Wash U Microbiologist Named Next Duke Vice President for Research and Innovation

DURHAM, NC – Duke University has appointed Jennifer Lodge, PhD, as the new vice president for research and innovation, overseeing Duke’s annual $ 1.2 billion research portfolio. She starts the new role in January.

Lodge comes to Duke from Washington University in St. Louis where, as Vice Chancellor for Research and Senior Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty of Medicine, she has been the principal research officer of the university over the past seven years. She is responsible for the development of research, ethics, education, compliance and research administration systems at WUSTL, and has earned a reputation for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. and translate the findings for the benefit of society.

“This is a spectacular opportunity because of the strength of the different schools and the many distinct disciplines at Duke,” said Lodge. “My philosophy has always been to enable the rapid advancement of creative research carried out by faculty, staff and trainees, while maintaining a high research ethic.”

“I am delighted to welcome Jenny Lodge to our campus,” said Duke President Vincent Price. “At this exciting time for research at Duke – where we are making new investments in science and technology, research translation and commercialization, and regional and national leadership – Jenny brings the talent and vision to help guide our fundamental missions of discovery and innovation into the next century.

Lodge’s own research into the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1997 and she has received up to three prestigious R01 grants at a time. His lab explores the biochemical processes by which the fungus builds its cell walls with the ultimate goal of developing new antifungal therapies and vaccines. Cryptococcus is the most prevalent fungus in the world and it is particularly deadly for people with compromised immune system, including people living with HIV / AIDS. “Duke is the center of the universe for fungal pathogenesis,” she said.

Lodge will have a professorship and laboratory in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the School of Medicine. Distinguished Professor and MGM President Joseph Heitman, who has known and worked with Lodge for over 25 years in the field of fungal pathogenesis, says she is an “altruistic leader.” She enjoys seeing what an administrator working behind the scenes can do to elevate the science of the institution and individual investigators. He is also someone who will be great to connect with all the institutions of the Triangle. “

“I am delighted to welcome Jenny to Duke and look forward to working with her to advance research support and opportunities for all Duke faculty members,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth. “Jenny brings to Duke an impressive track record of achievement both as a scientist and as a research administrator, as well as an exciting vision to support the innovation and commercialization activities of faculty and students. . I am grateful to Research Committee Chair Joseph Izatt and committee members across the university for their diligent work on the research.

“Dr. Lodge’s experience as a distinguished scientist in her field, combined with her role as a leader overseeing the research mission at a peer university, uniquely positions her to excel in her new role at Duke,” said A. Eugene Washington, MD, Chancellor of Health Affairs, Duke University and President and CEO of Duke University Health System. “Duke has an impressive tradition of advancing research through discovery, innovation and collaboration, and I am confident that under Dr. Lodge’s leadership these efforts will reach even greater heights. ”

In 2019, Duke elevated the Vice President for Research, with primarily campus-side responsibilities, to Vice President responsible for both campus and medical center research as part of the effort towards a more unified environment called One Duke. Electrical engineer Lawrence Carin PhD held the position at that time, but left Duke in January 2021. Former Dean of Medicine R. Sanders Williams MD has served as Acting Vice President since then and has overseen a reorganization of the structure and mission of the office, acting on the recommendations of a study committee of the board of directors and of the campus management.

“Jenny will oversee a research firm that has reached new heights under the recent leadership of Sandy Williams, and I know she will help us achieve an even brighter future,” said Price.

While compliance is a negative word for many professors, “this office is all about protecting professors while allowing their research,” Lodge said. “There have been recent examples where professors have seen their careers derail. If we can put in place structures that protect our faculty, I think they will see the value. “

Lodge said it would also improve on what Duke is already doing with technology transfer and the creation of startups, as well as working more with industrial partners. “This is something that many universities appreciate: as recipients of federal and state funds to support our research, we have an obligation to enable this research to benefit the nation. And the way it’s going to happen is through translation and dissemination in the public sector. “

Connections to downtown Durham and the regional economy will also be part of this push, Lodge said. “I’m going to take a holistic look at the whole ecosystem. What does it look like now and where are the gaps? Where do people find these “valleys of death” that are major obstacles? “

Lodge is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Academy of Inventors. She is also the past chair of the American Association of Medical Colleges Research Group. (AAMC). She will be moving to the area with her 32-year-old husband, Marshall Michener, who is a retired scientist for the pharmaceutical industry and startups. They have two grown children.

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