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Published in CenterView on March 01, 2010

Six receive Guyton Professorships for "significant contributions" to UMMC

By Jack Mazurak

University of Mississippi Medical Center administrators named six faculty members to receive Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professorships, an honor recognizing significant research accomplishments and excellence in teaching.

"All of the faculty members chosen by the committee have made significant contributions, are nationally recognized by their peers and have contributed to the growth and development of the Medical Center," said Dr. Helen Turner, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and chair of the Guyton Professorship Committee.

"We had an outstanding group of candidates nominated and considered by the committee. Choosing recipients out of the group of outstanding candidates was difficult."

Though Guyton Professorships recognize outstanding scholarship, there's no threshold for number of grants or dollar amount of grants to get considered.

Billy S. Guyton
Billy S. Guyton

To be eligible, the nominee must be a tenured faculty member with at least five years service and be an active teacher and researcher with national distinction in his or her area of study, Turner said.

The distinction, which carries the name of one of the Medical Center's founders and its first School of Medicine dean, is awarded every five years.

Dr. Jane Reckelhoff's research includes studies of gender-influenced hypertension and the mechanisms affecting post-menopausal hypertension. The professor of physiology and biophysics joined UMMC in 1991 after receiving a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1985 and postdoctoral work in Texas and West Virginia.

Dr. Joey Granger, dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, concentrates his investigations on the mechanisms causing preeclampsia, a hypertensive condition in pregnant women. He earned his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics at the Medical Center and is a 1979 graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Dr. Julius M. Cruse, professor and vice chair of pathology, earned the M.D. and the Ph.D. in pathology and immunology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. A Fulbright fellow and UMMC's first Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine, he organized the Tissue Typing Lab for UMMC's Transplant Program, which he co-directs with Dr. Robert Lewis. Cruse's research has centered on the molecular immunogenetics of transplant rejection and in the pathogenesis of SLE and HIV infection. This is the second time he's received a Guyton professorship.

Dr. Michael Flessner, professor of medicine, holds the John D. Bower Chair of Nephrology and Hypertension and directs the Department of Medicine's Division of Nephrology. He is principal investigator in a study of health-care disparities in African-Americans with chronic kidney disease. Flessner earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan and an M.D. at the University of Maryland.

As principal investigator in "Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities," a two-decade-long population study, Dr. Thomas Mosley's primary research interests are how the brain changes with age and identification of vascular risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. The professor of medicine holds a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology from Louisiana State University.

Dr. Billy S. Guyton served as dean of the School of Medicine from 1935-1944 while it was a two-year school at the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford. He steered it through the Great Depression's ravages, state-level political issues and the near loss of its accreditation. Following his tenure, he served on a planning committee to build the four-year school in Jackson. In 1955, when the new school and hospital opened, Guyton served as its dean emeritus.

His son, Dr. Arthur Guyton, joined the Medical Center in 1955 and built a world-renowned department of physiology and biophysics.

The Billy S. Guyton Professorships were formally the Barnard Distinguished Professorships and were established by former Chancellor R. Gerald Turner to honor the best scholars on the faculty and to provide an incentive for them to remain academically active and associated with the university.

Administrators have scheduled a recognition ceremony at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.

2010 Recipients of the Billy S. Guyton: Distinguished Professorships


  • Dr. Thomas Mosley, professor of medicine
  • Dr. Michael Flessner, professor of medicine
  • Dr. Julius M. Cruse, professor and vice chair of pathology
  • Dr. Joey Granger, professor of physiology and biophysics
  • Dr. Jane Reckelhoff, professor of physiology and biophysics