Frances Sladek, professor of cell biology and toxicologist, has been named the Divisional Dean for Life Sciences in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS). She will succeed Peter Atkinson, professor of entomology, who has served in this position since 2012. Sladek’s three-year appointment begins July 1, 2017.
“Frances’ intimate knowledge of campus, which includes research and teaching collaborations, combined with her remarkable research record makes her well suited to lead the Division of Life Sciences,” said CNAS Dean Kathryn Uhrich. “She represents a key department within the Life Sciences and her deep experience in building research programs will further the success of our faculty and students.”
Sladek received her doctoral degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. She joined UC Riverside in 1992, after a postdoctoral fellowship at The Rockefeller University, NY. The associate director of the UCR Stem Cell Center, she specializes in molecular endocrinology. Specifically, her research explores the mechanisms involved in tissue-specific gene expression and investigates how these mechanisms relate to various human diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.
“I am very pleased to be named the Divisional Dean of Life Sciences,” Sladek said. “I have enjoyed seeing UCR grow during the past 25 years that I have been on campus, and look forward to continue helping the college and the campus realize their full potential. This position will allow me to help affect that change. It is an exciting time of growth and I am confident that with the great faculty and UCR spirit of interaction and collaboration we can accelerate our momentum towards becoming one of the most desirable campuses in the UC system.”
At UCR, the Life Science Divisional Dean oversees four departments: biochemistry, biology, cell biology and neurosciences, and plant pathology and microbiology. Sladek’s immediate plans as Divisional Dean are to build on Atkinson’s success in recruiting the best faculty and securing the resources they need to realize their full potential.
“Faculty expansion and success will naturally lead to expanded graduate programs, both in terms of quantity as well as quality, and help us to attract the best undergraduate students,” Sladek said. “Celebrating and promoting our existing faculty, many of whom are world leaders in their disciplines, will continue to be as important as recruiting new faculty.”
Sladek’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 18 years. While she is best known for her work on nuclear receptors, her most recent research on the impact of soybean oil on obesity, diabetes and fatty liver has received considerable attention in both the scientific and lay press.
The author/coauthor of nearly 70 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals that have been cited ~5900 times, Sladek has served on several editorial boards as well as grant review panels for the NIH and the American Cancer Society, and the Annual Meeting Steering Committee of the Endocrine Society.
At UCR she has served as Graduate Adviser and/or on the executive committee for four graduate programs in the life sciences as well as on numerous search committees for faculty hires in a variety of departments. She played an instrumental role in the founding of both the Institute of Integrated Genome Biology and the UCR Stem Cell Center, and has been active in the Academic Senate where she has chaired Scholarships and Honors and Charges and served on Committee on Committees.
She has taught cancer biology to undergraduates for more than 20 years and advanced molecular biology to graduate students for 12 years. She has mentored 15 Ph.D. students, 13 postdoctoral fellows and more than 65 undergraduates.