the world with your research.”
The endowed research chair was funded in part from the historic
$105 million gift
to OU-HCOM from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The
support for this chair ultimately funds an initiative to build upon
current college research strengths by establishing a critical mass
of world-class scientists who will conduct basic and translational
research in diabetes and its complications by adding new
distinguished research chairs and their associated research teams.
The scientist chosen to be
the Kopchick Chair and the chair’s associated research team will be
located in the new Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Charles R.
and Marilyn Y. Stuckey Academic & Research Center (ARC). With its
state-of-the-art labs, the ARC co-locates clinicians, engineers and
other scientists, allowing these faculty members to collaborate in
close proximity as they work toward common goals in diabetes,
obesity and cancer initiatives.
The Foundation's April 2011 gift supports many goals developed
during the college’s 2010-2011 strategic planning process, including
reengineering primary care education and service to Ohio; enhancing
the college’s community care programs; and expanding medical
research and research education endeavors.
Kopchick reflected on the opportunity to pass on his legacy through
the named chair. He said he hopes the person recruited to hold the
position will work with the goal of impacting human health and of
ushering their research from the lab into a product that can benefit
“I would hope whoever is
the recipient would do their research with the same philosophy that
I had, which is to do something that’s going to change the world.”
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