Dear colleagues,

It is my great privilege to share that Pamela E. Knapp, Ph.D. has been appointed chair of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology, beginning December 25, 2023. Dr. Knapp came to the VCU School of Medicine in 2007 from the University of Kentucky as a faculty in Anatomy and Neurobiology.

Dr. Knapp has maintained continuous National Institutes of Health funding since 2002, and prior to that was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has a career-long interest in glial-neuronal interactions in development and disease. Her lab established that oligodendroglia and their progenitors express opioid receptors, and are protected by k-opioid signaling. These findings led to studies on opioid signaling in central nervous system pathologies.  Her work now principally examines the role of glial cells in the comorbidity of opioids and neuroHIV.  She is presently a principle or multiple-PI investigator on three NIH R01 grants and co-investigator on a fourth R01 grant.

In addition to her research, Dr. Knapp has mentored students at all levels, and faculty at several institutions. She teaches embryology in both the undergraduate medical and dental programs, as well as in graduate courses. Her service to the School of Medicine includes Curriculum Council, MD / PhD Program Steering Committee, and the SOM Promotion and Tenure committee.  Dr. Knapp is currently serving on the VCU Repositioning Task Force, and previously served on the VCU Promotion and Tenure Review committee, and as a faculty coach for the NSF-ADVANCE-IT grant. She serves on multiple editorial boards and is Editor-In-Chief of Neuroscience Letters.

A tenured professor, with joint appointments in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Dr. Knapp received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University in medical physiology, and her B.S. in animal physiology from Cornell University.

I would like to thank the search committee, chaired by Dr. Bill Dewey and Dr. Gordon Smith, and all in the department who provided feedback in selecting the new chair. As permanent chair, I know Dr. Knapp will continue her commitment to advancing the research, education, and service missions of the departments, and to serving as an advocate for our outstanding faculty.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Knapp on her new appointment.

With gratitude,

Arturo P. Saavedra, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System