The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

May 18, 2004

Engelhardt Named Roy J. Carver Chair Of Molecular Medicine

John Engelhardt, Ph.D., professor and interim head of anatomy and cell biology, and professor of internal medicine in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been named the Roy J. Carver Chair in Molecular Medicine.

The $2 million fund endowing this chair is part of a $63 million gift to the UI medical school from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine, made through the UI Foundation in 2002. The largest gift ever made to the UI, $20 million of it is designated to establish research-related faculty endowments. The Carver Chair in Molecular Medicine was established to support a scientist devoted to a career in molecular medicine research and to the training of junior scientists in the field of molecular medicine. The chair's endowment supports basic and applied research in gene therapy and molecular mechanisms of disease.

"We are delighted to name John Engelhardt as the Roy J. Carver Chair in Molecular Medicine," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Throughout his career, Dr. Engelhardt's innovative approach to molecular medicine research has yielded numerous advances in gene therapy technology and has improved understanding of cystic fibrosis. His great success in research is further complimented by his dedication to training the next generation of molecular medicine scientists.

"I have every confidence that under Dr. Engelhardt's leadership, molecular medicine research at the University of Iowa will continue to flourish and will realize the foresight and generosity shown by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust in establishing this endowed chair," Robillard added.

An endowed chair is the highest honor that the university bestows on an outstanding faculty member. The dean of the college and the provost approve the use of endowment income to supplement the salary of the faculty member and/or to support the academic pursuits and endeavors of the chair.

Engelhardt's research focuses on the interplay of lung biology and cystic fibrosis, and the development of gene therapy approaches to treat this genetic disease. Engelhardt also uses gene therapy technologies to study and treat ischemia/reperfusion injury, which is a common, damaging complication of organ transplantation, heart attack and stroke.

In addition to his own group's gene therapy research, Engelhardt also is director of the UI Center for Gene Therapy of Cystic Fibrosis and Other Genetic Diseases, which was established under his leadership in 1998. Since that time, the center's membership has grown from 35 to 62 UI researchers.

Engelhardt received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Iowa State University and a doctoral degree in human genetics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan.

Engelhardt joined the UI faculty in 1997 and became interim head of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in January 2004. He has published over 130 scientific articles and book chapters, has four RO1 grants (the major type of grant awarded to individual investigators by the National Institutes of Health) and holds several patents for gene therapy technologies. He also serves on the editorial boards of five scientific journals.

In addition to his research accomplishments, Engelhardt also has served as director of the UI Anatomy and Cell Biology Graduate Program for the past four years, and he established the first molecular medicine graduate training track at the UI that admits both departmental and interdisciplinary students with mentors outside the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust was founded to honor the memory of Roy J. Carver, a businessman and philanthropist from Muscatine, Iowa, who, with his wife Lucille A. Carver, was a long-time supporter and generous contributor to the UI. Since 1969, the Carver family and the Carver Trust's support for the UI totals approximately $109 million.

The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit its Web site at

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

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5141 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, (319) 335-9917

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: A photo of Dr. Engelhardt is available for downloading at