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School of Medicine Names New Dean for Graduate Education

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Edith Lord, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and of oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been named the school’s senior associate dean for graduate education. Lord, a faculty member for 30 years, will direct the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Ph.D., postdoctoral and master’s degree programs. She succeeds Paul L. LaCelle, M.D., who will return to full-time research in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Since 2006, Lord has led graduate studies programs in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She also directs the school’s Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), which encourages underrepresented minorities to pursue a research doctorate and prepares them for careers as scientists and leaders in the biomedical community. In her research, Lord focuses on the immune responses that can control tumor development and also studies the unique microenvironment present within growing tumors. She has published, as author or co-author, more than 100 scientific articles. David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, said he was pleased the search committee recommended Lord with enthusiasm for the senior associate dean’s position. “During a tenure at the medical school that has extended over 30 years, she has demonstrated, time and time again, her excellence as a scientist and her passion for graduate education,” Guzick said. “At a time when graduate education in biomedical science is becoming increasingly important, Dr. Lord has developed a thoughtful and creative set of of short- and long-term goals that will greatly enhance Rochester’s contribution to training the next generation of biomedical scientists.”

Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of the University of Rochester Medical Center, said: “We are fortunate to have a great scientist who also is a great mentor in this important position.”

Lord, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Kansas, received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at San Diego. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco. She joined the School of Medicine and Dentistry faculty as a senior instructor in 1976. She was named assistant professor in 1978, associate professor in 1984 and professor in 1994. Robert T. Dirksen, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and physiology who led the search committee for the senior associate dean’s position, said: “Dr. Lord is a NIH-funded investigator who possesses an internationally renowned research reputation and an impressive track-record of excellence in graduate education and training.” “She exhibits a passion for graduate education, is a consensus-builder, and possesses the strength of character to act swiftly to do what will be in the best interest of our students, faculty, and the graduate programs,” Dirksen said.

Lord said her goals include “building on the strong legacy of Dr. LaCelle to further strengthen the size and quality of our graduate program and developing a postdoctoral office to provide support and guidance for our fellows.” She plans to develop new courses to assist the career objectives of students and faculty. Lord also said she will continue her research.  “Edith brings a wealth of experience as an educator and a mentor to the position of senior associate dean for graduate education, including service as the director of one of our largest graduate programs and of our flagship minority student program, the NIH PREP program,” said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s senior associate dean for research. “She is a dedicated and caring individual who will give 110 percent to our students and postdoctoral trainees.”

LaCelle, a 1959 graduate of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and a professor of pharmacology and physiology and of medicine, joined the faculty in 1964 as an instructor of what was then the Department of Radiation Biology and Biophysics. He was named a professor in 1974 and chaired the department from 1977 to 1996. He was named acting senior associate dean for graduate studies in 1996 and took the position in 2001. During LaCelle’s time as senior associate dean, three new graduate programs were developed: a Ph.D in translational biomedical sciences, a Ph.D. in epidemiology, and a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling. The number of graduate students also increased, in parallel with the increase in research faculty. There are now approximately 430 Ph.D. students enrolled, with incoming classes of approximately 75 to 80 per year. There are about 125 students in master’s programs.

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