Trustees meet, hear presentations from medical school faculty

Chancellor gives updates on campus construction and university achievements

At the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees meeting Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton reported on a number of recent developments on the Medical and Danforth campuses. Trustees also heard special reports on innovations in medical research and clinical practice.

During Friday’s meeting, the trustees heard a presentation from Scott Hultgren, PhD, the Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Biology and director of the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, titled “Translating UTI Research into a Strategic Plan for Women’s Health.”

In his report to the Board of Trustees, Wrighton said that the admissions office is in the final stages of reviewing the nearly 27,000 applications received for next year’s freshman class of approximately 1,550 students. The Admissions Committee is finalizing its decisions and notices to applicants will be released soon.

Wrighton made special mention of one of St. Louis’ top news stories this past week — the university’s proposed $80 million investment in retail and student apartments in the Parkview Gardens neighborhood, located along the Delmar Loop in both University City and St. Louis. The area was identified by two significant community studies as a prime location for retail along Delmar and higher-density multi-family housing.

The development would be a key first step in implementing the recommendations of both plans, which were developed in partnership with St. Louis City and University City property and business owners, residents and local government officials.

Wrighton gave an update on a number of construction projects on the Danforth and Medical campuses, noting especially progress on the renovation of one of the Danforth Campus’ oldest historic buildings, Umrath Hall. When completed by the end of May, Umrath will become the new home for the John C. Danforth Center for Religion & Politics.

Also, planning for the expansion of the Olin Business School is progressing, and a ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for its two new buildings, Knight and Bauer Halls, on May 7.

On the Medical Campus, the 11th floor of the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine was recently completed for the Center for Musculoskeletal Research, and the Center for Women’s Reproductive Sciences Research expansion will soon be completed on the 10th floor.

Progress continues on the expansion of the Genome Data Center, funded in large part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to expand its high-powered data center for genomics. The project is scheduled for completion later this summer. Off campus, site work is ongoing for the South St. Louis County location of the Siteman Cancer Center, a joint project with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, which is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Wrighton reported on another successful year for athletics. The men’s basketball team won its 11th UAA championship in school history and is preparing to make its 19th NCAA Division III tournament appearance this weekend at the WUSTL Athletic Complex.

The No. 9 women’s basketball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney and travel to Danville, Ky., this weekend to take on Ferrum College in the first round of play, marking the 24th NCAA tournament appearance in 26 seasons under head coach Nancy Fahey.

Overall, the Washington University Department of Athletics is currently ranked No. 1 in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings for Division III schools.

On Thursday afternoon, prior to the business meeting on Friday, the trustees heard reports from School of Medicine faculty and students on important innovations in research and clinical practice taking place on the Medical Campus. Those reports were:

  • “Genomics and Pathology Services (GPS) and Genomic Technology Access Center (GTAC): A Collaborative Catalyst for Precision Medicine,” presented by Herbert W. Virgin, IV, MD, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology, and Jeffrey Milbrandt, MD, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Professor and head of the Department of Genetics;
  • “Clinical Investigation Data Exploration Repository (CIDER),” presented by Rakesh Nagarajan, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology and immunology/genetics and director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics;
  • “Nanomedicine: From Bench to Bedside to Product,” presented by Samuel A. Wickline, MD, professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, cellular physiology and physics;
  • “Medical Imaging: From Molecule to Cell to Mouse to Man,” by R. Gilbert Jost, MD, the Elizabeth Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Radiology and director of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology; and
  • “A Guide to the U.S. Health Care System,” by Elisabeth Askin, second-year medical student, and Nathan Moore, third-year medical student.

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.