Leadership Transition in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni:

After 13 years of distinguished leadership to Northeast Ohio Medical University as chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Jeffrey Wenstrup, Ph.D., will be stepping down from his administrative duties, effective July 1, 2021. 

Dr. Wenstrup’s accomplished career at NEOMED spans more than 30 years, and we are fortunate that he will remain active in the department, focusing on research and teaching in his tenured professor role. 

We thank Dr. Wenstrup for his dedication and extensive contributions to NEOMED.

In preparation for this transition of leadership and in consultation with stakeholders, I have appointed Hans Thewissen, Ph.D., as interim chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology. Dr. Thewissen will officially assume the interim chair’s duties July 1, 2021.  In this role, he will also serve as the director of the Yassine Lab and the Body Donation Program.  A national search will soon begin for a permanent department chair.

Dr. Thewissen is the Ingalls-Brown Endowed Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and has been a faculty member at NEOMED since 1993. He holds a graduate appointment in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Kent State University and is a research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. His strong commitment to education, research and service at both college and university levels, is evident throughout his career. 

Dr. Thewissen is a highly respected faculty leader who currently serves as co-chair of the College of Medicine’s CAPP 2 Committee and an at-large member of the Curriculum Committee. He also chairs the University’s Tenure and Promotions Committee. During the College’s most recent LCME accreditation site visit, Dr. Thewissen served as a key faculty representative for the site visit. He teaches in three modules in the anatomy and embryology pre-clinical curriculum and served for six years as the course director of the Human Development and Structure course.  He also heads the body Donor Advisory Board for the Department.

A nationally and internationally known research expert in the study of anatomy, paleontology and the embryology of whales, Dr. Thewissen discovered several fossil whale species that documented the evolutionary transition from land to water, including the first whale with hind limbs strong enough to walk on land. Hence, the origin for the naming of Nate, the Walking Whale. Dr. Thewissen has written or edited five books, including 'The Walking Whales.'

As we transition to new leadership in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, please join me in welcoming Dr. Thewissen to this interim role.  I am confident in his ability to lead the department through this important leadership change period.


Elisabeth Young

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