F. Gerard “Gerry” Moeller, M.D., director of the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, has been appointed as the inaugural C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chair in Clinical and Translational Research.
The chair is one of six created by a 2015 $16 million gift from Ken Wright. In addition to naming the Wright Center and establishing the six chairs, the gift established the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Physician-Scientist Scholars Program, all of which are named for Ken and his late wife, Dianne.
“It is a great honor to be selected to hold a chair that bears the names of C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright,” said Dr. Moeller. “Mr. Wright is one of the most magnanimous donors supporting clinical research at VCU, as was his wife before her passing. I personally owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Wright, as does the center that bears his name.”
In addition to directing the Wright Center, Dr. Moeller is internationally known for his translational research on impulsivity and addictions using brain imaging as a tool for medication development. His addiction research has been funded since 1996 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and his work is published in more than 110 peer-reviewed publications.
In his time at VCU, Dr. Moeller has worked to enhance the culture of translational research. He came to the university in 2013 after being named professor and division chair of addiction psychiatry. In 2015, he was named director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research — later named for the Wrights. He currently holds appointments as professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, the Department of Neurology, and the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. He also serves as director of the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies and is associate vice president for clinical research.
In 2014, Dr. Moeller became principal investigator on a five-year, $6 million NIDA grant for clinical research and education directed toward the identification, evaluation and development of safe and effective treatments for cocaine addiction.
The remaining five C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chairs in Clinical and Translational Research will be awarded to faculty whose work promises to catalyze continued growth in translational research in the decades to come. Translational research focuses on multidisciplinary collaboration that accelerates laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients.
The Wrights have had a philanthropic relationship with the university that reaches back to 1999. The couple has created scholarships and professorships, donated property that became the home of the VCU Brandcenter, helped fund an expansion of the School of Engineering and bolstered cancer research and pulmonary care. In 2011, Wright was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
To learn more about endowed chairs and scholarships on the MCV Campus, contact Brian Thomas.