Virginia Pascual, MD, a physician-scientist specializing in pediatric rheumatology, has been appointed director of the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children’s Health, effective April 1.
The institute, a research hub dedicated to understanding the underlying causes of pediatric diseases, was established in 2014 with a $25 million gift to Weill Cornell Medical College from philanthropists Gale and Ira Drukier.
As director of the institute, Pascual will lead a team of scientists whose research is focused on pediatric diseases, including allergies, infections, autoimmunity and immune deficiencies.
Pascual will also collaborate with Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian’s pediatric clinical care programs to ensure that research breakthroughs at the Drukier Institute can be rapidly translated into the most advanced therapies for patients.
Prior to accepting the new position, Pascual served as director of the Center for Inflammation & Genomic Medicine at the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, part of the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute.
As a pediatric rheumatologist Pascual investigates pediatric inflammatory and autoimmune diseases with the goal of translating laboratory findings into therapeutic targets and useful biomarkers. As part of her new appointment, Pascual will also serve as professor of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine.
“Dr. Pascual has worked tirelessly on behalf of children’s health, and we are thrilled that she is bringing her expertise as both a scientist and a physician to Weill Cornell Medicine,” Weill Cornell Medicine director Augustine Choi, MD, said in a statement.
Under Pascual’s leadership, investigators at the Drukier Institute will use cutting-edge scientific approaches – including precision medicine – to better understand the molecular and genetic drivers of pediatric diseases. Pascual will recruit a team of top-tier investigators, augmenting the team of physician-scientists already at Weill Cornell Medicine, who will focus on basic discovery efforts and translate their research advances into new treatments and therapies that can immediately benefit children.
Pascual received her medical degree from the Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Hospital “12 de Octubre,” U. Complutense in Madrid, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, serving on the faculty since 1990. She became director of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology in 1998, and a year later joined the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, first as an investigator and later as director of the Center for Inflammation and Genomics. She has also served as a clinical professor in pediatric rheumatology at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children since 1995.