March 20, 1998

Gastroenterology, cancer research efforts benefit from newly endowed chair

Gastroenterology, cancer research efforts benefit from newly endowed chair

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Dr. Raymond DuBois, Jr. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

Dr. Raymond N. DuBois Jr., recently named director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's division of Gastroenterology, has been named the Mina Cobb Wallace Professor in Gastroenterology and Cancer Prevention.

Noted Gallatin physician Dr. John B. Wallace endowed the $1.25 million chair in memory of his mother, Mina Cobb Wallace.

Sadly, however, Dr. Wallace died March 10, the day before DuBois was announced as the first holder of the chair. A day of events on March 11 had been planned to celebrate the announcement of the chair; almost all of them were canceled.

"This is both a happy and sad occasion for Vanderbilt," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, at Grand Rounds on March 11. "Dr. Wallace was a good and generous man who was a 60-year supporter of this institution. The entire Vanderbilt community is saddened by his passing, yet extremely happy by what Dr. Wallace left us."

Dr. Wallace received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee. After serving in the medical corps during World War II, he returned to UT for his medical degree. He interned in Mobile, Ala., then set up a general and obstetric practice in his hometown of Gallatin. Dr. Wallace was largely responsible for the establishment of Sumner County Hospital ‹ now Sumner Regional Medical Center ‹ and what was then Gallatin's first modern nursing home. The proceeds from the 1986 sale of the nursing home helped fund the annuity trust for the Mina Cobb Wallace Chair in Gastroenterology and Cancer Prevention.

DuBois received his medical degree in 1985 from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and has been a member of the Vanderbilt faculty since 1991. Prior to Vanderbilt, DuBois served as a Howard Hughes research associate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

DuBois' current research interests include the genetic regulation of epithelial cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis in the intestine and liver. He also focuses on the molecular basis for colorectal cancer and determining the role of the cyclooxygenase-2 gene in colorectal carcinogenesis.

DuBois is a past winner, in 1992, of the Boehringer-Ingelheim New Investigator Award and two years ago received the American Gastroenterological Association's Young Investigator Award.

"We are delighted to have Dr. DuBois as the first holder of this chair," said Dr. John A. Oates Jr., Thomas F. Frist Professor of Medicine. "He is a distinguished investigator and we look forward to his leadership and continued excellence."