Trustees meet, hear presentations from medical school faculty

Chancellor gives updates on campus construction and university achievements

At the Washington University Board of Trustees meeting Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton reported on a number of recent developments on the Medical and Danforth campuses.

Trustees also heard special reports from leading medical faculty on several cutting-edge research and clinical projects.

During Friday’s meeting, the trustees heard a presentation from Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology, and professor of pathology and immunology, of medicine and of developmental biology. The title of his talk was “Dining in With Trillions of Friends: Exploring the Microbial Side of Ourselves.”

In his report to the Board of Trustees, Wrighton said that the admissions office is in the final stages of reviewing the nearly 29,000 applications received for next year’s freshman class, an all-time high. Decision letters will be sent later in the month.

Wrighton gave an update on a number of construction projects on the Danforth and Medical campuses, noting progress on the construction of Preston M. Green Hall and the renovations of Cupples II and Mallinckrodt Center; and the completion of the renovations on Lopata Gallery, including the opening of “Stanley’s,” a new eatery named for the late Trustee Stanley M. Lopata.

On the Medical Campus, Wrighton gave a report on progress on the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University, including completion of the seventh floor, designed to accommodate the BRIGHT Center and pediatric surgery. The institute has been awarded LEED Gold certification. He also mentioned the planned expansion of the Genome Data Center and the coming construction of the Siteman Cancer Center in South County, targeted for completion in 2013.

Wrighton reported on the recent successful meeting in Singapore of the International Advisory Council for Asia, noting that trustees David P. Conner, Shinichiro Watari, John F. McDonnell, Harry J. Seigle, Eugene S. Kahn and Steven N. Rappaport participated.

The chancellor made special mention of the recent discovery in Olin Library of a collection of books that originally were part of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. Announced jointly by the university and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the news was reported worldwide by hundreds of print, broadcast and web media organizations.

The trustees were invited by Wrighton to a presentation later in the day by Sir Nigel Sheinwald, British ambassador to the United States. He was scheduled to deliver a major policy address at 4 p.m. in Holmes Lounge. His talk is the annual T.S. Eliot Lecture, which is named in honor of the famed poet and author who was the grandson of WUSTL co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot.

Wrighton also announced that the university has been named a Tree Campus USA for 2010, a distinction given by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize schools across the United States for their dedication to healthy campus forestry management and engaging the community in environmental stewardship.

Wrighton reported on another successful year for athletics, including the men’s track and field team repeating as University Athletic Association champions, and the ninth-ranked women’s basketball team, which recently earned a berth in the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament, a feat accomplished for the 22nd consecutive year.

On Thursday afternoon, prior to the business meeting on Friday, the trustees heard reports from leading School of Medicine faculty on important research being conducted on the Medical Campus. Those reports include:

  • Timothy E. Holy, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology, “Watching Neurons in Action”;
  • John C. Morris, MD, the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology, professor of pathology and immunology, of occupational therapy, and of physical therapy, “Changing the Paradigm in Alzheimer Disease from Cure to Prevention”;
  • Randall J. Bateman, MD, assistant professor of neurology, “Slowed Brain Protein Clearance and Prevention Trials in Alzheimer’s Disease”;
  • David M. Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurology, and professor of developmental biology, “C2N Diagnostics, LLC: The Experience of Starting a Company While a Faculty Member at Washington University”;
  • Terrie E. Inder, MBBS, MD, professor of pediatrics, of radiology, and of neurology, “Imaging Insights into Human Brain Development”;
  • Marcus E. Raichlé, MD, professor of radiology, of neurology, and of anatomy and neurobiology, “The Brain’s Dark Energy”; and
  • David C. Van Essen, PhD, head of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, “The Human Connectome Project, Edison Professor of Neurobiology.”

In addition, the Board received reports from the following standing committees: development, educational policy, university finance, medical finance, audit and the alumni board of governors.