Tony Y. Hu, PhD, director of Tulane’s Center for Cellular and Molecular Diagnostics and professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Microbiology, was recently invested in the Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Biotechnology Innovation at the School of Medicine.
The Jan. 20 ceremony brought friends, family and colleagues to Hutchinson Auditorium to recognize Hu, who joined Tulane in 2019 and is enjoying a prolific research career, having authored some 65-plus papers while at Tulane and produced scientific discoveries such as a COVID-19 blood test and a tuberculosis test that will have a significant impact on global health.
Hu’s arrival at Tulane preceded the start of the pandemic by mere months.
“In the time I have had the honor of working here, I have found myself a part of an invaluable community, where the creativity, friendship and resilience of my fellow faculty and staff has been most unforgettable,” Hu said. “I have been deeply impacted by Tulane’s response to the pandemic, not only the effectiveness of clinical sites, but also the sacrifice made by our faculty” to work through the pandemic.
“In many ways it was a reminder of our responsibility to the public as researchers and physicians: We had a job to do and a city to protect. It was because of the leadership’s dependable presence that the faculty was able to fight the virus with the force and determination required of us.”
President Michael A. Fitts praised Hu’s work to save lives worldwide.
“He is the personification of our cross-disciplinary vision for research at Tulane University, with joint faculty appointments in our schools of Medicine, Science and Engineering, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and he engages in collaborative, groundbreaking work with Tulane’s National Primate Research Center,” said Fitts, adding that Hu is quick to share his successes with his team.
Hu’s presidential chair is made possible by alumna Celia Weatherhead, who graduated from Newcomb College in 1965, and the Weatherhead Foundation, an Ohio-based family organization.
Over the years the Weatherhead Foundation has committed millions of dollars to create multiple university-wide professorships, including Tulane’s second endowed presidential chair, as well as to support the Weatherhead Scholars Program.
Celia Weatherhead is an emeritus member of the Board of Tulane, a Paul Tulane Society member, and a past member of the Newcomb Dean’s Advisory Council and Tulane President’s Council.
“Celia Weatherhead has literally been at the center of growth and momentum at Tulane University,” Fitts said. “Celia Weatherhead and the Weatherhead Foundation share that collaborative genetic marker, that overwhelming urge to bring people together to solve our most pressing problems.”
School of Medicine Dean Lee Hamm also presented Celia Weatherhead with a formal resolution that recognized her ongoing support for Tulane.