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On July 1, Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, will join UW Medicine as the new vice dean for Research and Graduate Education. She succeeds John Slattery, PhD, who is retiring after holding the position since 2005. Her husband, Don Elbert, PhD, will also join UW Medicine as an associate professor in the Department of Neurology.

“I am delighted that Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert has accepted the position of vice dean for Research and Graduate Education,” says Paul Ramsey, MD, CEO of UW Medicine. “She was selected after a national search for her outstanding skills in leading interdisciplinary and translational research and supporting the career development of faculty, staff, trainees and students. I also want to thank John Slattery for his long service and great success in building an internationally renowned research community at UW Medicine to advance biomedical science.”

Sakiyama-Elbert has spent the last six years as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. During her tenure, she launched a joint program in Clinical Innovation and Design with the Dell Medical School and worked to build a more inclusive environment through new mentoring programs for faculty and students.

Prior to her time at UT Austin, Sakiyama-Elbert served as associate chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis. She received a master’s and PhD in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. In 2015, she was also an Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering Fellow.

Sakiyama-Elbert holds 10 patents and is a member of the National Academy of Inventors as well as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. She has served in several professional society leadership roles including President of the Society for Biomaterials and Treasurer/2017 Annual Meeting Chair for the Biomedical Engineering Society.

“I am excited to be joining UW Medicine. I am looking forward to partnering across the institution to tackle the most challenging problems in medicine utilizing our strength in interdisciplinary and translational biomedical research. I will also leverage my experience in graduate education to support recruiting and training outstanding diverse students while fostering an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive,” says Sakiyama-Elbert.

In her role as vice dean, Sakiyama-Elbert will oversee the research programs and operations at the School of Medicine, including interactions with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s. The office also oversees the training of scientists within the School of Medicine, including graduate students and post-docs.

Stay tuned to learn more about Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert in an upcoming article.