Sandell named Mildred B. Simon Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Linda J. Sandell, Ph.D., has been named the Mildred B. Simon Research Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.


“Linda Sandell is a very talented scientist who has contributed a great deal to Washington University and to our understanding of the basic cellular mechanisms behind diseases of the connective tissues,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “I am grateful for the work of Dr. Sandell and for the generosity of the late Mildred Simon, whose thoughtful gift has helped to make this important research possible.”

Sandell was installed as the Simon Research Professor by Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“Mildred Simon was tremendously generous to Washington University,” Shapiro said. “She established multiple professorships and made significant contributions to both faculty and students. The creation of endowments remains vital to the School of Medicine’s goal of recruiting and keeping top-quality researchers and clinicians, and Linda Sandell is one of the top researchers in the field of orthopaedic surgery.”

The Simon professorship will help provide financial support to allow Sandell to advance her research on the molecular mechanisms involved in cartilage development and disease. Her laboratory studies gene regulation of extracellular matrix proteins and the mechanisms related to protein expression in cartilage, bone, muscle and fat cells. She also has a long-standing interest in the cellular mechanisms associated with bone formation as well as osteoarthritis, a potentially disabling cartilage disease.

“We are very fortunate to have a scientist of Linda Sandell’s caliber in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,” said Richard H. Gelberman, M.D., the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the department. “Our department is able to link top-flight surgeons with cutting-edge scientists, and both are represented in professorships endowed by Mrs. Simon.”

Simon was an active philanthropist who was especially generous to the School of Medicine. Born in Newport, Ark., she settled in St. Louis with her husband, Herbert Simon. He was an executive of J. Simon and Sons, a business founded in 1899 by his father, Jacob Simon. Herbert Simon died in 1940 at age 55.

Mildred Simon died in 1998 at age 105, leaving a significant bequest to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Her gift endowed two other professorships: K. Daniel Riew, M.D., chief of cervical spine surgery, is the Mildred B. Simon Distinguished Professor of Ortho-paedic Surgery, and Lawrence G. Lenke, M.D., co-chief of adult and pediatric spine surgery, is the Jerome J. Gilden Professor of Ortho-paedic Surgery.

Sandell, the new Simon Research Professor, also is a professor of cell biology and physiology.

“I am honored and grateful to receive this type of recognition, which I believe helps to recognize the entire research effort in our department,” Sandell said.

“We are fortunate to have many outstanding scientists making important contributions to the understanding of health and disease in bone and connective tissue, and they are responsible for making the department one of the very best in the United States. I am grateful to be singled out for this honor, but I am just as proud to be a member of such an outstanding team,” Sandell said.