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Eberly College of Science names Cavener interim dean

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24 November 2014

Douglas R. Cavener, interim dean of Penn State's Eberly College of Science. Image: Patrick Mansell
Douglas R. Cavener, interim dean of Penn State's Eberly College of Science. Image: Patrick Mansell
Douglas R. Cavener, professor and head of biology in the Eberly College of Science, will serve as interim dean for the college until a permanent hire is made.

The University announced the appointment today (Nov. 24). Cavener is replacing Daniel Larson, the dean since 1998, who leaves in January to become the founding chancellor of Yachay University, the first research university in Ecuador.

“Under the leadership of Dan Larson, the Eberly College of Science has emerged as a top-10 ranked college of science in the nation,” Cavener said. “It is my great privilege and responsibility to help build on this success over the next several months as I serve as interim dean.

“Our task is unambiguous: provide the best possible environment for the success of our students and faculty. Together their interactions lead to learning and discovery, the essence of our University.”

Cavener has served in his current role since 2000; since 2012, he’s also been adjunct professor of life sciences at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Tanzania.

As a researcher, Cavener is focused on the regulation of metabolic and neurological processes that are particularly prone to maladaptations that lead to diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“We are very fortunate indeed to have a person as accomplished as Doug who additionally brings outstanding leadership experience, and a deep commitment to Eberly and Penn State to this critical role,” said Nicholas P. Jones, executive vice president and provost. “With Doug at the helm, I know the college will be in good hands while we search for the new permanent dean.”

A search committee to pick a permanent replacement will be formed soon, according to Jones.

From 1982 to 2000, Cavener taught molecular biology at Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor (1982-88), associate professor (1988-93) and professor (1993-2000). He’s a recipient of the Dobzhansky Prize from International Society for the Study of Evolution and a National Research Service Award (National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow). He also serves on grant review panels for the American Cancer Society and National Institutes of Health, and has contributed or collaborated on nearly 100 articles in publications such as Cell Metabolism, The Journal of Biological Chemistry and Science. Cavener trained more than 20 doctoral students, five master of science students and seven post-doctoral fellows.

Cavener received a bachelor of arts degree from Pasadena College in 1973, a master of science degree from Brown University in 1977 and doctorate from University of Georgia in 1980. He also did post-doctoral training at Cornell University from 1980-82.


[ Bill Zimmerman ]

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