Dear members of the VCU and VCU Health communities:
I am pleased to announce that P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., will become the new Vice President for Research and Innovation, effective Oct. 1.
Dr. Rao – no relation to me — comes to VCU from the University of Minnesota, where he is professor and associate dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and holds a joint appointment in the medical school as professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. He has served as the chair of the University of Minnesota system-wide Council of Research Associate Deans as well as chair of the university’s Academic Health Center Council of Research Deans.
Dr. Rao led the college through two strategic planning processes and the successful implementation of its key signature programs. He also led a transdisciplinary international effort of “One Medicine One Science” aimed at advancing the science behind “One Health”, an approach to design and implement research, programs, policies and legislation to achieve better public health outcomes. This effort included the University of Minnesota’s “International Conference on One Medicine One Science, iCOMOS”, a highly acclaimed one health global forum dedicated to communicating the importance of science in solving pressing societal health issues.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota in 2007, Dr. Rao was vice president of research and professor and head of the division of vascular biology at the La Jolla Institute for Molecular Medicine in San Diego, Calif.
Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in allergy and immunology from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, after which he conducted post-doctoral studies at Pharmacia-Experimental Medicine in La Jolla, Calif. His laboratory research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation including asthma and food allergy.
Dr. Rao’s collaborative working style and a strong passion for engaging with the community is impressive. He has the vision, qualifications, experience and commitment to collaboration that will be the keys to his success as vice president for research and Innovation.
I want to thank our current vice president for research and innovation Francis Macrina, for ably and enthusiastically serving in this position for over 13 years. Fortunately for us, Frank will remain at VCU, transitioning to the school of dentistry where he holds the Edward Myers Chair in Dentistry.
I also want to thank the search committee members, led by Gail Hackett and Marsha Rappley, for their hard work and diligence in successfully completing this national search.
President, VCU and VCU Health System