Perspectives is an ongoing series of Q&A’s with longtime McGovern Medical School faculty and staff, giving readers a glimpse into how the campus has changed over the years and the impact the school has had on their professional lives. This week’s edition of Perspectives features Len Lichtenberger, PhD, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology & Pharmacology.
What first brought you to McGovern Medical School?
Joining a new medical school in 1976 that was dynamic and growing.
How has McGovern Medical School changed throughout your tenure here?
When I joined, the faculty had more of a community and even a family type atmosphere. We had a faculty of less than 100 and worked under less rigid rules and guidelines to follow with regard to research, teaching and faculty committee assignments.
As the school and faculty have grown, it has become “institutionalized” in many ways. On the positive, there are many more faculty members to interact and collaborate with that have diverse interests and skill sets. The growth also comes with the downside of not knowing many faculty and administrators – and being a small fish in a big pond scenario – and being subjected to a great deal of rigid administrative rules.
Are there any mentors or colleagues who have been instrumental to your development and achievements?
Of course, as I collaborate with many researchers on the TMC campus, I have grown in many ways that would not have been possible in other environments.
Do you have any particular accomplishments, awards, or recognition that stand out and what makes them special?
I am very proud of my scientific and teaching accomplishments over the years, and having a positive impact on young researchers (undergraduates, medical and graduate students and junior faculty).
Also, having my research being translated into the founding of a small pharmaceutical company that fostered development an FDA approved drug that has undergone clinical testing.
What have you most enjoyed about your time at McGovern Medical School?
I have really enjoyed the willingness of our faculty, and that of other researchers and clinicians on the TMC campus, to openly exchange ideas and collaborate on interesting research projects that can be translated to the clinic.