Friends and Colleagues:
After 8.5 years as Director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC), I write to share with you my decision to step down at the end of December. Interim leadership of the FOEDRC will be named soon. In January, I will begin a new journey as Chair of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and executive medical director of the UCLA Health System’s Department of Medicine. This will be officially announced by leadership at the University of Iowa and the University of California at noon today, but I wanted to send a personal note to you first.
My time at the helm of the FOEDRC has been incredibly gratifying, in many ways like a dream come true. It has been amazing to watch the center grow over the years and the outsized influence that the FOEDRC now makes in terms of diabetes research across the world. When we started this journey, we were small and there was a hole in the ground where the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building now stands. Today, the FOEDRC is more than 100 strong in terms of faculty and, last year, collectively, you garnered more than $23M in research funding from the NIH. We have established robust cores in metabolomics and metabolic phenotyping. We have supported more than 35 pilot grant awards, the majority of which have been leveraged to generate new and substantial extramural funding. Our Frontiers Seminar series draws an audience from across the entire University of Iowa campus and more recently from the University of Minnesota to hear the most influential international voices in diabetes research. We obtained a new T32 training grant supporting 15 post-docs from the NIDDK. The renewal application was recently reviewed and I hope to receive the scores this week, fingers crossed! I have enjoyed seeing the collaborative community that the FOEDRC has become, an environment which I am sure has impacted our outsized contribution to diabetes research. I am grateful for the contributions of Darryl Granner, our founding director, for laying the foundation on which we have built and who, along with Jean Robillard, persuasively recruited me to Iowa. I am indebted to the enthusiasm and generosity of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, whose transformative gift launched the FOEDRC and continues to provide critical support for our mission. I want to thank our administrative team, Kathleen Barbee, Jonathan Thomas and Abby Donovan, for essential support, and importantly all of you for being friends and great colleagues.
I will miss you, but hope to remain involved in an advisory role as you continue to chart a bright future.
Sincerely and with immense gratitude,