NYMC > Commencement > History, Awards and Traditions > Previous Honorary Degree Recipients > 2010 - John McGiff

John C. McGiff, M.D.

John McGiff 2010A leading cardiovascular and renal researcher who has achieved international distinction, John C. McGiff, M.D., has led the Department of Pharmacology at New York Medical College for more than three decades. Under his auspices, nearly 30 researchers help bridge the gap between the basic sciences and clinical medicine, exploring the ways that hormones and neurotransmitters regulate specific organ functions, and defining their role in disease states and drug responses. For the past 20 years, Dr. McGiff has focused mainly on the biochemistry, physiology and clinical pharmacology behind the products of arachidonic acid metabolism.

After receiving a B.S. degree from Georgetown University and M.D. degree from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. McGiff completed an internship at Cincinnati General Hospital. He was doing a residency in medicine at the University of Virginia when military service beckoned. After attending the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Fla., Dr. McGiff served in Korea and Japan with Marine Air Groups 11 and 12 as Senior Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon.

Upon his return from overseas, Dr. McGiff went to Columbia University as a Research Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA). He completed his clinical training at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and was appointed to a joint faculty position in the departments of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962.

Shortly thereafter, he joined St Louis University as chief of cardiology before joining the Department of Pharmacology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he was made a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Scholar in Clinical Pharmacology. In 1974, Dr. McGiff was invited by Nobel laureate Sir John Vane to join the Wellcome Research Laboratories in England as a Visiting Scientist. He remained there until 1976, when he was appointed professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences in Memphis. He found his way to New York Medical College in 1979.

A perusal of Dr. McGiff’s resume reveals numerous awards and recognitions from manyprestigious organizations. In 1966 he was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one that he still holds today. In 1985, he initiated and was awarded the first Program Project Grant for the department that is still ongoing and in its 25th year. He is the recipient of an Established Investigatorship from the American Heart Association; an Outstanding Research Award from the Wisconsin Heart Association; a Medal of Achievement from the Copernicus Academy of Medicine, Krakow, Poland; a CIBA Award for Hypertension Research from the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research; a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; the Otto Krayer Award from the American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics; the Richard Bright Award from the American Society of Hypertension; the Irvine Page-Alva Lifetime Achievement Award in Hypertension, Council for High Blood Pressure Research, AHA; and the Western Returned Scholars Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Beijing, China.

Dr. McGiff served on three study sections of the NIH, concluding with a term as Chairman of the Cardiovascular Renal Study Section. The NIH appointed him to its Arteriosclerosis, Hypertension and Lipid Metabolism Advisory Committee for a four-year term, and he served as a delegate in scientific exchange programs sponsored by the NIH with Italy, Poland and the Soviet Union. He is the founder and chairman of the annual International Winter Eicosanoid Conference which has been held for the past 12 years.

Dr. McGiff holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Copernicus Academy of Medicine, Krakow, Poland and Fu Jen University, Taiwan.