The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences is one of five basic science departments and is dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of the physiologic and pathologic processes at the molecular level. Over the course of almost 90 years, the department has been home to distinguished faculty members who have contributed to the common good of mankind by shaping medicine and science through their groundbreaking research and leadership.
When I was appointed as the new chair on March 1, 2009, my primary charge from the University's leadership was to raise the standards of excellence and increase the department's national and international profile. I am pleased to report that the department's faculty, staff, fellows, and students all joined me and rose to the challenge. We are moving in the right direction with a clear vision, and we are seeing the results: a significant leap in national ranking; an increase in the number of influential publications; and a growing participation by our faculty in NIH peer-review panels and service on the editorial boards of major scientific journals. Moreover, our faculty have made multiple significant discoveries through their research projects in the medical sciences.
Finally, we have begun to build stronger collaborative partnerships with other departments, institutes, and centers throughout the University, and we intend to serve as an integral contributing partner to the University's strategic priorities and future initiatives.
Since July 2009, we have successfully recruited three assistant professors and three associate professors. The department also played a significant role in assisting University President Steven Knapp and his senior leadership team to recruit Dr. Ferid Murad, a Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Murad joined the department's faculty as a University Professor in 2011. The addition of seven new laboratories has helped to revitalize the research culture at the school and provided new opportunities for collaboration within the school and the University at-large, as well as with other academic institutions across the country and around the world.
My top priorities are to ensure that we provide our students with the highest quality of academic excellence in our education programs, and to cultivate an ambitious research culture filled with enthusiasm. We are well on our way to moving the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to the next tier of distinction. Over the course of the next five years, I am confident that our department will make significant discoveries in our signature programs-cancer, hepatobiology, and disease-centered computational genomics-and emerge as a national leader in these important areas of medical research.
I am proud to be part of a team of colleagues who are motivated, talented, and driven to putting their knowledge into action, and to be part of the exciting and transformative changes that are taking place throughout The George Washington University.
Rakesh Kumar, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Catharine Birch & William McCormick Chair.