UNMC diabetes researcher, Cyrus Desouza, M.D., named to endowed professorship

Gift was made possible by Doniphan, Neb. farm couple

A University of Nebraska Medical Center endocrinologist, Cyrus Desouza, M.D., has been named the first recipient of the Ervin and Dorothy Schulz Medical Professorship for Diabetes Research.

The endowed professorship, created in 2002 through a $510,000 estate gift made to the University of Nebraska Foundation, was named after lifelong farmers from Doniphan, Neb. The gift, given to honor the Schulz family, supports diabetes, cancer, or cardiac research and recognizes a prominent researcher.

The professorship was established in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine by the late Ervin and Dorothy Schulz. Ervin, who was born in Plymouth, Neb., died in 1990. Dorothy, born near Blue Hill, Neb., died in 2001.  

Dr. Desouza is chief of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine. He also is on staff at the Omaha VA Medical Center.

“I am very pleased and grateful to the Schulz family for their support to UNMC and the fight against diabetes,” Dr. Desouza said. “It is due to support from generous people like them that researchers can accomplish a lot and put UNMC on the forefront of research.”

Dr. Desouza is leading two new National Institutes of Health-funded research studies. One will directly compare several type 2 diabetes treatments to determine which is the most effective, and the other will evaluate whether vitamin D can prevent diabetes.

He also has played a national leadership role in the VA MOVE! obesity program. His primary research interest is to understand the mechanisms that cause blood vessel damage in diabetes so drugs can be developed for prevention and treatment.

Jennifer Larsen, M.D., UNMC vice chancellor for research, praised Dr. Desouza’s work.

“As diabetes continues to grow and impact health care costs and outcomes, it is essential that we have a strong diabetes research program,” Dr. Larsen said. “As a diabetes physician, I have enjoyed watching Dr. Desouza grow and lead the diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism division. I am excited about Dr. Desouza’s research as well as the multi-center diabetes trials he has brought to our region.”

Married for 50 years, the Schulzes managed a livestock herd, farmed and rented land. Dorothy was a volunteer at Doniphan Senior Center and Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. The Schulzes were dedicated to farming and helped prepare future Nebraska farmers. When they weren’t on the farm the two enjoyed bowling and occasionally took a vacation during the winter, but the rest of the time they spent working on their farm.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.





Vicky Cerino
UNMC Public Relations
(402) 559-5190