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David Mendelowitz, PhD, to Serve as Interim Chair for the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences has named David Mendelowitz, PhD, professor of pharmacology and physiology and anesthesiology and critical care, to serve as the interim chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. Mendelowitz has served as the vice-chair of the department since 2003 and has been a member of the department’s faculty since 1999.

As interim chair, Mendelowitz will lead the department on a day-to-day basis. His role will include the promotion of innovative research and ensuring excellence in the department’s education programs. He will encourage collaboration, mentor professional development of faculty, and spearhead recruitment and retention efforts. Mendelowitz will encourage ongoing growth to the department’s research portfolio. 

“After serving as vice chair in the department for the last 15 years, there is not a better person than Dr. Mendelowitz to serve in the role of interim chair,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, MD, vice president for health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administration Medicine, and dean of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “His strong leadership qualities and ability to successfully mentor faculty are traits that are key to this role. I am appreciative of his willingness to take on this important leadership position.”

Mendelowitz is an expert in the field of brainstem control of cardiorespiratory function, publishing more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in this area. His research career is focused on how the autonomic nervous system, and particularly specific populations of neurons in the brainstem, control heart rate, airway resistance, and other essential cardiorespiratory functions. In addition to understanding the role of these neurons in normal physiology, Mendelowitz also seeks to determine how these neurons and networks are altered to initiate and/or sustain cardiorespiratory diseases, particularly in the prevalent cardiovascular diseases obstructive sleep apnea and heart failure. His overarching goal is to identify novel targets of opportunity for treating these diseases.

Mendelowitz also has a successful track record of training researchers at the graduate, post-doctoral, and clinical trainee levels, and has served as a mentor to young independent investigators.

“I am very pleased to be stepping into the role of interim chair. I have enjoyed serving as vice chair and am looking forward to leading the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology as it continues to grow and flourish in the days ahead,” said Mendelowitz.

The department’s long-time chair, Vincent Chiappinelli, PhD, stepped down from the chair position on Dec. 31, 2018, after serving in this role for 21 years, from 1997 to 2018. During his tenure as chair, Chiappinelli accomplished many things including the recruitment of 13 outstanding research scientists and five educators, while maintaining a supportive environment that fostered a culture of collaboration. He will remain on the faculty in a part-time capacity. 

“I am grateful to Vince for serving as an effective and respected leader at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences – in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, as well as his time serving on the senior leadership for the school. I look forward to his continued contributions to the school, to science, and to the faculty,” said Akman.