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$1 Million Gift Supports Future Endowed Chair in School of Medicine’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department

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Maggie Rotermund
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ST. LOUIS (JUNE 2, 2021) — Saint Louis University has announced that School of Medicine researcher and faculty member Abdul Waheed, Ph.D., has made a gift of $1 million in support of the school’s biochemistry and molecular biology department and Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University.

Abdul Waheed, Ph.D.

Abdul Waheed, Ph.D., is emeritus research professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Photo by Maggie Rotermund. 

The gift is in honor of William Sly, M.D., former chair of the Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and emeritus professor in the School of Medicine. It will support the future Centennial Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which will celebrate the department’s upcoming 100th anniversary. The chair is not yet endowed; $1.5 million has been raised to date, and the department aims to secure the remainder of the required $2 million in funding by the department’s centennial in 2024. In recognition of Dr. Waheed’s gift, the endowed position will be called the William S. Sly Centennial Chair.

“We are humbled by the generosity of Dr. Waheed,” said Enrico Di Cera, M.D., the department’s current Alice A. Doisy Professor and Chairman. “His gift is testimony to the impact of the extraordinary legacy of scientific excellence of the department, which began with its founder, Edward A. Doisy, and continues to this day.”

Dr. Waheed earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India, in 1974. An expert in protein chemistry, receptor biology and fluorescent microscopy, he worked as a researcher in India, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Purdue University, and Münster University and Georg-August-Universität in Germany. Dr. Waheed joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine as an assistant research professor in 1990. He became a research professor in the department in 2001 and was named emeritus research professor in 2017.

“I love Saint Louis University, and I support the research of this institution, notably in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,” said Dr. Waheed. “When I came to SLU, Dr. Sly became a trusted mentor, and I am proud to honor his legacy through a bequest. Celebrating the 100th year of the department by supporting an endowed chair and simultaneously recognizing Dr. Sly is a rewarding experience and essential for the future of research.”

Over his three decades at SLU, Dr. Sly served as a mentor to many students in the School of Medicine.

Fred Pestello and William Sly
University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., and William S. Sly, M.D., in 2017. SLU file photo.

A 1957 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, he trained in Internal Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and in research laboratories at the NIH, in Paris, and in Madison, Wisconsin. He directed the Division of Medical Genetics at Washington University-St. Louis for 20 years before joining the Saint Louis University School of Medicine as Alice A. Doisy Professor and Chairman of the Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

He chaired the department for 26 years and became an emeritus professor in 2014.

Dr. Sly is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an internationally known biochemist and medical geneticist who, in 1973, recognized a rare inherited metabolic disease known as MPS VII, commonly known as Sly Syndrome. His research led to innovations in diagnosing genetic diseases, and for thousands, this has meant new treatments for once crippling and/or fatal diseases. 

About Accelerating Excellence

Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University is a historic $500 million comprehensive fundraising effort designed to strengthen Saint Louis University by committing resources to the strategic priorities of academic excellence, health sciences, business education, athletics and scholarships. For more information about Accelerating Excellence, visit slu.edu/campaignforslu.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 12,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place. For more information, visit slu.edu.