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August 2010 Issue

Santa Jeremy Ono, PhD
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New UC Provost has Background in Academic Medicine, Research

Published August 2010

One thing for sure about Santa Jeremy Ono, PhD, UC’s new senior vice president for academic affairs and provost: He speaks the language of the Academic Health Center.

"I loved pouring agarose gels, preparing plasmid preparations via cesium chloride gradients and sequencing by Maxam and Gilbert’s chain termination protocol,” Ono says of his days as a young researcher at the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.

Ono arrives Sept. 1 to replace Anthony Perzigian, PhD, who has been UC’s provost since December 1998 and announced his intention to leave that position last January.

Ono will serve as the university’s chief academic officer, overseeing faculty and curriculum.

Ono comes to UC from Emory University in Atlanta, where he was senior vice provost for undergraduate education and academic affairs. He was also a professor of ophthalmology, medicine, pediatrics and biology within the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts.

His primary teaching appointment at UC will be in the College of Medicine.

"I’ve been interested in biomedical research since I was a freshman in high school,” says Ono, born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Baltimore.

"I recall hearing Don Coffey from Johns Hopkins lecture at a local high school, and it was he who got me interested in science. The enthusiasm he had for problem solving was and still is inspiring.”

Ono’s research focuses on the pathogenesis of allergic inflammation in the eye and the role of the immune response in age-related macular degeneration.

He hasn’t decided whether he will continue his research at UC, where the Edith J. Crawley Vision Science Research Laboratory was dedicated in 2009 in the CARE/Crawley Building on the medical campus.

"On the one hand, I am still very excited by research and problem solving,” Ono says.

"On the other, I know that there are tremendous demands on a university provost and that must be my first priority. I’m keeping my options open at this stage.”

Either way, Ono expects to be a visible presence on the medical campus. He notes that universities with academic health centers have gradually shifted from a "split” structure to a one-provost model where a single person oversees academic affairs for the entire university.

"As some of the most exciting opportunities in the future will likely involve collaboration across schools, I expect to work with all of the health science deans to build new bridges to make UC even stronger,” he says.

About Santa Jeremy Ono, PhD

University of Chicago, BA, Biological Sciences, 1984;
McGill University, PhD, Experimental Medicine, 1991.

Fellowship Training:
Harvard University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1988-1992.

Outside Interests:
Grew up as avid fan of Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts and University of Maryland Terrapins.

Enjoyed singing in the university chorus and playing tennis and badminton with students and faculty at Emory University. Also served as Emory’s advisor to the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

Enjoys reading and lists Jerome Groopman’s "How Doctors Think” and "Anatomy of Hope” as his favorite general-interest medical books.

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