Mathur S. Kannan: Scientific Ambassador and Collaborative Scholar

November 7, 2018
Mathur Kannan, Retirement card

Mathur Kannan, a Professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, retired on September 30th after 31 years of distinguished research, graduate and professional teaching, and local, national and international service. A celebratory gathering in his honor was held on October 17th.

Recruited from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1987, Dr. Kannan accepted a faculty position at the University of Minnesota. As an educator,  Kannan has a comfortable teaching style, and challenges the students to think about key concepts and how they relate to clinical situations. He taught in graduate courses during his tenure at this institution and is one of a few individuals who have extensive training and experience in the area of problem-based learning and its applications to the D.V.M. curriculum. Kannan also played an important role on the collegiate Curriculum Committee in revising the curriculum.

As an investigator, Dr. Kannan established a research program on the physiology and pharmacology of airway smooth muscle. Over the years, he gained a national and international reputation as a highly-respected thought leader in airway physiology and pharmacology. Kannan has been invited to speak at over sixty scientific conferences across the globe, from Italy and India to Korea and Canada, making him one of the department’s great scientific ambassadors. He has had a positive influence on the lives of many people who have crossed his path, and actually saved the lives of some of them through his connections with the Mayo Clinic.

In 2009, Dr. Kannan received the Pfizer Research Excellence Award, and to date, has authored well over 100 referred journal articles and nine chapters in books. He has been the primary advisor of ten graduate students, the co-advisor of eight; and trained five postdoctoral fellows and at least one CVM faculty member in his laboratory. He has always been a kind, patient and inspiring mentor to students and junior faculty in the department, College, and University.

Dr. Kannan particularly loves to review grant applications and, in addition to serving on many grant review panels for the University and outside foundations, he has been a valuable member of NIH study sections for over a decade. Mathur’s research accomplishments underscore the importance of perseverance, collaborative team science, and building scientific expertise and personal networks through faculty sabbatical leaves to other institutions. Although he is retired, Dr. Kannan will maintain his mentorship of junior faculty and continue to write and review grant applications in the department as Professor Emeritus.