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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 24, 2005

Murray, Sheffield Elected To Institute Of Medicine

Two University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine faculty members have been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies.

Jeff Murray, M.D., (right) professor, and Val Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., (left) professor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, both in the UI Department of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital of Iowa, were among the 64 new members elected to the IOM, raising its total active membership to 1,461.

Current active IOM members elect new members from a group of candidates nominated for their professional achievement. With their election, members make a commitment to become involved in the work of the IOM, which conducts studies and other activities addressing a range of issues in medical science, health services, public health and health policy.

"This is a great honor for Dr. Murray and Dr. Sheffield, and a tremendous source of pride for the Carver College of Medicine and our Department of Pediatrics," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Both are caring physicians, outstanding research scientists and superb mentors to our students and fellows. Being named to the Institute is a remarkable distinction. For both, it is well deserved."

Murray's clinical activities center on newborn medicine and care of children born with birth defects. His research involves techniques from genetics, molecular biology, embryology and epidemiology to study birth defects as well as prematurity and its complications.

A number of projects by Murray's research team have involved large population and epidemiologic studies of children with craniofacial anomalies, particularly children from the Philippines, Denmark, Argentina and Brazil. Last year, researchers from eight countries, led by Murray's laboratory, reported identifying a genetic variation that increases the risk of a baby being born with a cleft lip and palate, a facial defect that affects approximately one in 1,000 babies. The finding helps explain 10 to 15 percent of all cases of the common form of cleft lip and palate and offers insight for predicting and treating the condition.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Murray's laboratory serve in leadership roles and have key responsibilities in project design and implementation. Murray is known for providing opportunities for students and fellows to develop their own interests and expertise in using genetic tools to better understand human disease.

A UI faculty member since 1984, Murray earned his medical degree at Tufts Medical School in Boston in 1978 and completed his medical residency in pediatrics at the New England Medical Center Hospital. He also completed a fellowship in medical genetics at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to his academic appointment in pediatrics, Murray is a UI professor of epidemiology, pediatric dentistry and biological sciences.

Sheffield's research interests include hereditary blindness, congenital heart disease and Bardet-Biedl syndrome, a hereditary disorder that can cause mental retardation, obesity, kidney problems, heart defects and blindness. His research centers on identifying and understanding the function of genes that cause these and other conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and hereditary deafness.

Working with research collaborators from around the world, Sheffield's laboratory was responsible for identifying mutated genes that cause certain features of Bardet-Biedl syndrome. The findings provided clues to understanding developmental processes that also are involved in more common conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

Sheffield also leads the UI Department of Pediatrics Division of Medical Genetics at Children's Hospital of Iowa. The division provides comprehensive outpatient and inpatient consultation and care for children with inherited and metabolic disorders.

Sheffield earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1985. He completed a medical residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in medical genetics at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the UI faculty in 1990.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the IOM, which was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to honor outstanding achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health.

Murray and Sheffield join the following UI faculty and administrators who are members of the IOM:

  • Francois Abboud, M.D., the Edith King Pearson Chair in Cardiovascular Research, associate vice president for research and professor of internal medicine, and physiology and biophysics;
  • Myrtle Aydelotte, Ph.D., professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Nursing;
  • Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., professor and the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry;
  • Joseph Buckwalter, M.D., the Dr. Arthur Steindler Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery and professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation;
  • Kathleen Buckwalter, Ph.D., professor of nursing, psychiatry and internal medicine;
  • Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, UI Foundation Distinguished Professor, the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics, and head of the department, and professor of neurology and internal medicine;
  • James Clifton, M.D., Roy J. Carver Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine;
  • John Colloton, UI vice president emeritus for statewide health services;
  • John Eckstein, M.D., professor emeritus of internal medicine and dean emeritus of the Carver College of Medicine;
  • Bruce Gantz, M.D., the Brian F. McCabe Distinguished Chair and Head of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery;
  • James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health, professor of occupational and environmental health, and internal medicine;
  • Jennifer Niebyl, M.D., professor and head of obstetrics and gynecology;
  • Robert Wallace, M.D., the Irene Ensminger Stecher Cancer Professor and professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health;
  • Michael Welsh, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Roy J. Carver Chair of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics.

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, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032,