Robert Barchi Named Provost at University of Pennsylvania

Friday, December 4, 1998

PHILADELPHIA --- Robert L. Barchi, M.D., Ph.D., David Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences and chair of the departments of Neuroscience and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named Provost of the University, according to an announcement today (Dec. 4) by University President Judith Rodin.

Dr. Barchi, 52, will begin his assignment on Feb. 1, 1999.

"Dr. [Bob] Barchi is an extraordinary scientist and scholar who has become one of Penn's true luminaries in his quarter-century at the University," said Dr. Rodin. "He is a deeply respected faculty leader who has been at the forefront of the design and implementation of important multidisciplinary advances in teaching and research.

"I am truly delighted that someone who has so distinguished himself as an internationally-renowned scholar is eager to take on the challenge of Penn's academic leadership," she said. "I am also very, very pleased and grateful that our search committee considered so carefully the extraordinary academic leadership we have here at Penn in its international search to find just the right person to be the University's new Provost."

Dr. Barchi has been a member of the faculty at Penn since 1974, when he was appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the School of Medicine.

He was appointed assistant professor of neurology and of biochemistry and biophysics in 1975, associate professor of neurology and of biochemistry and biophysics in 1978 and professor of neurology and of biochemistry and biophysics in 1981.

Dr. Barchi was named David Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences in 1985 and for more than 12 years served as director of the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences (1983-96).

He currently is chair of the Department of Neuroscience (1992-) and the Department of Neurology (1995-) and president of Penn NeuroCare (1995-), a regional neurological specialty network.

Dr. Barchi has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where he has served as section chair for neuroscience and as a member of the Institute's membership committee. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the College of Physicians and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he has been elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians.

He is a diplomate of the American Academy of Neurology and Psychiatry, with certification in neurology, and of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

The work in Dr. Barchi's laboratory has focused on the voltage dependent sodium channels that generate action potentials in nerve and muscle cells and current research explores the relationship between molecular structure and function in the skeletal muscle sodium channel.

He is the author (with R.P. Lisak) of "Myasthenia Gravis" (1982) and (with R. Rosenberg, S. Prusiner, S. DiMauro and L. Kunkel) "The Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurologic Disease" (1993) and its second edition (1996), along with more than 150 research publications.

Dr. Barchi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lindback Award, which recognizes distinguished teaching at Penn that "is intellectually demanding, unusually coherent and permanent in its effect."

He also has been the recipient of the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award of the National Institutes of Health and the Senior Investigator Achievement Award of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Barchi has served on numerous committees of the American Neurological Association, including its board of councillors (1992-94), and on the National Medical Advisory Committee (1982-1995) of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America.

Dr. Barchi is a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Research (1993-).

He serves on the medical or scientific advisory boards of numerous companies, including Cephalon, Inc., and TransMolecular, Inc.

Dr. Barchi is on the editorial board of numerous professional journals, including Muscle and Nerve (1981-1992; 1995-), Ion Channels (1984-), Current Concepts in Neurology and Neurosurgery (1992-), The Neuroscientist (1993-), Neurobiology of Disease (1994-) and inSight (1998-).

He has served in leadership roles on numerous university-wide committees, including as president of the Medical Faculty Senate and, most recently, as chair of the President's Task Force on Cognitive Neuroscience (1998).

Dr. Barchi currently is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Biophysical Society, the American Neurological Association, the American Academy of Neurology, the Society for Neuroscience and the Society of General Physiologists.

He received a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in cell biology from Georgetown University in 1968, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Barchi received a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 and an M.D. degree from Penn in 1973. He was a resident in neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (1973-75).

Dr. Barchi is married to Joan E. Mollman, M.D., who is an associate professor of neurology at the School of Medicine. They have two children.

The search committee, which was convened on Jan. 23, 1998, was chaired by Thomas P. Gerrity, Ph.D., Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise and Dean of the Wharton School.

The committee included Herman Beavers, Ph.D., associate professor of English and Director of the African-American Studies Program; Rasool A. Berry (through June 30, 1998), a student in the College of Arts and Sciences; Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice; William J. Donawick, D.V.M., Mark Whittier and Lila Griswold Allam Professor of Surgery; Owen D. Garrick, M.D. (through June 30, 1998), a student at the Wharton School.

Glen N. Gaulton, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and Vice Dean of the School of Medicine; Eduardo D. Glandt, Ph.D., Heuer Professor of Chemical Engineering and Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science; Rachael F. Goldfarb, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences; Larry Gross, Ph.D., Sol Worth Professor of Communications; Douglas J. Hagan (from Sept. 1, 1998), a student at the Wharton School.

Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Trustee Professor of Law; Prem G. Kumar (from Sept. 1, 1998), a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School; Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute on Aging; Marvin Lazerson, Ph.D., Carruth Family Professor of Education; Jeremy Sabloff, Ph.D., professor of anthropology and Charles K. Williams II Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

oyce E. Thompson, Dr.P.H., professor of nursing; Sandra K. Tilford, a student in the Graduate School of Education; and Rebecca Trumbull, ex officio, senior planning associate at the School of Medicine.