Sriram Venneti, M.D., Ph.D., became the inaugural Al and Robert Glick Family Research Professor in December. The professorship is made possible through a gift from the Glick family, who previously sponsored the oncology wing at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, naming it the Coach Carr Pediatric Cancer Unit when the new hospital building opened in 2011. They also helped fundraise and support the establishment of the Michigan Medicine Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center, which was established in 2018. With this professorship, the Glick family hopes to make a difference for children with brain cancer by supporting physicians and research that can lead to better treatments and lifesaving cures. The professorship also honors Al Glick’s brother, Robert, who died in 2001. Venneti, who is also associate professor of pathology and of pediatrics, is honored to receive the professorship and says it will allow his lab to continue to work toward improved care for patients with DIPG and other pediatric brain cancers.
G. Ying Li, M.D., became the inaugural Frederick J. Fischer, M.D., Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in April. Established through a gift from Fischer’s estate, the professorship honors his career as a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon who eventually became chief of orthopaedics at Detroit Children’s Hospital. Fischer, who died in 1983, planned for his estate to support child development and children’s orthopaedic research at U-M. This professorship is one of three endowments at Michigan Medicine made possible by a gift from Fischer’s estate. A trained ballerina, Li originally entered medical school in the hopes of caring for dancers and other athletes. Now, Li is an internationally lauded surgeon, researcher, and teacher who is enthusiastic about her subspecialty of pediatric spine surgery.
Erika Newman, M.D., became the inaugural Michael W. Mulholland, M.D., Ph.D., Research Professor in May. Mulholland, who is professor of surgery and senior associate dean of clinical affairs, hopes that establishing this professorship “will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive society, and that those who hold it will leave the world a better place.” Newman, who is also associate professor of surgery, specializes in pediatric surgical oncology, including neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumor, and soft tissue sarcoma. A discovery in her lab uncovered that neuroblastoma cells have a special way of repairing DNA once a strand has been broken. Newman’s mother, who died of cancer during Newman’s medical training, had always believed her daughter would one day help people with cancer. “This is the life my mother and I envisioned,” she says.
Shinichi Fukuhara, M.D., became the inaugural G. Michael Deeb, M.D., and Nancy Deeb Research Professor of Cardiac Surgery in May. The professorship — made possible by gifts from Richard L. Prager, M.D., Laurie Prager, colleagues, friends, and patients — honors Michael and Nancy Deeb. Michael is professor of cardiac surgery at Michigan Medicine, where he initiated the heart and lung transplantation programs and led the first total artificial heart implantation. Nancy has spent her career at Michigan Medicine, including time at the Renal Transplant Unit, the Cardiothoracic ICU, and University Hospital, where she was a nursing supervisor. Fukuhara has helped expand the operational armamentarium at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, and his research on longitudinal outcomes following aortic surgery and expertise in device development have led to optimal operative strategies for patients at Michigan Medicine and beyond.