David H. Perlmutter, Regis J. O'Keefe, Yousef Abu-Amer and Chancellor Andrew D. Martin

At the installation of Yousef Abu-Amer as the J. Albert Key Professor were Dr. David H. Perlmutter, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor; Dr. Regis J. O’Keefe, the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; Abu-Amer; and Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

Yousef Abu-Amer, a leading expert in inflammatory joint disease and bone loss, has been named the inaugural Dr. J. Albert Key Professor at Washington University School of Medicine.

Estimates indicate more than 60 million Americans suffer from inflammatory joint diseases and that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Abu-Amer studies some of the most devastating complications of inflammatory arthritis: joint erosion and excessive bone loss associated with advanced and late stages of the disease. He is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms at the interface of inflammation and skeletal tissue to help doctors pinpoint therapeutic interventions.

“Yousef is a leader in the investigation of inflammation and its molecular signatures in immune cells, bone cells and cartilage cells,” said Dr. Regis J. O’Keefe, the Fred C. Reynolds Professor and head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

“He is working to improve our understanding of bone and joint degeneration and to develop better preventive and therapeutic responses. His work is significantly advancing our understanding of the relationship between inflammatory molecular pathways and major events, such as joint failure, that can require extensive surgical interventions.”

Abu-Amer is a fellow of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and a former member of the organization’s policy and publication committees. In 2002, he received the Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is a standing member of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Skeletal Biology Structure and Regeneration Study Section and previously was a grant reviewer for NASA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the Arthritis Foundation, and other funding agencies. He has had continuous funding from the NIH since 1999 and from Shriners Hospitals for Children since 2002.

The new professorship was created through the philanthropic legacy of J. Albert Key, MD, who chaired the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University from 1930 until his death in 1955.

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