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University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Lexington, Kentucky
Not Specified
Closing date
Nov 4, 2022

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Graduate School or University
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Full Time
Senior Level
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The University of Kentucky College of Medicine invites applications and nominations for the position of director to lead the highly ranked Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC).




The UK College of Medicine seeks a visionary director with a successful record of research achievement in neurotrauma specifically in spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or appropriately related fields. Exceptional accomplishments as a researcher and academic are a must as the director’s duties will include continuing their own research program as well as supervising and maintaining academic activities.




The predominant criteria for appointment as director include a national reputation for research and the proven ability to mentor faculty while training future leaders in this area. A successful candidate will be a nationally-prominent academic leader and role model with an established record of excellence in research, education, and mentorship.




The successful candidate should demonstrate strong leadership skills as a listener, decision-maker, and humanist as well as an effective advocate for the research center and its faculty. The candidate should have experience developing collaborative initiatives and the personal characteristics needed to promote, foster, and facilitate the trust of colleagues and the broader University faculty. The successful applicant should demonstrate impeccable integrity and be an effective communicator. Prior extensive administrative experience as a department chair, director, vice chair, or director of graduate studies or equivalent is preferred.




Professional Experience/Qualifications:


  • PhD, MD, MD/PhD, or equivalent. Strong record of extramural funding in neurotrauma research. National recognition as demonstrated through involvement in academic and professional societies at a national level. Demonstrated leadership in administrative positions in a medical school or an academic medical center setting. Proven record of recruitment, mentorship, and retention of talent. Clear publication history in the field of neurotrauma. Values mentorship, education, and career development of trainees, e.g. undergraduate and medical students, and research training for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.



The College of Medicine seeks qualified applicants who value its missions and share its commitment to creating an environment in which diversity is valued, inclusion is imperative, and belonging is foundational. As an Equal Opportunity Action Employer, we strive to foster a community in which individuals of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives can feel secure and welcome.




Interested applicants should apply through the University of Kentucky Director of Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) job posting:





Questions and inquiries can be directed to Lisa Tannock, MD, vice dean for faculty affairs, at All applications will be handled in a secure, sensitive, and confidential manner.




The position is open until filled; however, review of applications will begin on November 11, 2022. Please submit by this date to ensure full consideration.






This position is established in keeping with the mission statement of the UK College of Medicine.




Mission Statement  


The College of Medicine promotes a diverse and inclusive environment that provides excellence in education, equitable health care, and transformative research to improve the health and wellness of Kentuckians and beyond.




Scope of Role  


As a position of oversight, the director of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center will ensure that center faculty work in collaboration with one another and with other groups across the college and campus, sharing research resources whenever possible. The director will also provide administrative, laboratory, and mentoring support to center faculty, staff, and trainees. The director will work closely to maximize the net yield of each project and avoid segregation or duplication of work in multiple isolated units. The director will work to uphold and expand the reputation and mission of the center while also serving as a leader for the College of Medicine.




Specific Responsibilities  


    • Provide oversight for the research portfolio of the research center.
    • Facilitate mentoring of faculty at all levels in research, professional development, and trainee mentoring activities. Facilitate an environment of collaborative research and conduct including maintaining records of accomplishments and facilitating the acquisition of external funding.
    • Continue their independent research in line with the goals of the center.
    • Publish in peer-reviewed literature as an author and co-author. Collaborate with the department chairs in the mentoring and development of faculty and trainees.
    • Manage center research resources and space to ensure effective and productive utilization.
    • Sustain and grow the national and international reputation of the center in the field of neurotrauma through professional, societal, and advocacy activities.
    • Support an inclusive environment for faculty, staff, and trainees within the center.












Ideal Candidate Experience and Attributes  


  • A strong visionary and inspirational leader who can artfully convey a long-term vision for the center, yet is equally skilled at implementing a detailed plan to achieve that vision. Highly approachable and compassionate; a record of promoting a culture of innovation, collaboration, teamwork, respect, and honesty; a professional and personal demeanor characterized by integrity, graciousness, humility, genuineness, empathy, and sincerity; and a passion for the organization’s mission and objectives. Exceptionally team-oriented; skilled at working well and partnering with scientists across the college and University to identify, build, and negotiate “win-win” relationships and collaborations; politically astute yet apolitical with an ability to break down silos and ensure a collegial and productive work environment. Committed to faculty development at all levels, from supporting junior faculty to ensuring the continued success of established investigators. Highly adept and at ease managing the day-to-day operational details with the ability to make strong decisions while simultaneously uniting faculty from several departments within the center. Able to conceptualize and analyze complex business opportunities, understand the finances of an academic research center, and apply that knowledge to appropriately manage all aspects of the center. Actively develop the center’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse and inclusive workplace. Actively embody, encourage, and support the five College of Medicine DIReCT values to help guide actions, behaviors, and decision-making to foster a cohesive work culture focused on patient-centered care. The DIReCT values are

Diversity: We foster a people-centered environment that is inclusive of all. Innovation: We embrace continuous learning and improvement to drive positive change. Respect: We value our patients and families, our community, our co-workers, ourselves, and the resources entrusted to us. Compassion: We express empathy for the needs, thoughts, and feelings of those we serve and with whom we work. Teamwork: We cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships to create positive outcomes.  






  • To be the most influential and comprehensive center for neurotrauma research and training in the country.




  • Promote functional repair of the injured spinal cord and brain through advances in basic and clinical research. Facilitate collaborative efforts across health-related disciplines. Endorse and support community advocacy. Develop programs of excellence in education and training. Values: Integrity Compassion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Excellence Openness



The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) at the University of Kentucky was established in 1999 in large part through the support of the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust (KSCHIRT). Through state legislation, this trust is used to finance the spinal cord and head injury research programs at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. The trust supports the spinal cord and brain injury-related research grants, an annual symposium and seminar series, neurotrauma research trainees, and capital research investments. KSCHIRT-funded endowments further support the SCoBIRC mission. Collectively, these resources, along with strong institutional support from the University, have facilitated over two decades of success in the SCoBIRC mission to conduct cutting-edge research to protect and repair injured neurons, advocate and integrate our research program with spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) communities, and create and support an inclusive, equitable, and diverse research and training environment. The result is a center that reaches far beyond the walls of the University in its reputation and efforts to develop therapies for individuals who suffer spinal cord and brain injuries.




The center is comprised of a cross-disciplinary team of ten tenure-track faculty and four research-track faculty from the departments of neuroscience and physiology with research interests including non- mammalian models of nervous system regeneration, mitochondrial bioenergetics, neuroinflammation, autonomic dysreflexia, respiratory recovery, and glial response to injury. Despite diverse research backgrounds, the center faculty are united by their primary research focuses on spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury with relatively equal numbers of investigators in both areas. Research support for SCoBIRC-sponsored projects and grants exceeds $7,000,000 per year and has nearly doubled in the last two years. Through collaborative projects, SCoBIRC faculty are responsible for over $14,000,000 in research support annually. Additional state support through the KSCHIRT facilitated the creation of ten endowed chairs/professorships focused on neurotrauma research. KSCHIRT continues to provide annual dedicated resources for conferences and seminars, to support trainees (graduate students and postdocs) in neurotrauma research, and for research infrastructure and direct costs.




With over a dozen primary research faculty, many faculty associates, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral trainees, and dozens of research and administrative staff, SCoBIRC is one of very few neurotrauma research centers in the world to excel at both SCI and TBI research. The robust neuroscience, physiology, and research communities on the University of Kentucky campus further enhance the research infrastructure for SCoBIRC faculty, trainees, and staff. The result is a cohesive and collaborative center both physically, existing as one unit on a single floor within the state-of-the-art


Biomedical Biological Sciences Research Building, and intellectually with most SCoBIRC research projects



being collaborative in nature. The National Institutes of Health have provided continuous T32 support for SCoBIRC graduate fellowships since 2006; the Neurobiology of CNS Injury T32 training program was recently renewed to continue to support SCoBIRC graduate student trainees through 2027. This, along with recent programs to increase research activities for undergraduate researchers, for example, the






SCoBIRC African American Research Training Scholars (AARTS) program, ensures that SCoBIRC is training the next generation of researchers focused on identifying therapies for SCI and TBI. SCoBIRC alumni include educators, researchers, policymakers, industry leaders, and advocates across the world.






The College of Medicine, in its 62nd year, produces highly qualified, caring physicians and biomedical scientists to serve the people of Kentucky and the nation. Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, the college was comprised 818 medical students – 284 of whom are studying at regional campuses located in Bowling Green, Northern Kentucky, or Morehead; 142 PhD students; 102 graduate students; 76 post-doctoral fellows; 807 medical residents and fellows in ACGME-accredited programs; 2,183 full- time, part-time, and voluntary faculty; and 2,469 staff members. It is one of six health-related colleges at the University (Dentistry, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health), encompassing a combined 25 basic science and clinical departments and more than 1,300 faculty members.




In 2018 and 2019, the college expanded its educational and research efforts, adding two new regional campuses in Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky with educational opportunities that align with those offered at the main campus in Lexington. The college also houses its Rural Physician Leadership Program in Morehead, a component of its effort to address the Commonwealth’s physician shortage by offering third- and fourth-year medical students a curriculum that emphasizes rural medicine.


In recent years the College of Medicine has put a heavy focus on research. In fiscal year 2022, total research funding exceeded $199.5 million including more than $99.5 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. This has allowed, and will continue to allow, UK researchers to dedicate more time and resources to alleviate the health issues Kentuckians face.






Charles Griffith, MD, MSPH, became acting dean of the UK College of Medicine in July 2021. He is a professor of medicine with more than 30 years of unwavering commitment to the college’s mission of training well-prepared physicians and scientists to improve health in the Commonwealth and beyond.




As vice dean for education, Dr. Griffith made substantial contributions to improve the structure and academic standards while playing a key role in the addition of our regional campuses in Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky. Dr. Griffith also has overseen the expansion of our resident, fellowship, and graduate student program opportunities to further establish the College of Medicine as a competitive academic medical center for advanced medical training.



Before his role as vice dean, Dr. Griffith was senior associate dean for medical education and associate dean for student affairs at the College of Medicine. He is an educational scholar of national reputation having published multiple articles and received numerous awards for his teaching including the Association of American Medical Colleges/Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award in 2004, the most highly regarded medical school teaching award in the country.




In 2006, the Clerkship Directors of Internal Medicine national organization honored him by renaming their educational research award the Charles H. Griffith Educational Research Award.






UK HealthCare, the University’s health care enterprise, is an award-winning, nationally recognized health care system dedicated to patient-focused care. Its designation as a Level 1 trauma center and its reception of Magnet status means its team of more than 9,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals is heavily qualified to treat Kentucky’s sickest patients. The hospital system, which includes more than 80 specialized clinics and 140 outreach programs, reported more than 37,000 discharges of patients and 1.9 million outpatient visits in fiscal year 2021. Under the leadership of Mark Newman, MD, executive vice president for health affairs, and Jay Grider, DO, PhD, MBA, chief physician executive, UK HealthCare has been named the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky by U.S. News & World Report for the past seven years.






The University of Kentucky is a public, land grant university and Kentucky’s flagship institution with a mission to serve the Commonwealth through excellence in education, research, creative work, service, and health care.




The University has been named a “Great College to Work For” and is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.” Those who work here enjoy competitive employee benefits along with a variety of enriching arts and entertainment experiences including concerts, museum visits, and spirited athletics events.




For more information about UK’s campus, watch:






Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and home to a welcoming, open-minded, and diverse community full of Southern hospitality. The city is a blend of scenic beauty from its rural countryside and a vibrant nightlife with campus happenings and downtown attractions. It also maintains a thriving economy thanks to its abundance of various industries. Large worldwide companies such as Lexmark and Valvoline are headquartered in Lexington, and other major employers such as Amazon and UPS have large warehouses here. For more information and an engaging video overview, click





Also known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” the city is located in the heart of the Bluegrass, surrounded by beautiful horse farms. The region’s fertile, limestone-enriched soil and vast green grasslands are major components of its capability to raise title-winning horses.




While Lexington is large enough to host a variety of events and maintain a bustling downtown scene, it also holds a number of large parks and greenspaces. When it’s time for a weekend escape, popular areas for outdoors activities such as Natural Bridge State Park and Red River Gorge trails are just a short drive away. For additional information on the city of Lexington, visit:






HOW TO APPLY Follow this link for the application:




Upon offer of employment, successful applicants must undergo a national background check and pre- employment drug screen as required by University of Kentucky Human Resources. The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity University that values diversity and inclusion. Individuals with disabilities, minorities, veterans, women, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.


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