BALTIMORE – The Maryland Department of Commerce joined Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University Maryland and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, in endowing nearly $13.5 million to fund new research professorships.
The endowments were made through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at colleges and universities. The schools raised a total of $7.2 million in private funding for the chairs, and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants totaling $6.25 million to support the endowments.
“Maryland Commerce is thrilled to partner with our state’s world-class universities to accelerate cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines, including health care, artificial intelligence and economic justice,” said Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative helps lay a foundation of innovative thought and technology that will eventually lead to new entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.”
Johns Hopkins University received two awards, one to support research in ocular regenerative medicine and one to explore the use of artificial intelligence in health care.
Commerce provided $1.5 million for the Boone Pickens Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, an award matched by $1.5 million in qualified donations to the university. The professorship will support the research and entrepreneurial ventures of Dr. Amer Riazuddin, associate professor of ophthalmology, whose work can make Maryland a leader in ocular regenerative medicine research.
Another $1 million was awarded in support of JHU’s James Carey Endowed Professorship in the Center for Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence; that award was matched by $1.97 million in qualified donations to the university. The funds will help the university attract world-class researchers to Maryland to explore how artificial intelligence can be used to address complex healthcare challenges.
Loyola University Maryland received an E-Nnovation award of $1 million, matched by another $1 million in qualified donations, to support its Endowed Professorship in Innovation. This will allow the university to retain Professor Michael Tangrea, a specialist in biotechnology and cancer research, who was named to the position in 2020. The award will support Tangrea’s efforts to expand research in biology and other health sciences fields, and enhance the institution’s focus on research and entrepreneurship.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore received three E-Nnovation awards to support research in neurosurgery, bioengineering and social work.
An award of $750,000, matched by $750,000 in donations to the University of Maryland, Baltimore, will endow the J. Marc and Philippe Simard Neurosurgery Research Lab. A professor of neurosurgery, pathology and physiology who has been on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine for 30 years, Dr. J. Marc Simard is close to a breakthrough in developing an alternative treatment for some strokes and traumatic brain injuries that will not require dangerous brain surgeries.
Another $1.5 million was awarded to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry to fund the Karen J. Ivers, D.D.S. Endowed Professorship in Bioengineering. Matched by a $1.5 million donation from Dr. Ivers, the award will support a professor specializing in advanced biomaterials, tissue engineering and reparative medicine in the field of oral, dental and craniofacial science.
The University of Maryland School of Social Work received a $500,000 award, matched by $500,000 in qualified donations, to support the newly created Woodside Professorship. The school plans to use this position to recruit a world-class researcher in financial social work and economic justice to Maryland; this researcher would focus on bringing financial stability and prosperity to vulnerable and underserved communities in the state.
The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided more than $78 million in funding to leverage $87.9 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment.