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Ping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

World War II and Infectious Disease

The introduction of antibiotics. A treatment for tuberculosis. Improved anesthesia.

These are just some of the many significant advances in medicine made during World War, said James Horton, M.D., who visited NEOMED recently to present the University’s annual Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, M.D., Lectureship in Medicine—an event that each year brings clinicians, researchers and thought leaders in infectious disease to NEOMED.

Dr. Horton, a member of the Faculty Division of Infectious Diseases at Carolinas Medical Center and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, raised sociological issues as well as medical developments in his talk. For example, the field of medical ethics as we know it today also began post-World War II, he noted. And the concepts of informed consent and ethical experimentation for medical research were developed in the Nuremberg Code, following the post-war Nuremberg Trials.

Ping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Watanakunakorn Chair of Integrative Medical Sciences, introduced Dr. Horton to the audience of medicine and pharmacy students, faculty and guests — including local infectious disease physicians — who had gathered at Watanakunakorn Auditorium.

Eleanor Watanakunakorn

Behind the name

The Watanakunakorn lecture is named for the late physician and researcher Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, M.D., a longtime professor of internal medicine at NEOMED as well as director of infectious diseases at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. The endowed chair in microbiology and immunology held by Dr. Zhang, as well as the annual lecture and the auditorium on campus where it is presented each year, bear his name in recognition of gifts to the University from his family.

Welcome by NEOMED community

Dr. Horton’s visit included a dinner and reception with President Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D.; Dr. Watanakunakorn’s widow, Eleanor (pictured at right), and their son, Paul Watanakunakorn, M.D., clinical assistant professor of internal medicine; faculty, including Dr. Zhang (at right in photo); and students.

Second-year College of Medicine students Andres Diaz and Matthew McIntyre contributed articles about their response to Dr. Horton’s lecture to the University’s daily e-newsletter, The Pulse. Read their comments in The Pulse.