Department Directory

Emeritus Faculty

Margaret C. Biber

Margaret C. Biber, D.Phil.

Margaret C. Biber completed an undergraduate degree in 1964 in Physiology at University College, London, a D.Phil. in 1967 in Biochemical Pharmacology at University of Oxford, and then two years of postdoctoral work in Neuropharmacology at Yale University. At Yale, she was the A.B. Coxe Memorial Fellow from 1967-1968, and served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty from 1969 -1975.  She joined the Department of Physiology in 1975, was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association from 1975-1980, and served as Chair  of Physiology from 1993 to 2007.  Her research focused on the regulation of norepinphrine synthesis and on regulation of 5-HT neurons.  With colleagues, she developed an auditory stress model to activate the ascending 5-HT projections in brain. Using this model, she identified a link between serotonergic neuronal activation, glucocorticords, and corticotropin releasing factor implicated in depression.



Thomas U. L. Biber

Thomas U. L. Biber, Professor Emeritus, received his M.D. from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the National Board of Internal Medicine in 1960 from the University of Zurich. He completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Copenhagen with Dr. H.H. Ussing and at the University of North Carolina with Dr. Gottschalk. After serving on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Biber joined VCU in 1975. His major research interest is ion transport in biological membranes, and he pioneered the use of multi-barrel microelectrodes in his studies.





Stephen F. Cleary

Stephen F. Cleary, Professor Emeritus, studied chemical engineering at the New York University College of Engineering (B.S. 1958). He received his M.S. in radiation biophysics in 1960 from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in biophysics in 1964 from New York University. He joined the department in 1964 and became Emeritus Professor in 2003. His major research interest was in biological effects of microwave radiation.




Karl C. Corley

Karl C. Corley, Jr., Associate Professor Emeritus, completed his B.S. in general science in 1958 at Trinity College and his Ph.D. in brain research and psychology in 1964 at the University of Rochester. He was a research associate at Merck Institute for two years before joining the department. His research interest is in the area in which physiology and psychology overlap.



Linda S. Costanzo

Linda S. Costanzo, Professor Emeritus (2011), received an A.B. in Chemistry (1969) from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology (1973) from the State University of New York. She did postdoctoral work at Cornell University Medical College (1974-1979) under Dr. E. E. Windhager, and joined VCU in 1981. Her research on renal calcium transport was supported by an NIH R01 and an American Heart Association Established Investigatorship before she devoted herself to medical education. She authored several widely used physiology texts and review books for medical students and received multiple teaching awards from VCU including the university's Distinguished Teaching Award and the SOM's first Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, She also received the first Arthur C. Guyton Physiology Teacher of the Year Award from the American Physiological Society, and the Alpha Omega Alpha, Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges.



Richard M. Costanzo

Richard M. Costanzo, Professor Emeritus (2018), received a B.S. in Biology (1969) from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and a Ph.D. in Physiology (1975) from SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. He did postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University (1975-1977) and was a research associate/instructor in Physiology at NYU School of Medicine (1977-1979). He joined the VCU Department of Physiology in 1979. Dr. Costanzo is best known for his work on neural regeneration in the olfactory system. He has been the recipient of multiple awards for teaching, mentoring, research and served as Principal Investigator for over 30 years on an NIH research grant studying the physiology of olfaction. He is internationally recognized as an expert on the loss of smell and taste following head injury and is specialist who evaluates patients in the Department of Otolaryngology’s Smell and Taste Clinic.




John A. DeSimone

John A. DeSimone received his B.A. in Chemistry (1964) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. in Biophysics (1971) from Harvard University. Dr. DeSimone received further training in Chemical Engineering (1971-1973) as a NIH postdoctoral fellow and conducted research at the 3M Company (1973-74) before joining the VCU Department of Physiology in 1974. He was named Professor Emeritus in 2009. Dr. DeSimone continues to collaborate with colleagues on sponsored research programs. He has been a leader in the investigation of receptor mechanisms in chemoreception, especially taste, since about 1975.




Alexandre Fabiato

Alexandre Fabiato received an M.D. (1969) and a Ph.D. (1970) from the University of Paris.  He left the faculty of Harvard University to join our department in 1975.  His distinguished career includes many major achievements, the most significant was probably the clarification of excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal and cardiac muscle cells. His publications include two Science Citation Classics.  He retired in 2013.




Joseph J. Feher

Joseph J. Feher completed his undergraduate training at Cornell University, majoring in Biochemistry.  He then obtained a MS in nutrition in 1973, working with Dr. Donald B. McCormick and Lemuel D. Wright.  After working in the Department of Surgery at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse with Dr. Robert Hall, Dr. Feher returned to Cornell University to earn his Ph.D. in physiology under Dr. Robert Wasserman in 1977.  He had postdoctoral training with Dr. F. Norman Briggs here in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and joined the department as faculty in 1979.




George D. Ford

George D. Ford received his B.S. in Physics (1961) from West Virginia University, his M.S. in Physics (1964) from Iowa University, and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology (1967) from West Virginia University. Following postdoctoral training in Biophysics at the University of Rochester with Dr. D.A. Goldstein, Dr. Ford joined the department in 1970.  He became Emeritus Professor in 2009. He currently holds an affiliate position as Assistant Dean of Medicine for Sponsored Programs Research. His research specialty is cardiovascular physiology.




Mohammed Kalimi

Mohammed Y. Kalimi, Professor Emeritus, obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from Bombay University, where he also completed his M.S. in 1964 and Ph.D. in 1970 in Biochemistry. He undertook his post doctoral training with Dr. Feigelson at Columbia University, and with Dr. B. O’Malley at Baylor College of Medicine. After serving on the faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Kalimi joined the department in 1979. After a productive career investigating mechanisms of action of steroid hormones, Dr. Kalimi became Professor Emeritus in December, 2009.




Donald C. Mikulecky

Donald C. Mikulecky, Professor Emeritus, received his B.S. in biology in 1957 from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in physiology in 1963 from the University of Chicago. Dr. Mikulecky’s postdoctoral work was conducted in non-equilibrium thermodynamics and membrane biophysics at the Weizmann Institute of Science with Dr. Aaron Katchalsky. He came to VCU in 1973. A theoretical biologist, he specialized in creating and testing mathematical models of biological systems and processes.




James L. Poland

James L. Poland, Associate Professor Emeritus, completed his undergraduate degree in biology in 1962 at Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania. He completed his graduate work in physiology at West Virginia University (M.S. 1964, Ph.D. 1967). Dr. Poland joined the department in 1967. His major research interest is the physiology of exercise, especially as it relates to pulmonary function.




Steven Price

Steven Price, Professor Emeritus, holds an A.B. in Biology from Adelphi University (1958), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Biology from Princeton University (1960, 1961). After two years of postdoctoral training in biochemistry at Florida State University, he was a Research Group Leader at Monsanto Research Corporation's Everett (Massachusetts) laboratories before joining our faculty in 1966. His research was directed toward understanding receptor mechanisms in taste and smell. He retired in July of 2012.




Ellis B. Ridgway

Ellis B. Ridgway, Professor Emeritus, received his S.B. in life science (1963) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in biology (1968) from the University of Oregon under Graham Hoyle. Following postdoctoral fellowships in London with Andrew Huxley and in Cambridge with Alan Hodgkin, Dr. Ridgway joined the department in 1972. Dr. Ridgway's research revolved around assessing the role of calcium ion in a number of biological phenomena. He pioneered the use of the the luminescent protein, aequorin, to measure calcium transients.




Raphael J. Witorsch

Raphael J. Witorsch, Professor Emeritus, received his A.B. in biology in 1963 from New York University and completed his graduate studies in physiology at Yale University (M.S. 1965, Ph.D. 1968), Dr. Witorsch spent two years in postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia before joining VCU in 1970. He became Professor Emeritus in December, 2009. Dr. Witorsch received the 2009 VCU School of Medicine Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, and continues to teach endocrine and reproductive physiology in the medical curriculum while maintaining a scholarly interest in endocrine disruption.