BIO5 Director Vicki Chandler Tapped for Major Opportunity to Direct Philanthropic Funds for Transformative Science

Chandler will step down as director of the BIO5 Institute, but she will continue to devote about 20 percent of her time on her research program at the UA.
Dec. 22, 2008
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Vicki Chandler
Vicki Chandler
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A unique opportunity to direct philanthropic funding toward transformative scientific research has BIO5 Director Vicki L. Chandler on her way to the San Francisco Bay Area next year. She has been tapped for the position of chief program officer, science for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. 

Her work there begins Feb. 17, 2009.

Chandler will step down as director of the BIO5 Institute, but she will continue to devote about 20 percent of her time on her research program at The University of Arizona, including her involvement in the iPlant Collaborative, a project administered by BIO5 and funded through a $50 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

"I love the UA and living in Tucson. It's been an incredible 12 years. I've benefitted from the intellectual environment here and will continue to do so. And the BIO5 Institute is in great shape. I'm stepping down as director at a time of real organizational strength. We have terrific faculty and staff in place," Chandler said.

A Regents' professor in the departments of plant sciences and molecular and cellular biology, Chandler holds the Weiler Endowed Chair for Excellence in Agriculture and Life Sciences, a position she will retain along with her UA research activities.

"Dr. Chandler's selection by the Moore Foundation is a tribute to excellence at work here at the UA. It is a tribute to her talents, the successes of the BIO5 Institute, and the reputation that the UA has earned nationally," said UA Executive Vice President and Provost Meredith Hay.

"While we will not see as much of Dr. Chandler on campus, we are pleased to know that even with this fantastic opportunity, she will remain a part of the UA," said Leslie Tolbert, UA vice president for research, graduate studies and economic development. "We all know that she is committed to scientific excellence, and she will have a huge impact on science in this new position, just as she has at the BIO5 Institute."

"My office is working on a leadership transition plan for BIO5 and we are very grateful to Vicki for putting BIO5 in such a solid place for continued growth," Tolbert said.

For the past six years, Chandler has developed and implemented the BIO5 Institute's vision and mission. This interdisciplinary experience, combined with her scientific reputation, administrative experience and ability to communicate science likely made her a highly competitive candidate for the new position.

The Moore Foundation's vision and significant funding capacity make the position a unique opportunity for Chandler to impact science globally for years to come.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with its $300 million annual philanthropic budget, forms and invests in partnerships to achieve significant, lasting and measurable results in environmental conservation, science and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Foundation's science program, which Chandler will run, makes a significant impact on the development of provocative, transformative scientific research, and increases knowledge in emerging fields through investment in the work of researchers and organizations at the frontiers of science. In particular, the program works to promote collaboration across scientific fields.

Chandler's contributions to the UA are many:

  • As BIO5's interim co-director with Fernando Martinez, MD, in 2003-2004, and as director of the institute from 2004-present, she oversaw the development and construction of the state-of-the-art Thomas W. Keating Bioresearch Building, now home to 35 of the more than 150 BIO5 faculty members and four core facilities at the UA.
  • She helped increase the critical mass of top researchers at the UA and to build critical research infrastructure such as the Genetically Engineered Mouse Model Core Facility and the Statistics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program.
  • Chandler helped create an environment within BIO5 that facilitates its faculty to compete successfully for major interdisciplinary grants such as the iPlant Collaborative.
  • Chandler's passion for education and outreach has resulted in BIO5 programs benefiting teachers and students across the state and her focus on business development and bio industry has enabled BIO5 to contribute to economic development within Arizona. She was named the 2007 Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year at the Arizona Governor's Celebration of Innovation.
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