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Scott Summers, PhD, Named Distinguished Professor in the College of Health

Feb 23, 2022
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Scott Summers, PhD, has been awarded Distinguished Professor by the University’s Office of the Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs. It’s the second such award for the College of Health and another milestone in Summers’ impressive career.

Summers chairs the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, co-directs the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center, and is the William J. Rutter, PhD, Presidential Endowed Chair in Biochemistry. He is the leading voice to advance the idea that ceramides, a class of fat molecules, drive diabetes and heart disease. His work has appeared in many top journals, and he has given hundreds of presentations around the globe. 

Based on his research, Summers co-founded Centaurus Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that is developing new ceramide-lowering medications to combat diabetes and heart disease. His laboratory currently investigates how drug or behavioral interventions influence ceramide levels, in order to develop clinical guidelines to mitigate disease risk. 

“Dr. Summers is a highly accomplished scientist and scholar who is also providing exemplary leadership,” said College of Health Dean David H. Perrin. “This recognition follows his recent naming as the William J. Rutter, PhD, Presidential Endowed Chair in Biochemistry. Both are testimony to the significant contributions he is making to the U and to advancing our understanding of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”

Summers received a PhD in physiology from Southern Illinois University and completed a postdoctoral in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the University in 2004 and moved to the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology as professor and chair in 2016. He also serves as an associate investigator for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry. 

No stranger to awards, Summers received the Outstanding Senior Researcher Award from the College of Health in 2019. He was a research honoree at the University’s faculty showcase in 2018. Summers joins Julie Fritz, PT, PhD, as the second Distinguished Professor in the College of Health.