Leonard S. Jefferson

68th APS President (1995-1996)
Leonard S. Jefferson
(b. 1939)

Leonard S. (Jim) Jefferson was installed as the 68th President of the American Physiological Society at the close of the Society's Spring Meeting this month in Atlanta, GA.

Jefferson is professor and chairman of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He succeeds Brian R. Duling as president of the nations' oldest biomedical scientific society.

Jefferson, who was born in Maysville, KY, received his BS degree in chemistry from Eastern Kentucky University in 1961 and his PhD degree in physiology from Vanderbilt University in 1966. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge University in England, he joined the faculty of the newly established College of Medicine of The Pennsylvania State University where he rose through the ranks to become professor in 1975. He was appointed chairman in 1988, succeeding Howard E. Morgan, who had also served as President of the Society.

During the 27 years he has been a member of the APS, Jefferson has been active in functions of the Society related to education, publications, and governance. He was a member of the Education Committee for six years, serving as chairman from 1976-1979; a member of the Section Advisory Committee for seven years, serving as chairman from 1990-1993; a cochairman of the Task Force on Governance; a member of the Interim Awards Committee; and a member of the Publications Committee. He has been active in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Section of the Society, serving as Secretary-Treasurer from 1983 to 1986 and as chairman of the section from 1986 to 1989. He also represented the Society on the FASEB Publications Committee for three years, serving as chairman of that committee from 1989 to 1991. Jefferson served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology, Metabolism and Gastrointestinal Physiology from 1976 to 1979, as Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism from 1981 to 1984, and as Editor of the same journal from 1984 to 1991.

Jefferson has been active in other organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, the National Diabetes Advisory Board, and the Association of Chairmen of Departments of Physiology. He served two four-year terms on the Metabolism Study Section of the NIH and served as chairman of the scientific review committees and the research policy committees, respectively, for both the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. He is currently serving a second term on the Medical Science Review Committee of the latter organization.

Jefferson is the recipient of a number of honors and professional awards, including the Elliot P. Joslin Award, the Lilly Award, and an Established Investigator Award from the American Diabetes Association; the David Rumbough Scientific Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International; the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Eastern Kentucky University; and a MERIT Award from the NIH.

Jefferson has been active in both teaching and research. In addition to teaching medical physiology and a number of specialized courses for graduate students, he has provided research training for twenty-eight students and twenty-four postdoctoral fellows. His research and training programs have been supported by the NIH, the American Diabetes Association, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. Two of his current grants from the NIH have been funded continuously for twenty-three and twenty-five years, with the latter grant recently being awarded funding for years twenty-six through thirty. Jefferson's research has focused on mechanisms of regulation of metabolism in liver, skeletal muscle, and heart, particularly the actions of hormones and nutrients. His work has contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the hyperglycemia and muscle wasting observed in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, and it continues to provide new insights into the molecular basis of insulin action on gene expression.