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CONRAD leader Dr. Henry Gabelnick to become Senior Advisor; Dr. Gustavo Doncel to assume Executive Director role

Story Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 20:42:00 EDT

Henry L. Gabelnick, PhD, one of the original CONRAD staff members and head of the internationally known program at Eastern Virginia Medical School for more than 20 years, will transition from his post as Executive Director and assume the role of Senior Advisor on August 1.

Gustavo F. Doncel, MD, PhD, currently Scientific and Associate Director of CONRAD, will succeed Dr. Gabelnick as Executive Director on the same date. CONRAD facilitates the development of products and methods to prevent conception and to halt the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS.

"Under Dr. Gabelnick's leadership, CONRAD has played a leading role in improving reproductive health for women around the globe," says Alfred Z. Abuhamad, MD, Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology. CONRAD is a program of the EVMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

CONRAD was established in 1986 with federal funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Originally focused solely on contraceptive development, CONRAD grew under Dr. Gabelnick's direction to include an emphasis on disease prevention. A key initiative is the development of microbicides to protect women against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Gabelnick also broadened support for CONRAD to include funds from private foundations. All told, CONRAD has attracted more than $400 million from public and private sources.

Dr. Gabelnick earned his undergraduate and master's degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in chemical engineering at Princeton. He spent 18 years with the National Institutes of Health before joining CONRAD.

He has served on panels of the National Research Council, National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization and is a past President of the Society for the Advancement of Reproductive Care.

Dr. Gabelnick has received praise from around the world for his work. In 2010, he received the lifetime achievement award at the Microbicides Conference. Earlier, he was recognized by the International Conference on AIDS in India for a lifetime devoted to reproductive health. In 1997, EVMS presented Dr. Gabelnick with the President's Medallion for Distinguished Service in recognition of his contributions to EVMS and to the advancement of science.

Richard V. Homan, MD, Provost and Dean of EVMS, on behalf of the faculty and staff of EVMS and CONRAD, offered his "most sincere congratulations and appreciation to Dr. Gabelnick for his outstanding service to EVMS, for his contributions to science and medicine, and for his accomplishments at CONRAD which have improved the lives of some the world's most vulnerable populations."

Dr. Doncel joined the EVMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1990, where he is currently a Professor. With his pioneer work on microbicides and sperm function inhibitors, Dr. Doncel laid the foundation for CONRAD's expansion into HIV and multipurpose prevention technologies. He is an accomplished researcher with skills that span basic and clinical science. Dr. Doncel currently is the principal and co-principal investigator of grants totaling more than $138 million.

He is a reviewer for the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation, and an expert advisor to the World Health Organization. He is also a member of scientific advisory boards of several national and international research organizations. Dr. Doncel received the Dean's Faculty Achievement Award from EVMS in 2009 and is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and several U.S. and international patents on antimicrobial contraceptives and microbicides.

"Dr. Doncel is an internationally renowned, academic clinical scientist who has made major contributions to scientific research, especially in the field of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention," Dr. Abuhamad says. "We thank Dr. Gabelnick for his dedicated service and look forward to further CONRAD accomplishments under Dr. Doncel's able leadership."