(Pictured, left: Bellur Prabhakar, PhD
Interim Associate Dean for Research
College of Medicine)
It is my pleasure to announce that Professor Bellur Prabhakar has agreed to join the Dean’s Office, effective March 1, 2013. As Interim Associate Dean for Research, his primary role will be to take the forefront in advancing multi-disciplinary, multi-investigator research and research funding. In this capacity, he will be working closely with Dr. Larry Tobacman, Senior Associate Dean for Research.
After 16 years of able, creative, and dedicated leadership, Dr. Prabhakar has decided to step down from his position as Head, Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine. A Search Committee for his replacement will be convened shortly, and a national search conducted. Dr. Prabhakar has agreed to my request that he continue to lead the Department, to which he has been so dedicated, until the Head search has been completed.
A very distinguished scientist, Dr. Prabhakar has been funded by the NIH continuously for the past twenty years. He has nearly 200 publications to his credit in journals including Science, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, PNAS, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He holds several patents arising from his work.
As Department Head Dr. Prabhakar recruited 13 faculty members, who are notable for their diversity, and for their uniform success in establishing research programs. More broadly, over the last 15 years, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology has increased its extramural research funding over five-fold. Through co-joint and adjunct faculty appointments, he has extended the reach of his department, which has contributed significantly to enhanced interactions between clinical and basic sciences departments. He has worked very closely with the department of undergraduate medical education to continually reform the medical school M1 and M2 curriculum and he has actively contributed to the recent curriculum reform that streamlined teaching across all four campuses of the college of medicine.
Dr. Prabhakar served as the Chair of a number of important search committees including the Committee to evaluate professional growth of PhDs in clinical departments. He has served as a member of the planning and construction committee for the COMRB. He has been a member of the UIC Senate, the College of Medicine Executive Committee, and the UIC Leadership Council. He served as the deputy director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Services for the Center’s first two years. In addition, he has participated very actively, and successfully, in fund raising efforts of the College.
At the national level, he has served on the Executive Committee of the American Association of Microbiology and Immunology Chairs. In the past, he has served as a member of the National Caucus of Basic Biomedical Science Chairs that represents all the Basic Sciences Departments in the Colleges of Medicine in the United States. He has participated in meetings with various program leaders including the Directors of NIH and NSF, and members of both houses of U.S. Congress who serve on important NIH appropriation committees. He served a two year term as the president of the Chicago Immunology Association consisting of 6 different medical schools in Chicago metropolitan area. He has served and continues to serve on NIH, Veterans Administration, American Heart Association, Welcome Trust and other review committees, and on editorial boards of scientific journals. Recently, he was invited to join other experts to develop a Pandemic Flu Operations Plan for the CDC, in a three month effort. The proposed plan was adapted in its entirety by the CDC Director, with profound national and international implications for dealing with public health catastrophes including pandemic flu.
I know that faculty, staff, and students in Microbiology and Immunology, and across the College, will share my thanks to Dr. Prabhakar for his remarkable service and accomplishments. We greatly look forward to his continuing success, as well as to the success of his Department, where he will remain as a senior member of the faculty.
Please join me in wishing Dr. Prabhakar our very great appreciation, both for his term as Department Head, and also for his enthusiasm for his new responsibilities which will benefit research across the College of Medicine.
Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA
Dean, College of Medicine