The next shift in leadership at the American Physiological Society will see another University of Mississippi Medical Center scientist preparing to take the helm of the organization.
As of April 1, Dr. Jane Reckelhoff will become the ninth person who trained or worked at UMMC to serve as president-elect of the society, a factor she said is largely due to her department's encouragement of junior faculty members or trainees to get involved with this prestigious organization.
Reckelhoff, a professor of physiology and biophysics, has previously served on the APS Council for three years and headed one of the organization's sections. In her new duties, she will help shape how the group continues its long-term goals.
"APS supports research strongly," she said. "(We) provide funds for research conferences, lobby Capitol Hill for funds for research. (We) work with policy for any changes that have to do with how research is done."
The elected position requires a three-year commitment, said Reckelhoff, who will take over as president of the society after the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting in Boston. She also will be the first female from UMMC to hold the office.
It's a journey that was recently concluded by Dr. Joey Granger, professor of physiology and biophysics and dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, who served as APS president in 2010-11.
In 2001, the APS president was Dr. John Hall, the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and chair of physiology and biophysics at UMMC.
"We are delighted and proud that Dr. Reckelhoff has been elected by the 10,000 plus members of the American Physiological Society as their next president," said Hall. "This is a high honor that recognizes her enormous contributions to the science of physiology as well as her national service and leadership.
"Janie continues the long line of nine APS presidents who were faculty members or trainees of the department of physiology and biophysics at UMMC," added Hall, "Janie's accomplishments bring great recognition to UMMC as a place of excellence in research and discovery."
While championing research, Reckelhoff said APS also focuses on education professionals and students about physiology and research.
"The APS supports training the next generations of physiologists with their outreach programs to K-12 and undergraduate institutions. They have all kinds of mentoring programs, like the professional skills training course that teaches post-doctoral and graduate students how to write and give presentations," she said.
"They have a teachers training course where they pay to have high school teachers come into research labs over the summers and then go back to their students and tell them about the experience as a way to get kids interested in research."
Reckelhoff follows in the footsteps of the late Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, APS president in 1974-75, who was the first chair of the UMMC physiology department and one of the world's most preeminent cardiovascular physiologists.
Guyton is credited with finalizing the "sectionalization" of the society, which gave members the opportunity to meet in smaller groups with other members who shared their research interests. Today the society has 12 sections, six groups and oversees 14 scholarly journals.
Guyton, a Harvard-trained M.D., was the fork in the road leading to Mississippi dominance in the organization. When he became president, he was the 17th of the 46 presidents who preceded him with a Harvard connection. Since Guyton, Mississippi has edged out the third-oldest medical school in the country. Only four presidents since Guyton have a Harvard connection.
In 1988, Dr. Aubrey Taylor, one of Guyton's graduate students, became APS president, followed the next year by Dr. Vernon Bishop, another of Guyton's students.
Dr. Allen Cowley, who did postgraduate work with Guyton and was on the physiology faculty here, became president in 1997, followed the next year by Dr. L. Gabriel Navar, another Guyton student.
Dr. Neil Granger, Joey's brother and a former graduate student in physiology at UMMC, was APS president in 2004.