UVM University Distinguished Professor Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D. (Courtesy photo)
University of Vermont Provost and Senior Vice President Patty Prelock has announced that Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, is a 2022 recipient of the University Distinguished Professor Award. This title is a career appointment, and is the highest academic honor that UVM can bestow upon a member of the faculty.
The University Distinguished Professor recognizes faculty members who have achieved an international reputation as top scholars within their respective fields of study and made transformative contributions to the advancement of knowledge. No more than five percent of full professors may hold an active appointment as a University Distinguished Professor at any one time. They serve as an informal advisory body to the leadership of the university.
Janssen-Heininger, who is a member of the UVM Cancer Center, is the only new University Distinguished Professor this year and will be honored at the University Commencement Main Ceremony on May 22, 2022.
After receiving her Ph.D. from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, Janssen-Heininger joined UVM in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow and rose through the ranks to full professor. Her numerous contributions include facilitating UVM’s collaborative research program and affiliation agreement with Maastricht University, directing the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Master of Science graduate program, co-founding and helping establish the internationally recognized Redox Biology and Pathology Program, and serving as vice chair for research in her department. She became a fellow of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine in 2020, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Society as well as the field of redox biology. Her many national and international leadership roles include service as chair of National Institutes of Health special emphasis panels and standing study sections, as well as service as the organizing chair for several international conferences.
Janssen-Heininger's scientific discoveries over the past three decades have included contributing to the fundamental understanding of how altered oxidative/metabolic processes can lead to chronic environmental lung diseases. These findings have provided targets for potential future treatments in lung cancer and lung fibrosis, which she is currently developing. She had published 160 original peer reviewed manuscripts and holds five patents. She is the recipient of the inaugural National Heart Lung and Blood Institute R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, and the 2017 recipient of the Larner College of Medicine's Research Mentor Award and 2021 Research Laureate Award. To date, she has supervised nearly 30 graduate students, more than 10 postdoctoral fellows, and nine undergraduate students. Dozens of her trainees have advanced to successful academic careers, including several faculty at the Larner College of Medicine who have secured independent funding, due in large part to her critical mentorship.
“Dr. Janssen-Heininger has devoted herself to the academic and community missions of UVM through leadership, scholarship, and mentorship,” said Larner College of Medicine Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., and Senior Associate Dean for Research Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., in their nomination letter. “She is an internationally respected scientist who has brought widespread recognition to UVM," they added.
In addition to Janssen-Heininger, a number of Larner College of Medicine faculty members have received the title of University Distinguished Professor. Former professors include the late Jerold Lucey, M.D., from the Department of Pediatrics; the late Burton Sobel, M.D., from the Department of Medicine; and Susan Wallace, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics emerita. Current professors include Ralph Budd, M.D., professor of medicine and microbiology and molecular genetics emeritus; Brooke Mossman, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine emerita; Mark Nelson, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmacology; Russell Tracy, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine; and David Warshaw, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics.
Learn more about the University Distinguished Professor Program.