Renowned physician to head medicine and biology at University of Chicago

Renowned physician-scientist to head medicine and biology at University of Chicago

December 12, 2001

A leading pathologist, gastroenterologist and cell biologist has been recruited to head the medical and biological sciences at the University of Chicago.

James L. Madara, MD, one of the nation's foremost academic pathologists and an authority on epithelial cell biology and on gastrointestinal disease, has been named Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Chicago, effective July 1, 2002.

Madara, 51, is currently the William Patterson Timmie Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University Medical School, in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Dr. Madara brings to the University a distinguished academic career and a deep knowledge of the clinical environment that, together, equip him ideally to lead our scientific and medical enterprise in ways that capture the virtues of our unique structure," said Don Michael Randel, President of the University of Chicago. "I am confident that under his leadership we will enter a period of renewed excellence and vigor across the whole range of activities in the biological sciences and medicine."

"We are excited about Dr. Madara's appointment and the new strengths he brings to our already outstanding programs in digestive disease and pathology," said Michael Riordan, President of the University of Chicago Hospitals, who also came to Chicago from Emory. "We are pleased to have someone with such an outstanding record of academic and clinical leadership and a talent for combining basic research with clinical medicine."

"He is also," added Riordan, "a friend, a valued former and future colleague, and a remarkable physician."

"I am just delighted to take this position," said Madara. "I look forward to the opportunity to work with both old and new friends and to focus on a Division embedded in a great research University. The latter fits my mind-set very well."

Madara, 51, has made important contributions to understanding the biology of the cells that line the digestive tract. He has elucidated, at the molecular level, how these cells permit the absorption of nutrients while serving as a barrier to intestinal bacteria, and how these cells help regulate the immune response to normal and disease-causing bacteria. This research has been crucial to understanding infectious diseases that affect the intestines, to treating inflammatory disorders such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, and to improving drug delivery.

In recognition of his research, Madara received the 1990 Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Award from the American Association of Pathologists, the 1991 Physician Scientist Award from the American Gastroenterological Association, and the 1994 International State-of-the-Art Lectureship by the British Society of Gastroenterology. In 1997 he was elected to the Association of American Physicians and received a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and is the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Pathology.

Dr. Madara graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1975, completed residency and research training in pathology at Harvard Medical School's New England Deaconess and Peter Bent Brigham Hospitals, and joined the faculty at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1980, serving as director of the division of gastrointestinal pathology. In 1993 he was appointed professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and from 1994 until 1997, when he left Harvard for Emory, he served as director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center.

"I am very grateful to the members of faculty search committee, chaired by Dr. Bennett Leventhal, for their considerable efforts," added President Randel. "They identified Dr. Madara early on as a leading candidate, and he emerged as our collective first choice."

Madara is married to Vicki M. Madara, a respected architect. They have two children: Alexis, age 10, and Max, age 15.

The University of Chicago Medical Center is a leader in patient care, research and education, with a worldwide reputation in many clinical specialties and as the nation's foremost producer of academic physicians. Scientists and physicians at the University have made fundamental contributions to medical science including the first use of hormone therapy for cancer, development of the field of sleep research, and performing the first organ transplant.

Based at the University's campus in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, the University of Chicago Hospitals include the Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital, the University of Chicago Children's Hospital, Chicago Lying-in Hospital, and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. They are routinely selected as one of the 15 best hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in its annual survey of America's nearly 7,000 hospitals.