David J. Pagliarini, PhD, a nationally recognized leader in mitochondrial biology and a BJC Investigator at the School of Medicine, has been named the inaugural Hugo F. and Ina C. Urbauer Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Pagliarini was installed by Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Endowed Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor. The professorship is supported by a generous estate gift left by Ina C. Urbauer in 1947.
“Dr. Pagliarini’s research has opened up new ways of understanding fundamental biological processes and shed light on a set of rare but devastating diseases,” Martin said. “I am grateful to Mrs. Urbauer for her generous bequest to the School of Medicine that has allowed this professorship to be created. It will provide ongoing support to Dr. Pagliarini.”
Mitochondria orchestrate a variety of metabolic processes — such as generating energy — for nearly all human cells, giving the microscopic organelles a critical role in human health, resilience and longevity. Malfunctioning mitochondria contribute to a diverse set of genetic diseases, most of which have few therapeutic and no curative options.
“Dr. Pagliarini has done innovative, groundbreaking work on the molecular basis of mitochondrial function,” Perlmutter said. “He has advanced our understanding of how specific molecules form the basis of mitochondrial function, how that leads to genetic diseases and how new technologies could enable even broader understanding. His work already has had an indelible impact on his field, and I am confident he still has a lot more to contribute.”