Dirk Bohmann to Lead Basic Science Research at URMC

Jan. 11, 2016
Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D.

Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D., an accomplished molecular biologist and scientific leader at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been appointed Senior Associate Dean for Basic Research pending approval of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Bohmann’s term is effective Jan. 1, 2016, and he’s begun making plans to improve the links between the Medical Center’s vast research community and its leadership, and to strategically integrate the science and education missions.

“I really consider this to be a service function for the scientific community,” said Bohmann, who holds the Donald M. Foster MD Professorship in Biomedical Genetics. “I hope to receive input from my colleagues and I look forward to interacting with them to come up with ways to improve our existing strengths and foster new ideas.”

“Dirk is an outstanding scientist, who is deeply respected by his peers for the role he has played in enriching the research and educational programs of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dirk is therefore the perfect candidate for this position,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the Medical School and CEO of URMC. “We are confident he will work with all researchers to evolve the scientific environment into one that is even more vibrant and impactful.”

Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., vice dean for research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, also noted that Bohmann is already a thought-leader and alliance-builder among URMC scientists.

“Informally he’s been representing the interests of faculty in this area for several years and this appointment is a chance for us to formalize his role so that he can actively build on the needs and priorities of researchers,” said Dewhurst, who previously served as the senior associate dean for basic research at URMC.

Bohmann will report to Dewhurst, as do Edith Lord, Ph.D., senior associate dean of Graduate Studies, and Karl Kieburtz, M.D., senior associate dean for Clinical Research.

As a team, the deans are concerned with strengthening the research infrastructure, improving education and training, and promoting collaboration that will bring in more research funding in a competitive environment.

Bohmann has demonstrated his abilities so far by working with other top University scientists across the campus to establish new aging research initiatives, and to establish informatics as a priority at the Medical Center, Dewhurst said.

Engaging the next generation of scientists and preparing them for the future is also a priority, Bohmann said. The quality of the University’s graduate student program and basic research are mutually dependent and there is room for creativity, he added, to revise the curricula, develop recruiting strategies, and support training grant applications.

Bohmann graduated from the University of Tübingen, one of Germany’s most famous and oldest universities. He also earned a doctorate in biology from Tübingen for research conducted at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, in the laboratory of Robert Tjian, Ph.D., who is now the president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He joined the URMC faculty in 2001 after working 11 years as a group leader and senior scientist at the European Molecular Laboratory in Heidelberg.

Bohmann will maintain his URMC laboratory, which uses fruit fly genetics to study the aging process and how environmental stressors promote age-related diseases such as cancer and degenerative conditions.

J. Edward Puzas, Ph.D., the Donald and Mark Clark Professor of Orthopaedics, was the prior research dean, beginning his service in 2009.

# # #

The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s, pandemic influenza, and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes, and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region, and across the globe. To learn more, visit