Brian M. Baker, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is the Graduate School’s new associate dean of academic programs. He succeeds Prof. Edward Maginn, now chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Baker, who served as the Director of Graduate Studies for Chemistry and Biochemistry from August 2008 to July, 2012, was recognized last year with the Director of Graduate Studies Award for his leadership in advancing his department’s graduate program.
In announcing his appointment, Christine Maziar, Acting Dean of the Graduate School and Senior Associate Provost, acknowledged Baker’s experience and initiatives on behalf of graduate students. She noted as well that “Prof. Baker brings to the position of associate dean the experience of carrying a new program, the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program, from concept, through proposal development and approval, to its first enrolled students. Involving five departments, and offering cross-departmental research and training in the biomedical sciences, this new program represents the best of interdisciplinary collaboration in graduate programs at Notre Dame. His experience as a program innovator informed by the University’s policies and procedures for new program creation will be extremely valuable to faculty seeking to create new graduate programs and graduate minors.”
Baker’s research focuses on how biological molecules interact, how interactions lead to cellular communication, and how the physical aspects of these processes give rise to biological function. He and others in his laboratory research these broad areas utilizing a diverse array of structural, biophysical, biochemical, and biological approaches.
Baker received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, where he studied the biophysics of protein-ligand interactions. He completed his postdoctoral work at Harvard University, studying the structural biology of molecular recognition in the immune system. Since joining the University of Notre Dame in 2001, he has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Research Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society. He is an editor of the Biochemical Journal, and a member of Notre Dame’s Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute.
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