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James B. Kaper, Ph.D., Distinguished and Preeminent Microbiology & Immunology Professor, Scholar and Researcher, Appointed New Senior Associate Dean For Academic Affairs

Thursday, April 24, 2014

James B. Kaper, Ph.D.
 James B. Kaper, Ph.D.

University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., has appointed James B. Kaper, Ph.D., as the new Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, effective April 1, 2014. An accomplished scientist, preeminent scholar, and senior SOM leader, Dr. Kaper currently serves as the Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and Associate Director for Bacterial Pathogenesis Research at the SOM’s Center for Vaccine Development. He has served in multiple SOM academic leadership positions, including his current post of Chairman of the Curriculum Coordinating Committee.

“Dr. Kaper is the consummate scientist who fully understands the synergies between the research and academic missions of our institution,” said Dean Reece, Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “With three decades as a member of the SOM faculty, he is the ideal leader to focus on our academic enterprise, as well as our commitment to the education and training of our students and post-doctoral fellows in medicine, life sciences, physical therapy & rehabilitation science, and medical research technology, where research is central to our educational goals.”

Dr. Kaper replaces Richard N. Pierson III, M.D., who had been the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Interim Director of Research Affairs since 2012. Dr. Pierson, a cardio-thoracic surgeon and researcher, will now serve as Professor and Senior Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Surgery.

Since joining the faculty of the SOM in 1981, Dr. Kaper has served on the SOM Appointment Promotion and Tenure committee, has chaired multiple special ad hoc APT committees, and was elected to the Academy of Educational Excellence. In terms of his involvement with medical student education, he served as Co-Course Director for the Host Defenses and Infectious Diseases course for second year medical students from 2000 to 2007. Previously, he served on the Year 1/Year 2 Oversight Committee and currently serves on the Medical Education Advisory Committee. In addition, he trained 15 Ph.D. students and 47 postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory.

The NIH has continuously funded Dr. Kaper since 1982. The Kaper Lab is a renowned research lab focusing on the molecular pathogenesis of enteric bacterial pathogens. Its studies range from basic research on pathogenesis and the evolution of pathogens to applied research such as development of new vaccines and diagnostic reagents. The translational fruits of his research include the first genetically engineered bacterial vaccine licensed for human use, developed in collaboration with Dr. Myron M. Levine, Director of the CVD. He is the Program Director for the Immunity and Infection NIH T32 training grant, and currently serves as the chair of the SOM T32 committee. He has also been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Kaper received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) under the mentorship of Dr. Rita Colwell, a current member of the SOM Scientific Advisory Council. His doctoral research concerned enteric bacterial pathogens in the Chesapeake Bay. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, he worked on the molecular pathogenesis of Vibrio and Pseudomonas infections and developed techniques to study the molecular epidemiology of bacterial infections.

Dr. Kaper has received a number of noteworthy awards including the NIH’s MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award in 2004, and the Barnett L. Cohen Award from the Maryland Branch of the American Society for Microbiology in 2010. He was elected as a member of the Carolyn J. Pass, MD ’66 & Richard M. Susel, MD ’66 Academy of Educational Excellence, SOM. He was listed in the ISI Highly Cited Researchers, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and the American Men and Women of Science. He is a distinguished member of the American Society for Microbiology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and President of the Association of Medical School Microbiology & Immunology Chairs.

Dr. Kaper is a prolific scholar, having published some 300 journal articles, 65 book chapters, as well as edited six books. His publications have received over 30,000 citations. In addition, he serves as Editor-in-Chief of EcoSalPlus and Associated Editor of Gut Microbes.

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