June 6, 2012


SUBJECT:    Dean, Division of Biological Sciences

Following nearly five years of distinguished service as Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences, Steve Kay has announced his decision to leave his administrative position effective September 30, 2012 to become the 21st Dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) in October.

Dean Kay joined UC San Diego in 2007 as Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences, Professor in the Cell and Developmental Biology Section, and holder of the prestigious Richard C. Atkinson Chair in the Biological Sciences. A highly distinguished researcher and pioneer in systems biology and circadian clocks, he came to UC San Diego from his positions as Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Professor of Cell Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and Director of the TSRI Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases. Prior to his arrival he received several awards, including a Keck Foundation Faculty Award, the Honma Prize for Life Sciences in 1999, and his work was cited in Science magazine's "Breakthroughs of the Year" consecutively in 1997 and 1998 and again in 2002. In 2008 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, in 2009 he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2010 he was awarded the UC San Diego Chancellorís Associates Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. He was recently chosen to receive the 2011 Martin Gibbs Medal by the American Society for Plant Biology as recognition for pioneering work in plant sciences.

As Dean Dr. Kay has led a large and dynamic academic division, with nearly 6,000 undergraduate biology majors, several hundred graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and faculty spanning four major sections. Dr. Kay has demonstrated a commitment to faculty excellence, recruiting exceptional new faculty members to the division, including department chairs and center directors, members of the National Academy of Sciences, and many other distinguished and productive researchers. From 2007 to 2011, contract and grant activity grew nearly sixty percent in the division. In 2011, the Biological Sciences Graduate Program received international recognition when it was ranked number one in the United States by the National Research Council. Under Dr. Kayís leadership, the Division of Biological Sciences has also developed new scholarships for undergraduate researchers, expanded and improved laboratory research opportunities for students, strengthened peer mentoring for incoming Ph.D. students, established a new divisional diversity committee, and launched workshops for teaching assistants and post-doctoral trainees related to cultural inclusion and equity. Dr. Kay and his team have also directed numerous administrative improvements in support of the academic mission.

Please join me in thanking Dean Kay for his vital contributions to the Division of Biological Sciences and the campus, and in wishing him every success at the University of Southern California.

I am grateful that Dr. William McGinnis, Distinguished Professor and current Chair of the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology has agreed to serve as Interim Dean during our search for a new Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences. He will work with Dean Kay and his administrative team to ensure a smooth transition for the Division.

Suresh Subramani
Executive Vice Chancellor