The university announced some big news this week that we here in the College of Arts and Sciences are pretty excited about.
Brian Larkins, an internationally recognized leader in the development of plant molecular biology and plant agricultural biotechnology, will become associate vice chancellor for life sciences at UNL on July 1.
In making the announcement, Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and vice president of the University of Nebraska said the “emphasis on life sciences is a central part of the focus on food, fuel and water at UNL and developing Nebraska Innovation Campus.”
Larkins was at UNL previously for a brief appointment as the John F. Davidson, Ph.D., and Marian J. Fuller, Ph.D., Chair in Life Sciences with faculty appointments in the Agronomy and Horticulture Department and our School of Biological Sciences. He’ll maintain those roles this time around, too.
This is huge. He is a guy who has the broad vision and experience that can really help us and he wants to give back to Nebraska.
I was part of a group from UNL who went to Arizona to visit with him in December. At the time, he was talking about wanting to come back and we wanted to make sure it was a done deal. Needless to say, the meeting went very well. He’s very excited about the chancellor’s strategic plan for the life sciences, which includes developing a new, cutting-edge core curriculum, and building more and stronger research groups in the life sciences that cut across both of UNL’s campuses. Across the university, there’s also a push to increase research and hire more faculty.
It also comes at a good point in his life. He’s getting remarried this spring and his soon-to-be wife is ready and willing to begin their new life together in Nebraska (which happens to be his home state, by the way.)
Right now, there are a lot of us who want to implement these strategies for the life sciences, but there’s nobody for whom it’s job No. 1. And here’s somebody who is going to take it on as job No. 1 and he’s going to push us and help us see how to get them done. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
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