Dear Members of the University Community:
Following a comprehensive national search, I have selected Dr. Anantha Shekhar to serve as the University of Pittsburgh’s next senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine.
Anantha, who will officially join Pitt in June 2020, will assume the role from Dr. Arthur Levine, who announced his intent to transition to a new research role within the University.
In this role, Anantha will oversee the academic and research trajectory of all six schools within our health sciences division and help to integrate these schools with the broader University and our clinical partner, UPMC. This work also includes shaping the careers of more than 6,000 faculty and staff as well as the academic success of approximately 5,000 students annually while supporting Pitt’s position as a top-ranked institution for federal funding dollars awarded by the National Institutes of Health.
A respected educator, researcher and entrepreneur, Anantha is a catalyst and key contributor in the fields of medicine, research and the life sciences. He currently serves as the executive associate dean for research affairs at the largest medical school in the nation: Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM). His other leadership roles at IU include distinguished professor and associate vice president for university clinical affairs and research, executive vice president of academic affairs for clinical research at IU Health, and founding director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute—the only statewide institution of its kind.
Some of Anantha’s many career accomplishments include:
- Growing IUSM’s research funding from the National Institutes of Health by 73% since 2015.
- Leading the Precision Health Initiative—part of the largest strategic investment at IU, with more than $140 million in clusters such as genomic medicine and big data sciences. This transformative and innovative initiative has resulted in the hiring of more than 126 scientists, created four companies and recruited another to Indiana, and had an estimated economic impact of nearly $200 million in just four years.
- Co-founding or leading five biotech companies, including Anagin, a startup company that is developing treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, neuropathic pain, depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Directing curriculum reform at IUSM, including expanding opportunities for every medical student to engage in research and scholarly work, and developing a center for interprofessional education that established a common core curriculum for all health sciences schools and their learners.
- Demonstrating a novel mechanism of action—the first in more than 70 years—that is being developed as a new approach to treating schizophrenia.
- Forming two commercial incubators within the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute—one for therapeutics and another for medical devices—that currently host over 15 companies in various stages of commercialization.
I am incredibly excited to welcome Anantha to Pitt. I also want to extend my thanks to our search committee and its chairs—Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and UPMC Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Steve Shapiro—for dedicating considerable time, energy and attention to helping me fill this key leadership position for the University.