Following a five-month search in which nearly 80 candidates were considered, the university’s Board of Trustees voted on September 8 to name Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a leader in the study of brain development, president. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, who is currently executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer at Genentech, will succeed Paul Nurse on March 1, 2011.
A few weeks ago, I announced that Marc Tessier-Lavigne had been selected to become the tenth president of The Rockefeller University. Marc is an outstanding scientist and an experienced and thoughtful leader and I was personally delighted when he accepted our offer to serve as Rockefeller’s president. I’m writing here to publicly reiterate my appreciation to the members of the search committee and to all members of the community who offered us their suggestions for helping us achieve this very successful outcome.
The renovation of Welch Hall, which has housed the university’s library since its construction in 1929 and once served as its main dining facility, will begin in January, president Paul Nurse announced last week. The plan to modernize Welch, which has been under development for several years but was suspended after the university’s finances unexpectedly worsened in 2008, was formally approved by the Board of Trustees’ Finance and Operations Committee on October 6.
Jeffrey M. Friedman, who first came to Rockefeller as a postdoc in 1980 and has been head of laboratory since 1991, is one of two recipients of this year’s Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, considered the most prestigious American prize in science. The Lasker award recognized him for his “discovery of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight, a breakthrough that opened obesity research to molecular exploration.” He is the 21st Lasker recipient associated with the university.
Virologist Paul Bieniasz, who studies retroviruses such as HIV, has been instrumental in discovering how they colonize cells and interact with host proteins as they replicate. This summer, the university’s Board voted to award Dr. Bieniasz tenure and promote him to professor.
Luciano Marraffini, a microbiologist, is interested in how bacterial pathogens modulate the transfer of foreign DNA into their genomes. He joined the university on July 1 as assistant professor and head of the Laboratory of Bacteriology.
Daniel Kronauer, who will join Rockefeller in July 2011 as head of the Laboratory of Insect Social Evolution, is interested in understanding how evolution operates at different levels of organization in the rich context of insect societies, from the gene to the individual and society as a whole.
Jean-Laurent Casanova, a Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The $100,000 grant is one of 78 announced by the foundation in May to support scientists exploring bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. Dr. Casanova is head of the St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases.