Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., named as associate dean, Biomedical Research

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Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., associate dean for biomedical research and professor of physiology and cell biology.

Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., associate dean for biomedical research and professor of physiology and cell biology. Photo by Brin Reynolds/UNR Med. 

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) has named Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D., as associate dean for biomedical research and professor of physiology and cell biology.

As associate dean, Notterpek will oversee basic science research programs at UNR Med, serve as an advocate for basic biomedical laboratory research, and represent the needs and interests of researchers. As a professor, she will lead research projects in her own laboratory, with a focus on therapeutic approaches to repair myelin-a fatty substance that surrounds nerve cells to insulate them-in disease models, and on the maintenance of healthy myelin during normal aging. Her laboratory will provide training opportunities for students and junior scientists interested in disorders of the nervous system.

The primary goal of Notterpek's research is to contribute toward the development of effective therapies for demyelinating disorders of the nervous system, such as hereditary neuropathies and multiple sclerosis.

As an expert in the scientific understanding of neurodegeneration and fundamental neuroscience, Notterpek currently serves as president of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairpersons (AMSNDC). The AMSNDC is dedicated to promoting neuroscience as a scientific discipline, and representing the interests of departments within medical school settings whose major focus resides in research and training in the neural sciences.

"Dr. Notterpek is a nationally renowned neuroscientist and will do an outstanding job leading biomedical research at UNR Med," said UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "These are extraordinary times and with her leadership, UNR Med is excited to be increasing and enriching our research portfolio and advancing numerous clinical projects."

"I felt welcomed at UNR Med from the moment I arrived for my very first visit, and can hardly wait to reconnect, in person, with our wonderful faculty, staff and researchers who are doing remarkable work in areas that will have global health impacts," said Notterpek. "As we begin to recover from the impact of the pandemic on academic research, I am hopeful that we can work on enhancing key biomedical research areas by recruiting talented faculty and trainees."

Most recently, Notterpek served for 21 years at the University of Florida College of Medicine (UF). A trailblazer for women in neuroscience, Notterpek became the first female chair of neuroscience at UF in January 2009. Under Notterpek's leadership, neuroscience at UF greatly expanded its national visibility and scientific impact-rising from No. 25 to a No. 5 national ranking in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, with NIH-supported research programs now exceeding $21 million annually for faculty in neuroscience and in the department of neurology combined.

Notterpek earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at Stanford University. She also is a graduate of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, which is specially designed to support the transition of senior women faculty to executive leadership positions at academic health centers.
In addition to serving as president of the AMSNDC, Notterpek's professional affiliations include serving as chief scientific officer for the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation, and memberships in the American Society for Neurochemistry (ASN), the Society for Neuroscience and International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN).

Notterpek has authored over 70 peer-reviewed publications, has authored and co-authored over 100 published abstracts presented at national or international conferences, and has received numerous awards, fellowships and honors, such as the NIH National Research Service Award.


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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.

Released: Tuesday June 16, 2020 @ 6:00 AM