Feb 23, 2006 — Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., an internationally recognized researcher and endocrinologist who serves as Director of the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive Diseases & Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been appointed Dean of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, effective June 1st.
He will succeed Dr. Dominick P. Purpura, an internationally renowned neuroscientist who has been Dean of Einstein since 1984 — the longest tenure of any medical school dean in the United States.
The announcement of Dr. Spiegel’s appointment was made by Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel. Dr. Spiegel will become the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of the medical school, as well as Vice-President for Medical Affairs of Yeshiva University.
“Dr. Spiegel brings to Einstein sterling leadership qualities, an internationally respected scientific reputation and an unwavering commitment to excellence,” said President Joel, who explained that the appointment is the result of an extensive national search and on the recommendation of a 30-member committee of faculty, board members, leaders of Einstein’s affiliated hospitals, alumni and students.
“The Search Committee and I know that we have found in Dr. Spiegel the person we believe to be uniquely qualified to further the extraordinary record of accomplishment of Dean Purpura over the past 22 years and build on the 50 years of achievement that have made Einstein one of the top medical schools in the world.”
In fact, Dr. Spiegel’s appointment positions the medical school to go forward boldly at a time when it is expanding to meet the tremendous challenges and advancements of 21st century medicine, technology, and research, and cementing its standing at the “forefront of educating and developing ethical, caring physicians/scientists,” President Joel said. “This is what distinguishes Einstein from other medical schools and is reflective of the very mission of Yeshiva University.”
Ira M. Millstein, chairman of the medical school’s Board of Overseers, echoed these sentiments, noting that, “I am very excited for the future of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Allen Spiegel at the helm. His long experience and brilliant record of achievement at the National Institutes of Health make him uniquely qualified to lead our medical school. In addition, his deep understanding and commitment to the critical bond between basic research and patient care will enable us to enhance and expand the major clinical research programs we conduct at our outstanding hospital affiliates.”
Dr. Matthew D. Scharff, professor of cell biology at Einstein and chair of the Dean search committee, commented that all of the members of the committee were “enormously impressed with Dr. Spiegel as a person, with his intellect, and with his scientific creativity and accomplishments. He has deep insight into how 21st century science can lead to an unprecedented understanding of the prevention and treatment of disease and,” Dr. Scharff added, “an abiding belief in biomedical research as a force for good in the world.”
In fact, Einstein is well-poised to expand research and look in new ways at translational medicine. Much of this work will be conducted at a new state-of-the-art research building, the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion scheduled for completion in late 2007 or early 2008.
For nearly 30 years, Dr. Spiegel has had a nationally regarded and highly distinguished career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he has been Director of the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive Diseases & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) since 1999. He began his career at the NIH in 1973 as a Clinical Associate in its Endocrinology Training program. He then served as a Senior Investigator in the Metabolic Disease Branch from 1977 to 1984. In 1985 he was appointed Chief of Molecular Pathophysiology, and then Chief of the Metabolic Diseases Branch. In addition, he was simultaneously appointed Director of the NIDDK’s Division of Intramural Research. He served in these various capacities until his appointment as Director of the NIDDK.
As director, Dr. Spiegel has responsibility for a staff of 625 full-time employees and a $1.7 billion budget. The Institute conducts research on some of the most serious and chronic diseases affecting the nation’s health. It also supports the work of approximately 3,300 investigators in medical centers, universities, and laboratories throughout the United States.
Dr. Spiegel is an internationally renowned physician-scientist and endocrinologist with extensive experience in translational research programs. His research has centered on G-protein-regulated signaling dysfunction in human disease, and his work on signal transduction helped to clarify the genetic basis of several endocrine diseases. His research also demonstrated that defects in G proteins — receptor related proteins — have major significance in the function of cells and could cause inherited disease. He has published widely, with some 250 peer-reviewed papers and 100 reviews and book chapters to his name, as well as two books on G proteins.
“I am tremendously excited and gratified that President Richard Joel has given me the opportunity to lead one of the nation’s finest medical schools,” said Dr. Spiegel. “I hope to use all the experience and knowledge acquired during nearly 33 years as a physician-scientist and science administrator at the National Institutes of Health to make the Albert Einstein College of Medicine an even stronger biomedical research and educational institution.”
A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Spiegel earned his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University in 1967. He received his M.D. degree cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1971 and completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital.