University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine appoints Josh Baker, Ph.D. as Interim Chair of the Department of Pharmacology

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Josh Baker, Ph.D.

Josh Baker, Ph.D., interim chair of the department of pharmacology

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has appointed Josh Baker, Ph.D., as interim chair of the department of pharmacology effective January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

Baker will serve in the role as UNR Med conducts a national search for a permanent department chair.

With his new appointment, Baker will accelerate both research and financial growth in the department, develop mentoring opportunities for junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows and work with department and medical education leaders on pharmacology and biochemistry curricula needs. Baker has earned more than $25 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant awards. He is well positioned to continue the growth trajectory of both NIH, as well as industry-funded work for UNR Med's Department of Pharmacology. UNR Med received $23 million in research funding in 2017 and more than $236 million in research funding in the past decade.

"I am so pleased that Dr. Baker has agreed to serve at this important time, and I believe that UNR Med will benefit from his energy, expertise and commitment," said University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Dean, Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "We are very fortunate to have attracted Dr. Baker to this role, and look forward to working with him as he provides leadership to the department and to UNR Med as part of our senior leadership groups."

Baker has served as UNR Med faculty since September 2004 and has also served as director of Nevada IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) since April 2016. As the director of INBRE, he is responsible for awarding more than $400,000 annually in small research grants to faculty members across seven statewide institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Baker has coauthored more than 35 papers on molecular mechanisms of muscle and molecular motor mechanics and regulation and continues to advance his transformative model for how collections of molecular motors convert chemical energy into mechanical work. He has served on committees including Medical School Admissions and Medical School Promotion and Tenure, as well as on multiple NIH study sections and has reviewed manuscripts for national scientific journals.

Baker earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota and his Ph.D. in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology from the University of Minnesota followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Vermont.


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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.