Two Faculty Named Distinguished Professors

Carl Maresh, professor of kinesiology and department head in the Neag School of Education, and John B. Morris, professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the School of Pharmacy, have been named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors.

The designation is the University’s highest academic honor, recognizing faculty who have achieved exceptional distinction in scholarship, teaching, and service while at the University of Connecticut.

Carl Maresh holds joint appointments in the departments of physiology and neurobiology and nutritional sciences and community medicine and healthcare at the Health Center, as well as in kinesiology. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Kinesiology.

<p>Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Carl Maresh. Photo by Sean Flynn</p>
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Carl Maresh. Photo by Sean Flynn

Maresh is widely acknowledged as one of the leading exercise science researchers in the world. His contributions have influenced the way people view the importance of exercise across the lifespan, including the efficacy of structured exercise in clinically compromised patients.

His research on physiological responses to different environmental stressors, and on optimum methods of hydration, has increased knowledge of how the human body manages such challenges, and has wide application to injury and disease prevention, and performance enhancement in both neutral and extreme environments.

He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, and more than 300 conference abstracts and proceedings, and has received extramural funding from corporate, professional, and government agencies.

As director of the Human Performance Laboratory since 1985 and department head since 1998, Maresh has brought together a renowned group of scientists who have contributed to the department being consecutively ranked (in 2005 and 2010) as the top kinesiology doctoral program in the U.S.

Maresh is a motivating teacher and dedicated mentor, teaching both undergraduate and graduate-level courses. He has been primary advisor to more than 300 undergraduates, and major advisor and thesis advisor to more than 70 completed master’s degree students and 19 completed Ph.D. students. He has supervised several senior undergraduate research projects and University Scholar thesis work. He strongly promotes the research of his graduate students, as evidenced by 54 collaborative publications with his graduate students as first authors.

He has served his department, the Neag School of Education, the University community, and his profession through many committees and special initiatives. He was responsible for spearheading the merge of the departments of physical therapy and kinesiology in 2008; served on the Institutional Review Board for studies involving human subjects for 14 years, including eight as chair; and is a member of seven professional organizations, with roles including member of a National Board of Trustees, president, and associate editor. He has also been a manuscript reviewer for 22 scientific journals, and on peer review panels for NIH, DOD, and NASA. He also is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Korey Stringer Institute.

<p>Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor John B. Morris. File photo</p>
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor John B. Morris. File photo

Pharmacology and toxicology professor John B. Morris is a nationally recognized authority on the effects of air pollutants on pulmonary health. A translational basic scientist, his work focuses on developing methods by which the basic science toxicological data collected in experimental studies can most effectively be used to protect public health.

Using an integrative approach, he has relied on advanced mathematical model simulation techniques to define the amount of inspired pollutants that reach critical target cells in the lungs, coupled with state-of-the-art measures of lung cellular insult. This provides a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms through which pollutants injure airway tissues, as well as determination of the levels of pollutants that would not be associated with harm.

His work has been instrumental in guiding federal regulatory efforts to establish safe exposure levels for multiple air pollutants.

He has published nearly 100 scientific papers and reviews, and his work has been extensively funded by the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He currently has funding from the American Petroleum Institute and the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute.

Morris is an accomplished teacher who regularly teaches at undergraduate, graduate, and professional pharmacy levels. His undergraduate survey course in environmental health, Toxic Chemicals and Health, was first delivered more than 20 years ago, and is a widely popular general education course. He has supervised seven Ph.D. students and two M.S. students, and has mentored post-doctoral Ph.D. and MD fellows. He also has mentored a University Scholar and many honors students, whose research has resulted in coauthored publications in major international toxicology journals.

Morris has a long history of service to the University, the state, and the nation. He served for eight years as head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and is currently assistant dean for research in the School of Pharmacy. As an expert on the health effects of air pollution, he has served on advisory panels in Connecticut, Vermont, and Virginia, on a U.S. EPA panel, and on the National Academies of Science Committee on Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for selected Submarine Contaminants. He has been particularly active in the Society of Toxicology, the premier society of toxicologists in the world, having served as president of the northeast chapter and president of the Inhalation Specialty Section; he was recently elected to serve as treasurer for the society.