Dr. Loren Denlinger honored as inaugural William W. and Judith H. Busse Endowed Professor in Allergy and Asthma Research
On November 7, 2019, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Medicine held an investiture ceremony to honor Loren Denlinger, MD, PhD, the recipient of the inaugural William W. and Judith H. Busse Endowed Professorship in Allergy and Asthma Research.
The endowed professorship, which provides annual support to the holder for allergy and asthma research, was established with a lead gift from William Busse, MD, professor, Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and a former chair of the Department of Medicine, and Mrs. Judith Busse.
Pictured above, just before the ceremony, from left to right: the Busses, Elizabeth (Betsy) Trowbridge, MD, Phillip August and Sarah Neely Herrmann Professor in General Internal Medicine and interim chair, Department of Medicine; Denlinger; and UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Dean Robert N. Golden, MD.
Many current and retired faculty, former trainees, and community members joined the Busses in providing philanthropic support for this professorship. Also participating in the effort were John and Tashia Morgridge, who provided matching funds as part of their Morgridge matching gift initiative.
A role model for generosity
The ceremony began with a welcome from Trowbridge, who recognized Busse for his generosity as a philanthropist, educator, researcher and leader, noting that he has mentored several generations of learners in the Department of Medicine, including Denlinger and herself.
“Your generosity is a role model for me and almost everyone in this room,” she shared. “The Department of Medicine really appreciates the ability to have funds like this to help great researchers like Loren Denlinger be able to do their great work with total freedom.”
Remarkable, well-deserved recognition
Dean Golden, pictured above, continued the program with a brief overview of Denlinger’s education at UW–Madison, from earning MD and PhD degrees here, to being one of the first graduates of the Department of Medicine residency program’s research pathway, to completing fellowships in pulmonary and critical care and pulmonary research.
“Out of the gate, he got a K award [a type of National Institutes of Health-funded career development award] and since then, has had a wildly successful trajectory as the proverbial ‘triple threat,’ Golden remarked. “He is clinically active, he’s an outstanding mentor, role model and teacher, and has had a striking evolution from a research team player to a research team player-coach.”
Recognizing both the value of endowed professorships in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest faculty—and Busse’s academic legacy as an innovative physician scientist and dedicated leader—Golden also thanked the Busses for their support. “Their generosity and impact can be felt throughout our facilities, throughout our programs and most important, throughout the people who benefit from their nurturance,” he affirmed.
Turning to Denlinger, he concluded, “Congratulations on this remarkable and well-deserved recognition. We are confident that you will add luster to this precious gem that has been bestowed upon you.”
Honoring career development and mentorship
Busse, pictured above, then acknowledged the many other supporters of the endowed professorship, including John and Tashia Morgridge and approximately 40 additional families, some of whom were in the audience.
He commended Denlinger’s dedication to asthma research, saying “he has done everything right,” and sharing how Denlinger began his career as a physician-scientist under the mentorship of Paul Bertics, PhD, in the Department of Biomolecular Chemistry. Denlinger later joined the UW–Madison team of the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), a network supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI), and grew into a leader in precision medicine approaches for severe asthma.
After receiving a plaque commemorating the investiture, Denlinger, pictured above, spoke about how his research began with local training opportunities in natural asthma exacerbation and allergen challenge studies, and evolved into clinical trials of personalized medicine approaches for treating asthma. Throughout his talk, he honored those who had mentored him and shared how they helped shape his career development.
Today, Denlinger is the principal investigator of the The Great Lakes PrecISE Partnership, a NIH/NHLBI-supported, multi-center, biomarker-informed, platform adaptive clinical trial for patients with severe asthma, and a co-investigator on SARP, which is now entering its fourth phase.
“It has been my distinct privilege and joy to be one of your mentors for the past 21 years,” commented Nizar Jarjour, MD, professor and division head, Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, pictured above, as he closed the ceremony.
Jarjour expressed gratitude to the Busses, the SMPH and the NIH/NHLBI for their support, and to the research team for their dedication to advancing the science of asthma and improving treatment for the disease.
“Thank you to everyone who supported this initiative,” he concluded. “It’s very special and heartwarming, and thanks to everyone who came here tonight to recognize Loren. Congratulations and well done, my friend, and on Wisconsin!”
Banner: Dr. Loren Denlinger receives a plaque honoring his investiture as the inaugural William W. and Judith H. Busse Endowed Professor in Allergy and Asthma Research. From left: Dr. William Busse; Judith Busse; Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Trowbridge; Dr. Loren Denlinger; SMPH Dean Dr. Robert N. Golden; Dr. Nizar Jarjour. Credit: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine.