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Najjar named Heritage College Associate Dean for Research and Innovation

(ATHENS, Ohio – Sept. 18, 2015) Sonia M. Najjar, Ph.D., will join the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine as associate dean for research and innovation on Feb. 1, 2016. Najjar brings to the college two decades of research experience and a long affiliation with Ohio University through The Diabetes Institute and the Edison Biotechnology Institute.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Najjar to the Heritage College family. Her depth of knowledge and experience building research programs will be valuable to our college as we continue to adapt our research efforts to best address some of the most pervasive medical needs that are facing Ohio and the rest of the country, including diabetes and primary care issues,” said Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., executive dean of the Heritage College.

As the head of the Heritage College’s Office of Research and Grants, Najjar will help the college meet its research goals, which include expanding and strengthening its research mission while focusing on key health concerns of Ohioans; increasing funding and research support for faculty, staff and students; enhancing research infrastructure; and expanding opportunities for collaborative research at the regional, state, national and international levels. Najjar is currently the Frederick W. Hiss endowed professor in diabetes research and the founding director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. She is also an academic consultant for the Middle East Diabetes Research Center, one of the first centers of its kind in the Arab region, which was created in partnership with The University of Toledo and the American University of Beirut.

“This is an exciting opportunity to prepare a new generation of scientists and medical leaders to best face challenges in biomedical research and develop innovative and scholarly skills that could improve the health and lives of people everywhere,” said Najjar, who received a master’s degree in chemistry from San Francisco State University, a doctoral degree in physiology from Stanford University Medical School and an intramural research training postdoctoral fellowship from the Diabetes Branch at the National Institutes of Health.

Najjar’s research, which has been continuously funded by the American Diabetes Association and several federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has primarily focused on obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease and their cardiovascular complications. She is best known for identifying a key role for hepatic insulin clearance in regulating insulin action and fat metabolism, showing how impaired insulin clearance in the liver could cause insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Najjar has authored more than 75 articles, many of them in leading medical journals such as Science, Nature Genetics, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gastroenterology, and Diabetes. She has also served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals as well as several review panels in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Qatar and Hong Kong. Since 2001 she has served on numerous NIH study sections and is currently a standing member on the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Hepatobiliary Pathophysiology study section.

“Sonia Najjar brings an outstanding record of scholarly accomplishment and leadership that will greatly benefit our efforts to grow biomedical inquiry, and more broadly advance the university’s agenda in research and innovation,” said Joseph Shields, Ph.D., Ohio University vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the graduate college. “We are delighted that she is joining Ohio University as we continue our expansion in the areas of medicine and health.”

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio. CARE LEADS HERE.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016