Frank Macrina – a feather in our cap

Professor, researcher, scientist, author, administrator… friend.

Longtime member of the VCU community and founding director of the Philips Institute for Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, now the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D., received the Presidential Medallion at VCU’s May Commencement exercises. Established in 1984 by the VCU Board of Visitors, the award honors outstanding contributions of members of the university community and recognizes extraordinary achievement in learning and commitment to the mission of VCU.

“Frank Macrina has been a good friend to the School of Dentistry and to me personally as dean,” says David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S.

Now retired, Macrina joined VCU as assistant professor in 1974 and was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1983 and served in that position until 1995. From 1995 to 1997, he served as interim director of the Massey Cancer Center. In 1999, he was designated the Edward Myers Professor in Dentistry in 2000. In 2005, he was appointed vice president for research and innovation and served in that position for more than 13 years.

During his 45-year career, Macrina taught extensively and received multiple VCU awards for excellence in teaching and is the author of a widely used textbook in research ethics, now in its fourth edition. His research was continuously supported by the NIH for 33 years, and included prestigious Research Career Development and MERIT Awards.

“We’re very proud of Frank,” says Sarrett. “From a dental faculty member he rose to direct the research operation of the entire university. It’s a real feather in our cap. He continues to be supportive of the school and its work. We’re very grateful.”

Macrina’s service contributions to his profession and the Commonwealth of Virginia have included multiple terms on NIH study sections and chair of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Board of Scientific Counselors. He served as director of the Virginia Center of Innovative Technology Institute of Biotechnology and a board member of the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation, and was appointed to multiple advisory boards of the Virginia Bio+Tech Park.

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