Health Sciences Center courtyard
UofL Health Sciences Center courtyard.

To remain at the forefront of immune system and disease research, the University of Louisville School of Medicine will establish the Carolyn Siler Browning Endowed Chair in Immunogenetics. The Executive & Compensation Committee of UofL’s Board of Trustees approved the request submitted by University Advancement at its Dec. 14, 2023, meeting.

Immunogenomics combines the fields of immunology (study of the immune system) and genomics (study of the genetic changes in cancer). According to the proposal submitted for approval, researchers are just now uncovering the extent of immunogenetic diversity among human populations. Genetic diversity in immune genes significantly impacts individual immune responses, with critical implications for how people develop and administer novel vaccines and therapeutics, as well as characterize complex and dynamic immune responses in infection, autoimmune disease and cancer.

School of Medicine Interim Dean Jeffrey Bumpous said that the university is well-prepared to support this research with equipment that other research institutes do not have, and the new endowment will accelerate efforts to understand the rapidly expanding field of immunogenomics.

Funding for the endowment comes from the estate of Carolyn S. Browning ($934,498.15) and the estate of Clifford Ernst ($65,501.85). UofL will request the gifts be matched by a contribution of $1 million from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund, resulting in a total contribution of $2 million.

Browning, the endowment’s namesake, was a longtime Louisville resident, teaching music and Spanish for more than 30 years. Her husband, Harold Alonzo Browning, Jr., was a city editor for the Louisville Times. The Browning estate has provided gifts to other medical schools as well as the American Diabetes Association, memorial Sloan Kettering and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.