One of the University of Virginia’s most ambitious research efforts is beginning to take shape. In the past several months, UVA announced and introduced the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative, which commenced operations in the UVA Research Park in September 2018, and most recently, appointed five individuals to join Executive Director Dr. Christopher L. Barrett on the senior leadership team, including:
Lauren Coble, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Director of the Administrative Division – Coble has been instrumental in the creation of the Biocomplexity Institute at UVA since coming on board. In her new role, she assists the executive director with strategic planning for the Institute and oversees all business operations and financial reporting, human resources, facilities, communications, grants and contracts management and information technology support operations. Coble brings more than 34 years of service with the Commonwealth of Virginia to UVA, holding numerous leadership positions in finance and administration at the university level at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Sallie Ann Keller, Director of the Social and Decision Analytics Division and Professor of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine – Dr. Keller is a leading voice in creating the science of all data and advancing this research across disciplines to benefit society. The hallmark of her career is the creation of massively interdisciplinary programs that integrate statisticians, social scientists, physical and life scientists and engineers. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, elected member of the International Statistics Institute, and fellow and past president of the American Statistical Association. Among her many honors, Dr. Keller received the Jerome Sacks Award for Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Research from the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, the John V. Atanasoff Research and Discovery Award from Iowa State University and the Founder’s Award–American Statistical Association.
Dr. Madhav Marathe, Director of the Network Systems Science and Advanced Computing Division and Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering – Dr. Marathe leads research that focuses on understanding general principles that govern the design, analysis, control and optimization of complex networks. His areas of expertise include network science, algorithmics, artificial intelligence, high performance computing, computationally epidemiology and computational social science. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the American Association for Advancement of Science and the Association of Computing Machinery. In 2018, Dr. Marathe was named a Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Fellow for contributions to high-performance computing algorithms and software systems for network science and public health epidemiology, and was awarded the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.
Dr. Christian Reidys, Director of the Mathematical Biocomplexity Division and Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics – Dr. Reidys specializes in computational mathematics with expertise in discrete mathematics, computational biology, molecular evolution, structure, prediction and evolution of RNA, DNA combinatorics and topology of large data sets. Dr. Reidys was awarded the Lee Segel Prize by the Society for Mathematical Biology for outstanding contributions to the field of mathematical biology, and the Changjiang Scholar Award, the highest academic award issued to an individual in higher education by the Ministry of Education of The People’s Republic of China. Dr. Reidys is the author of two books, Combinatorial and Computational Biology of Pseudoknot RNA and An Introduction to Sequential Dynamical Systems.
Kevin Passarello, Director of the Translational Programs and Development Office – In his new role at the Biocomplexity Institute, Passarello serves in the Office of the Executive Director and is the Institute’s liaison with the University’s development and intellectual property management functions. He supports the Institute’s goal to translate research outcomes for the betterment of society via corporate partnerships and other ventures, and serves in an advocacy role to create external relationships and visibility for the Institute and its research. He was most recently a shareholder of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, and an Enterprise Innovation Fellow for the Virginia Tech Biocomplexity Institute. Passarello is a serial entrepreneur and has co-founded venture-backed technology companies in the areas of enterprise software and mobile hardware with successful exits, as well as a private equity fund. He brings more than three decades of legal, financial, entrepreneurial and international business experience to his position at UVA.
The Biocomplexity Institute team has made considerable progress since commencing operations, and has kept up research activities throughout the transition. The next major step is continuing to attract the best people in the world to the Biocomplexity Institute to solve real-world problems in its unique and esteemed atmosphere of common purpose and transdisciplinary values.