Noted brain researcher Santosh D’Mello joins SMU as Biological Sciences chair

William Tsutsui

Noted brain researcher Santosh D’Mello joins SMU as Biological Sciences chair

Santosh D’Mello

Santosh D’Mello, a respected scientist whose research is centered on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating neurodegeneration, has joined SMU as professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, effective Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

D’Mello comes to SMU from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he was a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. He is a longtime partner in research with SMU Professor of Chemistry Edward Biehl.

In December 2010, D’Mello and Biehl published in The Journal of Neuroscience Research their discovery of a family of small molecules that shows promise in protecting brain cells against nerve-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

“Professor D’Mello brings broad experience and an excellent record as a researcher and teacher to SMU,” said Dedman College Dean Bill Tsutsui.  “His focus on building meaningful collaborations and his ambitious vision for the future of the Department of Biological Sciences impressed all of us on campus.”

D’Mello received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1989 and joined the faculty at UTD in 1998. Funding for his research has included support from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation.

“Neurodegenerative diseases, which include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and Huntington’s disease, are characterized by the slow but relentless loss of brain cells,” D’Mello said.  “There are no effective drugs or other therapeutic approaches to treat or prevent these progressive and fatal diseases. The goal of my lab is to understand neurodegeneration at the molecular level so that effective therapies can be developed.”

D’Mello said he was drawn to SMU because of the University’s strengths in several areas of the arts, humanities, and sciences. “I was particularly attracted by the collegial and talented faculty in the biology department, their keen interest in solving important biological problems, and their strong commitment to the teaching and training of students,” D’Mello said.

“I am honored to be named Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and am very excited about the opportunity,” D’Mello said.  “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students to build a strong multidisciplinary and collaborative research department with cutting-edge research performed by bright, talented, and motivated undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows.”

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

April 8, 2014|News, Year of the Faculty|

SMU Dean William Tsutsui named president of Hendrix College

William TsutsuiAfter a nationwide search for the new president of Hendrix College, the trustees of that institution have identified Dedman College Dean Bill Tsutsui for the position. He has accepted the offer and will leave SMU May 31, 2014, to assume the presidency. His wife, Marjorie Swann, will hold a tenured faculty position at Hendrix, which is located in Conway, Arkansas.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership of Bill Tsutsui during the past three years,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “During that time he has worked collaboratively to lead significant and rapid progress in developing innovative programs, establishing new endowed chairs and advancing research. It is not surprising that Dean Tsutsui would be tapped for a college presidency as the next step in his distinguished career as an administrator and educator. We wish him the best of luck.”

Dean Tsutsui has been a strong advocate in cultivating support for Dedman College, working closely with the Dedman College Committee of The Second Century Campaign and the Dedman College Executive Board. Dedman’s relationships with these leaders will remain intact as a major asset in attracting a new dean for the College.

Recent innovations such as establishment of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, the strength of current programs such as the Tower Center for Political Studies, significant research achievements and the College’s tradition of strong teaching will continue to serve as the foundation of Dedman’s ongoing progress.

“While we will miss Bill, who became a friend to all of us during his time here, his accomplishments and leadership leave us well-positioned to maintain SMU’s rising quality and to attract an outstanding new dean,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The success of The Second Century Campaign has brought national recognition and prominence to SMU and Dedman that will serve as a strong foundation for new leadership.”

After May 31, Associate Dean Peter Moore will serve as interim dean of the College. “His past experience in this role and his continuing leadership within Dedman ensure that progress will continue in a seamless fashion,” Ludden continued. A search committee will be chaired by Perkins Dean William Lawrence, and its membership will be named in the next few weeks.

November 5, 2013|For the Record, News|

Strategist Karen Hughes named 2013 Dedman Distinguished Grad

Karen HughesCorporate and political strategist Karen Hughes, named by The Associated Press as “perhaps the most influential woman ever to serve an American president,” will be honored with SMU’s 2013 Dedman College Distinguished Graduate Award on Thursday, Oct. 10.

The invitation-only event, sponsored by Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will begin at 11 a.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

“Karen Hughes’ extraordinary career embodies what is so special about a liberal arts education. We are pleased to recognize her contributions to Dedman College, SMU and the country, and we are proud to call her one of our own,” said Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui.

Hughes earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Journalism from SMU in 1977. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

She began her career as a television reporter for NBC-Fort Worth affiliate KXAS before moving into public relations in the 1980s. Her political savvy was bolstered during her time as Texas press coordinator for the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984, and by 1992 she was executive director of the Texas Republican Party.

Hughes’ ability to manage public policy, communications and politics helped brand George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” image, which secured the success of his gubernatorial campaigns beginning in 1994, and his subsequent campaigns for president. From 2001-02, she served as strategic adviser to the president on policy and communications, managing for the White House all communications, speech writing and media affairs.

Hughes served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2005-07, afterward noting that one of her greatest accomplishments had been “transforming public diplomacy and making it a national security priority central to everything we do in government.”

Now based in Austin, Hughes is worldwide vice chair of the public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller, advising global business leaders on strategies for their corporate communications and branding. She also serves as a board member for SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College.

Hughes is the author of Ten Minutes From Normal (Viking, 2004), which highlights her time in the inner circle of President George W. Bush, with whom she co-wrote A Charge to Keep (William Morrow, 1999).

> Read more from SMU News

October 9, 2013|News|

CTE to discuss ‘Higher Ed in the Crosshairs’ Feb. 22, 2013

Concerns about the costs and value of higher education are rising to the top of debate from the kitchen table to Capitol Hill.

In response, SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence has organized a symposium to explore questions of government support, online competition and the perceived marketability of a university degree.

“Higher Ed in the Crosshairs” takes place from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Lower Level. The symposium will examine the extent to which high-quality teaching – especially at a place like SMU – can answer critiques about the costs and benefits associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Register online at SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence homepage

Participants will also explore the questions of what and how colleges and universities should be teaching students, and how they can demonstrate the results of what happens in the classroom and on campus.

CTE Director Beth Thornburg will provide opening and closing remarks. Speakers and topics include:

  • Dean Albert Niemi, Cox School of Business, on “Valuing Higher Education”
  • Dean William Tsutsui, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, on “Preserving the American Character Through Liberal Education”
  • Associate Provost Linda Eads on “Responding to How People Learn,” with panelists including Professors Stephanie Al Otaiba, Teaching and Learning; Miguel Quiñones, Organizational Behavior; Maria Dixon Hall, Communication Studies; and Patty Wisian-Neilson, Chemistry
  • Dean ad interim Marc Christensen, Lyle School of Engineering, on “Using Technology to Enhance Learning,” with panelists including Professors Paul Krueger, Mechanical Engineering; Lynne Stokes, Statistical Science; Scott Norris, Mathematics; and Jake Batsell, Journalism
  • Dean José Bowen, Meadows School of the Arts, on “Demonstrating Our Value,” with panelists including Professors Michael McLendon, Education Policy and Leadership; and Paige Ware, Teaching and Education; and Assistant Provost Tony Tillman

The CTE has created an Xtranormal text-to-movie animated video about the symposium and the issues it tackles. Click the YouTube screen to watch it, or visit this link to see “Henny Penny & Ducky Lucky Discuss Challenges to Academia” in a new windowvideo

> Get a mobile guide to the “Higher Ed in the Crosshairs” program

February 19, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU’s Dream Week 2013 celebrates MLK Jan. 21-25

Martin Luther King Jr.

SMU celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during Dream Week 2013.

SMU celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during Dream Week 2013, Jan. 21-25.

Sponsored by SMU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the annual observance features a variety of activities, including opportunities for community service and a commemorative walk.

The schedule of events:

Monday, Jan. 21:

  • Day of Service, 7:30 a.m.-noon. Students will have opportunities to volunteer at Readers 2 Leaders, We Over Me Farm and the Wesley-Rankin Community Center. Co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Community Engagement and Leadership.

Tuesday, Jan. 22:

  • Real Talk: Conversations Around Diversity, “Dream or Nightmare: How far have we come since the MLK Speech,” noon, Hughes-Trigg Student Center Portico B-C-D.

Wednesday, Jan. 23:

  • Unity Walk featuring remarks from SMU President R. Gerald Turner, noon. Meet at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons.
  • Dream Week Keynote AddressCheryl Brown Henderson, “Brown v. Board of Education: The Legacy Continues,” 6 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Cheryl Brown Henderson, one of the three daughters of the late Rev. Oliver L. Brown, who along with 12 other parents led by the NAACP, filed a lawsuit against the local board of education on behalf of their children in the historic school integration case Oliver L. Brown et. al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. The 1954 Supreme Court decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

Thursday, Jan. 24:

  • Film ScreeningBrother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, 7 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Sponsored by SMU’s Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives.
  • Friday, Jan. 25 – Unity Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Featured speaker for the luncheon will be Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui, who will speak on “Chasing the Asian American Dream.” Co-sponsored by the SMU Asian Council, Association of Black Students, and College of Hispanic American Students.


January 18, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|
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