The University of New Mexico Office of the Provost announces the promotion of seven to the rank of Distinguished Professor. To be considered for promotion to Distinguished Professor, faculty must demonstrate outstanding achievements and be nationally and internationally renowned as scholars. This is the highest faculty title the University bestows and is used only for the most prominent faculty members.
UNM’s new Distinguished Professors are: David Brookshire, Department of Economics; Marianne Berwick, Department of Internal Medicine; Jane Lancaster, Department of Anthropology; Eric Loker, Department of Biology; David Schade, Department of Internal Medicine; Howard Yonas, Department of Neurosurgery; and Victor Strasburger, Department of Pediatrics.
David Brookshire, who earned his Ph.D. from UNM in 1976, is the first economics professor to be promoted to Distinguished Professor. He is director of the UNM Science Impact Laboratory for Policy and Economics. Brookshire specializes in environmental and resource economics. He has served as Policy Sciences Editor of Water Resources Research, served on the executive board of the Sustainability of semi-Arid Hydrologic and Riparian Areas Science and Technology Center at the University of Arizona, served on three National Research panels and worked as an economist for the National Water Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Brookshire specializes in public policy issues in the natural resource, environmental and natural hazards areas. His nominator wrote, “When David completed his Ph.D. in 1976 at UNM, with a focus on ERE [Environmental and Resource Economics], there were perhaps only several dozen economists focusing on ERE issues nationally.” He “caught the first wave” among originators of ERE and is a prolific writer in the field.
He has completed studies pertaining to seismic building codes, earthquake prediction impacts, environmental regulations, endangered species, air pollution, the effects of seismic zoning and the value of geologic information and water allocation. His current research interests include ecosystem valuation, natural hazards issues, endangered species protection, field and laboratory experiments for the estimation of disaggregated demand of consumer water users, the value of water in non-market settings, and integrated hydrological/biological/economic modeling of alternative institutional and behavioral characteristics of water banking/leasing markets. Brookshire has long participated in the Water Resources Program.
His nomination included many supportive comments from his peers, including one who wrote, “David Brookshire meets the criteria of being a nationally and internationally recognized scholar and is well-deserving of this honor.”
Dr. Marianne Berwick, a professor in epidemiology, biostatistics and preventative medicine, a division which she has led since 2004, was instrumental in securing the UNM Cancer Center’s NCI Cancer Center Status in 2005 and 2010. She has 25 years of continuous funding from the National Cancer Institute, an extensive publishing record, as well as a list of honors and awards, including the Australian Society for Oncology Award, the Stanley Davidson Lectureship, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the LILAC Award for cancer research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute.
Berwick earned her undergraduate degree in English, and taught in California, Montana and Connecticut before accompanying her husband on a wildlife study in India. He studied lions and she studied the nomadic buffalo herders, whose herds provided food for lions. The interdisciplinary research set her on a path to become an epidemiologist focused on public health. She returned to the U.S. and earned a master’s and Ph.D. at Yale.
For the past 25 years, her efforts have been in building a program focused on the continuum of melanoma prevention. At the UNM Cancer Center, she has been able to develop and make new contributions in melanoma research, with rates of it increasing nationally, but at a higher rate in New Mexico. Her studies formed the basis for understanding the risk for melanoma, the efficacy of screening and factors important for survival. Berwick’s work in secondary prevention, or screening, has produced the first evidence that screening by skin self-examination could potentially reduce the risk of developing and dying from melanoma. In the area of tertiary prevention – survival – she evaluates the sun exposure, skin awareness and genetic factors to melanoma survival.
Jane Lancaster is a 40-year anthropologist with an international reputation for her research on hominin biosocial evolution. She has studied primates and humans in both contemporary and ancient contexts. She specializes in what used to be called physical anthropology, but today is called human evolutionary anthropology. Her training was as a primatologist and paleoanthropologist, and she has added expertise in contemporary human reproduction viewed through the lens of evolutionary ecology.
Lancaster has pioneered research in primate socio-ecology – using tools, language, parenting, reproductive choice – in relation to models of evolutionary change; the evolutionary role of parenting, especially humans, and development of a hypothesis based upon embodied capital through energy investment in offspring among both parents. Her research on the role of men in parental investment has led to advances in understanding endocrine function in men and women, the special features of human lactation, and why some economic circumstances result in single parenthood and early reproduction. She is at the forefront of research in human evolutionary ecology that focuses on longer lifespans, differentiated roles and greater investment in offspring. The research evolved to study extended periods of adolescence, menopause, family strategies in families that have played in human evolution, past and present.
Lancaster is founder and editor of Human Nature, the only forum that integrates physiology, psychology, sociology and behavioral ecology with an evolutionary eye that has transformed these fields.
Eric (Sam) Loker, regents’ professor, is an internationally recognized parasitologist with a long track record of scholarly publishing, research funding and mentoring junior investigators. Loker’s research in molluscan immunology has shown that snails have an immune system that uses diversified receptors – like the antibody system in humans and other animals. Loker’s work is cited in a leading textbook as being the first and best evidence that invertebrates have an adaptive immune system thought only to occur in vertebrate animals. This established new paradigms in theories on immune system evolution as well as providing an understanding of how species, like snails, who are host to human pathogens, cope with their own infections.
Loker is an international expert in schistosomiasis, the second most common human parasite after malaria. Schistosomiasis is endemic in 74 developing countries, infecting more than 200 million people, with another 700 million at risk. Loker also works in the field, particularly in Africa. His work identifying drug resistance on worm populations is considered landmark by his colleagues. His efforts in snail and worm control have improved quality of life for Kenyans. His nominator wrote, “When it comes to parasitology, there are few scientists with Sam’s breadth of knowledge. He is an ecologist, an immunologist and a molecular biologist.”
Establishing the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) is a UNM and international scientific contribution that Loker achieved. Loker saw a convergence of research interests by UNM biologists, computer scientists and others at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He saw a concentration of expertise in immunological modeling and comparative immunology in New Mexico and he organized a group of investigators into a center. CETI is designed to promote research and new investigator development in immunological theory and the study of the evolution of immune systems. His nominator wrote, “It is truly interdisciplinary, promoting collaboration between biologists and computer scientists. UNM formally recognized CETI as a level I center in 2005.”
Dr. David Schade, professor of medicine, decided early in his academic research career to focus on the clinical treatment of diabetes and its complications. His salary has been funded continuously, in part, by the NIH and the American Diabetes Association for the past 45 years. His studies included implanting a remotely controlled insulin pump in type 1 diabetes. He established a Diabetes Research and Treatment Center to facilitate his two large multi-center, NIH supported diabetes grants. Because of their success, the two landmark, randomized clinical trials have each received several five-year annual NIH renewals. Schade recently received two $600,000 grants from the American Diabetes Association to study improved treatments of type 1 diabetes and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes. This year, he received a new $4 million NIH comparative effectiveness grant.
Schade collaborates closely with other diabetes scientists. He has served on multiple committees – publications, studies, etc. — working closely with other investigators. He has planned and organized publications of two seminal books, Intensive Insulin Therapy and Diabetic Coma, in the field of diabetes, in which he collaborated with diabetologists in the United States and Great Britain.
In addition to his academic pursuits, he is chief of the Division of Endocrinology, vice chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine, and has a full clinical load caring for both in– and outpatients at University Hospital.
His nominator wrote, “Dr. Schade is and has been an extremely productive member of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center for the las 47 years and fully deserves the designation of Distinguished Professor.”
Dr. Howard Yonas is a nationally recognized cerebrovascular surgeon, an internationally recognized expert on cerebral blood flow, metabolism and monitoring brain activity. His nominator said, “He is a fiercely dedicated educator of residents, students and nurses.”
Yonas established the UNM Department of Neurosurgery in 2005, is a prolific writer, has received more than $10 million in grant funding and has an ongoing project to develop a statewide telemedicine network to evaluate and manage acute stroke. In recognition of his seminal contributions to the science and practice of neurosurgery, and the health and well-being of his patients, Dr. Yonas was named the inaugural A. Earl and Agnes M. Walker Chair of Neurosurgery in 2009.
Yonas, who served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force, has initiated several projects to improve the health of New Mexicans. This includes developing the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and developing a multi-specialty neuroscience outpatient clinic.
Under Yonas’s tenure, the clinical practice of neurosurgery has grown significantly, basic science and clinical research has expanded, and the training program has received full Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education accreditation.
Yonas completed his neurosurgery residency at Case Western Reserve, followed by a fellowship with cerebrovascular surgery pioneer Gazi Yasargil in Switzerland. He was on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and for 25 years maintained an academic clinical practice specializing in cerebrovascular surgery. He taught the fine techniques of cerebral aneurysm surgery, brain bypass surgery and carotid artery surgery. He joined the UNM faculty in 2005, bringing a level of expertise in cerebrovascular surgery that was never before available in New Mexico. He maintains an active clinical practice and continues to teach and share his surgical skills.
Yonas’s nominator wrote, “Howard Yonas is a compassionate physician, gifted scholar, outstanding educator and worthy representative of our institution.”
Dr. Victor Strasburger, professor of pediatrics, is chief in the Division of Adolescent Medicine. He is an internationally recognized leader in academic medicine who has dedicated his career to improving adolescent medicine. He lectures extensively and has published six textbooks and seven other books.
Among his most significant achievements are raising “Children and Media,” as a pediatric issue for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and for pediatricians around the country, helping to create the current television ratings system. He founded the only clinical journal in his field, Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, and his textbook, Children, Adolescents, & the Media (Sage, 2009, 2nd ed,), which is used on college campuses across the country.
When Strasburger arrived in New Mexico in 1987, he contacted the governor to convene a task force on teen pregnancy. Currently, he spends time each week as medical director for Sequoyah Treatment Center, a residential treatment center for adolescents.
Strasburger is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Adele Delenbaugh Hofmann Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 for lifetime achievement in Adolescent Medicine; the first Holroyd-Sherry Award from the AAP in 2000 for his national media advocacy work, and the Hofmann Visiting Professorship in Adolescent Medicine in 2007 from the Society for Adolescent Medicine.
His nominator wrote, “Dr. Strasburger is eminently qualified for designation as a UNM Distinguished Professor. He is a compassionate physician, internationally recognized scholar, outstanding educator and worthy representative of our institution.”
Nominations for Distinguished Professor originate at the department level and must have the recommendation of the departmental and/or college faculty with which the candidate is affiliated. Upon receiving a recommendation, the Provost, in consultation with the Faculty Senate Operations Committee, appoints a University-wide committee of no fewer than five non-administrative senior faculty to review the nominee’s dossier and make appropriate recommendations to the Provost, who makes the appointment. The position of Distinguished Professor is not proprietary with a department or college. Upon termination of employment of a distinguished professor, the title may not be passed on to another individual unless the procedure described herein has been followed.
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