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School of Medicine Names New Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

 Richard L. Eckert, Ph.D.

Richard L. Eckert, Ph.D., has been appointed chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Eckert comes to the University of Maryland School of Medicine from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as professor of physiology/biophysics, dermatology, reproductive biology, oncology and biochemistry.

“Richard Eckert is a wonderful addition to the School of Medicine and brings more than 30 years of research experience to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and dean of the School of Medicine. “He has a wealth of scientific knowledge and experience and will enhance the biochemistry department’s national leadership in key areas of research and education. His history of collaboration will be an important leadership strength.”

Dr. Eckert earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and his master of science and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He completed post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Cell Biology and at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

Dr. Eckert’s research focuses on understanding how normal surface epithelial cells function to protect people from illnesses and how those cells are altered during disease states, including skin cancer. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles, several dozen reviews, and more than 130 meeting abstracts. He serves as an editorial board member or reviewer for scientific journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Endocrinology and the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Dr. Eckert holds two patents from the United States Patent Office, and has been continuously funded as a principal investigator since 1989. He is currently principal investigator on four major grants from the National Institutes of Health and has been supported by the Department of the Navy, the American Cancer Society, the Dermatology Foundation, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Breast Cancer Research Program.

“I was attracted to the University of Maryland School of Medicine because of its significant national and international reputation,” says Dr. Eckert. “I believe it will achieve even greater prominence in the future, and I look forward to contributing to that forward movement. The Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology has outstanding scientists and a strong graduate program. My immediate goal is to recruit a talented group of young investigators to further expand the scientific and intellectual reach of the department.”

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