A leading anesthesiologist and scientist who has spent much of his professional life at Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Hugh Hemmings, Jr. has been appointed senior associate dean for research at the institution. Molecular biologist Dr. Todd Evans, whose laboratory is housed within the Department of Surgery, has been appointed associate dean for research. Both appointments are effective July 13.
Dr. Hemmings succeeds Dr. Gary Koretzky, who in May became vice dean, focused on academic integration.
“Research is essential to everything we do at Weill Cornell Medicine, enriching our activities and leading to innovations in patient care, education and biomedical discovery,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “As a physician-scientist who has spent his career bridging the gap between discovery and clinical research, Dr. Hemmings is a perfect fit for the senior associate dean role. Dr. Evans, with his deep history as a basic scientist in clinical settings, perfectly complements him. I look forward to working with both of them to strengthen our research enterprise and increase the integration of scientific investigation and clinical medicine at our institution.”
Both Dr. Hemmings and Dr. Evans will play key roles as Weill Cornell Medicine focuses on developing research alliances with the biopharmaceutical industry and on strengthening partnerships with neighboring institutions NewYork-Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Hospital for Special Surgery, as well as Cornell Tech and Cornell University. They will expand and enhance a wide-ranging research portfolio as the institution begins to define its next strategic plan and negotiate ongoing challenges surrounding federal research funding. In his new role, Dr. Hemmings, who is also professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, will work closely with Dr. Choi to set research priorities and strategy that will enable Weill Cornell Medicine to continue to attract and develop top-tier investigators operating at the cutting edge of science. He will lead the Office of the Research Dean to build upon Weill Cornell Medicine’s broad spectrum of study, supporting basic science and clinical endeavors and facilitating translational work that bridges the gap from bench to bedside.
“Our focus must be on our principal investigators, facilitating their research efforts while supporting them through a challenging period in research funding,” Dr. Hemmings said. “Weill Cornell Medicine is in a truly privileged position, surrounded by a number of great specialty institutions. As the educational institution that connects all of our neighbors, we’re uniquely able to leverage this environment to excel as a research institution. This provides unique opportunities for basic and clinical scientists to work together to improve human health.”
“I want to help the dean’s research team create an environment that knocks down the barriers to accomplishing an even more robust research community,” said Dr. Evans, vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery, the Peter I. Pressman Professor in Surgery and a professor of cell and developmental biology in surgery. “It is critically important that we nurture our close ties with our neighborhood and upstate partners as we continue to grow our alliances with biopharma.”
Dr. Hemmings is a physician-scientist with clinical expertise in anesthesia for cardiothoracic procedures, whose research focuses on the synaptic effects of general anesthetics and the mechanisms of neuronal signaling. After receiving his undergraduate, medical and doctoral degrees in pharmacology from Yale University, he conducted postdoctoral research in molecular and cellular neuroscience at The Rockefeller University and completed a residency in anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in cardiac anesthesia at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Since joining the faculty of Weill Cornell Medicine in 1991, he began directing the anesthesiology research program in 1995 and has risen steadily through the academic ranks. Currently the Joseph F. Artusio, Jr. Professor of Anesthesiology and a professor of pharmacology, he is the editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Anaesthesia, a fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, and the author of more than 175 publications, including three textbooks on anesthesiology.
Dr. Evans graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1982, and earned his doctoral degree in molecular biology at Columbia University in 1987, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. After rising through the academic ranks at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and then at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he served as dean of the graduate program, he was recruited to Weill Cornell Medicine in 2009. His research focuses on organ development during embryogenesis. His laboratory models human disease using zebrafish and human stem cells, targeting disorders including heart disease and cancer.