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UTA names Caltech biochemist and executive as associate vice president for research

Kimberly Mayer

The University of Texas at Arlington has appointed Kimberly Mayer, executive director of the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center at the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, as associate vice president for research. 

As executive director, Mayer leads efforts to engage and interact with the Caltech community in efforts to tackle some of the toughest challenges in science, medicine and sustainability. In addition, Mayer manages the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences Biotechnology Leadership Pre-doctoral T32 Training Grant Program, which provides trainees with unique opportunities to participate in industry internships and exposes trainees to the wide variety of careers available to biomedical leaders. She also leads major programs at Caltech funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

“Dr. Mayer’s leadership in academic research, her demonstrated success in enabling technology commercialization, inspiring successful new companies led by faculty entrepreneurs, business development, market strategy and entrepreneurial development as well as her expertise in developing interdisciplinary teams with researchers, funding agencies and corporate partners, all make her a great fit for UTA as we continue enhancing our research and innovation enterprise,” said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari. “Her expertise developed by leadership roles at Caltech, one of the leading academic research institutions in the country, will also help create new partnerships for UTA in multiple research fields and help raise the profile of our own research.”

Mayer holds a doctorate in biochemistry and genetics from Purdue, an MBA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and has more than 20 years of experience in academia and business.

“I am excited to join UTA because of the visionary leadership and the strong commitment to enhancing interdisciplinary research at the University. UTA is not afraid to push boundaries and make big moves,” Dr. Mayer said. “Achieving the Carnegie classification of R1 -- a status conferred on just a little more than 100 doctoral universities in the country -- shows the high regard funding agencies have for UTA research. UTA is also among the fastest-growing doctoral public universities in the country. I see tremendous potential for the future of world-class research here.”

Prior to joining Caltech, Mayer led the Statewide Technology Commercialization team at the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center, where the primary goal was to increase the number and value of SBIR/STTR awards to entrepreneurs in the state each year.

In North Carolina, her collaborative team-based approach inspired 125 companies, many which were led by faculty entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs achieved 258 SBIR/STTR awards totaling nearly $102 million, as well as 38 further investments. As a result of the team’s efforts, more than 20 new jobs were formed and more than 140 jobs were created. Her experience with these programs will be beneficial to working with business and academic entrepreneurs in North Texas.

“Dr. Mayer is joining UTA at the perfect time - the SEIR building has recently opened as our signature building for interdisciplinary health science research, and we are building up UTA as an innovation hub for the North Texas region,” said Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research. “Her experience and talents will go a long way to helping us achieve our goals to significantly grow research and continue building interdisciplinary research teams to attack some of the hardest problems toward enabling the sustainable megacity.”

Mayer earned her bachelor’s degree in biology, summa cum laude with honors, at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She went on to earn a doctorate in genetics and biochemistry at Purdue University in Indiana, and an MBA at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business. She will join the University in January 2019.