Children’s National Health System Dedicates Gilbert Family Professorships in Neurofibromatosis January 08, 2014

Washington, DC – Children’s National Health System today installed Roger J. Packer, MD, and Yuan Zhu, PhD, as the inaugural Gilbert Family Professors in Neurofibromatosis. The professorships, funded through the generosity of Jennifer and Dan Gilbert, will allow Dr. Packer and Dr. Zhu to dedicate their time to advance the science to improve care and research for neurofibromatosis.

The Gilberts made a commitment to establish the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute in 2007 and with this additional gift are committed to expanding neurofibromatosis research and its translation into clinical care at Children’s National. As part of this new commitment, the Gilberts created three Professorships in Neurofibromatosis that will help to retain, recruit, and support world-class faculty in this area.

“The Gilbert family has been incredibly generous to Children’s National,” said Kurt D. Newman, President and CEO of Children’s National. “Their vision to advance neurofibromatosis research, education, and patient care has changed the lives of so many children and families.”

As the head of the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute, Dr. Packer was named the Gilbert Family Distinguished Professor of Neurofibromatosis, and his focus will be improving treatment for children with the neurologic disease.

As the Scientific Director of the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute, Dr. Zhu was named the Gilbert Family Professor of Neurofibromatosis Research, allowing him to focus on neurofibromatosis research and its translation into clinical care.

Neurofibromatosis is an unpredictable genetic disorder. It can have complex symptoms including tumors of the brain, optic nerves, and the nervous system, and it often creates learning disabilities, sleep disorders, and depression.

About Children’s National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is ranked in the top 20 in every specialty evaluated by U.S. News & World Report; one of only four children’s hospitals in the nation to earn this distinction. Designated a Leapfrog Group Top Hospital and a two-time recipient of Magnet® status, this pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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