I am the Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation and Professor of Biology at SDSU. Prior to this position, I was Dean of the College of Sciences at SDSU for 11 years.

I obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UC Irvine, did a postdoctoral fellowship in Genetics at the University of Utah, then moved to a faculty position at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where I was a Professor in the Microbiology Department for 18 years. Before moving to SDSU, I served as Director of the Illinois Biotechnology Center.

I am a previous President of the American Society for Microbiology, one of the largest international scientific societies. I have served as an advisor for U.S. and international agencies on research, biosafety, biodefense, health, and graduate education, and have testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

Recent research in my lab has focused on how new infectious diseases arise, and the development of new vaccines and antimicrobials. Together with a wonderful group of students and colleagues, I am co-author of over 100 scientific publications and 10 books. I have developed widely used educational websites, and hosted popular scientific podcasts and videos. I have organized courses and conferences around the world, and have received several teaching awards, Honorary Professorships, an Honorary PhD, and am an elected Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology.

In addition to academia, I have been closely involved in business. My brother and I started our first company when I was an undergraduate. Since then I have consulted with large agricultural and pharmaceutical companies and small biotech companies. I am currently part of an I-Corps teaching team that provides training in Life Sciences entrepreneurship.

Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation

My current administrative role is focused on catalyzing connections, collaboration, and communication, including:

  • Entrepreneurship – Work with campus entrepreneurship centers, stakeholders, and external organizations to build synergies and develop more innovative opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Philanthropy – Engage major gift prospects to support university priorities, and build partnership opportunities with corporations and foundations.
  • Community outreach – Inspire the community to support major SDSU initiatives, and attend community events as an ambassador of the university.
  • Funding opportunities – Facilitate major grant initiatives that will increase funding opportunities for faculty, post-doctoral, or graduate students engaged with research or creative activities, as well as programs to enhance the diversity of our students and faculty.
  • Interdisciplinary initiatives – Promote the formation of interdisciplinary faculty teams to address strategic opportunities.
  • Communication – Provide oversight into the development of novel and current strategies for communication about campus research and innovation with internal and external constituents using social media, internet, and traditional approaches.

I am working with a team involved in developing partnerships for the SDSU Mission Valley Innovation District — an exciting opportunity that will have an enormous impact on our university and the San Diego region (