New Chair of Pharmacology Named at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
PITTSBURGH, October 12, 2005 — The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has named Bruce Freeman, Ph.D., professor and chair of its department of pharmacology , effective Jan. 1, 2006. Dr. Freeman joins Pitt following a two-decade tenure at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), most recently serving as vice chair for research in the department of anesthesiology. He is noted for his research on cell signaling reactions and inflammatory processes due to tissue injury, which has had implications for the design of new treatment approaches for such conditions as acute inflammation, respiratory disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
“Dr. Freeman has an impeccable academic record and has earned utmost respect from his colleagues and peers,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “He will provide valuable direction that will lead to sustained growth and development of the department of pharmacology.”
Through his research involving how nitric oxide reacts with oxidants and free radicals, Dr. Freeman has shed light on how inflammatory processes impact the cardiovascular signaling actions of nitric oxide. When nitric oxide levels are decreased in the presence of oxidants and free radicals, which act as “scavengers” of nitric oxide, important cardiovascular signaling processes are significantly inhibited. Dr. Freeman’s lab also has discovered new metabolic and inflammatory regulating byproducts being formed by oxygen radical interactions with nitric oxide that display therapeutic potential. By demonstrating the need for nitric oxide in the cell signaling processes that lead to the resolution of inflammation, Dr. Freeman’s research has opened the door to identifying new treatments for easing the symptoms of numerous chronic conditions.
Dr. Freeman’s work has led to his involvement in two entrepreneurial ventures – Nitro Lipids, Inc., which supports the pre-clinical development of nitrated fatty acids as anti-inflammatory signaling mediators, and OXIS International, which focuses on the pre-clinical and clinical development of low-molecular weight anti-oxidants and anti-oxidant enzyme synthesis.
“Drastically reducing or eliminating the harmful effects of free radicals can have a major impact on preventative measures and treatment for a variety of diseases, from cancer to heart disease.” Dr. Levine said. “Dr. Freeman is widely recognized for his research achievements in this area, and we look forward to his continued contributions as a member of the School of Medicine’s faculty. As pharmacology chair, he will provide vision that will foster continued progress in the department.”
Dr. Freeman received his bachelor’s degree and his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University and then served on its faculty as an assistant professor in the department of medicine before moving to UAB in 1985. While at UAB, he served as director of the Center for Free Radical Biology and held appointments in the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the environmental health sciences department.
Among Dr. Freeman’s awards and honors is his selection as a Fulbright Scholar at the Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1993, where he subsequently was given an honorary doctorate. In 1995-96, he served as president of The Oxygen Society/Society for Free Radical Research. In 2003, he was designated a “highly cited author” in biology and biochemistry by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), placing him among the 100 most-cited researchers in this area since the ISI started indexing the citation analysis of biomedical publications. Dr. Freeman belongs to a number of prestigious scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Physiological Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
He has served on numerous peer review committees, study sections and advisory councils, including for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Veteran’s Administration, among others. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Critical Care Medicine, Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, General Pharmacology: The Vascular System and Environmental and Nutritional Interactions.
Dr. Freeman’s wife, Margaret M. Tarpey, M.D., who was previously the Edward Ernst Professor of Anesthesiology at UAB, will be joining her husband on Pitt’s School of Medicine faculty as a professor in the department of anesthesiology.
Dr. Freeman replaces John Lazo, Ph.D., who, after 20 years as chairman, wanted to devote his full attention to establishing and directing the Drug Discovery Institute, which will be housed in the new Biomedical Science Tower 3.