April 5, 2024

Medical School faculty embrace honor, history and future tied to named professorships

On April 1, the Medical School hosted a celebration of faculty who were appointed to named professorships in 2023. Congratulations to Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D. for the Chester and Anne Alecks Sackett Endowed Professorship!

There are many intriguing aspects to the honor of a faculty member holding a named professorship in the University of Michigan Medical School: the excitement of receiving one of the highest honors the U-M can bestow on a faculty member; an understanding of the rich history of the person(s) for whom their professorship is named; and the flexibility of what the professorship allows the holders to do during their career.

Malini Raghavan, Ph.D., has a deep appreciation for all three areas as the recipient of the Nancy Walls Research Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology. Her professorship was established through a split in funds from the original Nancy Walls Professorship, and it supports a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, in which Raghavan is a full professor.  


On April 1, the Medical School hosted a celebration of faculty who were appointed to named professorships in 2023. Leadership and 43 honorees, including Raghavan, were invited to gather in the Assembly Hall of the Horace H. Rackham Graduate School for a recognition ceremony and strolling dinner.

“It’s an honor for which I am truly grateful,” Raghavan says. “It’s especially meaningful to me that it is named for a woman in science, someone who we know faced many barriers in her own scientific and academic career, and who has given generously to reduce barriers for scientific training and leadership building of women and those underrepresented in the sciences.”

From a LSA memoriam message when Walls died in 2013: “Dr. Nancy Williams Walls broke the glass ceiling when she entered the University of Akron as a 16-year-old in 1946, then again when she transferred to U-M, where she earned a B.S. (1952), master’s degree (Medicine ’53), and Ph.D. (Medicine ’59). She ignored stereotypes again when she became a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology in its Engineering Experiment Station, and yet again when she became the first woman to head a department at Georgia Tech in 1969 … she blazed many trails, but Walls never forgot the struggles she’d encountered as a young female scientist. Accordingly, she gave more than $500,000 for the LSA Nancy Williams Walls Undergraduate Scholarship with the desire that it go to students who could also break glass ceilings in science and research. But Walls wanted to do even more, so she established a bequest of over $2.7 million for the Medical School for the Nancy Williams Walls Professorship and a doctoral research fund in Microbiology and Immunology.”

Department of Microbiology and Immunology Chair Bethany B. Moore, Ph.D., is the inaugural holder of the Nancy William Walls Professorship, since 2020. Raghavan was appointed to the Walls Research Professorship in July 2023.

“I never met Dr. Walls, but I am tremendously inspired by the knowledge of her career path, and her breaking of many glass ceilings,” Raghavan says. “She made generous endowments to the University of Michigan, towards addressing many of the barriers she encountered herself.”

Raghavan earned a BS from the Women's Christian College in Chennai, India, and her MSc from the Indian Institute of Technology, doing research in organic chemistry. She came to the United States for her graduate studies, obtaining a PhD in chemistry from Princeton University. She then did her postdoctoral training in immunology at Caltech, before joining the U-M faculty in 1996. She credits an amazing group of students, postdocs, research assistants, administrative staff, colleagues and mentors, to helping her lab contribute to a body of knowledge related to the recognition of infections and cancers by T cells and natural killer (NK) cells of the immune system.

“At Michigan Medicine, we are proud that we are able to recruit and retain the very best medical and scientific minds across myriad fields. Professorships are critical to our institution’s ability to do so,” said Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School dean, U-M executive vice president for medical affairs, CEO of Michigan Medicine, and himself a professorship holder as the McKay Professor. “Professorships are a prestigious recognition of both honoree and recipient, and they support programs across Michigan Medicine and enhance medical education at the University of Michigan.”

The 43 honored UMMS faculty and their professorships:

Ramon Berguer, M.D., Ph.D., Research Professorship
Nicholas H. Osborne, M.D.

Thomas H. and Susan C. Brown Early Career Professorship in Neurology
Mellanie Springer, M.D., M.S.

Henry Clay Bryant Professorship in Pathology
Annette S. Kim, M.D., Ph.D.

Hugh Cabot Professorship in Surgery
Brian C. George, M.D., M.A. Ed., FACS

George A. Dean, M.D., Chair in Family Medicine
Phillip E. Rodgers, M.D.

Leland Ira Doan Research Professorship in Vascular Surgery
Katherine A. Gallagher, M.D., FACS

Ruth Dow Doan Professorship in Biologic Nanotechnology
James R. Baker, Jr., M.D. 

Fovette E. Dush Early Career Professorship
Brett A. McCray, M.D., Ph.D.

Arthur W. Fleming, M.D., Research Professorship
Gifty Kwakye, M.D., MPH

A. James French Professorship in Anatomic Pathology
Lakshmi P. Kunju, M.D.

Trygve O. Gabrielsen Collegiate Professorship in Radiology
Janet Bailey, M.D.

Roger Grekin, M.D., Collegiate Professorship
Adina Turcu, M.D, M.S.

Moses Gunn, M.D., Research Professorship
Seth A. Waits, M.D.

Marion and David Handleman Research Professorship in Vascular Surgery
Chandu Vemuri, M.D.

Frederick G.L. Huetwell Research Professorship in Rheumatology II
Pei-Suen Tsou, Ph.D.

John A. Jacquez Collegiate Professorship in Physiology
Daniel E. Michele, Ph.D.

Phil F. Jenkins Research Professorship in Depression
Aidan G. C. Wright, Ph.D.

Conrad and Caroline Jobst Research Professorship in Vascular Surgery
Daniel D. Myers, Jr., DVM, MPH, DACLAM

Alexander S. and Gabriella Karp Professorship
Kelvin Lin-Yu Chou, M.D.

Robert C. Kelsch Collegiate Professorship in Pediatric Nephrology
Matthias T.F. Wolf, M.D., Ph.D.

John L. Kemink Professorship in Neurotology
Hussam K. El-Kashlan, M.D.

Milton and Carolyn Kevreson Research Professorship in Neurology
Lewis Morgenstern, M.D.

Maud T. Lane Research Professorship
Andrew M. Ibrahim, M.D., MSc.

Maud T. Lane Research Professorship in Cancer Quality Improvement
Lesly A. Dossett, M.D., MPH

Merle Lawrence Collegiate Professorship in Otolaryngology Research
Jun Hee Kim, Ph.D.

Elinor Levine Professorship in Dementia Research
Catherine Kaczorowski, Ph.D. 

Kenneth P. Matthews, M.D., Collegiate Professorship
Georgiana M. Sanders, M.D.

Mark C. McQuiggan, M.D., and Carolyn A. McQuiggan Research Professorship
Kate Kraft, M.D.

Dr. Robert H. and Eva M. Moyad Research Professorship
Vahakn B. Shahinian, M.D., M.S.

Ronald Nishiyama, M.D., Research Professorship
Thomas J. Giordano, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard L. Prager, M.D., Professorship
Himanshu J. Patel, M.D.

Theophile Raphael Research Professorship in Clinical Neurosciences
Ravi Allada, M.D.

Theophile Raphael Collegiate Professorship in Clinical Neurosciences
Sekhar C. Sripada, M.D., Ph.D.

Lyle C. Roll Professorship
Akbar Waljee, M.D.

Chester and Anne Alecks Sackett Endowed Professorship
Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D.

Henry Sewall Research Professorship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Rachel L. Zemans, M.D.

James C. Stanley Professorship in Vascular Surgery
Peter K. Henke, M.D.

Daniel H. Teitelbaum, M.D., Collegiate Professorship
Samir Gadepalli, M.D., MBA

Nancy Walls Research Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology
Malini Raghavan, Ph.D. 

Charles Neil Weller Pediatric Discovery Research Professorship
Erin Janssen, M.D., Ph.D.

James L. Wilson, M.D., Research Professorship
Jason B. Weinberg, M.D.

Andrea and Lawrence A. Wolfe Research Professorship
Melissa A. Elafros, M.D., Ph.D.

Pfizer Upjohn Research Professorship in Pharmacology
Michelle L. Hastings, Ph.D.

April 2, 2024
Author | Kevin C. Bergquist

Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D.

Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D.

Chester and Anne Alecks Sackett Endowed Professor
Bucky and Patti Harris Professor of Neurology
Professor of Neurology