Distinguished University Professors

The title of Distinguished University Professor is the highest appointment bestowed on a faculty member at UMB. It is a recognition not just of excellence, but also of impact and significant contribution to the nominee’s field, knowledge, profession, and/or practice.


William T. Carpenter, MD

William T. Carpenter, MD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Maryland Psychiatric Research Center
niversity of Maryland School of Medicine

Bio: William T. Carpenter, MD 
William Carpenter’s major professional interest has been severe mental illness, especially schizophrenia, including phenomenology, etiology, pathophysiology, anatomy, and treatment.

He has made original and fundamental contributions in psychopathology, assessment methodology, testing of novel treatments, and research ethics.

His specific professional assignments include service on the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Intramural Research Program Board of Scientific Counselors and as a consultant and reviewer for NIMH and the National Institutes of Health on many topics. He chaired the NIMH Research Scientist Career Development Committee and the NIMH National Schizophrenia Plan Committee on Treatment Research.

Carpenter has served as principal investigator on five NIMH-funded center grants and three National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Distinguished Investigator awards. He provided expert testimony in the U.S. Government v. John Hinckley case on the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, and in 1989 was a member of a State Department delegation that inspected the political use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union.

Carpenter was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1998. He has received many national and international awards, including the Schizophrenia International Research Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, both in 2019; the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Mind of America Scientific Research Award in 2009; and American College of Physicians’ Menninger Award in 2013.

He is the editor-in-chief of Schizophrenia Bulletin, has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, and has authored more than 400 publications. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and his medical degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Robert K. Ernst, PhD

Robert K. Ernst, PhD

Dr. Paul and Mrs. Jean Corcoran Endowed Professor and Chair, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis
University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Bio: Robert K. Ernst, PhD 
Robert Ernst has been at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) since 2008. He also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Ernst laboratory has been at the forefront of research studying the molecular basis and adaptive significance of modifications to the structure of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Its focus is on the elucidation of the molecular basis by which gram-negative bacteria modify the lipid A component of LPS and how these alterations affect or circumvent normal host innate immune system responses. Host immune detection of LPS is extremely sensitive — such that bloodstream infections can cause a severe complication called endotoxic shock, a major clinical problem leading to about 200,000 deaths in the United States per year.

The Ernst laboratory also focuses on the development of new antimicrobials that enhance innate immunity or inhibit bacterial resistance and the establishment of a clinical diagnostic platform for the rapid identification of bacterial and fungal pathogens directly from complex biological fluids. This diagnostic work led to the establishment in 2016 of Pataigin LLC, which is developing a low-cost, rapid identification platform (BACLIB) that can identify a wide range of bacteria and fungi directly from clinically relevant samples, including blood and urine.

Ernst, who earned his PhD from the University of Virginia, has received more than $20 million in research funding since 2008. This work has resulted in over 190 peer-reviewed manuscripts with 17,000 citations. He was named the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s 2017 Researcher of the Year and 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2020, he earned a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research.

Claire Fraser, PhD

Claire Fraser, PhD

Dean E. Albert Reece Endowed Professor and Founding Director, Institute for Genome Sciences
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Bio: Claire Fraser, PhD 
A pioneer and global leader in genomic medicine, Claire Fraser is one of the most highly cited investigators in microbiology.

In 1995, she was the first to map the complete genetic code of a free-living organism — Haemophilus influenza — the bacterium that causes lower-respiratory tract infections and meningitis in infants and young children. This achievement took place at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Md., where Fraser served as director from 1998 to 2007.

Her discovery forever changed microbiology and launched a new field of study — microbial genomics. During that time, she and her team also sequenced the bacteria behind syphilis and Lyme disease and eventually the first plant genome and the first human-pathogenic parasite. She also helped identify the source of a deadly 2001 anthrax attack in one of the biggest investigations conducted by U.S. law enforcement.

In 2007, Fraser launched the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, bringing 60 researchers and staff with her from the Institute for Genomic Research. IGS now holds over 25 percent of the funding awarded by the Human Microbiome Project. She served as director of IGS until March 2023. 

Fraser has authored more than 320 scientific publications, edited three books, and served on committees of the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and National Institutes of Health. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Promega Biotechnology Award and the E.O. Lawrence Award from the Department of Energy. 

Fraser earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her PhD in pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Donald G. Gifford, JD

Donald G. Gifford, JD

Jacob A. France Professor of Torts
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Bio: Donald G. Gifford, JD 
Donald Gifford joined the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 1992, when he was named dean and professor. He served as dean through 1999, initiating the efforts to build the current law school building, obtaining the legislative approval and funding for the building, and raising most of the private contributions for its construction.

Gifford’s teaching and research interests include torts, product liability, advanced torts, and legal negotiation. He is the author or co-author of five books, including a torts casebook and a legal negotiation text, and numerous articles about topics such as mass torts, product liability, technological change and tort law, how race affects the substantive law of torts, and medical malpractice. 

Along with colleagues, Gifford prepares semiannual updates to “Harper, James, and Gray on Torts,” the definitive five-volume torts treatise. Gifford’s book, “Suing the Tobacco and Lead Pigment Industries,” features a critical analysis of government tort litigation against manufacturers of products that cause public health problems such as cigarettes and lead pigment.

He also served as chair of the Maryland Lead Paint Poisoning Commission from 1992 to 1995 and, in that role, was a principal architect of Maryland’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. Later, Gifford promoted legislation designed to eliminate or reduce childhood lead poisoning in 10 other states and in the U.S. Congress.

He is a member of the American Law Institute and served as co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Deans’ Workshops in 1995 and 1996 and co-chair of the ABA Law School Development Conference in 2001.

An Ohio native, Gifford earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/history from the College of Wooster, where he was valedictorian, and received his JD from Harvard Law School.

Geoffrey Greif, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C

Geoffrey Greif, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C

University of Maryland School of Social Work

Bio: Geoffrey Greif, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C 
Geoffrey Greif has been a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work since 1984 and served as associate dean from 1996 to 2007. His current research, teaching, and practice interests include child abduction, family therapy, adult friendships, adult family relationships, and interracial families.

He is the author of more than 150 journal articles and book chapters and 15 books, including four that he co-edited. More recently, Greif has explored horizontal relationships with the publication of “Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships”; "Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships”; “Adult Sibling Relationships”; and “In-Law Relationships: Mothers, Daughters, Fathers, and Sons.”

In 2001, Greif chaired Gov. Parris Glendening’s commission to study sexual orientation discrimination in Maryland. Between 2011 and 2016, Greif co-led a fathering group for federal detainees at a detention center in Baltimore and, more recently, ran a group for fathers at a residential employment center.

He is a member of various community-based boards, including the Open Society Institute Leadership Council and the Shriver Hall Concert Series, where he chaired the board. He also served on the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland and the board of WYPR Radio.

Greif has received more than 20 dean’s teaching awards from UMSSW. In 2007, he was named Educator of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and in 2010 he received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award. He was named the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Teacher of the Year in 2018 and was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2020.

Greif received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work.

Margaret M. “Peg” McCarthy, PhD

Margaret M. “Peg” McCarthy, PhD

James and Carolyn Frenkil Endowed Dean’s Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology
Director, University of Maryland - Medicine Institute for Neuroscience Discovery
University of Maryland School of Medicine 

Bio: Margaret M. “Peg” McCarthy, PhD 
Margaret “Peg” McCarthy is a leading neuroscientist who has been with University of Maryland School of Medicine since 1993 and made significant discoveries related to gender differences and the brain.

Her seminal research focuses on the influence of steroid hormones on the developing brain with a special emphasis on understanding the cellular mechanisms that establish sex differences — i.e., the numerous, novel mechanisms by which steroids permanently organize the developing brain differently in males and females.

McCarthy conducted some of the first studies on how steroid hormones can imprint epigenetically on the developing brain to organize differences between males and females in adult physiology and behavior. More recently, her laboratory generated a paradigm shift in the understanding of sexual differentiation of sexual behavior with the discovery that the feminization program of development requires suppression of the masculinization program via DNA methylation, and that steroid hormones emancipate the male gene expression profile by reducing activity of DNA methylating enzymes.

McCarthy’s laboratory also has studied inflammatory and immune-mediated sex differences in the brain, sensitive periods in brain development, neurogenesis in the postnatal brain, and the role of GABA in brain differences.

McCarthy was named the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Researcher of the Year in 2015 and a UMB Champion of Excellence in 2017. She has been an associate editor of Hormones and Behavior since 2004 and served as associate editor of the Journal of Neuroscience ( 2007-2011) and editor of Endocrinology (2008-2013).

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Missouri and her PhD in behavioral neuroscience from Rutgers University.

Fadia T. Shaya, PhD, MPH

Fadia T. Shaya, PhD, MPH

Professor, Department of Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research
Executive Director, Behavioral Health Resources and Technical Assistance Program
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Bio: Fadia T. Shaya, PhD, MPH 
In addition to her roles at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Fadia Shaya directs the informatics core at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and is an affiliate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Shaya teaches various clinical and graduate policy courses and advises and mentors pharmacy, medical, graduate, and postdoctoral students and junior faculty. Her mentees and students have taken positions in government, academia, consulting, nonprofit organizations, and the health care industry.

She serves on the Faculty Advisory Council of the Maryland Higher Education Commission, is on the board of AcademyHealth, and is the regional director of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Alumni Association.  

She also is a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the American Medical Informatics Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association, the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, and the Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research.

Shaya’s work focuses on building strategic partnerships, taking into account the social determinants of health, to optimize the effectiveness and reduce the risk of prescription drugs and medical devices. Her implementation/dissemination research is based in human data science and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning methods. With multidisciplinary collaborations, she develops and applies new methods in pharmacoeconomics, pharmacoepidemiology, public health, and clinical informatics to inform practice and policy.

Shaya, who was UMB’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, earned her PhD in health policy, finance and management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the American University of Beirut.

J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD

J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD

Dr. Bizhan Aarabi Professor in Neurotrauma and Interim Chair, Department of Physiology
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Bio: J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD 
J. Marc Simard is a nationally recognized basic science researcher who specializes in vascular neurosurgery, which includes the surgery and management of patients with stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and other vascular lesions of the brain. He also serves as chief of neurological surgery at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

For almost 40 years, Simard has researched the role of ion channels in diseases of the central nervous system, including stroke, brain bleeds, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. He has published more than 260 peer-reviewed publications and has had continuous National Institutes of Health and VA funding for more than three decades. His translational work has led to the awarding of 14 U.S. and 22 international patents.

Simard discovered the Sur1-Trpm4 channel, which plays a central role in numerous diseases and other conditions of the central nervous system. His work in animals showed that blocking these Sur1-Trpm4 channels after stroke or brain injury reduces swelling and bleeding, reducing damage and improving outcome. Drugs that block these channels are now in worldwide Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for treating traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Simard earned his MD/PhD at Creighton University. He did his internship and residency at the Shands and VA hospitals at the University of Florida, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship at Saarland University in Germany. His first faculty appointment was at the University of Texas. He joined the surgery and physiology faculty at UMSOM in 1993.