Dr. Victor J. Thannickal named to lead Deming Department of Medicine

Victor J. Thannickal, MD, will be named The Harry B. Greenberg Chair in Tulane University School of Medicine’s John W. Deming Department of Medicine. He joins the university in January 2021.

Thannickal is a professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB); the Ben Vaughan Branscomb Chair of Medicine in Respiratory Disease; director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care; and vice chair for research, Department of Medicine.

The Department of Medicine is one of the largest clinical departments within the Tulane School of Medicine, with an expansive research program that extends from the basic sciences of physiology and disease to the application of knowledge in clinical and community settings. 

Thannickal’s research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms of lung repair and regeneration. Discoveries from this work have led to the identification of a number of drug targets for the treatment of fibrotic lung disease. He has multiple active grants from the National Institutes of Health, including a translational Program Project grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 

“I am pleased to join an outstanding group of clinicians, educators and scientists within the Deming Department of Medicine at Tulane University,” Thannickal said. “Tulane has a legendary history of major contributions to science and medicine. I look forward to building on this legacy by establishing leading research and training programs at both the graduate and post-graduate levels. We aspire to make scientific discoveries that address global pandemics and health inequalities, while contributing to the creation of healthier populations worldwide.”

A graduate of Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thannickal served a fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine. Later, he held faculty positions at Tufts, University of Michigan and UAB, where he currently directs the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. Under his leadership, the division has grown to over 75 faculty members and expanded its research and educational programs, including the institution of a highly successful NIH T32 Training Program in Lung Biology and Translational Medicine. Research funding for the division has grown to over $25 million per year under his tenure, making it one of the top-funded divisions in the country. Thannickal has a passion for mentoring and team-building; trainees from his laboratory have moved on to independent careers at multiple academic medical centers across the United States.

“We are fortunate to have attracted a leader and innovator of Dr. Thannickal’s caliber to head the Deming Department of Medicine,” said Lee Hamm, MD, senior vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. “His collaborative and forward-thinking vision will have an impact not only on our largest department, but across the entirety of Tulane University and the global community we serve.”

Thannickal is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Clinical and Climatological Association. He is the recipient of the American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Consulting Editor), as well those of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and the American Journal of Pathology; and is an associate editor of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.