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University of Iowa News Release


April 12, 2011

Schlievert to be head of microbiology at UI Carver College of Medicine

Patrick Schlievert, Ph.D., will be the new head of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, pending approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The appointment will be effective July 1.

Schlievert currently is a professor of microbiology at the University of Minnesota. He will assume leadership of the department from Michael Apicella, M.D., who has been head of microbiology at the UI for 18 years. Apicella will continue as a professor in the department and will retain his appointment as Senior Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs with the UI Carver College of Medicine.

"We are truly excited to have Dr. Schlievert join us," said Paul Rothman, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Throughout his career, he has demonstrated excellence in the traits that lead to successful, innovative and beneficial science. His research on immunobiology and genetic control of bacterial toxins is internationally known; he is a highly regarded teacher and mentor; and through successful collaboration, he has founded two start-up companies to move his research discoveries toward treatments for infectious diseases.

"His skills as a scientist, teacher, innovator and administrator, combined with his UI ties as an alumnus of the microbiology program, make him the ideal person to lead the department forward," Rothman added.

Rothman also expressed deep appreciation for Apicella's leadership that has spanned almost two decades.

"Dr. Apicella has created a vibrant and highly productive research department," Rothman said. "Under his leadership, the department's extramural funding increased almost 10-fold from $1.5 million in 1993 to $14 million in 2010, and since 2006, the department has consistently ranked in the top 15 microbiology departments in the nation in NIH funding.

"Dr. Apicella also has recruited and retained many faculty members who are nationally and internationally recognized for their research. We are enormously grateful for his vision and leadership and the college will continue to benefit from it through his role as Senior Associate Dean for Research," Rothman said.

Schlievert's research focuses on bacterial toxins made by the Staphylococcus aureus and group A streptococci that are responsible for toxic shock syndrome, heart infections (endocarditis), pneumonia and various types of food poisoning. He specifically studies the genetic mechanisms controlling production of the toxins, and how the toxins exert their detrimental effect on the immune system.

Schlievert is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including University of Minnesota's top teaching award -- the Professional Teaching Award in 2001. He also has authored and co-authored over 300 scientific papers. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, the American Association of Immunologists, the American Chemical Society, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In addition, Schlievert is a co-founder of two biotechnology companies.

Schlievert is a UI alumnus. He received a bachelor's degree in general science (geology) and a doctoral degree in microbiology from the UI. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota and subsequently joined the microbiology and immunology faculty at the University of California at Los Angeles before returning to the University of Minnesota as a faculty member in 1981.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W317 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, 319-356-7124,