Event to be held Oct. 21

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Researcher and West Virginia University School of Medicine alumnus Thomas C. Westfall, Ph.D., will deliver the third annual Robert E. Stitzel Lecture at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. He will present “A Love Affair With Catecholamines and the Sympathetic Nervous System.”

Dr. Westfall currently serves as chair and William Beaumont Professor of the Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Science at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from WVU in 1962 and completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Physiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 1965, Dr. Westfall joined the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine as an assistant professor and was eventually promoted to professor. He joined the faculty in his current department as professor and chair in 1979. He assumed his current role in 1990. He also serves as director of the Saint Louis University Center of Excellence in Neuroscience.

Dr. Westfall’s recent studies have focused on the interactions between the neurotransmitters and the system that regulates blood pressure, which is out of balance in many patients with hypertension. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow impulses to pass from one cell to another in the body’s sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for the fight or flight response. These studies have deepened the scientific community’s understanding of the treatment of hypertension. His research program has been continuously funded by NIH since 1965.

He has supervised research training for 24 graduate students and 17 postdoctoral fellows. He has also directed a training grant in pharmacological sciences since 1990. He has been a peer reviewer for journals and granting agencies and has been active in the Association of Medical School Pharmacology Chairs and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The lecture series is named for the late Robert E. Stitzel, who served WVU as an educator, scientist and administrator for more than 40 years. Graduate students who receive funds for their education through the Stitzel Awards will be recognized after the lecture.

The lecture is in the Fukushima Auditorium (Room 1901) in the Health Sciences Learning Center. Immediately following, there will be a reception in the foyer adjacent to the auditorium.

For more information: Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 10-11-10