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January 20, 2011

Steven T. DeKosky, MD, appointed dean of School of Medicine

Dr. Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., an international leader in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research, will become vice president and dean of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine on Aug. 1. DeKosky currently serves as professor and chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

University President John T. Casteen III, made the announcement this afternoon in the Rotunda at the Board of Visitors meeting.

“The University has found in Steven DeKosky a dean who will take the lead in creating new models of excellence for the United States and the world in education, clinical care, research and service to our community,” Casteen said. “During the coming year, Dean DeKosky will partner with the Medical Center to develop patient-centered service models that can be used as best practices throughout the University’s Health System — and begin to establish U.Va. as a center for translational research.”

He added that it is always inspiring when a former member of the faculty returns to where their careers in academia began. DeKosky completed a postdoctoral fellowship in neurochemistry at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Center in U.Va.’s Department of Neurology, and his first academic appointment was in the Department of Neurology in 1979.

“I am deeply honored by the University of Virginia’s decision to appoint me as the next dean of the School of Medicine. The School of Medicine and the Medical Center represent the best of Mr. Jefferson’s intentions that the University be a power and service for the public good,” DeKosky said. “Building on the national and international reputation of the University and its medical expertise, I hope to continue that tradition in medical student and house staff education, enhance the rich basic science tradition of the institution and facilitate translation of our medical discoveries to applications for our patients and the community at large.”

Since assuming the permanent chairmanship of the Department of Neurology at Pittsburgh in 2002, DeKosky has led the program to prominence in terms of patient care, research funding and rankings. Before joining the faculty at Pittsburgh, DeKosky spent more than a decade on the faculty of University of Kentucky College of Medicine, including two years as interim chairman of the Department of Neurology.

“Steve DeKosky is an internationally recognized expert in the translational research of Alzheimer’s disease, from the basic laboratory to the bedside — and beyond that to the study of Alzheimer’s in populations,” said Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., U.Va.’s executive vice president and provost and former vice president and dean of the U.Va. School of Medicine. “With his knowledge of basic, clinical and epidemiologic research, he will be able to provide leadership to the School of Medicine in multiple areas. He will bring us a deep knowledge of patient care, health care quality and education from Pittsburgh, one of the very best medical centers in the country.”

DeKosky’s research has progressively focused on the science and clinical care of Alzheimer’s disease. His basic neuroscience laboratory studies the early pathological and chemical alterations in the brain associated with the development of Alzheimer’s as well as the neurochemistry of brain trauma and how it relates to Alzheimer’s. DeKosky is currently leading a 3,000-person, National Institutes of Health-funded trial on the ability of Ginkgo biloba to prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to directing a program that is developing biomarkers to track the effectiveness of Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention therapies.

DeKosky, 61, has served in leadership roles for several National Institutes of Health research-related activities as well as the boards of directors of both the Alzheimer’s Association USA and Alzheimer’s Disease International. He is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and chairs their Strategic Planning Committee. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of six of the leading neurology and Alzheimer’s clinical publications and is a journal reviewer for another 20 clinical journals.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, DeKosky attended the University of Florida for graduate studies in neuroscience and psychology. He then graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine (1974) and went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a three-year residency in neurology at the University of Florida (1978). DeKosky then completed his postdoctoral fellowship in neurochemistry at UVa.

As the 13th dean in the School of Medicine’s history, DeKosky succeeds pediatrician Sharon L. Hostler, M.D., who has served as interim-vice president and dean since Garson was appointed provost in May 2007.

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