Marshall School of Medicine announces organizational change for basic science departments

Monday, June 27, 2016
Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713

Marshall School of Medicine announces organizational change for basic science departments
Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D., named vice dean to oversee new unit

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.—Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, has announced a restructuring of the school’s departments of biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, toxicology and animal resources, which will result in the formation of one biomedical sciences department. 

The reorganized unit will be led by Gary O. Rankin, Ph.D., currently chairman of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology, who has been promoted to vice dean for basic sciences and chairman of the department of biomedical sciences.

“Realigning our basic sciences into one department is a strategic decision that allows us to move forward with a more focused emphasis on developing our research infrastructure and investing in our talented faculty and staff,” Shapiro said.  “I believe, as does Marshall’s leadership, that we must continue to grow our research enterprise in order to stay competitive and relevant in what is a rapidly changing academic and clinical environment.  Our sincere hope is that this restructuring will open up additional opportunities for us to be more successful in these research endeavors. In some ways, this is a logical extension of the restructuring that has occurred in our educational programs, especially those leading to the M.D. degree.”

Shapiro went on to say that the department of biomedical sciences will provide a foundation for cultivating comprehensive interdisciplinary research efforts as well as curricular partnerships. 

Rankin, who will assume his new position July 1, is a veteran scientist, researcher and educator who’s been with the medical school since 1978.  He has served in a number of administrative positions including chair of the department of pharmacology, associate dean for biomedical graduate education and research development, and, most recently, as professor and chair of the department of pharmacology, physiology and toxicology.  

“Gary Rankin is an exemplary scientist. Among his many successes are his continued oversight over the National Institutes of Health (NIH) WV-INBRE grant which brings in approximately $17 million in total costs and is important to the research infrastructure of the entire state. He is also a steadfast and committed Marshall faculty member, “Shapiro said.  “His many talents, as well as his extensive experience, will be invaluable to us in the coming years as we work to build this research infrastructure.”

Rankin has authored more than 130 research publications and trained hundreds of medical, graduate, undergraduate and postdoctoral students.  He was recently named associate editor of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, one of the discipline’s top journals.

“It is a real honor to have been selected to lead the new department of biomedical sciences,” Rankin said. “The medical school will be making a significant investment in the basic science faculty that will strengthen our research base and position us to be more competitive in research in the near future. It is an exciting time to be part of the medical school.”

Rankin earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, earned a doctorate in medicinal chemistry at the University of Mississippi and completed a fellowship in pharmacology at the Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo).


Date Posted: Monday, June 27, 2016