Kenro Kusumi, the associate dean of research and graduate initiatives for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Leadership appointment advances research, education innovation at ASU


Amanda Stoneman

Filling a new leadership position tailored to advance research and educational innovation, Kenro Kusumi has been named as the associate dean of research and graduate initiatives for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.

Kusumi will be the dean’s representative for innovation in research within the schools, departments and centers in the college and will serve as a resource for faculty, scholars and students conducting research.

Overseeing the college’s research enterprise, Kusumi will act as a liaison of the college with university offices, including the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, and with partner institutions, foundations, and governmental and international agencies.

His responsibilities will include oversight of the college’s research enterprise, and he will continue to work with academic units and Graduate Education to advance doctoral and master’s degrees strategic planning efforts.

“I’m very pleased Professor Kusumi has agreed to serve in this position,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I feel confident he will bring the college new ideas and energy for how we can best work with our allied colleges and with the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development to accomplish the president’s overarching goals of increasing scholarship and research expenditures.”

Kusumi brings broad institutional experience in support of research and graduate initiatives at ASU. He is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and adjunct faculty at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in downtown Phoenix. Kusumi also helped launch the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in 2006, where he continues as faculty in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences. He is a founding member of the International Consortium for Scoliosis Genetics and the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies and Scoliosis.

Since 2013, Kusumi has served as the college’s associate dean for graduate programs, after roles as director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program and interim director for the graduate program in 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 faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.

“Professor Kusumi has been educated and trained at some of the most premier universities in the world,” Kenney said. “He has a strong record of competing for grants and converting the research into scholarly publications. The combination of these skills is certain to redound positively on the college’s research trajectory.”

Kusumi’s own research focuses on using genomic technologies to address biomedical and environmental challenges, receiving regular funding by the National Institutes of Health, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission and private foundations. His group, together with ASU colleagues and external partners, have established ASU as a center for studies of regeneration, focusing on understanding the ability of reptiles to regrow appendages and complex tissues including the spinal cord, cartilage, blood vessels and muscle.

Continuing earlier work, Kusumi focuses on the interplay between genes and environment in developmental disorders such as scoliosis. Recently, his group and ASU colleagues have used next-generation technologies to decipher the genome of the desert tortoise, a hallmark species of the Southwest threatened by habitat loss and disease.

“I am excited to work with the leaders, faculty and students to advance research and entrepreneurship in the college,” Kusumi said. “ASU is already a powerhouse in research, with funding success ranked sixth in the social sciences, ninth from the National Institutes of Health for institutions without medical schools, and 11th from NASA. This is a great opportunity to advance the vision of the college for innovative research in the 21st century.”