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Mayo Clinic recognizes new named professors

Mayo Clinic awarded named professorships — the highest academic distinction at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic’s Named Professorship Committee has announced seven new recipients of Mayo Clinic named professorships — the highest academic distinction for staff members at Mayo Clinic. Fewer than 3% of staff members receive this distinction.

These positions represent the pinnacle of medical achievement and excellence for Mayo Clinic physicians and scientists. A professorship signifies a staff member who fuels scientific discovery and invests in teaching and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Endowed professorships, which are supported through philanthropy, allow Mayo Clinic to attract and retain the most sought-after, experienced scholars. Endowed funds ensure Mayo Clinic’s capacity to support the highest level of scientific leadership and speed the pace of research to solve unmet patient needs.

The professorship may bear the name of the benefactor or honor a person important to the benefactor. Recipients are nominated by department leaders, selected by the Named Professorship Committee, and approved by the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors.
Visit the Named Professorships page to learn more about named professorships and see a complete list of current recipients.

The Named Professorship Committee is pleased to announce the following new honorees:

Atta Behfar, M.D. (MDPH ’06, MPET ’06, I ’09, CV ’13, TXCV ’14), Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Behfar is the inaugural recipient of the Russ and Kathy Van Cleve Professorship in Regenerative Medicine, which was created in 2022 by grateful patients Russ and Kathy Van Cleve of Newport Coast, California. Dr. Behfar is the director of the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program; deputy director for translation, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics; and associate program director for the Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship. Using state-of-the-art technologies developed at Mayo Clinic, he and his laboratory team use both stem cells and exosome-based therapies to achieve tissue regeneration in several fields, including cardiovascular, orthopedics, women’s health, plastic surgery and pulmonary medicine. Dr. Behfar’s research is funded by philanthropy, industry, government and foundation sources. His work has yielded publications in high-impact journals, several U.S. and international patents, and numerous national and international speaking invitations. He has received many awards and honors, including the Excellence in Research Award.

Haidong Dong, M.D., Ph.D. (IMM ’01), Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Dong succeeds William S. Brimijoin, Ph.D. (PHAR ’72, Mayo Clinic Emeriti Staff), as the recipient of the Iris and Winston Clement Professorship in Research, which was created in 1989 by the estate of Winston and Iris Clement of San Clemente, California. Dr. Dong is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers in discovery of B7-H1 (PD-L1) and in tumor immune evasion. His discovery laid a mechanistic foundation for the immune checkpoint blockade therapy in treatment of many human cancers. Dr. Dong serves as associate director of the Immunology Graduate Program and as co-leader of cancer immunology and immunotherapy program at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is leading a translational research team in immune oncology to leverage the power of immune system for treatment of aggressive human cancers. He is the editor/author of the patient-friendly educational book “The Basics of Cancer Immunotherapy” and the current editor-in-chief of the international journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

Vesna D. Garovic, M.D., Ph.D. (CTSA ’13), Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Garovic succeeds Carole A. Warnes, M.D. (CV ’88, Mayo Clinic Emeriti Staff), as the recipient of The Penske Foundation Professorship in Clinical Medicine in Honor of Ian D. Hay, M.D., Ph.D., and J. Eileen Hay, M.B., Ch.B., which was created by the Penske Foundation, Inc. in 2013. Roger and Kathryn Penske are longtime patients who own the Penske racing team. Dr. Garovic is widely recognized as an international expert in the clinical underpinnings of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy with a track record of continuous NIH funding since 2008. She currently serves as chair of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension in Rochester, as principal investigator and dean of the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and as the Department of Medicine’s vice chair for research. Dr. Garovic has been recognized with numerous internal and external awards, including the 2022 American Heart Association Marvin Moser Award for clinical hypertension and the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Clinician Award in 2018. Ian D. Hay, M.D., Ph.D. (ENDO ’88), and J. Eileen Hay, M.B., Ch.B. (I ’86, GI ’89), are emeritus staff members in endocrinology and gastroenterology, respectively.

Edward V. Loftus, Jr., M.D. (GI ’95), Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Division of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Loftus succeeds William J. Tremaine, M.D. (GI ’81, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Division of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester), as the recipient of the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Professorship in Gastroenterology Specifically for IBD, which was created by the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Maxine and Jack Zarrow Foundation in 2008. Dr. Loftus’ research interests include the epidemiology, natural history, disease assessment and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). He is co-director of the Advanced Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fellowship and has served on steering committees of several multicenter clinical trials of investigational agents for IBD. Dr. Loftus has authored over 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts and currently serves as associate editor for Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, American College of Gastroenterology, and American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and has received numerous awards, including the Department of Medicine Laureate Award (2007, 2021), the AGA Distinguished Clinician Award (2019), and research mentoring awards from the AGA and Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine (both 2019).

Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D. (MBIO ’03), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic in Florida

Dr. Mukhopadhyay succeeds Goujun Bu, Ph.D. (NSCI ’10), as the recipient of the Mary Lowell Leary Professorship, which was created in 1995 by the estate of Mary Lowell Leary, a longtime patient and benefactor from Fargo, North Dakota. Dr. Mukhopadhyay has specific expertise in tumor biology and its microenvironment, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and nanotechnology applications in medicine. His laboratory has been funded mostly by the NIH, Department of Defense and other private agencies for over 24 years. As an educator he developed the Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease course in Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education and trained more than 70 investigators, several of whom are now renowned professors and faculties in institutions around the world. Dr. Mukhopadhyay has published more than 250 articles in journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, ACS Nano, and Advanced Materials, as well as several book chapters and review articles. He has several patents and has helped develop startup companies for therapy and diagnosis of different diseases, including cancer.

Joseph A. Murray, M.D. (GI ’98), Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Murray is the inaugural recipient of the John and Shirley Berry Professorship in Gastrointestinal Sciences, which was established in 2021 by grateful patients John and Shirley Berry of Dayton, Ohio, and Naples, Florida. Dr. Murray is one of the world’s leading experts on celiac disease. His research into the immunology and genetics of the disease and immune responses to food proteins has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, private foundations and commercial entities. He is a member of many national and international professional scientific committees and review boards and has served on editorial boards for several journals. Dr. Murray is the author/ co-author of more than 700 scientific publications and 45 book chapters, and his work has also resulted in patents that have reached clinical trials. He is a fellow of the American Gastroenterology Association and founder of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease in addition to holding leadership roles in other professional organizations.

Scott L. Nyberg, M.D., Ph.D. (S ’96), Division of Transplantation Surgery, Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Dr. Nyberg is the inaugural recipient of the Yardi Professorship in Transplantation, which was established in 2021 by Jason and Robin Yardi of Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Nyberg is uniquely trained as a solid organ transplant surgeon and a biomedical engineer, and his busy clinical practice involves both abdominal organ transplantation and vascular access surgery. He also serves as director of the Liver Regenerative Medicine Program and the Mayo Liver Support Therapy Laboratory. Dr. Nyberg is a member of many professional societies, has lectured extensively, and mentored over 75 research fellows who have pursued careers in academic surgery or hepatology around the world. The primary goal of his research lab is to develop cellular, regenerative and replacement therapies to address the greatest challenge facing the transplantation field: the shortage of available organs.

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