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Cindy Fox Aisen
School of Science at IUPUI

Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2010

School of Science at IUPUI names associate dean for research and graduate education

Dec. 2, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS -- David G. Skalnik, a molecular biologist and award-winning teacher, has been named associate dean for research and graduate education at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He will assume his new position in January 2011.

"This is a very exciting time to be joining the School of Science, identifying its strengths and leveraging its resources. We plan to expand research opportunities and increase the number of faculty and doctoral students who will take advantage of these opportunities. We look forward to discovery by current and future faculty and to training doctoral students who will work in industry, hospitals, government, or academia where they will train the next generation of scientists," he said.

Skalnik is a professor of pediatrics and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He holds a doctorate in biological sciences from Stanford University and completed post-doctoral training in molecular biology at Children's Hospital Boston, the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

A leader in the rapidly advancing field of epigenetics, the study of factors influencing the behavior of gene function that do not involve changes in the structure of DNA, Skalnik's research focuses on how proteins control when DNA segments are turned on and off -- both appropriately and inappropriately. With greater knowledge of these functions it is possible that drugs could be identified to reactivate a gene silenced in error making it unable to regulate cell growth or proliferation.

"As all basic scientists, we work to gain a better understanding of human disease with the ultimate goal of improving health. In our lab we have cloned an epigenetic regulator gene, and we are looking at how it interacts -- without altering DNA sequence -- with other proteins implicated in the development of leukemia," said Skalnik, whose work has been based in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. He is a member of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and co-author of more than 50 peer reviewed research studies.

Throughout his career Skalnik has taught and mentored in the laboratory setting. In 2004 he received the IU Trustee's Teaching Award for outstanding teaching at the graduate level.

It is very rewarding to see graduate students develop into scientists," he said. Some of his past students are now at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Harvard University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Northwestern University, Eli Lilly & Company, Indiana University East and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

"The School of Science is very pleased to welcome David Skalnik as associate dean for research and graduate education," said Bart S. Ng, dean of the School of Science and Marvin L. Bittinger Professor of Mathematical Sciences. "With his track record of nearly two decades of continuous federal research funding, numerous publications in high profile journals and many presentations at national and international meetings, he is a high caliber scientist who understands the research environment and how to succeed in this challenging environment. His accomplishments as the mentor of graduate students are outstanding.

"IUPUI has increasingly become a destination of choice for undergraduates interested in science. With David Skalnik's experience and vision we hope to expand opportunities at the graduate level," said Ng.

The School of Science at IUPUI

The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The School is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana's effort to expand and diversify its economy. For more information visit