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Vivian Budnik appointed chair of neurobiology

Inaugural Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair has served as interim since 2013

  Vivian Bidnik, PhD
  Vivian Budnik, PhD

Vivian Budnik, PhD, professor of neurobiology, has been named chair of the Department of Neurobiology, after serving in this position on an interim basis since 2013, Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, has announced. 

Dr. Budnik, who joined UMMS in 2003, studies the molecular and genetic mechanisms that allow synaptic connections in the nervous system to change, mechanisms that are at the core of processes such as learning and memory.

“Dr. Budnik has made milestone achievements in molecular neurobiology and RNA trafficking, and has been a significant contributor to the overall success of the department, having served as vice chair for many years prior to being appointed interim chair,” said Dr. Flotte. “I am especially looking forward to Dr. Budnik serving an important role in leading neuroscience research efforts across our own campus and in partnership with our sister UMass campuses.”

In 2014, Budnik was invested as the inaugural Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair. At the time, Chancellor Michael F. Collins described her as a “researcher of the highest renown, a collaborator held in the highest regard and a mentor who has earned the highest respect.” He said that “her discoveries have done what all scientists hope, but only a few can claim—they have influenced the direction of an entire research field.”

Budnik recently completed a prestigious and highly competitive fellowship with the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine, in Philadelphia. ELAM is the nation’s only in-depth program focused on preparing senior women faculty at schools of medicine and dentistry to effect positive change.

Budnik succeeds founding chair Steven Reppert, MD, the Higgins Family Professor of Neuroscience and distinguished professor of neurobiology, whom Flotte thanked for his many years of leadership.