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Andrew Read named director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

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20 September 2018

Andrew ReadAndrew Read has been appointed director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State effective January 1, 2019. Read is an Evan Pugh University Professor of Biology and Entomology, Eberly Professor of Biotechnology and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences offers interdisciplinary graduate programs, operates shared core facilities, supports strategic research initiatives through faculty cohires and cluster hires, and operates the institutes' Centers of Excellence, among many other activities supporting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research at Penn State.

Read's research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary genetics of infectious disease, particularly pathogen evolution-related issues that may harm human health, such as antibiotic and vaccine resistance. He has taught zoology, evolutionary biology, microbiology, parasitology, ecology and statistics, and over the past seven years has taught non-scientists to be better consumers of science.

“Dr. Read’s track record of ground-breaking work in evolutionary biology and ecology has been supported by his ability to collaborate with partners across Penn State as well as at other institutions,” said Neil Sharkey, Vice President for Research. “Throughout his career, he has also shown dedication to training and advising graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, as well as a dedication to academic and community service. He is driven to increase the impact of his work by addressing and bridging a broad range of challenges from translational issues in clinical settings to science communication. This broad and wholistic strategic vision makes him an ideal fit for the Huck.”

Read received his doctorate in evolutionary biology and zoology from the University of Oxford in 1989; he completed his undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Otago in New Zealand. He is a fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Microbiology.

“The Huck Institutes brought me to Penn State and made my 11 years here the most productive and satisfying of my career,” Read said. “Huck works by breaking down the disciplinary boundaries that plague conventional universities. Pete Hudson, the retiring director, is going to be a very hard act to follow, but I am excited to try because Pete has shown what terrific force multiplier Huck can be. The life sciences are at the heart of key challenges facing humanity, as well as our view of ourselves and the world we inhabit. I look forward to empowering colleagues across the University to maximize Penn State impact.”

Read will succeed Peter Hudson, Willaman Professor of Biology in the Eberly College of Science, who served as the director of the institute since 2006.

“Andrew’s appointment as Huck director is wonderful for everyone at this University,” Hudson said. “I have really enjoyed my time as Huck director and I cannot think of a better person to hand the leadership baton. We have a fun saying in the Huck, ‘Nothing less than global domination,’ which is our way of saying, ‘Let’s build excellence at Penn State.’ Andrew will, of course, take the life sciences in the direction he feels is best, but I feel confident that he will continue our mission and efforts for excellence and ‘global domination.’ I wish him and the wonderful team at Huck all the very best for the future.”

Sharkey added, “Dr. Hudson has transformed the Huck into a world leader in interdisciplinary, impactful and novel life sciences research and we are truly thankful for all he has given to the University. It is comforting to know that Peter will still be contributing as a Penn State faculty member to the advancement of the life sciences in the U.S. and around the world.”

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