Jefferson Scholars Foundation Lures World-Renowned Neuroscientist to University of Virginia with Endowed Professorship

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For nearly forty years, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation has played a valuable role in recruiting top undergraduate and graduate students to the University of Virginia. Now, the Foundation is helping recruit world-class professors, too.

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, a private foundation that supports the University of Virginia through undergraduate, graduate and faculty programs, has filled its first endowed professorship. The Paul T. Jones Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professorship will be held by Professor J.C. Cang, a renowned neurobiology professor. Professor Cang currently serves as Professor of Neurobiology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He will begin work at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2017 and help lead the University’s brain-science research efforts.

Professor Cang studies the organization, function, and development of the visual system. In one research area, Professor Cang’s laboratory made a paradigm-shifting discovery regarding how sensory experience shapes visual functions in the cortex. Professor Cang has been awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship, the Klingenstein Fellowship Award in Neurosciences, and several research grants including ones from the National Institutes of Health.

“Professor Cang is a true rock star. Developing a better understanding of our brain is the focus of a national research initiative, and Professor Cang’s research will immediately bolster the work currently being done at the University of Virginia to support that effort,” said Jimmy Wright, president of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.

Joining Professor Cang on the University faculty will be his partner, Professor Xiaorung Liu, also a star career neurobiologist at Northwestern. “Professors Cang and Liu will be stellar additions to our cross-grounds neuroscience initiatives,” said Ian Baucom, Dean of the College and Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences.

In 2012, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation announced the creation of two Jefferson Scholars Foundation Endowed Professorships and launched an initiative to endow several additional Endowed Professorships. The professorships represent an extension of the Foundation’s mission to serve the University by identifying, attracting, and nurturing individuals of extraordinary intellectual range and depth whose contributions and leadership will enhance the University community.

“We have a rich tradition of bringing exceptional students to Charlottesville and these endowed professorships will help ensure that University of Virginia students learn from some of our nation’s brightest teachers,” Wright said. “We are grateful to Paul Tudor Jones and our other generous donors for creating these endowed professorships that allow the University of Virginia to compete on the world stage for truly remarkable faculty.”