By Michael Haederle

Nancy Kanagy, PhD

Longtime Faculty Member Named Chair for UNM Department of Cell Biology & Physiology

Nancy L. Kanagy, a tenured professor in The University of New Mexico's Department of Cell Biology & Physiology, has been named the department's next chair. Kanagy will assume leadership of the department July 1, taking over from Oscar Bizzozero, PhD, who is retiring.

"Dr. Kanagy is an outstanding researcher with an impressive record of dedicated service to the university and her department," said Paul B. Roth, MD, MS, Chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of School of Medicine. "She also is known as a mentor who inspires students in their pursuit of knowledge."

Kanagy, who currently heads the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and serves as senior associate dean for research education, said she is looking forward to the new challenge.

"I'm excited," she said. "I think we have a fantastic department - we've got some amazing scientists at UNM."

Kanagy noted that several other senior faculty will be retiring this year. Once all of the vacant positions have been filled, "We're going to be a very young department," she said. "I am very much looking forward to being able to mentor young scientists."

Most faculty in the department currently fall into one of two research groups: vascular physiology or cancer biology, Kanagy said. "I'm looking forward to building bridges between these two groups," she said.

Kanagy completed her PhD in pharmacology at Michigan State University and conducted postdoctoral research the University of Michigan before coming to UNM in 1995.

Her research has primarily focused on vascular physiology - the function of the cells lining blood vessels - hypertension and blood pressure control.

Kanagy has measured the effects of chronic oxygen deprivation in people suffering from sleep apnea and studied how exposure to diesel exhaust impairs coronary artery function.

She has also helped to develop a sensor technology to non-invasively measure circulating hydrogen sulfide as a way to assess vascular health in patients suffering from life-threatening peripheral artery disease.

Bizzozero praised Kanagy as a well-regarded team player. "I have no doubts that our department will continue to flourish under her leadership," he said. "I leave the department in capable hands and I am deeply committed to help her during the transition in leadership."

Martha Cole McGrew, MD, the School of Medicine's executive vice dean, thanked Kanagy for her service as senior associate dean for research education and said an internal search will be launched soon to find a replacement.

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