April 12, 2023

Garcia-Martinez named chair of the Department of Microbiology

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j.victor.garcia martinez microbiology webJ. Victor Garcia-Martinez, Ph.D., has been named the chair of the UAB Department of Microbiology.

Garcia-Martinez currently serves as a professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He is also an Oliver Smithies Investigator and director of the UNC International Center for the Advancement of Translational Science.

Since joining UNC 11 years ago, Garcia-Martinez has led a large research enterprise primarily focused on HIV and more recently on clinically relevant respiratory infections such as COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus, and tuberculosis. This work—funded by grants and contracts from the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and large pharmaceutical companies—has been published in high impact journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Science Translational Medicine, Cell, Cell Reports, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and Nature Communications. As a scientific researcher, he has 30 years of diversified exceptional extramural funding.

“I decided to join UAB because it is a first-rate institution in an upwards trajectory with no ceiling in sight,” he says. “I hope to bring a great deal of enthusiasm, optimism, and energy to invigorate an already outstanding department with a historical track record that I feel honored to be part of.”

During his tenure at UNC, Garcia-Martinez served as a founding member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council and the UNC Latinx Faculty Council Executive Board, and as a member of the UNC School of Medicine’s Diversity Council. He also was elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanos/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

“Dr. Garcia-Martinez has an outstanding track record in academic leadership, scientific excellence, education, collaborative biomedical research, and extramural funding,” says Anupam Agarwal, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine. “His passion, expertise and talents will be integral to the future growth of our Department of Microbiology. I am immensely pleased to welcome him to the Heersink School of Medicine.”

Additionally, he is a dedicated educator and mentor with an outstanding track record of mentoring young investigators from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to extramurally funded faculty members. Garcia-Martinez earned his B.Sc. from the Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, and his Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

Garcia-Martinez will officially assume the role of chair on August 1, 2023, pending provost approval.