Philanthropy powers the brightest minds

World-class faculty are at the heart of all we do at Washington University. They teach, mentor and inspire the next generation of leaders. They develop clinical innovations that benefit patients around the globe. And they generate discoveries that push scientific frontiers of medicine. Recruiting and retaining outstanding physicians and scientists is essential not only to the School of Medicine’s continued success but also to the success of the global medical research enterprise.

Receiving an endowed professorship is a hallmark of distinction. These positions are the highest honor the university can bestow on a faculty member. Among individuals who hold endowed professorships at the School of Medicine are pioneers whose research laid the groundwork for the development of immunotherapy to treat cancer, illuminated the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease, and led to the creation of a blood test that can identify Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms arise.

Faculty members honored with endowed professorships often work across academic disciplines to pursue answers to medicine’s most perplexing questions. The endowment that supports their positions empowers them to pursue novel research opportunities that may be speculative but offer great potential for yielding breakthrough discoveries, such as a two-person team that has discovered that the Zika virus effectively treats brain tumors in mice. Their work has advanced to research on non-human primates and won funding from the National Institutes of Health.

An endowed professorship exists as long as Washington University endures. It becomes a tradition, developing its own character from the donor who founded it, the physician who holds it and the honoree for whom it is named.

Professorship profiles

“Medicine today is at a critical juncture. We must develop leaders who are adept at pivoting quickly and collaborating across disciplines to address great health challenges. Endowed professorships help us recruit and keep leaders of this caliber at our institution and ensure they have the resources they need to advance their work.”

David H. Perlmutter, MD
George and Carol Bauer Dean, School of Medicine
Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
Washington University in St. Louis