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Release: Dec. 20, 2001

Photo: Robert E. Fellows (left) and Kevin P. Campbell.

Fellows steps down, Campbell named interim head of physiology, biophysics

Robert E. Fellows, M.D., Ph.D., who has served as head of the University of Iowa department of physiology and biophysics since 1976, will step down from that position effective Feb. 1. Kevin P. Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, has been named interim head of the department.

The appointment was announced by Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine, vice president for statewide health services and director of UI Health Care. The interim appointment also will be effective Feb. 1. Fellows will stay on as a faculty member of the department.

"I am extremely pleased that one of our brightest stars has agreed to accept an appointment as interim head of the department of physiology and biophysics," Kelch said. "Dr. Campbell's work has played a major part in bringing the department to national and international prominence."

Campbell is internationally renowned for his neuromuscular disease research. His work has led to the identification of the molecular and genetic basis of several forms of muscular dystrophy and has provided a clearer understanding of the muscular dystrophy disease processes. Campbell's findings have already greatly improved the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy and point to strategies for developing therapies for these devastating neuromuscular diseases.

"Kevin's research has brought great honor to the college and to the university. He has proved himself to be immensely capable in everything he has undertaken," said Allyn L. Mark, M.D., interim executive dean of the UI College of Medicine. "I look forward to working with Kevin in his new role."

David Skorton, M.D., UI vice president for research and interim vice president for university relations added, "I am delighted that one of the best scientists on our campus has agreed to assume an important leadership role at a time when the College of Medicine is poised for incredible growth. I have gained immeasurably from Kevin Campbell's strategic thinking about a variety of science issues and look forward to working with him in this new, important role."

Campbell received his doctoral degree in biophysics from the University of Rochester and his bachelor's degree in physics from Manhattan College. Campbell has been an HHMI Investigator since 1989, and in 1999 he was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He also is a UI Foundation Distinguished Professor. Campbell joined the UI faculty in 1981 and holds a joint appointment in the department of neurology.

Kelch also had high praise for Fellows' tenure as head of physiology and biophysics.

"Bob Fellows has been a superb leader who has served the college and the university with great distinction for the past 26 years," Kelch said. "Under his guidance, the department's research enterprise has grown immensely, and outstanding faculty and staff have been recruited. Bob has also been extremely committed to the college's education mission, and students from many disciplines have benefited from the department's excellent teachers."

Fellows earned his medical degree from McGill University and his doctoral degree from Duke University. He spent 10 years at Duke University teaching and conducting research as a faculty member of the departments of physiology and pharmacology, and medicine before moving to the UI in 1976 to assume leadership of the department of physiology and biophysics.

Fellows' research career has focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neuronal development and differentiation in the central nervous system. In particular, his work has investigated the roles of hormones and growth factors in the earliest development of fetal brain cells.

Between 1976 and 1997, Fellows also was director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the UI. As a physician-scientist himself, Fellows has devoted himself to the education and training of the next generation of medical researchers. These physician-scientists, who have both clinical and basic science expertise, play a critical role in the progress of biomedical science.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at