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CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
5203 Westlawn
(319) 335-9647
e-mail: debra-venzke@uiowa.edu

Release: Dec. 19, 2001

Spence appointed to Helen C. Levitt Visiting Professorship for 2002-2003

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- M. Anne Spence, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of California at Irvine, has been appointed to the Helen C. Levitt Endowed Visiting Professorship at the University of Iowa Colleges of Public Health and Medicine for the academic year 2002-2003. She will hold co-appointments in the Center for Statistical Genetics Research (CSGR) and Division of Statistical Genetics in the UI Department of Biostatistics, and in the UI Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.

The annual visiting professorship brings outstanding scholars from other institutions to the UI to lecture, consult with faculty and students, and devote time to research or activities related to clinical care.

Spence, an expert in human genetics, will work closely with UI researchers on several projects, including analyses of data on hypertension in rats and autism genetics. She also will oversee student projects and participate in the regular activities of the CSGR.

"Dr. Spence's research interests dovetail wonderfully with ongoing collaborations here at the UI," said Veronica Vieland, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and psychiatry, and director of the Division of Statistical Genetics and the CSGR. "Her experience and perspective will greatly enhance these projects, and she will serve as an outstanding resource for faculty members and graduate students."

Spence received her Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Hawaii. Following post-doctoral positions at the University of Hawaii and the University of North Carolina, she joined the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, where she remained until moving to the University of California at Irvine in 1992. She has been board certified as a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics since 1984. She has earned numerous awards, including an honorary D.Sc. degree in 1999 from her undergraduate alma mater, Grinnell College, and the prestigious Leadership Award of the International Genetic Epidemiological Society in 2001.

The CSGR is a joint UI College of Public Health and UI College of Medicine initiative devoted to research on complex human inherited disease. Its missions are to support excellence in basic methodologic work in statistical genetics, as well as to foster and promote interdisciplinary collaborative clinical research on genetic factors in human disease. The CSGR is designed as the research arm of a two-part initiative, the other arm of which is the academic Division of Statistical Genetics.

The Levitt Endowed Visiting Professorship was established in 1997 with a $2 million endowment from the estate of Helen C. Levitt through the UI Foundation. Levitt, a native of Sioux City and 1932 UI graduate, generously supported many areas of the university prior to her death in 1996.