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Leading Scientist in Vascular Cell Research Joins ODU’s Reidy Center for Bioelectrics

John CatravasJohn Catravas

One of the world's leading scientists in vascular cell research has joined Old Dominion University's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics.

John Catravas begins his appointment as Sentara Chair in Bioelectrics at the Reidy Center July 1. He joins a team that is already regarded as the world's leading research center in the field, which involves the interaction of high-energy electric fields with living cells. The position is funded through a donation by Sentara Healthcare.

Prior to joining ODU, Catravas was a Regents Professor of Vascular Biology and Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Health Sciences University.

Catravas' research is in the area of vascular endothelium and vascular inflammation, and the results from his work have been published in high-impact journals and in conference presentations worldwide. Richard Heller, director of the Reidy Center, said Catravas' research into heat shock proteins has the potential to lead to new treatments for lung injury.

The addition of Catravas as a Sentara Chair further adds to the research strength across disciplines at the Reidy Center. "I am very pleased that Dr. Catravas has accepted our offer to come to ODU and join the Center for Bioelectrics. He brings with him several exciting projects that will add new research areas to the center," Heller said.

"Dr. Catravas' research expertise and leadership skills will be a critical asset as we continue to grow the research enterprise at the Reidy Center and Old Dominion University as a whole. There will be many collaboration opportunities for faculty from many disciplines, which will enhance our efforts to grow interdisciplinary research at ODU."

Catravas holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Mississippi, and did postdoctoral training at Yale University in the departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Pulmonary Endothelial Pathophysiology and Pharmacology.

In 1995, he established the Vascular Biology Center at the Georgia Health Sciences University and served as acting director of its Cancer Center. Under his leadership the Vascular Center grew to include 14 faculty members, and by 2011 had annual external grant funding of more than $11 million. It is recognized as one of top vascular biology programs in the country.

An elected Fellow of the American Heart Association, Catravas served as editor-in-chief of the journal Vascular Pharmacology for 12 years, and was previously chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Athens School of Medicine in Athens, Greece.

ODU's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics has as its mission increasing scientific knowledge and understanding of the interaction of electromagnetic fields and ionized gases with biological cells, and applying this knowledge to the development of medical diagnostics, therapeutics and environmental decontamination.

The objectives of the center are to perform leading-edge interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research, recruit top faculty and exceptional graduate students, support regional, national and international programs, and increase external funding and institutional visibility.