June 16, 2011

Kotlikoff reappointed Vet College dean for five-year term


At the request of Provost Kent Fuchs and President David Skorton, the Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees voted unanimously June 16 to approve the appointment of Michael Kotlikoff, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine in Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, to a second five-year term beginning July 1, 2012.

"I am privileged to work with Mike. He has provided strong and creative leadership to the College of Veterinary Medicine, and he has earned the respect of his colleagues both in the college and among the senior leadership of the university," Fuchs said. "In the face of difficult financial challenges, he has taken care to diversify and expand program offerings and his vision will ensure the college's pre-eminence long into the future."

Kotlikoff, previously chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, first became dean in 2007.

"It's a great honor to be dean of the Vet College, and I feel like we have started some things that I'd like to see through," Kotlikoff said.

In his first four years, Kotlikoff has overseen the development of a comprehensive strategic plan, recruitment of six new department chairs and directors, the expansion of clinical training opportunities for veterinary students, reorganization of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, and the opening of a veterinary specialty and emergency critical-care facility in Stamford, Conn. This fall the first round of students will rotate through the facility, which provides referral medical and surgical procedures for referring veterinarians, as well as continuing education opportunities for veterinarians, veterinary technicians and pet owners.

The past three years have been tough ones financially, Kotlikoff said. For the college to maintain its top-ranking programs, it will be necessary to invest in the college's strategic objectives and to renew the internationally recognized faculty.

To this end, a high priority in his next phase as dean will be the college's capital plan, which officially begins in 2012 and for which Cornell's prioritization of New York state's capital funds will be critical, Kotlikoff said, adding that very little capital investment in the college from SUNY capital funds has occurred since the new hospital was built in the 1990s. The college needs to enlarge and enhance its classrooms, labs and study spaces, which will strengthen teaching and clinical experience for students and enable a modest expansion of the DVM class size. This will provide more opportunities for New York state residents to receive Cornell veterinary degrees, and replace funding lost by state cutbacks.

Kotlikoff also seeks to expand groundbreaking translational programs in comparative genomics/stem cell research, infection biology, reproductive and developmental biology, and cancer biology. In 2010 the college received an anonymous $10 million gift to establish the world's first canine genomics program, for which Kotlikoff will lead efforts to find resources for further investment. This program has critical links to the computational biology group in Ithaca and genetic scientists in Weill Cornell Medical College, he said.

In addition to strengthening the college's leading educational and clinical programs, Kotlikoff wants to ensure that the college's tradition of excellence as a top-ranked biomedical discovery institution continues. The college has deep links with the medical college in areas of cancer biology, reproductive biology, vascular biology, inflammatory bowel disease and genetic medicine. The veterinary college is consistently ranked best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, most recently in the magazine's March 15 edition.

As dean, Kotlikoff oversees the college's administrative operations and programs in teaching, outreach and research, including the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory.

Kotlikoff joined the Cornell faculty in 2000. He has chaired the provost's Local Advisory Committee and the Mammalian Genomics Initiative, and has served on the Cornell Genomics and Life Sciences Task Force, Cornell Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technologies Scientific Administrative Board and Cornell Neurosciences Steering Committee. He currently chairs the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and is a senior editor of the Journal of Physiology. His laboratory is internationally recognized in the area of cardiovascular biology and continues to be funded by the NIH.