Harvard School of Public Health Professor Laurie H. Glimcher ’72, who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1976, will leave the University in January to be the next dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Glimcher, also a professor at Harvard Medical School, is currently the director of the HSPH Division of Biological Sciences.
A noted immunologist, she also runs a highly-acclaimed HMS immunology program. She has been a Harvard faculty member since 1990.
“Laurie is one of the most eminent immunologist at Harvard among a very strong group of immunologists,” said Harvard Medical School Professor and former University Provost Steven E. Hyman. “She’s smart, knowledgeable, energetic and implacable.”
Hyman noted that many institutions have eyed Glimcher for top positions in the past. “We feel honored that other institutions turn to our faculty for leadership,” Hyman said.
Glimcher has deep ties to Harvard.
“I’m 60, and I’ve basically been at Harvard since I was a teenager,” she said. “I’ve spent basically my whole life here.”
Glimcher’s father, Melvin J. Glimcher, is a professor emeritus at the Medical School. Glimcher herself received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harvard and completed her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of Harvard’s teaching hospitals.
Glimcher said that her departure from an institution that has been her home for decades “feels a little strange.” But, she said, the time felt right for a move, adding that she believes she can make a larger impact in her new role as dean of Weill Cornell.
Weill Cornell, Cornell’s medical school, is located in Manhattan, unlike the university’s main campus, which is in Ithaca, New York.
Cornell President David J. Skorton announced Glimcher’s appointment last week.
She will be taking the helm as the head of the medical school after a period of declining university budgets and federal research funding.
“I’m concerned about the future of American medical centers in this time of enormously strained financial resources,” Glimcher said.
Hyman said that Glimcher faces an interesting set of challenges at Weill Cornell, pointing to the physical separation between the medical campus and the main campus as one challenge she would face. He compared Cornell’s situation to Harvard’s, noting that even the 20-minute trip between Massachusetts General Hospital and the main Cambridge campus can feel like a major separation.
Glimcher said that one of her priorities as dean of Weill Cornell will be to reduce the perceived and real separation between traditional scientific research and applied research.
“What I’d like to see is a laboratory where chemical biologists are nestled up against cardiovascular surgeons” or other therapeutic specialists, Glimcher said.
She will also be at the head of a recently-initiated curricular review at Weill Cornell. The school last overhauled its curriculum in the late 1990s.
Glimcher has strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Since 1997, she has been a board member of pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Meyers Squibb, the manufacturer of the drugs Abilify and Plavix. She also sits on the board of the Waters Corporation, which manufactures laboratory equipment.
—Staff writer Benjamin M. Scuderi can reached at email@example.com.