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Scott Commins, MD, PhD an allergist internationally known for his work with Alpha-gal syndrome, has been named the newly established William J. Yount, MD Distinguished Professor of Medicine. Faculty who contribute exemplary knowledge to advancing science or human health are honored with a distinguished professorship.

Drs. William Yount and Scott Commins

“It gives me such pleasure to honor both Dr. Yount, who was a founding leader in our division, and Dr. Commins who embodies everything that we value—scientific scholarship, expert clinical care, and service to our trainees and the broader medical community,” Beth Jonas, MD, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and immunology and Reeves Foundation Distinguished Professor of Medicine said.

William Yount, MD, Reeves Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Medicine, dedicated 49 years of service to the University of North Carolina. He founded the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and multiple associated laboratories. Dr. Yount also guided the foundation of the division’s fellowships.

“Receiving the Yount Professorship is the highest honor of my career. Dr. Yount was a true physician-scientist who advanced our understanding of immunology, including the fundamental observation that immunoglobulin subclasses define specific antigen responses. Outside of the laboratory, he was the most skilled and knowledgeable physician I have known. He was beloved by patients for his personable, thorough and caring approach. Calling him ‘colleague’ is a privilege and one I will forever hold dear,” Dr. Commins said.

“When I asked him, ‘why not stay for one more year and reach 50 years,’ he responded, ‘that would be showy,’” recalled Dr. Commins.

Leading one of the few sites where physician scientists are exploring the immunologic mechanisms which lead to alpha-gal syndrome, Dr. Commins has made important discoveries in this area. He and his team continue to raise awareness for the rare yet increasingly diagnosed allergy which is known to be brought on by a tick bite.

“Dr. Commins is a consummate physician scholar and is most deserving of this honor. His work in elucidating the mechanisms underlying alpha-gal mammalian meat allergy has been groundbreaking and promises to advance the understanding of the intersection between infectious diseases and allergy/immunology in other tic borne illnesses,” Dr. Jonas said.