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Nobelist Murad Named Director Emeritus of Institute of Molecular Medicine


Ferid Murad, M.D., Ph.D., has been named to the position of director emeritus of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM). Murad also will be the Texas Nobel Scholar of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, while continuing as director of the IMM’s Center for Cell Signaling and director of the health science center’s research program in intracellular signaling.

The new appointments were effective June 1.

Among the most honored and creative scientists in the world, Murad was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1998) with Robert Furchgott, Ph.D., and Louis Ignarro, Ph.D., for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system. Murad is the only Nobel laureate in the Texas Medical Center, and is joined by Robert Curl, Ph.D., of Rice University as the only two Nobel laureates in Houston. Murad also was awarded the very prestigious Albert and Mary Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1996.

James T. Willerson, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center, said, “We are very grateful to Dr. Ferid Murad for his leadership in the IMM and his continued presence among us as one of the world’s most outstanding scientists. Dr. Murad is an outstanding teacher and mentor. He wishes now to concentrate his efforts on his own research and laboratory at the IMM and to being an inspirational advisor and mentor to young scientists throughout the world.”

“The director emeritus position of the IMM will permit me to remain as part of the IMM management team and to assist in fundraising, recruiting and long-range planning,” Murad said. “I should have more time to spend with my research programs and my national and international responsibilities that come with a Nobel Prize. The resources and research building obtained during my tenure as the IMM director have placed the institute in an enviable position to expect excellence and success with its research programs and staff. It will be exciting and rewarding to see the institute flourish in the near and long term. In the meantime, my laboratory will be forging ahead with several research projects that we hope will eventually benefit many people.”

C. Thomas Caskey, M.D., now is the director and chief executive officer of the IMM after serving as director- and CEO-elect for the past 18 months.

In announcing this appointment, Willerson said, “We are very pleased Dr. Caskey has accepted this appointment. He is one of the most respected and well known medical geneticists of our time, and his early work built the genome project capabilities at the Baylor College of Medicine. He also has discovered some 12 genes causally related to human diseases. As a scientist and leader, he was director of the Merck Research Laboratories, leading their genetic discovery and vaccine development. We are extremely grateful to him for assuming this most important responsibility of leading the IMM to even higher levels of achievement working collaboratively with Dr. Murad and Dr. Irma Gigli, IMM deputy director.”

“Ferid Murad has and will continue to add prestige and research leadership to the IMM,” Caskey said. “His research creativity, which led to Nobel recognition, stimulates others to think boldly.”

The IMM is a research institute established in the early 1990s to investigate the causes of human diseases at the cellular and molecular levels using DNA and protein technologies to reveal disease mechanisms.

Design and construction of the IMM’s award-winning, 223,000-square-foot new home at 1825 Pressler Street, the Fayez S. Sarofim Research Building, was funded by the philanthropic New Frontiers Campaign. The campaign set fundraising records and was seven times larger than any previous capital campaign in the UT Health Science Center’s history.


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