Julia Kubanek Named Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research

Julia Kubanek, professor of biological sciences and chemistry and biochemistry, and associate dean for Research in Georgia Tech’s College of Sciences, has been named vice president for Interdisciplinary Research (VPIR). Kubanek will assume the role on July 1.

“I am very pleased to announce Julia Kubanek as the next vice president for Interdisciplinary Research,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “In her long and lauded career at Tech, she has proven herself an exemplary educator and leader who is committed to excellence in scholarship, and to building partnerships that grow collaborative research across the Institute.”

Kubanek joined Georgia Tech as an assistant professor in the School of Biology and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2001. She was named an associate professor in 2006, and professor in 2011. In that time, she also served as the associate chair of the School of Biology from 2009 to 2011. Kubanek has served as the associate dean for Research in the College of Sciences since 2014.

In her role as associate dean for Research, Kubanek was part of the leadership team that helped shepherd substantial research growth in the College of Sciences, including the enhancement of research opportunities and infrastructure for faculty and students. Kubanek supported the collaborative interests of faculty and students by organizing and hosting cross-disciplinary workshops, including with the Oak Ridge National Lab. Her work also included career development workshops for early career academic and research faculty; guidance to faculty looking to launch new collaborative projects; and one-on-one mentoring of faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.

“With 20 years at Tech, I know this institution is filled with faculty, staff, and students who want to drive life-changing research in ways they cannot achieve alone,” Kubanek said. “In a supportive, collaborative, and interdisciplinary environment, I believe the creative, promising research visions of our Georgia Tech researchers can grow to international prominence and improve people’s lives and the health of our planet.”

The VPIR is responsible for ensuring the effective and strategic administration of interdisciplinary research and activities, including the Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, the Interdisciplinary Research Centers, the Pediatric Technology Center, the Georgia Center for Medical Innovation, and the Novelis Innovation Hub. The role has been filled on an interim basis since February by Devesh Ranjan, associate chair for Research, Ring Family Chair, and professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

“I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Devesh Ranjan, who has expertly served in the role of interim VPIR and will continue to do so until June 30, providing critical continuity and leadership,” Abdallah said. “Thank you, too, to our search chair Rob Butera, professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, and vice president for Research Development and Operations, and the search committee who reviewed an exceptional field of candidates.”

Kubanek’s publications and grants have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, industry, and national labs, as well as state agencies and foundations. Her educational and scientific contributions have seen her recognized for teaching excellence and mentoring by her students and colleagues, as well as accolades from national boards and associations. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, as well as the National Science Foundation CAREER award, among many others.

Kubanek’s research focus has included aquatic chemical ecology, chemical signaling, chemical communication, chemoreception, chemical biology, marine natural products chemistry, secondary metabolism, drug discovery, and metabolomics. She has mentored and advised more than 90 students and postdocs and has published more than 100 papers in journals and conferences. Kubanek received a B.Sc. in chemistry from Queen's University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of British Columbia.

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