Sylvester Cancer Researcher Selected to Lead Cell Biology and Anatomy
Glen Barber, Ph.D., professor of medicine and associate director of basic research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named chairman of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. The selection comes after an extensive search by W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Discovery Science, and the Cell Biology Chair Search Committee, at the request of Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School.
“The Miller School scientific community congratulates Dr. Barber and looks forward to working with Cell Biology as we continue to promote innovative fundamental research that drives advances in medicine,” said Dietrich, scientific director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
“Glen is an outstanding scientist who will lead this already distinguished department to new heights,” said Goldschmidt, who is also CEO of UHealth-University of Miami Health System. “His published research in the field of cellular host defense mechanisms and cancer has brought great scientific attention to the Miller School. Glen is also a superb leader, and has been invited to lead similar departments across the U.S.”
Barber, who has been at the Miller School for 10 years and also directs the Viral Oncology Program at Sylvester, says he intends to use newly provided departmental resources to help fulfill the Dean’s vision for accelerated scientific discovery and clinical translational research at the medical school.
“My goal is to build around the existing structures and strengths of the department,” says Barber, who holds the Eugenia J. Dodson Chair in Cancer Research. He has discovered new host defense pathways that are responsible for recognizing pathogens and that also may be defective in cancer. In 2008 and 2009, Barber published his findings in the prestigious journal Nature, detailing his discovery of a molecule (STING) that triggers cellular defensive responses.
Cell Biology and Anatomy, one of the six basic science departments at the Miller School, is focused on the basic concepts, at the molecular and structural level, of how eukaryotic cells function. Research in this field opens the door to understanding causes of disease and facilitates opportunities for new therapies and treatments, says Barber.
The Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy is a critical cornerstone of the medical school, and Barber intends to integrate it with the Miller School’s other disciplines. He hopes to meld the department’s research with basic and clinical work at Sylvester, The Miami Project, the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Diabetes Research Institute, among others.
“Dean Goldschmidt recognizes our areas of research and expertise as critically important to the research foundation of the Miller School,” Barber said. “I’m very excited to be fulfilling one of his key strategies in helping our medical school take the next leap forward.”
Barber hopes to recruit several new faculty members over the next five years.
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