Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DeGioia Appoints New Medical Center Dean

University President John J. DeGioia announced Dr. Michael A. Zasloff’s appointment to an 18-month term as the Dean of Research and Translational Science for the Georgetown University edical Center on Jan. 4.

In his new capacity, Zasloff will oversee biomedical research and its practical application to patient care.

Zasloff has had more than 30 years of experience at various university medical centers and held a senior position at the National Institutes of Health for 13 years.

The position he fills was recently created by DeGioia in order to stimulate research and build the infrastructure and external relationships needed to maintain a strong focus on science at the university.

“My vision is that Georgetown University can and must make an outstanding contribution to

biomedical research in the United States,” DeGioia wrote in his announcement. “Georgetown is poised to achieve this goal, but we have an urgent need to move forward assertively.”

According to Zasloff, “the American medical center of the 21st century has to play a role in creating innovative medicine and new treatments for mankind that are not being developed by commercial outfits.”

A dean of research responsible for maintaining the quality of research at the Medical School has always existed, but the new position is intended to broaden the office’s mission to allow ideas that are formulated by researchers at the school to be developed within the school, or

to be translated from bench to bedside, as he said.

“The most difficult part is going from a discovery to its evaluation,” Zasloff said. “I would like to see things proven and tested here.”

There have been some examples of researchers going from a discovery to its application within the Medical Center, Zasloff said, but he is looking to making it a more robust program.

Many researchers are forced to prove an application for their ideas beyond the university, where commercial pressures drive development. Zasloff himself founded a company in order to develop an antibiotic from frog secretions he discovered while at NIH. “It removed the experience and excitement of development from the institute where the discovery was made,” he said.

Zasloff describes himself as being trained as a physician who thinks like a scientist, and he intends to carry over that training into his new role. As a result, medical research will bring more basic science into play.

Because broadening the support for research entails complex problems and issues that go beyond medicine – issues that reach into engineering, finance, ethics, physics, chemistry and biology – medical research would ideally become an interdisciplinary exercise.

“When everything is working properly, all aspects of the university come to bear on the problem,” Zasloff said.

Zasloff holds a Ph.D. and an M.D. and has held positions at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania medical centers.

For 13 years, he was the chief of the human genetics branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He is also a founder of Magainan Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company in Plymouth Meeting, Penn.

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