Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


The Investiture of Dr. Jennifer Wu as the Scanlan Professor

From left to right: Dr. Edward M. Schaeffer; Dr. Jennifer D. Wu; Dr. James S. Norris; and Eric G. Neilson, MD, Vice President Medical Affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. 

On January 17, Jennifer D. Wu, PhD, was invested as the Mary and Patrick Scanlan Professor during a formal ceremony at the Four Seasons Chicago.

At the investiture, Dr. Wu shared: “I am so grateful and humble—this event is a wonderful way to honor science.”

The Scanlan Professorship was established with a gift from Mary and Patrick Scanlan in 2017. The Scanlans made this gift in honor of the treatment and care that Patrick received from Edward M. Schaeffer, MD, PhD, who now serves as Edmund Andrews Professor and chair of Urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

“I am very thankful to Dr. Schaeffer and appreciative of his work,” said Mr. Scanlan, who was unable to attend the event. “I followed him from Johns Hopkins to Northwestern—Northwestern is now my go-to. If things had gone differently with my diagnosis and treatment, I might not be here today. I credit Dr. Schaffer for that.”

The Scanlan Professorship was supported in part by alumni Patrick G. Ryan and Shirley W. Ryan through the Ryan Family Chair Challenge, which matches gifts made by other Northwestern supporters to establish new endowed professorships, or chairs, across a wide range of disciplines.

A Focus on Prostate Cancer

Drs. Norris, Wu, and Schaeffer with Dr. Jeffrey Sosman, professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology.

Dr. Wu joined Feinberg in August 2017 as professor of Urology and Microbiology-Immunology. Her research focuses on understanding how prostate cancer interacts with the immune system. Her accumulative research has led to a deep understanding of how cancer cells escape immune detection and further disable the immune system in order to thrive and become lethal. Dr. Wu’s findings are helping to develop a first-in-class immunotherapy to treat advanced prostate cancer.

In addition to this work, Dr. Wu has invested her career in education, serving as a mentor to undergraduate student interns, graduate students, post-doctoral trainees, and junior faculty.

“I have the highest respect for you,” said James S. Norris, PhD, emeritus professor of Microbiology-Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, who extolled Dr. Wu at the investiture. “I am extremely encouraged by your research data and the direction in which you are taking it.”

Dr. Schaeffer echoed Dr. Norris’s comments: “We are excited that you’re here, Dr. Wu, and look forward to our years of partnership ahead."

Dr. Jennifer Wu speaking at her investiture.

The Scanlan Professorship

The Mary and Patrick Scanlan Professorship enables Dr. Schaeffer to expand on his twofold vision for the Department of Urology. A part of that vision is to train “complete” urologists who are technically proficient, passionate, and innovative thinkers. In recruiting Dr. Wu and other exceptional faculty, Dr. Schaeffer is able to address the second part of his vision—to recruit and retain the top-notch faculty members who offer a broad range of expertise and will serve as catalysts for advances in the field.

“By creating this prestigious professorship, the Scanlans have invested in our mission to support the best and brightest scientists in order to advance our field,” said Dr. Schaeffer.

“Northwestern is an exceptional, world-class institution with a great spirit of collaboration. As the Scanlan Professor, I look forward to many successes for us as we all work together,” said Dr. Wu.