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University of Michigan Medical School

Office of the Dean, Attn: Ali Von Au Douglas


Job Summary

The University of Michigan Medical School seeks a nationally recognized, highly innovative and visionary leader to further advance the research, education, training, prominence and philanthropic missions of the Department of Biological Chemistry. This leader will build on significant departmental and institutional strengths, including research innovation, supportive environment, and superb patient and family-centered care.

The University of Michigan Department of Biological Chemistry was established in 1935 and has served as home and training ground for many of the field’s top-ranked scientists. The department is distinguished by its focus on the molecular, mechanistic and quantitative underpinnings of biological processes. It is at the forefront of discovery in studying protein structures and how their mechanisms affect biological function. The department also has strengths in the use of rapid reaction and steady-state kinetics, calorimetry, chemical analysis and a variety of spectroscopic methods to study enzymes and regulatory proteins and their mechanisms of action. Areas of focus include metalloenzymes, flavoproteins, and enzymes involved in metabolism, nucleotide biosynthesis, chromatin modifications, RNA biology, epigenetics, DNA repair, protein folding, proteostasis and protein modification and trafficking. Other areas of research include studying mechanisms controlling gene expression, development and aging, vision, nerve regeneration, stem cells and the molecular underpinnings of behavior. Underlying all these research interests is the common goal to understand how proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and other molecules respond to signals in their environment and transduce this information to affect cell function. The faculty are an integrative force at the University, helping to bridge the basic sciences with each other and also with translational and clinical research. This is reflected by the number of Biological Chemistry faculty holding joint appointments within other basic science departments, clinical departments, and institutes across campus.



Create and establish a unifying vision for the future of the Department of Biological Chemistry with other leaders and key stakeholders across the university.

  • Effectively articulate and execute the mission, vision and values of the Department of Biological Chemistry.
  • Be a role model for integrity, scholarship, professional competence, and collegiality and collaboration across the organization.
  • Support interdisciplinary collaboration to catalyze Michigan Medicine’s tripartite mission of research, education, and patient care. Strengthen opportunities to engage the next generation of health care providers and health scholars with members of the Department of Biological Chemistry.
  • Be an effective institutional leader, helping to develop network strategies and outreach opportunities.

Advance and strengthen individual, departmental, and institutional research programs.

  • Collaborate with other school leaders to advance the biomedical research agenda and capabilities at the school and institutional levels.
  • Identify and support critical research areas that will enhance the department’s knowledge base.
  • Lead the department and individual faculty members and trainees to obtain external and intramural funding.
  • Cultivate a highly collaborative, inclusive environment that emphasizes the development of research programs that cross organizational boundaries of the university.
  • With members of the department and other leaders at the University, establish unifying plans to leverage existing institutional strengths to advance life science research across the University.

Foster the educational mission of the department and support educational initiatives across the campus.

  • Maintain excellence in the department’s educational programs, including those for PhD, MS, and medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and continuing professional development.
  • Work collaboratively with other departments and centers to create and grow shared training programs or assigned training experiences

Implement curricular changes and requirements to provide a supportive environment for learners.


Recruit, retain and develop diverse faculty, students, trainees and staff to achieve the department vision, ensuring the success of all disciplines within the department and the national prominence of the department.

  • Recruit, mentor, develop and retain outstanding faculty, trainees and staff who share the vision for the future of the department.
  • Listen, communicate, and empower. Seek appropriate honors, awards, and national leadership positions for faculty, trainees and staff. Satisfaction and career advancement of the department’s many constituents are important objectives in pursuing the overall vision and mission.
  • Develop and mentor individuals to successfully assume departmental and national leadership positions.

Promote financial goals through management, research funding, and philanthropy.

  • Maintain a fiscally sound department. Ensure the administrative budget and operations management are sound and that the departmental resources are effectively, wisely, and transparently managed.
  • Adhere to all University regulatory and Michigan Medicine policies and practices. The chair must be viewed as fair and strategic, and thus inspire confidence of faculty, trainees and staff.
  • Work effectively to secure philanthropic support for the research and training programs of the department. Collaborate with the Office of University Development to develop a philanthropic plan and programs in partnership with the other clinical and basic science departments.

Build on the University’s longstanding commitment to build and nurture a community characterized by diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Participate in and help develop new approaches to maintain diversity as a critical component of student education, research, and service.
  • Lead the department to recruit, retain, and mentor the best learners, faculty, and staff by creating a community that seeks, welcomes, and expects diversity.
  • Coordinate with institutional leadership and the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion to help implement strategies for creating a supportive culture and climate that promotes inclusion and health equity.
  • Support research to enhance care of minority communities and the underserved.

Align with the cultural priorities and approaches of the school and university.

  • Cultivate a highly collaborative, inclusive environment that emphasizes the pursuit of excellence and the development of research and education programs that cross organizational boundaries of the university.
  • Implement and participate in the missions of the Medical School, specifically programs and initiatives of the Dean/Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs (EVPMA) and the Medical School Executive Committee.
  • Understand and adhere to the Regents’ Bylaws, the University’s Standard Practice Guide, and the Medical School Bylaws and policies.
  • Enthusiastically participate in cultural and organizational activities of the University and Medical School.

Fulfill other responsibilities of leadership

  • Ensure fiduciary and regulatory agency compliance related to the department’s activities and responsibly manage conflict of interest and commitment, policy and procedural compliance. Avoid conflict of interest, conflict of commitment and the appearance of such conflicts.

Implement the missions of the school, specifically programs and initiatives of the Dean/EVPMA and Medical School Executive Committee. A Chair may have parallel responsibilities managing interdepartmental or extra departmental units, such as a center or facility with parallel expectations. Ultimately, the Chair should maintain the confidence of the Dean/EVPMA and Executive Committee.


The Chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry reports to the Dean/EVMPA and the Executive Vice Dean for Research/Chief Scientific Officer of the Medical School.

Required Qualifications*

The successful candidate will have a PhD, MD or equivalent clinical doctoral degree and have a nationally recognized scientific, scholarly, and educational record that justifies appointment as a tenured full professor in Biological Chemistry.  He/She must have a strong track record of obtaining external funds to support his/her own research program and experience managing externally funded grants. This individual must be highly collaborative and motivated, and have significant experience building and unifying interdisciplinary teams. He/She must have a proven track record in developing research programs, a demonstrated commitment to education and mentoring, and administrative and budgetary experience.

Desired Qualifications*


  • The chair should be a:
    • Motivator/mentor – Able to inspire all rank of staff. Capable of motivating people to be team players, collegial, supportive, and willing to share information. Demonstrated commitment to developing faculty and staff for departmental and institutional leadership roles.
    • Change agent – Who is innovative, willing to take risks and has the creativity to reengineer existing practices and to construct new ways of doing things.
    • Decisive leader – Who combines a sense of equanimity with humor to sustain intense, productive and collaborative leadership effort.
    • Team player – Collaborator on multiple levels of research and administration.
    • Results-oriented achiever – By using appropriate problem solving tools and techniques and aligning the culture in the process of obtaining results.
  • The chair should possess:
    • Integrity – Personal standard of behavior that will be a model for the organization and will inspire all within the department to work collaboratively toward shared goals.
    • Vision – Forward thinking, responsive to needs of stakeholders, including scientists, learners, staff, physicians, and patients. Able to shape organizational change and convey a clear, shared vision and alignment of efforts, and possess leadership skills and personal charisma needed to drive and implement necessary change.
    • Communication skills – Positive interpersonal skills that demonstrate diplomacy and accessibility. Relational skills to support vision and leadership. He/She should be approachable; collegial; assertive; able to build a team that moves towards common goals; transparent; participative with an open management style.
    • Intellectual and analytical skills – to drive cogent planning and establishment of robust research.
    • Political acumen and collaborative skills – to build consensus among strong, diverse and sometimes competing individuals and programs.
    • Accessibility – Interested in and available to discuss the work environment for personnel in Biological Chemistry, sensitive to their areas of dissatisfaction, and celebratory of their areas of growth and achievement.
    • Diversity mindset – Demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity and an appreciation for their important contributions to excellence.
    • Also desired is a track record or interest in philanthropy.


Additional Information


Department of Biological Chemistry:

Michigan Medicine:

Office of Health Equity and Inclusion:

The University of Michigan:

Biomedical Research Core Facilities:  

Background Screening

Michigan Medicine conducts background screening and pre-employment drug testing on job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent job offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background screenings.  Background screenings are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Report Act.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.