May 18, 2021

Benveniste named chair-elect of AAMC’s GRAND Affinity Group

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Benveniste headshot1Etty (Tika) Benveniste, Ph.D., senior vice dean for Research in the School of Medicine, associate vice president for Medicine and Basic Sciences, and Charlene A. Jones Endowed Chair in Neuroimmunology, has been named chair-elect of AAMC’s Group on Research Advancement and Development (GRAND). GRAND is an AAMC Affinity Group that provides opportunities for leadership development, networking, and collaboration opportunities. It offers a national forum for the advancement of biomedical research in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

“The GRAND community is involved in best practices for faculty recruitment/retention, development of junior scientists, and promoting opportunities for leadership development,” Benveniste says. She remarks that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “GRAND was instrumental in coordination of information with respect to protecting research-intensive faculty when labs were closed, including recommendations on extensions in promotion/tenure, and providing bridge funds.”

GRAND enriches medical schools and training hospitals in the area of biomedical research in several ways. “GRAND members are leaders at their institutions on all aspects of the biomedical research enterprise. They provide leadership in the areas of strategic research priorities, space allocations, research compliance issues, oversight of core facilities, and facilitation of creating research teams to be competitive for large funding mechanisms,” Benveniste explains.

She says members are also responsible for creating a trustful and collaborative work culture at their institutions—characteristics that Benveniste herself has exemplified as the past Chair of the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, and in her current position in the School of Medicine.

When asked what this honor means for her, she replies, “Given the caliber of GRAND members, and those that have served as Chairs, I am most honored to have been selected for this position.”

Her immediate major goals are to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national research enterprise. “COVID-19-related restrictions on lab operations brought critical scientific projects to a halt. Resources from both the NIH and our academic institutions will be needed for scientific progress in the biomedical sciences, and to protect trainees that have been adversely affected by lab closures.”

Benveniste’s appointment as chair-elect of AAMC GRAND became effective on May 1, 2021.