After nine years at the helm of GW’s research efforts, Dr. Chalupa will return to School of Medicine and Health Sciences faculty position.
The university announced Thursday that Leo Chalupa will step down from his position as GW’s chief research officer on July 1. After a sabbatical, he will join the School of Medicine and Health Sciences as a professor of pharmacology and physiology.
Dr. Chalupa became the university’s first vice president for research in 2009. In that role, he has overseen the strategic and operational development of the university’s research enterprise.
“In his nearly a decade of service, Leo has greatly advanced the university’s research endeavors,” said President Thomas LeBlanc. “His efforts to forge world-class interdisciplinary research institutes, create innovative entrepreneurship programming and industry partnerships and to develop comprehensive resources for faculty and students have put us squarely on the path to preeminence as a comprehensive global research university.”
During Dr. Chalupa’s tenure GW rose in the National Science Foundation’s annual rankings from 109 in 2009 to 81 in 2016. The rankings are based on total federal research expenditures.
The Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR), the university’s first centralized research office, began offering financial support and incentives for research with increased funding available within the university. It sponsors incentives for faculty to include graduate students in their research and to submit institutional training grants and provides assistance with grant editing.
The university, with Dr. Chalupa’s guidance, created interdisciplinary research institutes and brought in renowned experts to lead them, including the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, the Neuroscience Institute, the Global Women’s Institute and the Computational Biology Institute.
Dr. Chalupa expanded intramural funding to provide seed money for research in new areas, including across disciplines, in the humanities and for undergraduate students. OVPR also created an annual research day to showcase the work of undergraduate students and is helping fund a student-led journal dedicated to undergraduate scholarship.
Under Dr. Chalupa’s leadership, OVPR provided funding and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs. The annual New Venture Competition, now in its 10th year, enables GW community members to compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind prizes to fund startups. GW also became a member of the D.C. National Science Foundation I-Corps, which helps scientists and engineers to move their projects from the lab toward commercialization.
Thanks to OVPR, GW has fostered new partnerships with international institutions and corporations, including a worldwide license agreement for intellectual property rights with LaJolla Pharmaceuticals in 2014.
The university also signed a $5.3 million corporate research sponsorship agreement with US Patent Innovations, LLC, in 2017 to fund a new initiative to develop biomedical applications for cold plasma technology in cancer treatment.
“I am extremely proud of what the OVPR team has accomplished in the nine-plus years I have been vice president for research,” said Dr. Chalupa. “I look forward to my sabbatical and returning to GW as a professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.”
Prior to joining GW, Dr. Chalupa spent 34 years as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, where he served as a distinguished professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology and as chair of neurobiology, physiology and behavior.
Among Dr. Chalupa’s awards and honors are the Guggenheim Fellowship, NIH Fogarty International Senior Fellowship and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship. He has also been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Chalupa has received honorary degrees from Queens College of the City University of New York, the University of Montreal and the University of Rome Tor Vergata.