UB Chair of Neurology/JNI Recruited to Lead Major Boston Pharmaceutical Company

Robert Sawyer, MD, appointed interim chair

By Lois Baker

Release Date: January 27, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Frederick E. Munschauer III, MD, noted neurologist and chair of the University at Buffalo's Department of Neurology, has been appointed vice president of U.S. medical affairs for Biogen Idec in Boston, Mass.

Munschauer, who also is chief of the Jacobs Neurological Institute (JNI), will assume his new position Feb. 1.

Robert Sawyer, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and chief of stroke service for Kaleida Health, has been appointed interim department chair and interim chief of the JNI. Sawyer retired recently as captain (select) in the U.S. Navy after 30 years of service.

On announcing his new position, Munschauer says: "It has been an honor to serve as a University at Buffalo faculty member for 25 years and chair of neurology for eight years. This will be a bittersweet change in my career. Buffalo is my home and my patients have become my family.

"The city is experiencing exciting times in health care," he continues, "and I have had the privilege to be a part of it. It has been an honor to have served with world-renowned neurologists from the JNI who continue to focus on improving the lives of everyday people who suffer from the wide spectrum of neurological diseases."

Under Munschauer's leadership, the UB neurology department has been on the forefront of research and treatment of multiple sclerosis, as well as epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson's disease, autism, Alzheimer's disease, movement disorders, and neuropsychological and sleep disorders.

"The JNI's standard of excellence of treating the patient first, combined with its emphasis on translational research, makes our team one of the best in the country in delivering comprehensive patient care," he says.

Munschauer is known as a distinguished clinician and has been recognized for his community service to Western New York. He was named one of the area's 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Business First, represented Western New York on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's board of directors and served as executive director of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium.

He was founder and director of the Kenneth Alford Continuing Medical Education Center and the Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease at the JNI. The research center designs, implements and evaluates projects to educate individuals and motivate them to adopt practices shown to reduce risk factors for these debilitating conditions.

Munschauer was instrumental in the development of Avonex, the first drug to slow the progression of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which resulted from groundbreaking research by the late Lawrence Jacobs, MD, former chair of the UB department.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Kaleida Health is the largest health care provider in Western New York, serving the area's eight counties with state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive health care services by expert, compassionate health care professionals to bring patients the best care.