A leading AIDS researcher, Dr. Jerome E. Groopman became the first recipient of the Dina and Raphael Recanati Professorship in Immunology at Harvard Medical School last month.
Groopman, who is chief of hematology and oncology at the Harvard-affiliated Deaconess Hospital in Boston, said he views the award as "a great honor as well as responsibility."
Michael Recanati endowed the professorship in honor of his parents. Groopman said that as far as he knows, this is the first Harvard chair to be endowed by an Israeli family.
"This is a great privilege for Harvard, and it really is an act of kindness and compassion for the Recanati family to provide funds to assist in laboratory research, particularly with AIDS," Groopman said.
Groopman noted that the title of the professorship symbolizes his work as a scientist and a physician.
Groopman said that "Dina" is Hebrew for "judge" and that judgments have played an important role in his work.
Groopman has researched drugs such as AZT, which treats the HIV infection; GM-CSF, which helps restore patients' immune systems; and the recently-approved DDI, which appears to help control the HIV infection.
The other name in the title, "Raphael," means "God heals," and Groopman said it reminds him that in both medicine and science, a dimension exists beyond his own capabilities.
Dr. J. Richard Gaintner, president and chief executive officer of Deaconess Hospital, said he was pleased by the Recanati family's gift.
"This program is an outstanding example of our multi-disciplinary approach to treatment and how knowledge gained at the laboratory bench can be applied to patient care at the beside," said Gaintner in a prepared statement.