Jefferson Appoints Vice Dean for Research

Leonard P. Freedman, Ph.D., recently joined Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in the newly created position of Vice Dean for Research. In this role, Dr. Freedman is responsible for advancing the medical college’s research mission by developing a clear, coordinated strategy that drives the effective integration of the clinical/educational expertise on campus with Jefferson’s basic and clinical research faculty.

Dr. Freedman will also lead the development of major collaborative initiatives, such as the establishment of Centers of Excellence within the College, and institute strategic alliances with various medical centers, universities and other research entities that serve to elevate Jefferson’s research profile, while creating new collaborative funding opportunities. In addition, he will oversee working groups that address key operational issues which impact medical school investigators, with the goal of optimizing the overall faculty experience at Jefferson within the scientific discovery realm.

“Dr. Freedman has an exceptional mix of scientific, strategic and executive leadership experience that will further elevate Jefferson’s reputation as a top tier research-based medical school,” said Mark Tykocinski, M.D., dean, Jefferson Medical College. “I am delighted that he has agreed to join our campus and take on this vital role.”

Dr. Freedman most recently served as vice president of Discovery for Women’s Health and Musculoskeletal Therapies at Wyeth Research. There he directed a group of 125 scientists charged with the discovery of new chemical and bio-therapeutic entities in women’s health. Dr. Freedman co-chaired the Women’s Health Therapeutic Area Leadership Team (TALT) at Wyeth and led a senior team charged with mapping out long-term opportunities for this therapeutic area. Prior to his role at Wyeth, he was the executive director for the Department of Molecular Endocrinology at Merck Research Labs, as well as adjunct professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Freedman is a recognized leader in the field of nuclear hormone receptors. Early in his career he joined the laboratory of University of California researcher Keith Yamamoto, one of the world’s leading molecular endocrinologists and focused his research on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which glucocorticoid hormones regulate gene transcription. Dr. Freedman subsequently joined the faculty in Cell Biology & Genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University Medical College, where he studied the biological roles of vitamin D3 receptor in myeloid cells. His work led to novel molecular insights by which vitamin D3 turns genes on or off in the context of growth inhibition and differentiation.

As a tenured professor at Sloan-Kettering/Cornell, Dr. Freedman was very involved in the graduate and post-doctoral programs. He led an advanced graduate school course, served on several admission committees, and co- directed the Cell Biology & Genetics graduate program. He received several awards, including the Boyer Research Award for Biomedical Research, and was the recipient of numerous grants, including a MERIT award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He was also the 2002 recipient of the Ernst Oppenheimer Award from The Endocrine Society.

Dr. Freedman earned his a bachelor of arts degree in Biology from Kalamazoo College, and his master of science and Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Rochester. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The Harvey Society, The Endocrine Society, American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and the New York Academy of Science. He has published extensively and served on numerous scientific review panels. Dr. Freedman has served on the editorial board of Molecular Endocrinology, Endocrinology and Endocrine Reviews, and has also been an editor of Molecular and Cellular Biology for the past eight years.

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