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Richard Nowakowski to join FSU College of Medicine as Chair of Department of Biomedical Sciences

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Richard Nowakowski, Ph.D.

Richard Nowakowski, Ph.D.

After a national search, Richard Nowakowski, Ph.D., has accepted an offer to join the Florida State University as professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Medicine.

Dr. Nowakowski, whose leadership of the department will begin officially in March, is currently a professor of neuroscience and cell biology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J., and the New Jersey Professor of Spinal Cord Research. He also directs the medical school’s postdoctoral career development program.

With a wealth of experience ranging from his own funded research projects and service on grant review panels to teaching and editing, Nowakowski joins the FSU College of Medicine at an opportune time.

“It is clear that the next decade will bring revolutionary changes in the structure of medical schools, the economy and also science,” he said. “These changes will be layered on top of the major scientific revolution of the past decade, specifically the sequencing of genomes that has quite literally changed the world of biology.”

Nowakowski, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, earned a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University. He completed his postgraduate education at Duke University and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

“I am very pleased that this distinguished scientist and teacher is joining our ranks,” said College of Medicine Dean Dr. John Fogarty. “He has a national reputation as a scholar and mentor and is the perfect candidate to continue to build and expand upon our initial research success. His extensive background and experience in research, medical education and academic leadership will serve the department well into our next decade.”

After joining the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1985, Nowakowski spent 20 years as neuroscience course director for the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School while also teaching neuroscience and genetics. For the past five years, he also has served as director for the history of neuroscience course taught to Rutgers University graduate students.

The named chair for senior faculty funded by the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research provides support for his work on an analysis of the cell cycle and stem cell proliferation after spinal cord injury.

Nowakowski takes leadership of a department that has made significant contributions to the 500-percent increase in overall research grant funding at the FSU College of Medicine since 2002. Research in the department of biomedical sciences focuses on the molecular basis of human disease and, in addition to faculty, currently provides learning and mentoring opportunities for more than 100 undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.

His hiring concludes an exhaustive search.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the faculty and staff that participated in the search process and helped bring it to a successful conclusion,” Fogarty said. “I would especially like to thank Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith, who chaired the search committee, and all the members of his committee for their dedication and diligence in helping us recruit our newest chair.”