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Dr. Pamela Weathers to direct Ph.D.
program in molecular biosciences

July 31, 2006 - Dr. Pamela Weathers will be joining ASU as the first director of the Molecular Biosciences (MBS) Doctoral Program, the newest doctoral program approved for ASU.

Dr. Weathers will also be named as the inaugural Judd HillDr. Pamela Weathers (Worcester Polytechnic Institute photo) Distinguished Chair of Agricultural Biotechnology in the College of Agriculture.

Dr. Greg Phillips, Dean of the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, and Sciences & Mathematics, and Dr. Carole Cramer, Executive Director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) at ASU, jointly announced the appointment.

Dr. Weathers is currently a full professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. WPI is a leading engineering school in the country, and Dr. Weathers has built an impressive program of research involving the production of pharmaceutical compounds from plant tissues and cells grown in bioreactors for commercial application. She will arrive at ASU on a full-time basis in January, 2007, but will visit ASU periodically during the summer and fall of 2006.

According to Dr. Cramer, "Dr. Weathers’ background is an ideal fit with the mission of ABI and the MBS, both of which are focused on the interface of agriculture and medicine. Her experience and skills with mentorship of graduate students will be invaluable in building this new doctoral program, and her research strengths will lead to the development of an ongoing collaborative research program with WPI" and other programs around the country.

Dr. Phillips echoed that Dr. Weathers brings a wealth of expertise to ASU. "Dr. Weathers knows what it takes to launch an effective doctoral program, and she will be a tremendous asset to ASU. Her name recognition nationally and internationally in the scientific community will do justice to the Judd Hill Foundation and the College of Agriculture as the Judd Hill Distinguished Chair of Agricultural Biotechnology. In addition, she will help us to build bridges between the College of Engineering and ABI."

The new MBS program is the second interdisciplinary and cross-college doctoral program housed in the College of Sciences & Mathematics.  Faculty from not only the sciences and technology-oriented colleges participate, but other colleges on campus as well, including Business and Humanities & Social Sciences. The Environmental Sciences (EVS) Graduate Studies program now offers a master’s degree as well as the doctoral degree, and it has established a strong reputation throughout the region and nationally.

Dr. Phillips and Dr. Cramer also announced that the MBS program will initially be associated with the EVS program as a means to benefit from the organizational management in place for EVS. To this end, both MBS and EVS will be located in the second floor offices of the ABI building.

"Dr. Cramer generously offered to host the two doctoral programs within the ABI building, and I eagerly accepted the offer, because she and I agree that the research and graduate training occurring within ABI will strengthen both doctoral programs, and the presence of the doctoral program offices within ABI will strengthen the research at ABI," Dr. Phillips explained. Both doctoral program directors will have offices there, as well as a number of core faculty for both doctoral programs. "This arrangement will provide synergy for both the research mission of ABI and the academic mission of our colleges," added Dr. Cramer.

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