News

4.17.2012

Dr. Kenneth Fields Named Interim Director of Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Sciences

Kenneth Fields, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, who joined the Miller School faculty in 2004, has been appointed interim director of Ph.D. Programs in Biomedical Sciences.

Since 2009, Dr. Fields has served as the associate director of the program, which includes biochemistry and molecular biology, cancer biology, human genetics and genomics, microbiology and immunology, molecular cell and developmental biology, molecular and cellular pharmacology, neuroscience, and physiology and biophysics.

“Ken’s commitment to graduate education, impressive research in discovery science, and continued service to the University make him well-equipped to lead PIBS,” said William O’Neill, M.D., executive dean for research, research training, and innovative medicine, and chief executive officer for research.

In his role as interim director, Fields will be assisted by the PIBS admissions and operations committee and collaborate with graduate faculty and staff, including Arun Malhotra, Ph.D., PIBS curriculum committee chair; Sean Kennelly, PIBS program manager; and Dierdre Lacativa, administrative director of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

“In his relatively brief time at UM, Ken has demonstrated research excellence, administrative savvy, and compassion for our students,” said John Bixby, Ph.D., vice provost for research and former PIBS director and senior associate dean for graduate and postdoctoral studies. “He is the obvious choice for this important job.”

Fields’ notable research record includes grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that are projected to top $2 million in the next two years. His work centers on understanding the pathogenesis and cell biology of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, a prevalent agent of sexually transmitted disease and blinding trachoma infections.

Soon after joining the Miller School as an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, Fields was awarded an NIH Career Transition Award, and other internal University funding through the Scientific Awards Committee equipment and pilot grants, the Developmental Center for AIDS Research pilot grants, and the Stanley J. Glaser Research Award.

An associate editor of Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Fields is also a member of the editorial board of Infection and Immunity. In addition, he has published in other leading journals including the Journal of Bacteriology, Frontiers in Microbiology, Molecular Microbiology, Cellular Microbiology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several scientific journals and study sections and is a standing member of a NIAID study section.

Fields completed his postdoctoral training at the Laboratory of Intracellular Parasites, part of NIAID, after earning a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and his Ph.D. in microbial pathogenesis from the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

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