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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 10, 2006

Smith Elected To Institute Of Medicine

Richard Smith, M.D., the Sterba Hearing Research Professor in Otolaryngology in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies.

Smith, professor and vice chair of the UI Department of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery with joint appointments in the UI Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, was among 65 new members elected to the IOM, raising its total active membership to 1,501.

Current active IOM members elect new members from a group of candidates nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service. The IOM is unique for its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. With their election, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM study committees.

"This is a tremendous, well-deserved honor for Dr. Smith and for our Department of Otolaryngology," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "His work involving the genetic causes of deafness is internationally recognized, and he also is a caring physician and role model for students, medical residents, fellows and his colleagues. Being named to the Institute of Medicine is a true mark of distinction, so I am delighted and proud that Dr. Smith has been named to this prestigious group."

Smith is director of the Molecular Otolaryngology Research Laboratories and co-director of the Center for Auditory Regeneration and Deafness. The center explores new treatments for inner ear diseases and deafness.

Smith's research focuses on inherited hearing impairment. Hereditary deafness is common, and the number of deafness-causing genes may exceed 100. Smith's group is studying both syndromic and non-syndromic types of deafness. Their research involves mapping and identifying the genes that cause deafness and hearing-related research on mouse mutants targeting specific genes by RNAi (RNA interference), also referred to as gene silencing, to correct deafness. Smith is also studying the genetics of two rare forms of kidney disease to develop effective treatments.

A UI faculty member since 1990, Smith earned his medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1977. He completed an internship and general surgery residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, followed by an otolaryngology residency at Baylor. Smith also completed a clinical fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England, and post-doctoral training in genetics at the Institute for Hearing Research in Nottingham, England.

Smith joins 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;

-- Jeff Murray, M.D., professor of pediatrics;

-- Jennifer Niebyl, M.D., professor and head of obstetrics and gynecology;

-- Val Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of pediatrics;

-- Robert Wallace, M.D., the Irene Ensminger Stecher Cancer Professor and professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health; and

-- Michael Welsh, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Roy J. Carver Chair of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

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