December 4, 2008

UAMS’ John C. Ansel, M.D., Named Jansen Chair in Dermatology

LITTLE ROCK – John C. Ansel, M.D., was named G. Thomas Jansen, M.D. & Frances B. Jansen Chair in Dermatology during a ceremony today at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Ansel is professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology and professor in the Department of Ophthalmology in the UAMS College of Medicine. He previously served as tenured professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, with a joint appointment in the Department of Ophthalmology, and was on staff at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., and the Veterans Administration Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver. 

“Dr. Ansel joined UAMS earlier this year and brought with him the wealth of knowledge and expertise needed to expand and enhance the dermatology services and research at UAMS,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. G. Thomas Jansen, M.D., assumed leadership of the then Division of Dermatology at UAMS in 1968 and held the position until 1982. During his tenure, the division became the Department of Dermatology, of which he is now professor emeritus.

“Dr. Jansen’s dedication to top-notch dermatologic treatment is known worldwide, but it is most especially recognized here at UAMS where he worked tirelessly to recruit the finest faculty and provide the most advanced care for patients,” said UAMS College of Medicine Dean Debra Fiser, M.D.

Participating in the ceremony along with Wilson and Fiser were Robert M. Lavker, Ph.D., professor of dermatology and director of dermatology research at Northwestern University in Chicago; Nigel W. Bunnett, Ph.D., professor of surgery and physiology and vice chair of research in the Department of Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and director of the UCSF Center for the Neurobiology of Digestive Diseases; and William M. Chace, Ph.D., professor of English and president emeritus at Emory University in Atlanta.

Ansel received his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical University in Philadelphia in 1977 and completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. He was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health from 1981-1986 in the Laboratory of Immunology and in the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology.

He then joined the Department of Dermatology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, where he developed a research program that focused on the role of cytokines in skin inflammation, corneal disease, wound healing and melanoma tumorigenesis.

In 1995, Ansel joined the Dermatology Department at Emory University, where he was a professor with tenure, and the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, where he served as the Dermatology Section chief. He held a joint appointment in the Department of Ophthalmology at Emory. In 2002, he was appointed chairman and professor in the Department of Dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

His research focuses on the role of the neurologic and immunologic systems in mediating inflammation in the skin and eye. His interests also include immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of malignant melanoma.

Jansen is a member and former president of the American Dermatologic Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, the Southern Medical Association and the national Dermatology Foundation. In 1997, the Academy of Dermatology recognized his efforts by granting him its highest award, the Gold Medal, for his exemplary service as professor and chairman of the department, and for his many contributions to advancing the knowledge of skin cancer, melanoma and other dermatologic disorders.  Since 1938, only 24 people have received this award.

His many other achievements include playing a primary role in the clinical definition of the brown recluse spider bite and basic research in the spider venom. After training under Frederic Mohs, M.D., at the University of Wisconsin, Jansen became a founding member of the College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and was responsible for bringing the now widely used Mohs excision technique to Arkansas.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year.