Dr. Robert Hester, professor of physiology and biophysics, is the new president-elect of the American Physiological Society.
Dr. Robert Hester, professor of physiology and biophysics, is the new president-elect of the American Physiological Society.
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Hester elected American Physiological Society president

Published on Monday, March 11, 2024

By: Andrea Wright Dilworth,

Photos By: Joe Ellis/ UMMC Communications

Dr. Robert Hester, professor of physiology and biophysics, is the new president-elect of the American Physiological Society, his term beginning in April 2025.

Hester, the 10th University of Mississippi Medical Center faculty member or trainee to lead the organization, said he is honored to serve as president.  “APS has been my scientific home since I joined in 1981.”  

Portrait of Dr. LouAnn Woodward

“Dr. Hester’s appointment as APA president is a testament to his exemplary contributions to the field of physiological sciences,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are proud he is representing UMMC in this national role.”

Portrait of Dr. Lee Bidwell

APS is the world’s premier society for physiologists, said Dr. Lee Bidwell, associate vice chancellor for research, adding it hosts leading physiology meetings, publishes top physiology journals, hosts infrastructure for physiology education and provides a mentoring network for physiologists at all career stages. 

“UMMC has had an outsized role in APS leadership throughout the society’s history, beginning with Dr. Guyton serving as president from 1974-1975, and continuing today with Dr. Hester’s election to be the 10th president with ties to the UMMC Department of Physiology,” said Bidwell.

Hester, a leading scientist and outstanding teacher and mentor, has a long history of service to both UMMC and scientific societies like APS, said Bidwell. “He is also very giving of his time,” he said. “APS is currently undergoing major changes in their governance and financial structure. Robert will be the ideal leader to shepherd the society through these important changes.”

Other APS past presidents from UMMC include Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and chair of physiology, in 2001; Dr. Joey Granger, professor of physiology, 2011; and Dr. Jane Reckelhoff, professor of pharmacology, 2016.

Hall, who said Hester has devoted his entire career to physiology research, education and service to APS and to UMMC, is proud his colleague has been elected APS president by its 10,000-plus members.

Portrait of Dr. John Hall

“This is a high honor that recognizes his enormous contributions to the science of physiology as well as his national service and leadership,” said Hall. “Robert continues the long line of 10 APS presidents who were faculty members or trainees of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at UMMC.”

Joey Granger

Added Granger: “We are all proud of Dr. Hester’s achievement as president-elect and the international recognition it brings to UMMC.”

As president, one of Hester’s goals is to ensure the organization provides support to early-career investigators through mentorship and opportunities to present their research.

He will also tackle a National Institutes of Health policy requiring that final published peer-reviewed manuscripts funded by the agency be accessible to the public on PubMed Central.

“APS has multiple journals, with subscriptions being a major revenue source,” he said. “I will be president when APS implements open access, which will affect the revenue for the society. My goal is a successful implementation of open access while maintaining a financially viable society for the future.”  

Hester, who retired after 38 years at UMMC in July, said his part-time status at the Medical Center will allow more time and flexibility to devote to APS.  

The international organization forges collaboration and highlights important scientific discoveries in physiology and related fields, advancing treatments and cures in areas including cancer, heart disease, obesity and addiction.

Hester has a long history of service to the APS, having served as chair of Joint Programming Committee and the Cardiovascular Section, chair of the Board of Directors of Experimental Biology, chair of the Program Committee, member of the Section Advisory, Education and Science Policy committees, the American Physiology Summit 2023 Task Force, and editor and member of the editorial boards of its journals. In 2023, he received the APS Arthur C. Guyton Educator of the Year Award in recognition for his outstanding contributions to physiology education.

At UMMC, Hester is also chair of the Research Compliance and Institutional Animal Care and Use committees.