P.O. Box 400301
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Alan "Rick" Horwitz
Alan “Rick” Horwitz is the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and renowned worldwide for his pioneering research and leadership in the fields of cell adhesion and migration. This research impacts many biological processes, diseases, and therapeutic strategies, including cancer, neurogenesis, inflammation, and tissue regeneration and repair. Rick earned his BA with honors in the Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin, where he majored in Chemistry with additional concentrations in math and physics. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics at Stanford and did post-doctoral research in the Laboratory for Chemical Biodynamics at UC Berkeley. Over the past 10 years, in addition to his research and teaching activities, he was the Director of the Cell Migration Consortium, an ~$80M international, interdisciplinary collaboration, comprised of 35 PIs from 20 institutions, focused on developing a spectrum of novel approaches and methods, from genomic to biophysical and mathematical, for studying cell migration in its many biological contexts. The Consortium now serves as a model for how to organize and manage collaborative, interdisciplinary science on a large scale. Rick continues his research on adhesion, migration, and synapse formation in learning and memory. In 2010, Rick was a recipient of the University of Virginia's Distinguished Scientist Award. He has mentored over 50 students and postdocs, many of whom hold positions in top academic institutions and companies.
Rick’ s experience in administration and program development began at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he chaired the undergraduate Biophysics Program and served as the Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. At the University of Illinois, he served as the Head of a new cell and developmental biology department in the College of Arts and Sciences and quickly built a top rated department, while developing successful undergraduate and graduate curricula and majors, rebuilding a Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program, and co-authoring a Markey Center for Neuroscience. He also catalyzed and steered the reorganization of the life sciences and chaired the campus Research Policy Committee in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Rick has been active in grant and program review through service on study sections and on institutional, NIH, and agency strategic planning and advisory committees both here and in Europe, and has served as a Councilor of the American Society for Cell Biology. He has organized many international meetings and delivered keynote lectures and symposium presentations at major bioscience societies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and has served in editorial capacities for the major journals in his field.
As Associate Vice President for Research and Bioscience Programs, he coordinates bioscience research across grounds, develops interdisciplinary and cross-grounds collaborations, and integrates university leadership and faculty for research-related activities in bioscience. Rick’s responsibilities include designing, leading, and implementing new pan-university programs in the biosciences, raising the level of bioscience overall, designing and implementing new collaborative initiatives, and evaluating startup, retention, and bridge funding requests in the biosciences. His major cross university activity, at present, is to catalyze and coordinate a "big data" initiative that conjoins the sciences, engineering, math and statistics, biomedical research, the humanities and the social sciences.