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Updated 10:00 AM December 3, 2007




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Feldman named director of the A. Alfred Taubman
Medical Research Institute

Neurologist and research scientist Dr. Eva Feldman has been selected to direct the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the Medical School. The institute was established in September through a $22 million gift from the retail pioneer whose name it bears.
Dr. Max Wicha, Yeohash Raphael, Dr. Eva Feldman, A. Alfred Taubman, Dr. James Woolliscroft, Dr. David Pinsky and Dr. Valerie Castle. Wicha, Raphael, Feldman, Pinsky and Castle also are Taubman Scholars. (Photo by Scott Galvin)

While serving as the institute's first director, Feldman also will continue in her role as one of the first five Taubman Scholars — U-M scientists who receive unrestricted funding from the institute's endowment to help their teams pursue fundamental research on the causes, treatment and prevention of a broad range of human diseases. The first five Taubman Scholars are tackling heart disease, deafness, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

"I am both excited and honored to serve as the first director of the institute, which I believe will become a major scientific force within the University of Michigan Health System and beyond," says Feldman, who also is the DeJong Professor of Neurology. "Al Taubman has unique insight into the challenges of biomedical research. He understands that with high risk comes 'high reward.' We are all very grateful to Al and his family for their generous support of this newly formed Institute."

Feldman's own laboratory team, the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, is pursuing research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which also is known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Their work is partly funded by $7 million in gifts from Taubman, who lost a close friend to the disease. His gifts are helping fund research being performed by the U-M team and researchers at the University of California, San Diego, to evaluate the use of stem cells as a potential treatment for ALS.

"Eva is a natural choice to head the institute, because of her own understanding of what's needed to translate laboratory results into clinical practice — but also because of her leadership abilities," says Dr. James Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School. "She will lead the way in realizing Mr. Taubman's vision for the Institute."

"I am committed to advancing biomedical discoveries and am 100 percent behind Eva's vision for the institute," Taubman says.

In addition to Feldman, the first Taubman Scholars are Dr. Valerie Castle, chair, Department of Pediatrics; Dr. David Pinsky, chief of cardiovascular medicine;
Yehoash Raphael, professor of otolaryngology; and Dr. Max Wicha, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Each receives a three-year grant that provides $200,000 per year for the scholars' laboratory teams to use in their pursuit of new knowledge.

"The funding provided by the institute allows investigators to pioneer new areas of investigation," Feldman says. "I believe Al Taubman's support will result in discoveries that transform our approach and treatment to human disease."

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