S. Ansar Ahmed, of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been named associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. He currently serves as head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
In his new position, Ahmed will be responsible for developing and administering the veterinary college's research and graduate education missions. He will partner with university-wide offices to integrate college research into university focus areas with particular emphasis on fostering interdisciplinary and translational research, expanding intramural and extramurally funded research, and developing the research infrastructure and expertise necessary to compete successfully for federal research project funding.
Ahmed will also oversee the college's biomedical and veterinary sciences M.S. and Ph.D. programs, as well as collaborative programs involving other colleges on campus and other universities. The new position becomes effective July 25.
"As head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Ahmed has built a reputation for excellence in research and scholarship," said Cyril Clarke, dean of the veterinary college. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Ahmed to advance the research and graduate education missions of the college."
Ahmed, who is also a professor of immunology, conducts research to better understand why the immune system launches misdirected attacks on its own tissues, leading to devastating chronic autoimmune diseases.
In particular, he is investigating why autoimmune disease occur more often in females than males; how small snippets of genetic material called microRNA regulate the immune system, especially in the production of inflammatory proteins; and how epigenetics and inflammation interact with the microbiome in lupus models. He is looking at the complex interactions of external environmental factors, genetics, and epigenetics on immune malfunctions that lead to chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Lupus, a debilitating disease with enormous health care costs, afflicts millions of people as well as domesticated species, such as dogs and cats.
Ahmed will be filling the vacancy left by Roger Avery, who served as senior associate dean for research and graduate studies at the veterinary college for the past 11 years. The college will soon initiate a search for head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
Ahmed joined the veterinary college's faculty in 1989 and served as director for the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases from 2002 to 2007. He has been the director of the college's Summer Veterinary Research Scholars Program since 2006 and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology since 2007. Ahmed is also a faculty member in the translational biology, medicine, and health program at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
After completing a veterinary degree from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India, Ahmed earned a doctorate at the School of Veterinary Sciences at the Murdoch University in Australia. He previously served as a Leukemia Foundation of America Fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.