November 06, 2014

Benveniste named interim Senior Associate Dean for Research Administration & Development

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Benveniste Photo 5 2014Etty “Tika” Benveniste, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cell, Integrative and Developmental Biology, has been appointed interim senior associate dean for Research Administration and Development in the UAB School of Medicine, effective Jan. 1, 2015. This is a new position created by Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, to help lead the school’s efforts in advancing innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to research.

Benveniste is an international expert on the biologic pathways linking the nervous and immune systems. Her research focuses on classes of proteins called cytokines and chemokines, which play a role in several conditions, including cancer, infection and inflammation.  Vickers chose Benveniste after asking the AMC 21 Executive Research Council to identify a short list of candidates for the interim position. 

“Dr. Benveniste is a world-class scientist with proven leadership ability as a department chair for more than 14 years,” Vickers said. “Her expertise in basic science research will help guide and support the research mission of the School of Medicine as we continue to broaden our goals through the AMC21 strategic plan.”

In this interim position, Benveniste will oversee AMC21,  create an environment to facilitate the successful recruitment of faculty bringing new expertise to UAB and support current research faculty with internal funding opportunities. Benveniste will continue as chair of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology while serving in this interim role.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to contribute broadly to the ongoing research enterprise in the School of Medicine,” Benveniste said.  “Under Dr. Vickers’ leadership, we have a lot of new energy for research and resources available to enhance those research goals. I really wanted to be an integral part in directing those resources for faculty, contributing to new faculty recruitment and increasing the stature of the School of Medicine.”

She will work in partnership with Robert Kimberly, M.D., in his role as senior associate dean for Clinical and Translational Research.  Kimberly, director of the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science, oversees the development of the Clinical Trials Office and the UAB Informatics Institute, in addition to his role in the CCTS.

“Dr. Kimberly and I will have close communication about what is happening at the basic science level and what opportunities we have to use that information in pre-clinical models, and eventually, clinical trials,” Benveniste said.

“Our roles will be to facilitate the synergies of basic science discoveries with translational scientists, physician-scientists and clinicians who can take it to the next level," Kimberly said.

Benveniste came to UAB in 1986 as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology. She became a full professor in 1995, serving in the Departments of Cell Biology, Physiology and Biophysics, Neurology and Neurobiology. From 2000-2011, she was chair of the Department of Cell Biology and became the founding chair in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology in 2012. She’s the associate director of basic science and former co-director of the Cancer Cell Biology Program in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center; and a senior scientist in the Center for AIDS Research. Benveniste is also the member of numerous professional societies, including the American Society of Neurochemistry, in which she’s currently serving as president of the society.