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Atkinson to lead IUPUI Research Office

IUPUI Chancellor-Select Nasser H. Paydar today announced the appointment of Simon Atkinson as interim vice chancellor for research effective Aug. 16.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Atkinson will serve as interim vice chancellor for up to two years, during which time IUPUI will launch a national search for this critical position. He succeeds Kody Varahramyan, who will step down Aug. 16 to serve as senior aide to the chancellor.

Chancellor’s Professor and chair of biology in the School of Science, Atkinson is an internationally respected National Institutes of Health-funded researcher specializing in kidney biology research. His background spans science, medicine and business and his interactions extend far beyond his core research on kidney disease, with a record of numerous scientific collaborations with investigators across campus, especially in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

“I am delighted Simon has accepted our offer to lead IUPUI’s research office,” Paydar said. “His expertise, extensive leadership experience and outstanding accomplishments in research and education will be of great benefit to the campus community and beyond as we continue to implement IUPUI’s strategic priorities designed to expand research and creative activity.”

Atkinson first joined Indiana University in 1994 as an assistant professor in the Division of Nephrology at the IU School of Medicine and served as graduate advisor and director of the Ph.D. program in biomolecular imaging and biophysics from 2004 to 2010. In 2010, he was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Biology in the School of Science.

In recent years, Atkinson’s research team has focused on efforts to understand and treat acute kidney injury, a common and life-threatening complication in seriously ill patients, using state-of-the-art methods including multiphoton microscopy, RNA interference and gene therapy.

Atkinson is also a biomedical entrepreneur and co-founded INphoton – a customized, proprietary company that provided microscopy services and consulting for pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the pre-clinical phase of drug discovery and development. He and other IU investigators also developed the technology used by Rene Medical, Inc.,  a start-up, preclinical medical device company that targets the treatment and prevention of acute kidney injury.

Atkinson is well respected by his peers and has over 40 publications in highly respected peer-reviewed journals. In addition to NIH funding, his research has garnered foundation and industry support.

"I am excited to join the terrific team of staff and faculty in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and look forward to working with them to help realize the tremendous research potential at IUPUI,” Atkinson said

Atkinson earned his B.Sc. in cell and molecular biology from King’s College London and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge in England. He also served a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.