William C. Sessa, Ph.D., an expert on blood vessel function in health and disease, has been named director of the medical school’s Program in Vascular Biology and Transplantation (VBT). Sessa, vice chair and professor of pharmacology, has served as deputy director of VBT since 2005.

Founded in 2000, VBT was the School of Medicine’s first interdepartmental research program explicitly focused on translating laboratory discoveries into practical treatments for disease. The 35 members of the program, drawn from numerous basic science and clinical departments, study the role of vascular biology in heart disease and peripheral vascular diseases, cancer and William Sessa stroke. Faculty also search for ways to improve outcomes in organ-transplant patients.

Sessa studies the signals sent by various proteins and by the gas nitric oxide in endothelial cells that form a thin lining inside blood vessels. When these signals are disrupted, vascular disease can result.

As director, he succeeds Jordan S. Pober, M.D., Ph.D., the VBT program’s founder and professor of pathology, immunobiology and dermatology. Pober will now head the medical school’s program in Human Translational Immunology.

“VBT is lucky to have Bill Sessa, an outstanding vascular biologist who is deeply committed to the application of basic research to real clinical problems,” says Pober. “I expect him to lead the program in new directions and toward ever greater
achievements.”