U names researchers to hold Benning Endowed Chairs at Medical School

The U named four new researchers to hold the H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chairs at the U School of Medicine.

The four researchers are Jerry Kaplan, assistant vice president of basic science and associate dean of research, Wesley Sundquist, professor of biochemistry, J. Michael Dean, professor of pediatrics and Gerald Krueger, professor of dermatology.

The purpose of the Benning Chairs is “reward and recruitment,” so the U can continue to attract “top notch” researchers and recognize the continual research being done at the U, said John Edwards of the U’s Health Science Center for Development.

The Benning chair positions were formed in August 2005 after a donation of $22.5 million by the late Arthur E. Benning, former president and chairman of the board of Amalgamated Sugar, to the U School of Medicine.

The chair positions are given to “outstanding researchers doing outstanding research,” Edwards said.

One of the first duties of the new chair holders will be to recommend and fill the five remaining positions, which should happen sometime in 2006, said A. Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences.

Benning named the donation after his parents and asked that the money be donated to researchers in different fields to fund their equipment needs and assistance, Edwards said.

The money does not, however, fund the researchers’ salaries.

These four new appointees will join the previously appointed chair holders, Stephen M. Prescott, professor of internal medicine, D. Ware Branch, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and Edwin Stevens, professor and chairman of radiology, and will also become the founding members of the Benning Society.

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