The University Record, July 10, 2002

Dixon to leave LSI; momentum to continue

By Laurel Thomas Gnagey

Life Sciences Institute Director Jack Dixon will leave U-M for a position as dean of scientific affairs at the University of California, San Diego, the university system in which he completed his postdoctoral work. Dixon cited personal reasons for his resignation, including a desire to return to his California roots and "to give back something to the UC system which nurtured my career."

Incoming President Mary Sue Coleman expressed regret at Dixon's decision but says he is leaving the Life Sciences Institute in great condition. Construction of the 250,000 square-foot LSI building is on budget and on schedule for its September 2003 opening. Recruitment is in full swing with some six to 10 core faculty members expected to be aboard when the Institute's doors open.

"I am very pleased with the progress of the Life Sciences Institute to date," Coleman says. "The investment in and progress of the Life Sciences Institute were important factors in my decision to accept the presidency of the University of Michigan.

"I have enormous respect for Jack Dixon. While I regret that he will leave the University, I do understand the personal factors which led to his decision."

Coleman, in consultation with Interim Provost Paul Courant, has appointed an advisory committee of faculty (see list below) to assist her in setting the direction for future leadership of the Institute and to advise on matters of science, recruitment, and strategy for the initiative. Interim President B. Joseph White says recently appointed leaders Alan Saltiel, associate director of LSI, and Liz Barry, managing director of the Institute, will continue to play critical roles in leading LSI planning and recruitment activities, and in managing the day to day operations.

"I'm leaving the Institute in great shape and in capable hands," Dixon says. "Even from afar, I will always be proud of what we achieved during my early leadership of the Life Sciences Institute, and my participation in the Life Sciences Commission that set the direction for this effort."

The Institute complex is the cornerstone of the University's campus-wide Life Sciences Initiative, a commitment of more than $700 million to date in new research, teaching and personnel aimed at establishing U-M's place in the coming age of life sciences. The Institute eventually will house up to 350 employees. Adjacent to the Institute will be an undergraduate science center, with new labs and classrooms for science instruction, and a commons building that includes meeting spaces and a food court to encourage contact and collaboration between students and faculty on the central and medical campuses.

LSI Advisory Committee

Huda Akil, Ph.D.

Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neurosciences and Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director, Mental Health Research Institute

Carol Fierke, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

David Ginsburg, M.D.

Warner Lambert/Parke Davis Professor of Medicine, Professor of Internal Medicine, Professor of Human Genetics, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

John Lowe, M.D.

Warner Lambert/Parke Davis Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pathology and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Rowena Matthews, Ph.D.

G. Robert Greenberg Distinguished University Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Research Scientist, Biophysics Research Division

Matthew O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

William Roush, Ph.D.

Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Department of Chemistry

Charles Yocum, Ph.D.

Alfred S. Sussman Collegiate Professor of Biology and Professor of Chemistry

For additional comments from incoming President Mary Sue Coleman and Jack Dixon, go to

To read a letter to the campus community from Mary Sue Coleman and Interim President Joe White, go to

To read Jack Dixon's letter to Life Sciences faculty members, go to