Hopkins president Brody to head Salk Institute in '09

October 14, 2008|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,stephen.kiehl@baltsun.com

Dr. William R. Brody, the outgoing head of the Johns Hopkins University, said yesterday he has accepted a position as president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. He will start March 1.

Brody, 64, said earlier this year that he would retire from Hopkins after 12 years as president, a period in which he has overseen the tripling of the university's endowment and a significant expansion of the its global health efforts. He will remain at Hopkins until Dec. 31, as previously announced.

While he initially expected to relax in his retirement, writing a book or two and brushing up on his piano playing, Brody said yesterday that the Salk job was too tempting to pass up. The Salk Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine, and has a scientific staff of 870 working on treatments and therapies for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disorders, brain anomalies and birth defects.

"I am excited to come to the Salk Institute, one of the true jewels in the crown of biomedical science, known for its renowned scientists," Brody, who was in California yesterday, said in a statement. "I hope to help the Salk faculty chart a course for the future, incorporating many of the exciting new disciplines and technologies that contribute to advances in medical science."

Brody, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering and a medical degree from Stanford, is a classical pianist and recreational aircraft pilot. He has been a popular figure on Hopkins' Homewood campus. He revived the tradition of university presidents living on campus, and with his wife, Wendy, would greet students on move-in day by riding around on in-lane skates, scooters or Segways.

This year marks the end of a $3.2 billion fundraising campaign at Hopkins, and Brody has been instrumental in the development of Charles Village and East Baltimore Development Inc., a biopark rising next to Johns Hopkins Hospital on the city's east side.

"Bill has really taken Johns Hopkins to an even higher level of international regard and excellence while at the same time creating a new and better relationship with the communities with which Johns Hopkins does its work," said Jack Shannon, president and CEO of EBDI, where Brody is a board member.

The university had hoped to name a replacement by the time Brody left, but the search process has not moved as rapidly as some officials had intended. It now seems likely that an interim leader will take over.

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