Regents approve name change for department

Joseph Khoury, MD

Joseph Khoury, MD

At its December meeting, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved changing the name of the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology to the UNMC Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

The name change is overdue, said department chair Joseph Khoury, MD.

“Immunology research has been a longstanding emphasis in the department, which is evidenced by the number of current faculty studying basic science and translational aspects of immunology as it relates to infectious diseases and cancer,” he said.

The new name helps recognize the department as a leader in immunology research on campus, he said. He pointed to the department’s leadership of the campuswide Immunology Interest Group, the emphasis of the graduate studies program (which is officially called Immunology, Pathology and Infectious Diseases) that is housed in the department, and the housing of the Biologics Production Facility, an International Organization for Standardization-accredited GMP/GTP facility, within the department.

Tammy Kielian, PhD, the Kommineni Professor of Pathology, said the department has had a long-standing footprint in the field of immunology.

“It is exciting to now have this official designation that will assist in our future recruitment efforts in the area along with existing collaborative interactions with other immunology-intensive programs across the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine campus,” she said.

Dr. Khoury agreed.

“This recognition coincides with the departmental vision of expanding immunology research through recruitment of faculty with expertise in the immunology of infectious diseases to interface with currently established research groups in the department,” he said, pointing to work on staphylococcal biology, obligate intracellular pathogens and virology.

“This is coupled with efforts to expand expertise in cancer immunology to bolster current capabilities within the department in close collaboration with the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.”

Dr. Khoury, who became department chair in 2022, said this paradigm is an element to his overall vision for the department, which will include strategic recruitments of immunologists, particularly those with expertise in adaptive immunity and immunotherapeutics.

“This change will enhance our visibility as a home for cutting-edge immunology research and competitiveness for research grants. Above all, the proposed modification of the department name is intended to cement the commitment to position the department as a global leader in the field of immunology research,” he said.

Bradley Britigan, MD, dean of the UNMC College of Medicine, congratulated Dr. Khoury and the department on the name change.

“As research in broad areas of immunology has grown and will continue to expand in the department, adding immunology to the department name better reflects the department’s mission, vision and accomplishments,” Dr. Britigan said.

1 comment

  1. Howard Gendelman, Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience Chair says:

    Joe, let me extend my congratulations to you and your team. But even beyond the name change it is your leadership that is to be congratulated. You see in bringing this forward the change in name highlights the importance of immunology for the future of our academic enterprise. This highlights what is operative on campus along with our collective works in research and education in this growing area in bringing investigators together. My hand now and always is extended to help make this an integrated campus-wide program with success in translational research activities as a driver. Warm regards and wishing all a prosperous and happy new year.

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