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Dennis D. Black, MD, Appointed Buckman Chair at UTHSC


The UTHSC College of Medicine has appointed Dennis D. Black, MD, to the John Dustin Buckman Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine has appointed Dennis D. Black, MD, to the John Dustin Buckman Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics. Since 1998, Dr. Black, a professor of pediatrics, has been the scientific director of the Children”s Foundation Research Center (CFRC) located at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center of Memphis. The CFRC represents a unique partnership between Le Bonheur, the Children”s Foundation of Memphis and UTHSC. The professorship is earmarked to support the scientific director of the CFRC. Dr. Black is also a professor of physiology at UTHSC and associate director of the UTHSC Clinical and Translational Science Institute. As vice president for Research at Le Bonheur Children”s Medical Center, he is also a member of the hospital”s Senior Leadership Council.

The CFRC was created in 1995 to promote the health and well-being of children in the Memphis area. Under Dr. Black”s direction since 1998, the CFRC has grown from a dozen investigators to 30 full-time scientists whose discoveries are focused on children”s health and well-being. Supported by more than 75 research technicians, post-doctoral fellows, research nurses and study coordinators, CFRC pediatric investigators are breaking ground in all three types of research: basic, clinical and translational (bench to bedside to community).

His lab was the first to prove that an important role of a protein called apolipoprotein A-IV is to enhance fat absorption in a newborn”s small intestine. In his 19th year of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, Dr. Black”s ultimate goal is to understand what type of fat is best handled by the apo A-IV system and how the apo A-IV gene is regulated in a newborn”s intestine. This may lead to therapeutic strategies for up-regulating the gene to improve fat absorption in sick infants and possibly down-regulating the gene in older children and adults who are obese.

Dr. Black has been nationally recognized throughout his career. He has served on the Executive Councils of the Society for Pediatric Research and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN). While serving as chair of the NASPGHAN Research Committee, he received the Award of Appreciation from Mead Johnson Nutritionals for serving as director of the Annual North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition/Mead Johnson Research Forum for Pediatric Gastroenterologists. He has been listed in Woodward/White’s Best Doctors in America from 1998 through the present. In 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mid-South Chapter of the American Liver Foundation. He has served on numerous NIH review panels and is currently a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. Most recently, he was appointed as merit professor of Beijing Children”s Hospital and Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.

A 1978 graduate of the UTHSC College of Medicine, Dr. Black completed his pediatric residency and a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology at Le Bonheur Children”s Medical Center. He is an active member in a wide variety of professional organizations including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the Southern Society for Pediatric Research, the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the American Pediatric Society.

As the flagship statewide academic health system, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is focused on a four-tier mission of education, research, clinical care and public service, all in support of a single goal: to improve the health of Tennesseans. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC has additional College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy campuses in Knoxville and a College of Medicine campus in Chattanooga. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.

All of the Children”s Foundation Research Center investigators are full-time scientists who also teach in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Le Bonheur donated and maintains about 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory space where the CFRC is located.