A Boon for the Neurosciences at Northwestern - The Joint Investiture of Drs. Dimitri Krainc and Andrew Parsa

Dr. Neilson, Dr. Parsa, and Dr. Krainc (l to r)

"At Feinberg, our faculty is the single most important resource for advancing the medical school’s key missions of research, education, and clinical service. Our shared successes depend upon the intellectual environment created by this superb and committed faculty."

These words were spoken by Eric G. Neilson, MD, Lewis Landsberg Dean and vice president for medical affairs, at the recent joint investiture of Dimitri Krainc, MD, PhD, as the Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor of Neurology, and Andrew T. Parsa, MD, PhD, as the Michael J. Marchese Professor of Neurological Surgery. These world-renowned physician-scientists joined Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2013 and are contributing important new leadership and vision in the neurosciences.

Dr. Parsa serves as chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Dr. Krainc as chair of the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology. In their roles, both will help to leverage and maximize Northwestern’s existing excellence in the neurosciences. At Northwestern, the neurosciences represent the largest concentration of investigators and clinical faculty, and have a strong history of success in translating basic neuroscience to new preventives, diagnostics, and therapeutics. For example, the successful drug Lyrica was invented at Northwestern.  

A Devoted Physician and Expert Neurologist

"Dimitri brings a determination and singular purpose at a level that I call 'force of nature.' By this I don’t mean a noisy or chaotic force, but instead a quiet, thoughtful force with the goal of improving the outcome of people who suffer from neurological disorders," said Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who served as Dr. Krainc’s extoller for the evening’s program. He continued, "Dimitri approaches neurology with curiosity and a desire to help people."

Dr. Krainc

In addition to serving as chair of the Davee Department of Neurology, Dr. Krainc also serves as director of the Center for Rare Neurological Diseases and has had a transformative impact in the area of neurodegenerative diseases. His studies have uncovered the molecular underpinnings of diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, and have provided a foundation for innovative therapeutic development for these devastating disorders.

The Aaron Montgomery Ward Professorship bestowed upon Dr. Krainc was endowed in honor of Aaron Montgomery Ward, who was raised in the Chicago area and developed the revolutionary idea of providing goods at affordable prices through a mail order catalog business, known as Montgomery Ward & Company. Mr. Ward’s wife Elizabeth bequeathed a large portion of the family’s estate to Northwestern subsequent to his death for the construction and endowment of the Montgomery Ward Memorial Building.

"Thank you for the trust and for the opportunity. Andy and I have great plans," Dr. Krainc said to all who gathered to celebrate his endowed professorship honor. He also extended thanks to both Dr. Neilson and Dean Harrison, president and chief executive officer of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare.

Dr. Parsa receiving his medal from Dr. Neilson

A Gifted Neurological Surgeon and Valued Mentor

"Andy is a quadruple threat. He can operate, teach, research, and publish. His success is premised on inclusion—he involves everyone, radiating humor and warmth. He will most certainly be a valued faculty resource to Northwestern." John I. Miller, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, shared these and many more words of praise for Dr. Parsa’s work and character.

Dr. Parsa now holds the Michael J. Marchese Professorship, which was endowed by Margaret A. Marchese in memory of her late husband who was a real estate developer. The gift was also in gratitude to the neurological surgeons at Northwestern. Dr. Parsa is a recognized leader in his field and takes particular pride in mentoring students and residents. His research interests include CNS immunology and the optimization of treatment paradigms for patients with skull-base tumors.

"I have great appreciation for the synergy at Northwestern Medicine® and extend my gratitude to both Dr. Neilson and Mr. Harrison," said Dr. Parsa in closing. "Dimitri and I are going to build something special here."

“Thank you for the trust and for the opportunity. Andy and I have great plans.”

- Dr. Dimitri Krainc, Aaron Montgomery Ward Professor of Neurology,