Appointment of Interim Vice-President (Research)

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I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors has today approved the appointment of Dr. Walter Dixon as Interim Vice-President (Research) for one year, effective July 1, 2017. As you know, Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk will retire from his position at the end of June and I have been working with the Vice-President (Research) Advisory Search Committee to identify his successor. I would like to thank Dr. Dixon for taking on this essential leadership role as we continue our search.

Dr. Dixon is highly respected across our campus. Currently serving as associate vice-president (research) (AVPR), he is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science (AFNS) in the Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES). Prior to becoming AVPR, he was associate dean (research and graduate studies) in ALES from 2012 to 2014, and in the department of AFNS was associate chair (research) from 2006 to 2008, and then associate chair (graduate programs) from 2011 to 2012.

For the past three years as AVPR, Dr. Dixon has frequently acted as Dr. Babiuk’s delegate. He has earned a reputation for being an effective leader and team player, having built strong relationships through the various corners of the portfolio, including the Research Services Office, Research Ethics Office, TEC Edmonton, Postdoctoral Fellows and Academic Visitors Office, Field Research Office, Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, and Research Computing (IST). Externally, he has worked collegially with partners in the ministries of Economic Development and Trade and Advanced Education and in government agencies such as Alberta Innovates and Alberta Health Services. The other vice-presidents, deans, and associate deans (research) across campus have all valued and benefitted from Dr. Dixon’s advice.

A graduate of the University of Alberta (BSc [Hon]) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil and PhD [Biochemistry]), Dr. Dixon’s research focuses on reproductive performance in livestock species and the impact of nutrition during gestation on embryo / fetal development, lifetime growth potential (especially muscle growth), and health parameters of the animal. He played a lead role in the establishment and expansion of the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Centre (now called the Agricultural Genomics and Proteomics Unit) in the Agriculture/Forestry Centre on north campus. Dr. Dixon has also served on the graduate supervisory committees of more than 100 University of Alberta MSc and PhD students.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dixon has served the larger provincial and national research community in a variety of ways. He was on the provincial scientific review committee (Livestock Opportunities) for the Agricultural Funding Consortium for over five years, the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and AgriFood scientific review committee, and the Alberta Action Team for the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program. He has also served as both a member and later as chair of the NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships committee for Life Sciences and Psychology. He has been an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Animal Science, as well as a scientific reviewer for numerous other journals.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Dixon on his appointment.

As we welcome Dr. Dixon into his new role, I would like to thank Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk for his outstanding leadership and service to the University of Alberta over the last 10 years. I would also like thank the VPR Search Committee for their commitment and advice over the last several months and their continued dedication to the process.

David H. Turpin
President and Vice-Chancellor