Dr. Miklos Toth, the first Arleen B. Rifkind, MD Professor in the Department of Pharmacology

Weill Cornell Medicine announced the appointment of Dr. Miklos Toth as the first Arleen B. Rifkind, MD Professor in the Department of Pharmacology. The professorship was established in memory of Dr. Rifkind who died in 2021 and was for 51 years a member of the WCM faculty. The professorship is to be held “by an outstanding member of the WCM faculty engaged in basic research in the field of pharmacology or toxicology”.

Dr. Toth is a distinguished neuropharmacologist and a Professor in the Pharmacology Dept. at Weill Cornell Medicine. Miklos states that: “my lab’s approach of studying genetic, epigenetic, and other modes of disease inheritance may lead to novel approaches for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. By stratifying patient groups into different classes, we hope to improve drug discovery, drug testing, and treatment of patients with these diseases.”

Picture of Dr. Rifkind

Picture of Dr. Arleen Rifkind at a Pharmacology Dept. Party

The new professorship was endowed by Dr. Rifkind’s family. During her 38 years as a professor of pharmacology, Dr. Rifkind’s laboratory focused on the metabolism of toxic chemicals, primarily dioxins. Over her career, Dr. Rifkind published more than 80 journal articles, served as chair of the General Faculty Council and chair of a NIH Toxicology Study Section, was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Agency for Toxic Substances, and received WCM’s award for Teaching Excellence.

In funding the new professorship, Dr. Rifkind’s husband, Robert S. Rifkind, wrote: “Arleen prized the opportunity she enjoyed at WCM to run her research laboratory as it explored some of the mysteries of cellular biology, to teach up-coming generations of physicians and scientists, and to share the companionship of bright and collegial colleagues. It was, therefore, clear to me and my daughters, Amy and Nina Rifkind, that the best possible way we could memorialize Arleen was to endows a professorship at WCM in her name. This seemed to us especially appropriate by reason of three concerns that Arleen often expressed to us. First, she believed that basic research -- the pursuit of knowledge for which there is no obvious prospect of commercialization at least in the near term -- is both critically important and tends to be underfunded. Second, she believed the undue dependence on financial support from pharmaceutical companies and similar enterprises gives rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest that cannot be avoided by mere disclosure but may well diminish confidence in the output of academic research. And lastly, she was keen to see that the contributions of women in science not be undervalued. We believe that in some small way the endowment we have created will address each of these concerns. We take great pleasure from the thought that for generations to come the sort of research and teaching that meant so much to Arleen will be carried on at WCM by the Arleen B. Rifkind, MD Professor.”


Jun 14, 2024



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