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February 26, 2015

Setting Research Priorities

We are continuing to build our leadership teams at the School of Medicine to support our faculty, staff, and learners, as well as our health care, nursing, and public health colleagues, as we work to achieve our Emory Medicine vision—to integrate medical education, patient care, and research in resourceful, innovative ways that improve the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve.

Today's communication highlights our new Emory Medicine research leadership team. This team will focus on developing a strong infrastructure, core resources, and culture of discovery that will empower and connect our researchers in a collaborative community where breakthroughs happen. The breadth and depth of our research programs are inspiring; our researchers take on challenges from autism to aging, at the level of fundamental science to clinical implementation science. Emory received $521.8 million in external research funding in 2014, 64% of which was awarded to School of Medicine researchers. While the funding isn't the goal, it is a means that enables us to translate our discoveries into reducing disease and healing patients.

Fadlo Khuri  

Fadlo Khuri, executive associate dean of research, has announced that his goals for 2015 include improving scientific cores, aligning priorities, empowering chairs, and recruiting, developing, and supporting a world-class pipeline of talented investigators. "Our goal is to perennially rank in the top 10 to 15 medical schools worldwide by research output, funding, and quality," he says.

Khuri has selected his team, which includes new roles for some familiar faces who will bring their considerable talents to bear in advancing research and driving discovery at Emory. Please join me in congratulating them:

Allan Levey  

Betty Gage Holland Professor Allan Levey (chair, neurology) will serve as associate dean for research, overseeing strategic initiatives and helping facilitate major collaborations. Levey will work closely with SOM department chairs to support research as a priority. He will assist in the translation of Emory-based discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic and then back to the laboratory for refinement. Levey, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, has been at Emory since 1991. "Allan's outstanding leadership of the Department of Neurology and the neuroscience research program at Emory, as well as his prior leadership of the MD/PhD program at the SOM, makes him ideally prepared for such a critical and strategic leadership role," Khuri says.

Jeremy Boss  

Jeremy Boss (chair, microbiology and immunology) will serve as associate dean for basic research. Boss, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Immunology, came to Emory in 1986 and has successfully transformed the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, serving as chair during the past five years. In his new role, he will drive a major strategic review of our impressive cadre of scientists across the SOM, focusing on the basic and translational researchers whose work emanates from the laboratory but often touches the clinic. "Jerry will help us to better understand the exceptional basic science research that is ongoing at Emory, to designate strategic areas of focus, and to advocate for our outstanding scientists at a national level," Khuri says.

Haian Fu  

Haian Fu (pharmacology & hematology) will serve as associate dean for innovation and international strategies. He will design strategies that enhance both our intellectual property and major international scientific collaborations, leading collaborations that cut across centers and departments, not only of the SOM and WHSC, but the university as a whole. Fu, director of the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center, came to Emory in 1994. An important focus of his new role will be to facilitate the discovery, development, and delivery of new diagnostic tools, bioassays, drugs, and immunotherapeutics that emerge from Emory-based research and innovation. "Haian has a well-earned national and international reputation as a highly innovative and collaborative leader," Khuri says. "He will help us expand our collaborations to discover new agents, treatments, and modalities that can help reduce human suffering and add biological insight to our treatment of human disease."

Michael Zwick  

Michael Zwick (genetics, pediatrics) will serve as assistant dean for research, assistant vice president in the WHSC, and core director of the research technologies program of the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI). Zwick is scientific director of the Emory Integrated Genomics Core and will be responsible for the oversight and strategic growth of the service centers (cores) within the SOM, the WHSC, and more broadly across the institution. Zwick is a commander in the US Navy (reserve component). He joined the Department of Human Genetics in 2005. His research focus is on the use of next-generation sequencing to study major diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, Down syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders. "Mike is asked to be a transformative driver of change in an time when we need to increase our bandwidth in studying complex traits across large populations, which is vital as we move toward an era in which diseases are increasingly studied across a broad spectrum of manifestations," says WHSC VP for Research David Stephens.

Trish Haugaard  

Trish Haugaard will continue to serve as assistant dean for research administration, a position she has held since 2004. In addition to supporting the goals of the new executive associate dean for research, she is co-leading the dean's current research strategic action plan and will continue to manage much of the research infrastructure. She has been an Emory employee since 1985, with much of her experience in various levels of research compliance, and now serves as a resource for many SOM faculty and staff. "Trish's insight and dedication are indispensable to defining our organizational strengths and limitations," Stephens says, "and to marshalling the school's research resources to help make our scientific impact even more transformative in these challenging times."

Jeff Lennox  

Jeffrey Lennox (infectious diseases) will continue to serve as associate dean for clinical research. Lennox, vice-chair for Grady affairs in the Department of Medicine, came to Emory in 1994. He founded the Emory HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, which has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1996. His research has helped transform HIV into a chronic, treatable condition. As associate dean he has led initiatives to enhance the environment for clinical research at Emory, to improve training for research coordinators, and to stimulate the development of young investigators. "Jeff has already led a major transformation in the rigor of clinical research at Emory," Khuri says. "His remarkable skill set and dedication will help us translate our basic research discoveries to the bedside and into clinical practice, both locally and nationally."

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