Newswise — The Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins has named three new leaders within its ranks to strengthen opportunities for faculty development, build connections with scientists in clinical-based departments and represent basic science interests among the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Research Council.

“We are excited to introduce new leadership opportunities. These roles will be vital to the professional development of our faculty and collaboration with our clinical colleagues,” says James Berger, Ph.D., who was appointed director of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences in August and is the Michael and Ann Hankin and Partners of Brown Advisory Professor in Scientific Innovation, and professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry.

Neuroscientist Alex Kolodkin, Ph.D., has been named deputy director for the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. In his role, Kolodkin will support Berger in executing strategic plans for the institute, focusing on supporting core facilities and fundraising. Kolodkin will also represent the institute by co-chairing the school of medicine’s Research Council, an ad hoc group that supports the overall research mission by helping the vice dean for research develop new programs, amplify news and information, and investigate new opportunities for Johns Hopkins Medicine. Kolodkin took over the position Nov. 5 from Berger, who was deputy director under former institute director Stephen Desiderio, who retired in July.

Kolodkin joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1995, and he is currently the Homcy and Margolis Professor of Neuroscience. He and his colleagues have focused on understanding how the nervous system is wired up during development. As a postdoctoral fellow, he discovered the first member of the semaphorin family of neuronal guidance cues, and his group continues to investigate molecular mechanisms that direct connectivity in many neural systems, including in the context of adult neuronal regeneration.

Deborah Andrew, Ph.D., has been named the associate director for faculty development, a position aimed at supporting faculty members’ career development. Andrew will connect faculty with education and training opportunities, and with resources focused on increasing our faculty’s success in getting grants, publishing papers and achieving tenure. Dr. Andrew began this new position Dec. 1.

Andrew joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1993. As a professor of cell biology, she has explored animal models of how cells form and specialize epithelial tubular organs, including the salivary glands and the trachea. More recent research efforts include leveraging her group’s discoveries about the Drosophila salivary gland to learn more about mosquito salivary gland biology, with the goal of developing strategies to limit transmission of malaria and other insect-borne diseases.

Svetlana Lutsenko, Ph.D., has been named the associate director for basic science and clinical relations. In this new role, Lutsenko will help forge collaborations between faculty members in the basic science departments and those in the clinical departments. The Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences was created with cross-discipline collaboration in mind as a central focus, and this position will help further those opportunities. She began work in this role Nov. 5.

As a professor of physiology, Lutsenko studies the multifaceted functions of copper in the body. Her team is researching how copper is transported within and between cells, how the human body regulates copper levels and how the mineral interacts with metabolism. Lutsenko joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2009 and serves on the grant review committee for the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.