University Professorships and University Distinguished Service Professorships are honorary titles awarded by the University, upon the recommendation of the President, to recognize exceptional achievements made by select members of the senior faculty.

PETER AGRE, Med 1974, University Professor, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Augsburg College and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and an oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Agre joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty in 1984 and rose to the rank of professor of biological chemistry and professor of medicine. In 2005, he moved to the Duke University School of Medicine, where he served as vice chancellor for science and technology and the James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology. Dr. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins in January, 2008, as a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, and director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In 2003, Dr. Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering aquaporins, a family of water channel proteins found throughout nature; aquaporins are responsible for numerous physiological processes in humans and are implicated in multiple clinical disorders. Dr. Agre has received other honors, including 12 honorary doctorates, Commandership in the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit from King Harald V, and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Agre is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, which he chaired, and serves on the Committee on Human Rights. In 2010, he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


DIANE E. GRIFFIN, MD, PhD, is the Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Her work on arthropod-borne encephalitis and measles has helped illuminate the basic nature of viral diseases. She and her colleagues have developed a DNA vaccine proven to protect against measles, the first step toward developing a new vaccine that can safely be used to immunize infants in developing countries. Dr. Griffin is former director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, which is mandated to mount a full-scale assault on malaria. In 2004 she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences and named to its Institute of Medicine. A former editor of the Journal of Virology, Dr. Griffin serves on the editorial boards of Virology, Virus Research, and the Journal of NeuroVirology. She has been a faculty member of Johns Hopkins since 1976 and has published more than 200 articles and 100 book chapters. In 2010 Dr. Griffin was named a University Distinguished Service Professor.


DONALD A. HENDERSON, MD, MPH '60, LHD '94 is presently a distinguished scholar at the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The Center for Biosecurity was originally founded in 1998 as the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at the Johns Hopkins medical institutions. The center was established to increase national and international awareness of the medical and public health threats posed by biological weapons. Immediately after the 9/11 attack, Dr. Henderson was appointed as the government's first director of the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. He continues to serve as senior science advisor to the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Henderson is a Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology. He is also Professor of Medicine and Public Health of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He rejoined the Hopkins faculty in June 1995 after five years of federal government service in which he served initially as associate director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President (1991-1993), and later as deputy assistant secretary and senior science advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services.

From 1977 through August 1990, Dr. Henderson was dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He came to Hopkins after directing the World Health Organization's global smallpox eradication campaign (1966-1977). Dr. Henderson was instrumental in initiating WHO's global program of immunization, which has vaccinated 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases and has as a goal the eradication of poliomyelitis.

In 2002, Dr, Henderson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


While working in Indonesia during the 1970s, ALFRED SOMMER, MD, SPH 1973, dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, made the groundbreaking discovery that mild vitamin A deficiency, a common cause of blindness in the developing world, also dramatically increased childhood morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases, particularly measles and diarrhea. He then waged a decade-long campaign to prove to others that a 4-cent pill could indeed reduce childhood mortality by 34 percent.

This singular insight--that low-dose vitamin A supplements could bolster the body's immune system and thus prevent millions of children around the world from dying of infectious diseases--led to the worldwide distribution of lifesaving vitamin A capsules. The discovery earned him the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award in 1997. In 2001, Dr. Sommer was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Among many other honors, he received the Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research and the 2005 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research. He has published five books and over 300 scientific articles.

In 2010, Dr. Sommer was named a University Distinguished Service Professor.


DEBRA L. ROTER, MPH, DrPh, completed her doctorate at Johns Hopkins in 1977 has been a member of the faculty in the School of Public Health since 1980. She serves as Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society and holds appointments as Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, as well as the Kimmel Cancer Center.

For the past four decades, Dr. Roter’s research has focused on the study of patient-clinician communication and her coding method for analysis of medical dialogue, the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), has become the international standard by which medical dialogue is assessed. Her coding manual has been translated into 15 languages and there have been hundreds of studies conducted worldwide using her system. Her research addresses the influence of social factors, especially gender and ethnicity, on the dynamics of medical communication and its consequences for health care disparities, quality of care and a variety of patient health outcomes. Her work as an interventionist in activating patients to more fully engage in their care has been widely replicated, as has her approach to teaching communication skills in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate medical programs.

Dr. Roter has published over 250 research articles and several books in the area of patient-physician communication and is recognized by the Web of Science as among the most highly cited in the social sciences. She has mentored and influenced many of the leaders in the field of health services research, health communication, and medical education.

She has been recognized for outstanding contribution to Health Education Research, from the Society for Public Health Education and by the American Academy on Physician and Patient Award for Outstanding Research Contributing to the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Health Care Communication. She is also the recipient of the Golden Apple Award and the Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award for her efforts on behalf of our students.

She was named a University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society in 2012.