Candidates announced for vice chancellor of research

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | June 23, 2022

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Kenneth Cowan, MD, PhD, announced today that four of the remaining candidates for the position of vice chancellor of research at UNMC have been identified by the search committee and will be visiting the UNMC Omaha campus. A fifth candidate may be announced at a later time.

Dr. Cowan, chair of the committee, said the search committee was pleased to find considerable interest in this important research leadership position at UNMC and that UNMC’s research programs and infrastructure were well regarded on a national level.

Jennifer Larsen, MD, who has been the vice chancellor of research since 2011, announced in December 2021 that she would be stepping down from that role this year. She is not retiring and remains the Degen Professor of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at UNMC, a position she has held since 1987.

The four candidates, in order of their visits to campus, are:

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Yolanda Sanchez, PhD

Yolanda Sanchez, PhD: Dr. Sanchez is associate director of basic sciences at the Dartmouth Cancer Center and associate professor of molecular and systems biology at Dartmouth College. At SYNERGY, Dartmouth’s clinical and translational science institute, Dr. Sanchez is co-director of education, training and career development and co-director of the translational pilot program. She is visiting campus from Wednesday, June 22, through Friday, June 24, and will participate in a candidate forum today.


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Ze'ev Ronai, PhD

Ze’ev Ronai, PhD: Dr. Ronai currently serves as director of the Sanford Burnam Prebys NCI-designated cancer center in La Jolla, California, as the Jeanne and Gary Herberger Leadership Chair in Cancer Research and as a professor in the center’s tumor initiation and maintenance program. He will make his campus visit on June 26-28 and participate in a candidate forum on June 27.


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Kenneth Bayles, PhD

Kenneth Bayles, PhD: Dr. Bayles currently is associate vice chancellor for basic science research at UNMC, the associate vice chancellor for research and creative activity at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a professor in the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology. Dr. Bayles will meet the UNMC community as a candidate on June 28 and participate in a candidate forum.


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Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD

Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD: Dr. Pollock currently serves as director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor in Ohio State’s Division of Surgical Oncology and holder of the Klotz Chair in Cancer Research. He also serves as director of The Ohio State University Sarcoma Research Laboratory.  He will make his campus visit on June 29-July 1 and participate in a candidate forum on June 30.


The fifth candidate is scheduled to visit campus July 11-13 and participate in a candidate forum on July 12.

"I greatly appreciate the efforts of the VCR search committee in identifying these individuals, who comprise an outstanding group of finalists for the UNMC vice chancellor of research position," Dr. Cowan said.

During campus visits, each finalist will meet the campus community at a Zoom forum, introducing themselves and presenting their vision for UNMC and the VCR office before taking questions. Each forum will be from 12-1 p.m. See more information and access the forum links and candidate feedback forms here.


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