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Robert E. Meyerhoff Professorships

School of Medicine

Established in 2007 by Robert E. Meyerhoff to support two junior faculty with exceptional promise at the School of Medicine for five years. These individuals will have exemplary records of academic achievement in medicine and a demonstrated commitment to increasing opportunities for under-represented minorities and breaking down stereotypes.

ROBERT E. MEYERHOFF was born and raised in Baltimore and received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1944. He served as an officer in the United States Navy Civil Engineers Corps and participated in the invasion of Okinawa with the 28th Construction Battalion – “Seabees.” He was married to JANE MEYERHOFF who died in 2004. They raised a family, including a daughter, Rose Ellen Meyerhoff Greene, and twin sons, Neil Meyerhoff and John Meyerhoff, M.D.

Professionally, Mr. Meyerhoff has been active in housing and apartment development in Baltimore. He is also a prominent art collector and has successfully bred horses.

Mr. Meyerhoff has been devoted to increasing the participation of promising and outstanding diverse students and scholars in the sciences for many decades. The Meyerhoff Scholars Program at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), established in 1988, serves as a national model for expanding minority participation in the sciences. At Johns Hopkins, where Mr. Meyerhoff has been a generous donor for over 40 years, he has continued his support of this cause by funding the Robert E. Meyerhoff Professorships and now the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Professorships at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Additionally, Mr. Meyerhoff has supported the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute’s Diversity Initiative as well as the late Leon Fleisher’s piano studio.

Mr. Meyerhoff shares his passion for the arts with his partner, Mrs. Rheda Becker, who is both a former faculty member and avid supporter of the Peabody Conservatory. She is recognized as one of the outstanding professionals in the specialized art of musical narration. Mrs. Becker has performed with a variety of renowned orchestras across the country. In 2014, she and Mr. Meyerhoff were appointed Lifetime Directors of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where Mrs. Becker has been a musical narrator for over four decades.

Please see the current chair holders’ profiles below.  Previously, the professorships were held by:


  • Jonathan Chrispin, M.D., Division of Cardiology, Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia in the Department of Medicine
  • Arthur Jason Vaught, M.D., Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics


  • Michael Chattergoon, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Infectious Diseases
  • Chiadi E. Ndumele, M.D., M.H.S., Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine


  • Samuel A. Giday, M.D., Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine
  • Frederick K. Korley, M.D., Ph.D., Emergency Medicine

Held by Eric Tyrell Oliver

ERIC TYRELL OLIVER, M.D., joined the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology as an instructor of medicine in July 2015. He was born and raised in South Carolina and graduated from Duke University as dual major in biology and religion and a music minor. He earned his M.D. from the University of South Carolina and completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics from The Ohio State University. He completed his fellowship in allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins.

Now an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dr. Oliver evaluates and treats infants, children, and adults at the Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center located on the Bayview campus. His clinical interests include allergic disorders of the skin and airway, hives (urticaria), food allergy, anaphylaxis, immunotherapy, aspirin desensitization, and novel therapeutics. His research efforts focus on elucidating the mechanisms for cell activation and recruitment in chronic urticaria as well as clinical investigations of novel treatments for food allergy.

Held by Jelani Zarif

JELANI CHINELO ZARIF, Ph.D., M.S., is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Zarif is also a member of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. The Zarif laboratory studies molecular mechanisms by immune cells within the tumor microenvironment that ultimately promote tumor growth, therapeutic resistance, and metastasis. The Zarif laboratory also focuses on discovering and investigating new biomarkers that may be expressed on myeloid cells known as macrophages that could predict clinical response to standard of care treatments for prostate cancer.

A Chicago native, Dr. Zarif obtained both his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Jackson State University and then earned his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University.  He then completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has been the recipient of several research awards, including the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Young Investigator award, The Patrick C. Walsh Prostate Cancer Research Fund, Department of Defense Translational Research award and the NCI K22 Career Transition award.