Beth Habecker named Co-Director of Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory

Beth Habecker
Beth Habecker

OHSU School of Medicine has appointed Beth Habecker, Ph.D., professor of chemical physiology and biochemistry, co-director of the OHSU-PNNL scientific partnership, PMedIC, effective July 1.

A joint research collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), PMedIC, the Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory, seeks to advance precision medicine – an approach that tailors disease treatments to individuals.

As co-director of PMedIC, Habecker will work to sustain and grow collaborations between PNNL and OHSU researchers across a range of biomedical applications.

“We’re delighted that Dr. Habecker is joining our efforts to enhance our collaboration with the scientists at PNNL,” said Dan Marks, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, OHSU School of Medicine. “Her long record of success and creativity as a scientist and proven leadership capability will bring new strength and vision to this important partnership. I look forward to working with Dr. Habecker on this mission.”

A member of the faculty since 1997, Habecker leads an active research program focused on sympathetic dysfunction in cardiovascular disease while also maintaining significant roles in both education and university service, including serving as interim chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology (now Department of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry).

“I’m excited about this opportunity to expand interactions between investigators at OHSU and PNNL,” said Habecker. “There is great potential to enhance research and training opportunities at both institutions.”

She’ll work closely with Bobbie-Jo Webb-Robertson, Ph.D., a computational biologist at PNNL, who was named the PNNL PMedIC co-director in April.

Karin Rodland
Karin Rodland

Dr. Webb-Robertson succeeds Karin Rodland, Ph.D., who is stepping down.

As the inaugural PNNL co-director of PMedIC, Rodland was instrumental in the successful launch and growth of PMedIC. So far, the collaboration has yielded:

  • $38M in programs awarded to date
  • 55 joint publications
  • Increased publication diversity at OHSU with publications in the fields of computer science, mathematics, physics and environmental science

Rodland held a joint appointment as an affiliate professor of cell, developmental and cancer biology, OHSU School of Medicine, while serving as a laboratory fellow at PNNL. Her research focused on signal transduction pathways that regulate proliferation in normal and malignant cells. She was the first to recognize the role of the calcium-sensing receptor in modulating proliferation in response to small molecules in the extracellular environment. Rodland was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 and served on the US HUPO Board of Directors and the FASEB Science Policy Committee.

Rodland is expected to continue as a scientific advisor for PMedIC and collaborations with PNNL.

“Dr. Rodland possesses a unique combination of experience and scientific excellence in both the national laboratory environment and in academia that was critical for the early success of our unique program with PNNL,” said Marks. “I’m pleased that she will remain a critical scientific advisor for our group, to help nurture and realize the vision that she was instrumental in creating with this collaborative program.”