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Biology Professor Jeff Lichtman To Be Next Harvard FAS Dean of Sciences

Biology professor Jeff W. Lichtman was named dean of Science by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra on Tuesday.
Biology professor Jeff W. Lichtman was named dean of Science by Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra on Tuesday. By Courtesy of Kris Snibbe / Harvard University
By Tilly R. Robinson and Neil H. Shah, Crimson Staff Writers

Biology professor Jeff W. Lichtman will serve as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ next dean of Science, FAS Dean Hopi E. Hoekstra announced Tuesday afternoon.

Lichtman, a neuroscientist who is most well-known for teaching the introductory course Neuroscience 80, will assume the role on July 1, according to an email Hoekstra sent to FAS affiliates.

Lichtman also holds the FAS’ highest faculty appointment as an Arts and Sciences professor.

He will succeed current Sciences Dean Christopher W. Stubbs, who is set to step down at the end of the academic year. Stubbs, who also serves as Hoekstra’s special adviser on artificial intelligence, will remain heavily involved in the FAS administration.

Lichtman’s selection ends a busy few weeks for Hoekstra, who also announced the next Arts and Humanities dean less than two weeks ago. The pick to lead the Sciences division was especially meaningful for Hoekstra, who herself is a biologist.

In addition to teaching, Lichtman leads the Molecular and Cell Biology department’s curriculum committee and sits on the Mind, Brain, and Behavior program committee — which coordinates neuroscience pedagogy across various departments.

As a key facilitator of Harvard’s MBB program, Lichtman fits the profile that Hoekstra told The Crimson she was looking for: a promoter of interdisciplinary work.

Lichtman’s research has focused on charting a “connectome” — a map of the brain’s pathways. His lab has invented several methods for visualizing these neural connections.

“Jeff thinks big, as evidenced by his own research program and his vision for pedagogy,” Hoekstra wrote in her announcement.

“As a scientist, an educator, and a leader, Jeff brings people together in genuine collaboration to advance the frontiers of knowledge,” she added.

Lichtman will no longer teach Neuro 80 in the fall given his new administrative appointment. FAS spokesperson Holly J. Jensen said the current plan is to have a different instructor teach the course.

—Staff writer Tilly R. Robinson can be reached at Follow her on X @tillyrobin.

—Staff writer Neil H. Shah can be reached at Follow him on X @neilhshah15.

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