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University of Iowa News Release


March 9, 2009

Welsh named founding director of UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery

University of Iowa President Sally Mason has named Michael Welsh, M.D., the founding director of the University of Iowa Institute for Biomedical Discovery (UIIBD). The appointment took effect Jan. 1.

Welsh, a professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics, who holds the Roy J. Carver Chair in Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, is director of the UI Cystic Fibrosis Research Center and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. As director of the UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery, he will report to Jean Robillard, UI vice president for medical affairs, and collaborate with scientists and academic leaders across the campus to establish the UIIBD.

Mason expressed her confidence in Welsh and said she has great expectations for the UIIBD with Welsh at the helm.

"The institute promises to be a powerful vehicle for innovation and change, offering hope, comfort, care and cures to countless patients in Iowa, the nation and the world, now and for generations to come," Mason said.

The UIIBD will provide, in a single facility next to the Carver Biomedical Research Building on the health sciences campus, a unique environment in which a broad spectrum of university researchers and scientists can collaborate to explore high-risk, high-yield scientific questions in the life sciences.

"Dr. Welsh brings enormous experience and creativity to this new position, as well as a deep commitment to advancing scientific inquiry within the university," Robillard said. "This is an extremely important and high-priority initiative for the university and for the state."

Paul Rothman, dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, also noted that Welsh will bring outstanding leadership to the endeavor.

"Dr. Welsh has a proven ability to bring together researchers from different disciplines to expand scientific knowledge and advance understanding of human diseases. Under his leadership, we will see innovative translational research flourish at the UI," Rothman said.

Welsh's primary leadership responsibilities will be to recruit outstanding scientific leaders to head the institute's various areas of primary focus: neurosciences, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, imaging, and regenerative medicine. He also will help define and promote the culture and vision for the institute throughout the UI community.

The facility will house laboratories and office space dedicated to cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research in the biomedical and life sciences, involving scientists from across the entire campus. The building is part of a larger university effort to bring together scientists from multiple disciplines to pursue research leading to new treatments for patients, create new educational opportunities for students, and bolster Iowa's economy through new jobs and business partnerships.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,; Jennifer Brown, 319-225-9917,