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Kenro Kusumi, new associate dean of graduate programs in CLAS

Graduate programs appointment advances research, education innovation

By

Margaret Coulombe

Filling a new position tailored to advance graduate research and educational innovation, Kenro Kusumi has joined the leadership in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as the new associate dean of graduate programs.

Kusumi will become the dean’s representative for graduate education within the schools, departments, and centers in the college. He will advance the vision of the college and serve as a resource for the faculty, scholars, and graduate students to develop new environments for educational and research innovation.

Kusumi will serve as the liaison of the college with university offices focusing on graduate education, including the Graduate College, and with partner institutions, foundations, governmental and international agencies. His responsibilities will include oversight of the college’s academic progress and appeals process, working with directors of graduate programs to revise and implement policies and procedures, and participating in graduate strategic planning efforts.

"Kenro brings a combination of organizational skills, focus, knowledge of graduate programs, and passion for graduate training,” said Robert E. Page, vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He is a team builder and will work with graduate program leaders across the college to improve and enhance our graduate education."

Kusumi brings broad research and institutional experience in support of graduate programs at ASU. He is an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences and also with the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, as well as an adjunct faculty member with The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix. He is a founding member of the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies and Scoliosis and the International Consortium for Scoliosis Genetics. In addition, he is a member of the editorial board for the professional journals Developmental Biology and Journal of North American Herpetology.

He has also invested extensively as a graduate, undergraduate and postdoctoral mentor and served on a wide range of ASU faculty committees, including service as the director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program and interim director of Graduate Programs with the School of Life Sciences. Prior to coming to ASU in 2006, he was the director of pediatric orthopedic basic research with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the Penn Genomics Institute and professor with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.

“We are all looking forward to having Dr. Kusumi in the team,” said Ferran Garcia-Pichel, dean of natural sciences and professor in the School of Life Sciences. “I am sure that his broad experience with a diverse array of students and educators, his positive attitude and proven problem-solving abilities will quickly advance our graduate programs and research excellence.” 
 
Kusumi’s own research has centered on using genomic technologies to understand spinal cord injury, birth defects, and regenerative processes. His group, ASU colleagues and external partners have established ASU as a major center for the study of the anole lizard, a model for tail regeneration that offers insight into the genes and organized repair of spinal cord, cartilage, and muscle. This work also extends to the study of reptilian evolution and genetic networks, involving neuroscientists, molecular biologists, developmental biologists and bioengineers from across the United States, Panama, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

“I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and students to advance graduate education and expand opportunities for learning and discovery,” said Kusumi. “Our graduates will be on the front lines facing the educational, social, scientific, and technological changes and challenges of the 21st century.”