On Wednesday, November 18, we were pleased to present the Inaugural Joseph Larner Memorial Lecture in Pharmacology. Dr. Joseph Larner (January 9, 1921 – January 28, 2014) served as Chairman of the Pharmacology Department from 1969-1990. He led a distinguished career, garnering numerous scientific awards including the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement in Diabetes Research, the Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award in Science, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Larner’s notable research was focused on the study of insulin activity with the goal of improving diabetes treatments and, in 1974, he founded the UVa Diabetes Center for Research. The Larner family—wife Frances and sons Andrew, James, and Paul—endowed the Joseph Larner Annual Memorial Lecture in Pharmacology to explore the pervasive role of metabolism/cell signaling in human disease. Gifts from the family, as well as Dr. Larner’s UVa colleagues and other scientists who respected his work, provide support for this annual lecture and continue Dr. Larner’s legacy at the School of Medicine.
Faculty, students, postdocs, and staff from across the School of Medicine joined together in the Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium to hear engaging speakers David Brautigan, Ph.D. and Morris J. Birnbaum, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Brautigan, the F. Palmer Weber Medical Research Professor, Departments of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, and Director of the Center for Cell Signaling at the University of Virginia, provided an overview of Dr. Larner’s research and then spoke on Unexpected Functions of an Ancient Protein Phosphatase. Following Dr. Brautigan’s talk, keynote speaker Morris Birnbaum presented a lecture entitled Glycogen Synthesis and Beyond: The Complex Regulation of Hepatic Metabolism. Dr. Birnbaum is the Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease (CVMED) Research Unit at Pfizer.
Here are a few pictures from the event — all in all, a great afternoon of science!