Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Geneticist Ken Burtis has been appointed dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis

University of California, Davis
July 20, 2006


[Editor's note: A hi-res photo of Ken Burtis is available. Please contact Andy Fell (info below).]

Geneticist Ken Burtis has been appointed dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, after serving nearly a year as interim dean. Burtis, a professor in the Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, will serve a three-year term.

The UC Board of Regents approved the appointment at its July 19 meeting; Burtis' start date was July 1.

"Ken's dedication to the highest quality for the college's teaching, research and service obligations is absolute," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "He is exactly the right person to lead the collaborative cross-campus thinking that will enable his relatively new college -- and the entire campus -- to prosper."

Burtis, who has been serving as interim dean of the college since Aug. 1, 2005, said he was pleased to be able to serve the university as dean.

"I've been a student, staff member, a member of the faculty and an administrator at this university," he said, "and I think I have a broad view of the campus."

Many of the college's research and teaching programs extend across campus, both literally and in contacts with other schools and colleges, Burtis noted.

"I'm committed to supporting and strengthening research collaborations between college faculty and those from the other schools and colleges, through initiatives such as the Genome Center and the neuroscience campus in south Davis," Burtis said.

Another priority is the development of innovative approaches to teaching in the biological sciences. Burtis authored a $1.8 million grant to UC Davis from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which includes support for undergraduate teaching initiatives, and has twice participated in the HHMI-sponsored National Academy of Sciences' Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology.

Burtis earned his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from UC Davis in
1976 and worked for Professor Roy Doi as a research associate. He earned a doctorate in biochemistry from Stanford University Medical School in 1985 and conducted postdoctoral research in molecular genetics at Stanford, before returning to UC Davis as an assistant professor of genetics in 1988.

He has served as chair of the Genetics Graduate Group, vice chair of the Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology and associate director of the UC Davis Genome Center. Before taking up the post as interim dean of the new college, he was associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the Division of Biological Sciences.

Burtis' research involves development, sex determination and DNA repair in the Drosophila fly, a model organism central to the study of genetics. He was a participant in the Drosophila genome project.

The College of Biological Sciences was created in July 2005 from the 35-year-old Division of Biological Sciences, making UC Davis one of the few universities in the country to organize research and teaching in basic biology into a single college. The college currently has 139 faculty, 400 staff, approximately 5,000 undergraduate and 450 graduate students, and more than 24,000 alumni. It has an annual budget of approximately $68 million. College researchers currently hold about $110 million in grant awards, including multiyear grants.

As dean of the College of Biological Sciences, Burtis will earn an annual salary of $182,200.

Media contact(s):
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533,

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Need information from campus news archives? The UC Davis News Service database contains past (and current) UC Davis news stories dating to 1991. Go to .

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