The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation announced today that Fletcher B. Taylor, Jr., M.D., who has spent more than two decades as a scientist at OMRF, has endowed a chair at the foundation.
Taylor’s gift will establish the Alvin Chang Chair in Cardiovascular Biology. The chair is named in honor of Taylor’s longtime senior research assistant, who died in May.
“This chair is a tribute to my friend Alvin Chang. In his warm, quiet way, he complemented every aspect of our laboratory research, and he passed those virtues on to the next generation of people in the lab,” said Taylor. “This chair is one way of illustrating to others the source of our real strength at OMRF – the research assistants, technicians and support staff on whom we depend.”
Taylor, a physician-scientist, came to OMRF in 1982. He headed the cardiovascular biology research program for ten years and remains a member of OMRF’s scientific staff. His pioneering research with fellow OMRF scientist Charles Esmon, Ph.D., laid the groundwork for the drug Xigris, the first and only FDA-approved treatment for severe sepsis, which kills approximately 250,000 people each year.
“Dr. Taylor is a true groundbreaker,” said OMRF President J. Donald Capra, M.D. “His work in the laboratory created a lifesaving drug, and now, as the first scientist to endow a chair at OMRF, his generosity will help his colleagues continue the battle against deadly cardiovascular diseases.”
The scientist who holds this new chair will specialize in cardiovascular research, likely focusing on understanding the mechanisms that contribute to heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. OMRF has not yet determined who will occupy the chair, which will be twelfth endowed chair at OMRF and the sixth established since 1998.
Heart disease and stroke are, respectively, the first and third leading killers in the U.S., claiming a total of more than 800,000 American lives each year. The American Heart Association estimates that more than 60 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and only member of the National Academy of Sciences in the area of biomedical research.