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Pioneering Physiologist Establishes Endowed Chair at UC San Diego School of Medicine

Physiologist John B. West, MD, PhD, can claim many firsts during his career at the University of California San Diego. He was one of the first faculty members hired at the School of Medicine, in 1969. He was the first to take physiological measurements at the summit of Mt. Everest—a dataset that has yet to be replicated. He wrote the textbook, now in its 10th edition, used to teach respiratory physiology to medical students around the world. And he was one of the first to study the effects of gravity on the lung, collaborating with NASA on studies of astronauts in space.

John B. West, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.

To continue his legacy and ensure future support for research and teaching in his field, West has made a $2 million gift to establish the John B. West Endowed Chair in Respiratory Physiology, the campus’s first endowed faculty chair in Respiratory Physiology. His gift contributes to the Campaign for UC San Diego.

“I’m very grateful to UC San Diego; had I stayed in London, where I worked before coming to UC San Diego, I am sure I would not have had the same opportunities,” said West. “Respiratory physiology is the foundation for the intelligent practice of pulmonary medicine, and it’s a pleasure to be able to endow a chair to continue to support this important field.”

The new endowed chair will provide support for a faculty member in the Division of Physiology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Funded through philanthropic gifts, endowed chairs are an important tool for recruiting and retaining outstanding scholars. They provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, to support the research, teaching and service activities of the chair holder.

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