U NAMES VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH

Andrew Weyrich, most recently associate dean for research at the University of Utah School of Medicine, has been named the next vice president for research. He succeeds neurobiologist Tom Parks, who retired June 30, 2016, after eight years as vice president.

Dr. Andrew Weyrich

Dr. Andrew Weyrich

“Dr. Weyrich understands what a research program needs to succeed, both as a physiologist and as an associate dean for research at the School of Medicine,” said University of Utah President David W. Pershing. “His ability to coalesce teams to create collaboration, and foster creativity, will benefit this important area of the U’s mission.  I look forward to seeing the innovation that emerges under his leadership.”

In his position at the School of Medicine, Weyrich helped develop and implement a strategic research plan and oversaw core facilities, recruitment and retention efforts and graduate programs. As a professor of internal medicine, Weyrich holds an H. A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair, a recognition honoring the university’s top medical researchers.

Weyrich arrived at the University of Utah in 1993 for a postdoctoral fellowship, and joined the faculty as a research assistant professor in 1995. Originally an exercise physiologist, Weyrich had built his scientific reputation on investigation of how blood cells impact human thrombotic and inflammatory diseases. To date his group has procured more than $25 million in research funding from extramural agencies, and he plans to continue his research program as vice president for research.

“Andy Weyrich’s discoveries about platelets have fundamentally rewritten basic college biology and medical school textbooks,” said cardiologist Dean Y. Li, professor of internal medicine and University of Utah Health Sciences associate vice president for research. “His discoveries with Dr. Guy Zimmerman have revealed that platelets, the workhorse cells that control blood clotting, perform ‘nuclear-like activities’ even though they lack DNA and a nucleus, a groundbreaking insight for investigating not only how to understand strokes and heart attacks but also how prevent and treat them.” Weyrich’s contributions to hematology earned him the Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology in 2013.

“I am honored and privileged to be chosen for this position,” Weyrich said. “Our research capacity and excellence has increased across campuses over the recent years.  My goal is to build on these successes, and advance our recognition and standing nationally and in the Pac-12.” He plans to continue Parks’ program of “providing well-run research administration services that focus on the customer,” and feels that the U’s greatest research assets are the faculty, students and staff who exhibit passion and energy for advancing research.

Weyrich graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College in biology and has a master’s in health and exercise science from Wake Forest University. He earned his doctorate in physiology/pharmacology from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University before coming to the University of Utah.

“He has been an extremely focused and effective supporter and mentor for students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members,” said pulmonologist Guy Zimmerman, Weyrich’s colleague at the School of Medicine. “In this fashion Andy has made direct and substantive contributions to the next generation of medical scientists and physician-investigators.”

Weyrich’s national and international scientific network and experience as a research administrator will serve him well as vice president for research, Zimmerman said, and Weyrich brings an understanding of the “strong and catalytic” relationship between arts and sciences at the University. “He’s rigorous in his thinking, honest, fair, has excellent interpersonal skills, and has a great sense of humor,” Zimmerman said. “What more could you ask?”