Kenneth Bayles, PhD, named vice chancellor for research

Kenneth Bayles, PhD

Kenneth Bayles, PhD

Kenneth Bayles, PhD, has been named as the next vice chancellor for research at UNMC, following a national search. UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, made the announcement Thursday. Dr. Bayles’ appointment is contingent on University of Nebraska Board of Regents review and approval.

“Dr. Bayles is not only a world-class research scientist but a leader who has helped position UNMC at the forefront of global health security and infectious disease research,” Dr. Gold said. “As UNMC’s new vice chancellor for research, he brings the experience and foresight needed to continue UNMC’s impressive research growth. As UNMC entities such as the Global Center for Health Security, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence and many other prominent initiatives expand their research portfolios, Dr. Bayles is highly qualified to lead and support UNMC researchers who are working to create a healthy future for Nebraska and the world.”

Dr. Bayles will assume the vice chancellor’s duties on Oct. 1. He was selected after a nationwide search to replace Jennifer Larsen, MD, the Degen Professor of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at UNMC, who will step down from the vice chancellor’s role while continuing her research and faculty activities at UNMC.

A professor in the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Dr. Bayles has been serving as the associate vice chancellor for basic science research at UNMC and as the associate vice chancellor for research and creative activity at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

He also works closely with the National Strategic Research Institute and was instrumental in creating the Nebraska Drug Discovery and Development Pipeline.

Dr. Bayles said he is “truly honored” to be selected to lead the research enterprise at UNMC.

“The research accomplishments achieved over the last decade have proven our abilities, and I am eager to partner with our talented faculty to help envision and bring to fruition even bigger goals in both basic and clinical research,” Dr. Bayles said. “I certainly have big shoes to fill but remain confident that the experience I gained while working under Dr. Larsen’s leadership, and while working as the chief research officer at UNO, have equipped me well for this role.”

As a scientist, Dr. Bayles has focused his research on regulation of bacterial cell death and defining their roles in biofilm development. His research interests have expanded to Department of Defense-related activities including work on countermeasures against weapons of mass destruction such as therapeutics and vaccines to protect against select agents and toxins, as well as compounds to protect against radiation exposure. He will continue to head his lab while in the vice chancellor’s role.

Dr. Bayles received his training in bacterial genetics at Kansas State University, where he earned his PhD degree in 1989. He did post-doctoral research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and was a faculty member at the University of Idaho. He moved to UNMC in 2005, becoming the founding director of the Center for Staphylococcal Research (CSR).

Dr. Gold said he appreciates the “meticulous work” of the search committee led by Ken Cowan, MD, PhD. Dr. Bayles was among more than 30 candidates and five finalists for the position. 

“Dr. Bayles’ vision for our research enterprise and his strong administrative skills make him an ideal selection to lead our research efforts,” Dr. Gold said. “In many ways our research excellence defines the future of the very best academic health centers. We look forward to working with him to accelerate our already fast-moving momentum, which has been so capably led by Dr. Larsen.”

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  1. Dong Wang says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles !!!

  2. Dong Wang says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles!!!

  3. Pat Wortmann says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles. Looking forward to working with you in the future.

  4. Jeff Miller says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bayles! I look forward to working with you and your team in the future.

  5. Paula Turpen says:

    Congratulations, Ken! Happy for you and excited for UNMC!

  6. Vivian Capurro says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles!

  7. Huangui Xiong says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bayles!

  8. Linda Wilkie says:

    Congratulations Ken! Excited for the future of research under your leadership.

  9. Stacie Hamel says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles! Great news!

  10. John Keenan says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles!

  11. Karen Burbach says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles!

  12. Tom O'Connor says:

    Ken is a great choice – UNMC’s research couldn’t be in better hands. Congrats!

  13. Jerrie Dayton says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bayles. Your contributions will move the University’s Research positively forward.

  14. Lisa Sund says:

    Congratulations Dr. Bayles!!

  15. SUSAN KRAFT MANN says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles! Well deserved!

  16. Mary Haven says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Bayles!!

  17. Donald Leuenberger says:

    Ken, congratulations. You will do fantastically!

  18. Roxanna Jokela says:

    Ken, heartiest congrats! You will have challenges, yet you are well prepared to tackle them! best to the best !

  19. Annie Bird says:

    Congratulations, Ken! The selection committee has made a perfect choice. UNMC research is in great hands!

  20. J. Graham Sharp. says:


  21. Carla Wesson says:

    Heartfelt congratulations to you, Ken! I’ve always known that one day you would occupy such an important position. UNMC has made a perfect choice and you will lead their research into amazing, successful new realms.

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