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Director Louisville, KY

The University of Louisville (UofL) School of Medicine seeks an innovative, ambitious leader for the role of Director, Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC). After more than 20 years of growth, KSCIRC is at an inflection point. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to set a new course for one of the top spinal cord injury (SCI) research centers in the world. The next director will be at the cutting edge of science and have a compelling vision for the future of SCI research. They will be strategic, inspiring, and innovative. The new director will hold an endowed chair.

Almost 300,000 people in the United States live with spinal cord injuries, and there are nearly 18,000 new injuries each year (National SCI Statistical Center, University of Alabama Birmingham, 2020). The top causes of SCI are motor vehicle collisions and falls. Depending on the severity of injury, individuals with SCI may face a host of devastating physical, emotional, and economic hardships as a result of their injuries.

KSCIRC is among the three largest spinal cord research centers in the world and one of UofL’s flagship research programs. KSCIRC’s dedicated faculty conduct research in pursuit of KSCIRC’s mission to develop successful spinal cord repair strategies in the laboratory that can then be applied in the clinical setting. KSCIRC benefits from its broad mandate to conduct research across the spectrum, including basic science, translational, and clinical research. Addressing spinal cord injury at a total-body disease has fostered key partnerships with scientists studying key physiological systems including cardiovascular; respiratory; bowel, bladder, and sexual; and gastrointestinal to improve the health of all persons living with SCI. KSCIRC is unique in its service to both adults and children living with SCI. In recent years, KSCIRC researchers have made remarkable advances in key areas, including activity-based locomotor training and epidural stimulation—advances that have enabled patients with severe injuries to move and walk again.

Reporting jointly to the Dean of the School of Medicine and the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, the director will serve as the face of KSCIRC, developing and executing a shared vision for the future growth and success of KSCIRC. The director will partner with senior leadership to recruit world-class researchers to join the talented faculty already producing ground-breaking research. The director will serve as a mentor and resource to KSCIRC faculty, providing guidance and support, and will lead the process of embedding the principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity into the culture and the daily work- lives of all faculty and staff. The director will increase the visibility of the center nationally and internationally by presenting at conferences, building partnerships, proactively seeking media opportunities, and ensuring that KSCIRC remains a trusted resource for anyone interested in SCI research. The director will leverage and build upon KSCIRC’s strengths to increase and diversify revenue streams, including seeking increased funding from federal, state, and private philanthropic sources. Key to this effort will be to serve in the important role of liaison to KSCHIRT board members, continuing and strengthening these relationships.

Successful candidates will have a proven record of inspirational leadership, scholarly accomplishment, demonstrated administrative experience, and strong teaching and mentoring skills. Candidates must be committed to furthering excellence in funded research, faculty development, and education.

Dan Rodas is leading this search with Jean Jacoby and Max Peebles.

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