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Endowed research chair named in honor of

John Kopchick, Ph.D.

 

Jan. 24, 2012
For the media: Click here to download a
high-res photo of John Kopchick, Ph.D.

 

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) has announced it will name a newly endowed research chair to honor one of its most esteemed faculty members. The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Eminent Research Chair was announced at a Jan. 17 luncheon held to recognize the world-renowned endocrinologist and his contributions to the college, the university and the medical profession.

 

Named after Kopchick, himself the Milton and Lawrence H. Goll Eminent Scholar and Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology, the chair will be held by a researcher to be recruited into the OU-HCOM Department of Biomedical Sciences in 2016. The $5 million endowment is supported by both the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Ohio University.

“John is extraordinary, in every sense of the word,” said Richard A. Vincent, president and CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. “He is known nationally and internationally for his remarkable work in endocrinology and as a highly respected scientist at Ohio University. On campus and around Athens, he is known as an effective mentor, professor and friend. This recognition is but one demonstration of our intense pride in having him associated with the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Thanking the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, Ohio University, the Heritage College, and his closest colleagues, friends and family in attendance, Kopchick said he was extremely humbled and speechless when told the chair would be named for him.

“This position is such an honor,” he said. “The John J. Kopchick, Ph.D., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Eminent Research Chair—those words are very special. Thank you.”

Kopchick is known internationally for his 1989 discovery of a compound that became the basis for a drug that treats acromegaly, a disorder that can cause excessive growth of organs and bones, and can lead to premature death. The treatment has improved thousands of lives and has earned substantial royalties that support Ohio University research programs.

 

But as OU-HCOM Dean Jack Brose, D.O., explained at the luncheon, Kopchick’s achievements extend well beyond Somavert, the drug developed based on his research. He is an extraordinary mentor and leader who has received numerous national and international awards; has published more than 290 scientific articles; and has been involved in three start-up companies.

“John has a remarkable ability to inspire others and to build research teams. Through his mentorship he has helped shape the careers of many other scientists,” said Brose, who also serves as Ohio University’s executive dean for health affairs. “I think we know only part of the legacy that John Kopchick will leave one day when he retires, but to date his contributions to the college, to the university, to the field of endocrinology and to the medical profession are tremendous. It is such a privilege to be able to recognize an esteemed faculty member and his life’s work by naming this research chair in his honor.”

Endowed chairs and named professorships are among the highest honors an academic institution can bestow upon its faculty members. Speaking on the importance of endowed research chairs, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said that such positions help recruit faculty colleagues who will be tomorrow’s leading researchers.
 

“We have many distinguished scholars at Ohio University, many professors here who are shining lights, but among the brightest of those is John,” McDavis said. “Thank you for the countless lives you have improved and saved, and for lifting Ohio University up all over the world with your research.”
 

The endowed research chair was funded in part from the historic
$105 million gift to OU-HCOM from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The Foundation's support for this chair ultimately funds an initiative to build upon current college research strengths by establishing a critical mass of world-class scientists who will conduct basic and translational research in diabetes and its complications by adding new distinguished research chairs and their associated research teams.

 

The scientist chosen to be the Kopchick Chair and the chair’s associated research team will be located in the new Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and Charles R. and Marilyn Y. Stuckey Academic & Research Center (ARC). With its state-of-the-art labs, the ARC co-locates clinicians, engineers and other scientists, allowing these faculty members to collaborate in close proximity as they work toward common goals in diabetes, obesity and cancer initiatives.

The Foundation's April 2011 gift supports many goals developed during the college’s 2010-2011 strategic planning process, including reengineering primary care education and service to Ohio; enhancing the college’s community care programs; and expanding medical research and research education endeavors.

Kopchick reflected on the opportunity to pass on his legacy through the named chair. He said he hopes the person recruited to hold the position will work with the goal of impacting human health and of ushering their research from the lab into a product that can benefit people directly.

“I would hope whoever is the recipient would do their research with the same philosophy that I had, which is to do something that’s going to change the world.”

 
 
 
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Last updated: 01/27/2012