Walsh Appointed Vice President for Research
I am pleased to announce that President Bienen and I have asked Joseph (Jay) Walsh to serve as the University's Vice President for Research, and he has accepted the invitation. Walsh currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Given the desire of C. Bradley Moore, the current Vice President for Research, to return to California before the end of the calendar year, Walsh will take up this new position at the beginning of December.
The appointment of Jay Walsh follows a national search. A number of external and internal prospects for the position were identified and contacted, and a search committee interviewed a subset of those persons who agreed to be considered (including senior administrators with oversight of research at other universities.) The prospects also met with a number of our senior administrative colleagues. Having received input from the members of the search committee and others, President Bienen and I concluded that Jay Walsh stood out as the person best equipped to take up the responsibilities of this critically important position. His appointment speaks to our high ambitions for the University's mission and Northwestern’s place among the best in academia at multi-disciplinary research.
Walsh received a bachelor's and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Immediately following receipt of his PhD in Medical Engineering from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Walsh joined the Northwestern faculty in 1988. Since 2002 he has played an increasingly important role in the McCormick School, first as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and more recently in his current, more expansive position.
Walsh's early research on laser-tissue interactions helped frame the understanding of laser ablation; this work formed the scientific foundation for now standard laser-based procedures in medicine and surgery. In the past decade, his research has focused on diagnostic and therapeutic applications of light. Walsh and collaborators in otolaryngology have demonstrated the optical stimulation of sensory nerves with one goal being high spatial resolution stimulation for improved cochlear prosthetics. He is also working with a team of investigators from his home department and chemistry to develop optical sensors for quantification of analytes such as glucose with the goal of improving diabetes management. In collaboration with clinicians in obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology, and urology on the Chicago campus and at ENH, he has developed a polarization-based optical imaging system for improved detection of various lesions. His current projects are each supported by the Nat ional Institutes of Health.
Walsh has also excelled as a teacher and University citizen. In 1997 he was recognized with the McCormick School's Teacher of the Year Award; in 2005 he was designated Advisor of the Year. Among Walsh's broader University service has been his service as immediate past chair of the Program Review Council; his leadership of the committee that developed the current (RAS) model for graduate student tuition; and his membership on The Graduate School Administrative Board and the Evanston Campus Planning Advisory Committee.
President Bienen and I are pleased to add to our senior leadership team an academic engineer whose work sits at the crossroads of engineering, science, and medicine. We are delighted that Jay Walsh has agreed to bring his rich experience as a researcher, teacher, and administrator and to extend his many kinds of service to Northwestern by accepting this position. At the same time, we join many others in thanking Brad Moore for his contributions to the University as Vice President for Research. We hope to be in touch in the coming days to announce the details of an event to recognize his nearly five years of service.