Lydia Villa-Komaroff Resignation
I am writing to inform you that Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Vice President for Research, will be leaving Northwestern University on January 1, 2003, to become Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer at the Whitehead Institute. As many of you are aware, the Whitehead Institute is one of the world's preeminent biological research institutes, affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lydia will also serve as Senior Lecturer in the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she will teach and write about the academic research enterprise.
Lydia came to Northwestern in 1996 as Professor of Neurology and Associate Vice President for Research Administration, and was appointed Vice President for Research in 1998. As Vice President for Research, she worked energetically and effectively with the Deans and University administration to expand the scope and excellence of research. During her tenure, Northwestern's sponsored project volume grew from $214 million in 1997-8 to over $320 million 2001-2. Her accomplishments here include:
- Creation of nine new research centers - including the DND Synchrotron Research Center, the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanoscience in Advanced Medicine, the Center for Functional Genomics, and the Institute for Nanotechnology - to capitalize on external research funding opportunities.
- Formation of the Office of Strategic Initiatives to promote interdisciplinary research among industry, government, and other universities.
- Creation of the Office of Clinical Research and Training to promote clinical research.
- Initiation of a program of seed funding to support innovative faculty research and scholarship, particularly in the arts and humanities.
- Inauguration of a program that provided grants to faculty and graduate students for travel to domestic and international research conferences.
- Institution of an internal review process that resulted in an increase in the number of prestigious, highly competitive awards received by Northwestern faculty.
- Close collaboration with the deans in recruiting of numerous world class scientists and talented young investigators who will help ensure the vitality of Northwestern's research enterprise in the years to come.
- Initiation of a broad reengineering of the offices reporting to the Vice President for Research.
In addition to her work at Northwestern, Lydia has been an active national leader in research policy. She is a member of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an elected member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences committee to evaluate the structure of the NIH, and a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research Subjects. She also has chaired the Advisory Committee for the Biological Directorate of the National Science Foundation. One of the country's most prominent Hispanic-American scientists, Lydia is a founding member and past president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and is a member of the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Hall of Fame.
President Bienen and I have greatly valued Lydia's participation as a key member of the President's Staff and we are deeply grateful for her many contributions to the research enterprise at the University. We wish her the very best as she returns to her professional roots in the Boston area, where she received her Ph.D. in cell biology at MIT and where she served on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston. She leaves behind an important legacy at Northwestern. A national search will be undertaken to identify a successor.
Lawrence B. Dumas