The College of Natural Sciences this fall welcomes a dynamic group of leaders, from department chairs to deans, all of whom are poised to take the college and its academic departments in new directions:
Dean Appling, associate dean for research and facilities. Appling joins the college leadership from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where he holds the Lester J. Reed Professorship in Biochemistry. His laboratory studies the organization and regulation of metabolic pathways in mammalian embryonic development. He will serve as co-dean with Peter Riley during the 2011-12 year. Appling is also the acting chief administrator of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute (DPRI).
Daniel Jaffe, chairman of astronomy. Jaffe has been associate chairman of the Department of Astronomy since 1998. His research is related to the development of infrared spectroscopic instrumentation and devices and studies of protostars and star-forming molecular clouds. He represents the university on the Giant Magellan Telescope Science Advisory Committee and serves as principal investigator for one of the prospective Giant Magellan Telescope instruments.
Daniel Johnston, chairman of neurobiology. Johnston is director of the Institute for Neuroscience and Center for Learning and Memory. He joined the university in 2004 from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he had been a professor since 1989. His research covers information processing and storage in single neurons and small neural networks and relates to memory and epilepsy.
Karen M. Landolt, director of the Career Design Center. Landolt joins the college from the McCombs School of Business and has taken the helm of the new Career Design Center, which provides students with coaching, guidance and experiential learning opportunities for the next phase of their professional or educational career, from graduate and health professions schools to finding a job.
Skip Porter, associate dean for innovation and science enterprise and acting chair and director of marine science. Porter is building entrepreneurship programs to better connect students and faculty to industry. He is pioneering efforts to add an entrepreneurship component to all freshman critical-thinking and Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) courses. At the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Porter is spearheading the national search for a new chair of the Department of Marine Science and director for the institute.
Alan Reid, chairman of mathematics. Reid is the Pennzoil Company Regents Professor in Mathematics and researches hyperbolic manifolds, discrete groups and low-dimensional topology. He has been with the department since 1996 and received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and President’s Associates Centennial Teaching Fellowship.