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Julio Licinio, MD, PhD, named senior vice president and dean of the College of Medicine

Julio Licinio, MD, PhD, has been named senior vice president and dean of the College of Medicine at Upstate Medical University.

The appointment, effective July 1, was announced by Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP.

Licinio’s appointment to Upstate follows a nearly 30-year career in academic medicine, marked by a record of success in leading academic programs of training, research, patient care and community engagement, both nationally and internationally.

Licinio comes to Upstate from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, in Adelaide, Australia, where he serves as deputy director of translation strategy and process for the Head, Mind and Brain Theme, as well as the Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide.

As senior vice president and dean, Licinio will oversee the academic activities of the basic and clinical science departments, including education (degrees offered include MD, MPH, MD/PHD) and research in the College of Medicine with an enrollment at the college of about 640. He will join the University Executive Committee in overseeing the leadership and management of the university at large.

Licinio’s appointment follows an international search.

“Dr. Licinio brings to Upstate a record of accomplishment in every aspect of academic medicine,” Laraque-Arena. “His experience as a physician-scientist with a broad international reputation, together with his successful career and critical understanding of administrative leadership, clinical care, research, education and policy, will move Upstate forward and broaden our research and academic enterprise.

“His work in translational medicine and his broad global perspective is especially important to Upstate and positions him well to meet the challenges of academic medicine in this new century,” Laraque-Arena said.

His leadership and work in building clinical and translational science institutes and programs is a highlight of his work at UCLA (1999-2006), the University of Miami (2006-2009) and the National Australian University (2009-2013).

As a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Licinio was founding director of three National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded cross-disciplinary training programs, bringing together eight clinical departments and six at schools at UCLA to become key elements of the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which he also directed.

He was awarded NIH funding to develop several key programs with the goal of promoting research, career development and improved patient care in the areas of clinical pharmacology and experiential therapeutics across the UCLA system; and creating a core curriculum for academic and workforce development that was a joint effort of several UCLA schools (Arts & Sciences, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health an others).

While at UCLA, he led a multidisciplinary team of Hispanic/Latino physicians, nurses, social workers, and assistants who recruited and developed a program of research and community engagement, with projects entitled “Developing Educational Approaches to Genetics for Mexican-Americans in East Los Angeles” and “Community Consultation and Haplotype Mapping in Mexican-Americans.” This community engagement research effort was funded by four grants from two NIH Institutes.

At the University of Miami (UM), Licinio was awarded NIH funding to create the Clinical and Translational Science Institute to develop an inter-disciplinary training program in translational investigation that included a master’s in translational science.

Also at UM, Licinio served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry and as chief of the psychiatric service at Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals and teaching hospitals in the United States.

As professor and director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australia National University, Licinio established the first graduate training program in translational medicine in the Asia-Pacific region.

In his current post, which he has held since 2013 at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, in Adelaide, Australia, Licinio established the South Australian Brain Translational Research Program that has secured funding for depression research, looking at approaches to generate human serotonergic neurons promoting resilience and wellbeing and molecular imaging of the spinal cord.

He also has held positions at Yale University; Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven Conn.; NIH Clinical Center and the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

As an NIH-funded researcher, Licinio’s research focus is depression, investigating stress-related circuits, circadian rhythms, genetics, pharmacology and pharmacogenomics. His scholarly accomplishments are notable for 300 publications, cited 20,952 times (h-index: 66). In his more recent work, Licinio has published with 190 colleagues from 54 institutions, located in 19 countries, including Nobel Laureates Andrew Schally and Rita Levi-Montalcini.

His work also has examined the link between obesity and depression, looking into, among other factors, how anti-depressants can cause weight gain.

Licinio has won numerous honors and awards and is founding and current editor-in-chief of Molecular Psychiatry, The Pharmacogenomics Journal and Translational Psychiatry.

He is board certified in psychiatry, is a Fellow of the Royal and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and founding president of the International Society of Pharmacogenomics.

A native of Brazil, Licinio earned his medical degree from the University of Bahia School of Medicine in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil (1982) and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Sao Paulo Medical Centre, Brazil (1982-1984). He completed a fellowship in medicine/endocrinology from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago (1984-1985) and completed an internship in psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center (1985-1986). He also held a research track residency in psychiatry and served as a clinical associate and senior clinical associate in psychiatry, all at Cornell University Medical College, now Weill Cornell Medical College. He holds a PhD from Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia (2017).

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