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Two Faculty Members Named to Benning Chairs


(SALT LAKE CITY)— Two University of Utah school of medicine faculty members have been named to the prestigious H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed chairs. The two new Benning Chairs are Dale Abel, M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Yandell, Ph.D.

Abel is chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes; professor of medicine, biochemistry, and human genetics; and a senior investigator with the University of Utah Molecular Medicine program.

Abel's current research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to cardiac dysfunction in diabetes and the regulation of myocardial growth and metabolism by insulin signaling. Abel received numerous prestigious scholastic honors, including the 2012 Gerald D. Aurbach Award Lecture, the International Laureate Award from The Endocrine Society for "outstanding" contributions to endocrinology research, and the James A. Pulliam Memorial Lectureship Award 2012 from Meharry Medical College. He is Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Sarnoff Cardiovascular Foundation and an elected member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). He is a fellow of the American Heart Association and The College of Physicians.

Yandell, a professor of human genetics and adjunct associate professor of biomedical informatics, focuses his research on genomics that combine computer sciences and experimental molecular biology.

A molecular biologist by training, Yandell was part of the Human Genome Project (HGP) as both a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University and then as lead scientist in charge of creating software to annotate the human genome for Celera Corp, a private company involved in the HGP, and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Benning chairs were established in August 2005 with a $22.5 million bequest from the late Arthur E. Benning, former president and chairman of the board of Amalgamated Sugar. The chairs are named in memory of his parents. Once the final chairholders are selected, the faculty will form the core of the H.A. and Edna Benning Medical society which will sponsor an annual event focusing on leading edge medicine.