University of Iowa

Cluster Hiring Announcement

Dear colleagues,

Last fall the Office of the Provost invited proposals for the next round of strategic interdisciplinary tenured/tenure track faculty hires under the UI Cluster Hire Initiative. During the spring semester, the Office of the Provost, Council of Deans, and Office of the Vice President for Research reviewed many worthy submissions. I am now pleased to announce the winning proposals for 2011-12 (with some accompanying text from those proposals):

--Genetics (10 positions in 6 colleges). Both as a basic science and in clinical practice, genetics plays a critical and highly visible role in advancing personalized medicine and public health. Genetics will be the basis of future research unraveling the connections between our DNA sequences and our risks for clinical disease and will provide a rational basis for prevention, intervention, and cure. Genetics transcends departments, colleges, and disciplines, and generates both needs and services in the basic sciences, healthcare, bioethics, law, bioinformatics and communications.

--Obesity (10 positions in 5 colleges). The last century witnessed tremendous advances in agriculture and food distribution that greatly increased availability of inexpensive, nutrient-dense foods. In addition, advances in technology promoted sedentary lifestyles. As a consequence of these big two contributors . . . we confront a global epidemic of obesity that extends from children to the elderly, resulting in an escalating socioeconomic and medical burden. Long viewed as a behavioral disorder, there is mounting evidence that the obesity epidemic involves a complex interaction of environmental, genetic, physiologic, behavioral, community and economic factors. This complexity demands a multidisciplinary engagement in obesity research.

These are very exciting additions to our growing list of interdisciplinary clusters (the first three were created last year and focus on Water Sustainability, Digital Public Humanities, and The Aging Mind and Brain). Both will certainly advance the objectives of the Initiative, which are to:
--enhance and promote existing or complementary areas of strength or promise in multidisciplinary research and creative work, instruction, and public service;
--address important scientific and/or societal challenges; and
--develop economic and cultural benefits for the people of Iowa and beyond.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who submitted a proposal. The success of the Cluster Hire Initiative depends on the engagement and innovation of our talented faculty, and you continue to rise to the occasion.

You can read more about the two winning proposals at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2011/july/070711clusters_obesity_genetics.html. For more information about the Cluster Hire Initiative, see http://test.sitenow.uiowa.edu/provost/cluster-hire-initiative.

P. Barry Butler
Executive Vice President and Provost

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