School of Medicine Interim Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., has appointed Mark Nichols, Ph.D., interim chair of the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics effective August 1, 2018. In this role, he will work closely with faculty, staff and students to help position the department as a catalyst for innovation and creativity.
Dr. Nichols received his Ph.D. from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. He then undertook postdoctoral training in molecular biology at the German Cancer Research Center, and the European Molecular Biology Lab, both in Heidelberg.
In 1998, Dr. Nichols returned to the United States as an assistant professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine.
From 2010-2016, he served as a Scientist Administrator for Research Development in the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Office of Research at the University of Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he served all six health science schools at the University of Pittsburgh with the specific objective of assisting other investigators in their quest to obtain extramural research funding. His work resulted in 77 grants funded for more than $121 million.
In 2016, Dr. Nichols was recruited to UMKC as Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing and Health Studies and as Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the School of Medicine.
His expertise includes molecular mechanisms of drug and enzyme action, molecular biology, mutagenesis, cloning, signal transduction, genomic regulation, cell cycle, and steroid hormones, with peer-reviewed publications in 20 biomedical journals, an siRNA biotechnology patent, and funding from NIH (NIDDK, NCI), DOD CDRMP, and American Cancer Society.
The School of Medicine has announced that Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., will serve as the inaugural chair of the Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine.
Banderas is particularly qualified to serve as the chair of the department. She has served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Allied Health since 2012 and before that was Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.
She will oversee the department as it is integrated into the School of Medicine’s strategic plans and objectives to expand graduate and professional degree programs in medicine to meet the needs of the community.
The School of Medicine currently offers three graduate medical programs that include a Master of Science in Anesthesia, a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant, and a Master of Health Professions Education.
The Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine will serve as academic home for all existing and future graduate medical degree programs. It will bring organization, efficiency and structure to the strategic planning and policy decisions for these programs.
Banderas has an accomplished research, teaching, and leadership record. She provided oversight in supporting two graduate programs that recently underwent successful accreditation reviews.
Therefore, it is with the enthusiastic support of the faculty that the School of Medicine looks forward to the growth of existing graduate programs and the establishment of new programs under her leadership.
University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced that C. Mauli Agrawal, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, effective June 20.
“I’m thrilled that Dr. Agrawal has agreed to serve as the next chancellor of UMKC, and I’m confident that the university will reach new heights of success in research, education and outreach through his leadership,” Choi said. “UMKC has an outstanding team of administrators, faculty, staff and alumni supporters who will work closely with him to achieve our collective vision.”
David Steelman, chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, said, “We had a very strong finalist pool, but what made Dr. Agrawal stand out was his combination of strong academic credentials with proven entrepreneurial skills. He understands the mission of UMKC, but he also knows that mission can only be fulfilled through innovative approaches and risk; he is not a status quo leader.”
Choi will introduce Agrawal to the Kansas City campus at 10 a.m. Friday in Spencer Theatre in the Olson Performing Arts Center. The event will be streamed live at www.umsystem.edu.
“I’m very grateful for the work of the search committee members who spent countless hours reviewing and interviewing candidates,” Choi said. “I’m also extremely appreciative of Dr. Barbara Bichelmeyer, who has made important contributions as interim chancellor and provost at UMKC. Dr. Bichelmeyer will continue in her role as interim chancellor during the transition period and will return to her provost role when Dr. Agrawal arrives in June 2018.”
Bichelmeyer is leading a number of key initiatives that will continue to move forward at UMKC, including academic reorganization, academic portfolio review, strategic plan development and the budgeting process. She has the full backing and support of Choi to implement changes to achieve UMKC’s goals of excellence in student success, research breakthroughs and effective engagement.
“I will work closely with Dr. Bichelmeyer to make the important and necessary changes during the transition period,” Choi said. “We are indebted to her for her work in continuing to move UMKC forward. She will be a great asset to Dr. Agrawal as he moves into this position.”
Bichelmeyer said she looks forward to working with the new chancellor.
“I’m excited to partner with Chancellor-designate Agrawal and look forward to his arrival in Kansas City,” she said. “His background and experiences complement the mission and vision of UMKC – and together, with all the great partners on this campus and in this metro area, we will keep the momentum going as we grow UMKC into the great university this region needs.”
Before his appointment at UTSA, Agrawal served as vice president for research and dean of the College of Engineering. He also has been a professor of orthopedics and bioengineering at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, one of the largest medical schools in the United States. He obtained a doctorate from Duke University in 1989, a master’s degree from Clemson University in 1985 and a bachelor’s degree of technology from IIT-Kanpur, India.
“I’m very excited to be chosen to help lead this great university. The potential for the University of Missouri-Kansas City is immense and exciting,” Agrawal said. “UMKC has all the elements necessary to make a great university. With strengths in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, business, engineering, arts and theater, the university is an exceptional anchor for economic development in the Kansas City region. I’m looking forward to working with UMKC’s faculty and staff as well as Kansas City’s civic leaders who are passionate about higher education and are constantly working to make Kansas City a great place to live, learn and work.”
During his tenure as dean, Agrawal led the UTSA College of Engineering to a 40 percent increase in student enrollment, a 50 percent increase in faculty, and a 400 percent increase in research funding. In 2010, he worked closely with the city of San Antonio and Mayor Julian Castro to establish the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at UTSA, which received a $50 million pledge of support from CPS Energy, the city-owned utility operation.
“Mauli is a beloved member of the San Antonio community who has earned admiration and respect from the university community, the business community and civic leadership,” current San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “I certainly wish him the very best at UMKC. You have an absolute gem of a man to lead the university forward. He understands the important role that a university plays in the civic life of a city and has a unique skill set of translating that role into meeting the needs of the university. His skill set is one of a kind.”
Agrawal has served on the editorial boards of various scientific journals, including the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Tissue Engineering, the Journal of System of Systems, and the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.
Agrawal’s research specializes in the area of orthopedic and cardiovascular biomaterials/implants, and he has written more than 300 scientific publications and holds 29 patents. He is a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Additionally, he served as president of the Society for Biomaterials in 2006. His bioengineering research group has been responsible for starting three companies in San Antonio.