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Department of Biology announces new chair

The School of Science at IUPUI has named Theodore R. Cummins, Ph.D., as a professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biology.

INDIANAPOLIS -- An internationally recognized researcher and educator, Cummins joins the School from the IU School of Medicine where he was a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.  Previous academic appointments include director of Pain Basic Science Research Group at the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine.

“I strongly believe that in addition to learning the fundamentals of science, it is crucially important that we help students learn how to think critically and train them to communicate effectively,” Cummins said. “Teaching takes time and effort, but I view it as is a privilege.”

Cummins’ research on the role of ion channels in disorders of excitability has been published in top journals—such as Nature Communications, Science, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, Pain and Journal of Neuroscience—and has been highly cited. His research program has received grant funding from the National Institute of Health, private foundations and pharmaceutical companies.

School of Science Dean Simon Rhodes is eager to see Cummins' strengths at work in the School.

“Dr. Cummins commitment to the success of our students and to the highest quality research will have significant impact on the Indiana economy,” Rhodes said. “His appointment will catalyze even further the many productive collaborations between IUPUI schools such as Science and Medicine.”

As chair, Cummins envisions his primary charge to effectively and efficiently advise and teach undergraduates in the classroom and laboratory settings. He looks forward to supporting faculty in continuing to build the department’s strong research program and high-quality education.

“Providing an appropriate and challenging learning environment that prepares students for the future requires dedicated and motivated faculty,” he said. “Active research labs help attract top undergraduate students, provide hands-on training opportunities and raise the profile of the department for recruiting research oriented graduate students and faculty.”

Cummins earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree in neuroscience from Yale University. He also earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Hartford Graduate Center. His bachelor’s degree in chemistry was awarded by Swarthmore College.