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Indiana CTSI director Anantha Shekhar selected to lead IU School of Medicine research


INDIANAPOLIS — Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of Indiana’s largest statewide research organization, has been selected to lead the IU School of Medicine’s $300 million research enterprise.

Dr. Shekhar, who currently holds several leadership posts at IU and Indiana University Health, will become executive associate dean for research affairs effective Aug. 1, overseeing all research-related activities at the IU School of Medicine. He will be one of six executive associate deans who make up the school’s executive leadership team with Dean Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D.

“Anantha has been a tremendous asset not only to the school and IU Health, but to the state through his leadership of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute,” said Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and IU vice president for university clinical affairs. “The depth of expertise that Anantha will bring to the role in both clinical and scientific research will further enhance our academic mission and commitment to improving health and patient care.”

“There is huge potential for the IU School of Medicine to be a national leader in research, and great possibilities, working with the health system, to transform the delivery of health care,” said Dr. Shekhar, who is associate dean for translational research and Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry.

Dr. Shekhar has served as the founding director of the Indiana CTSI since 2008, helping create one of the most dynamic and innovative such organizations in the country. The Indiana CTSI, a statewide collaboration that includes Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame and numerous life sciences businesses and community organizations, works to speed the transformation of scientific discoveries in the laboratory into new therapies for patients and new businesses for Indiana.

One of 62 such organizations in country, the Indiana CTSI was funded with an initial five-year, $25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2008. The grant was renewed at $30 million for another five years in 2013.

Dr. Shekhar will continue to direct the operations of the Indiana CTSI, and said he sees the dual roles as an opportunity to provide strategic leadership for the school in collaboration with university, health care and life science business partners across the state.

In addition to his IU School of Medicine and Indiana CTSI roles, Dr. Shekhar serves as associate vice president for university clinical affairs for Indiana University and executive vice president of academic affairs for clinical research at Indiana University Health.

Dr. Shekhar joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 1989, establishing successful basic science and clinical research programs in neuropsychiatric disorders, notably panic and related anxiety disorders. He has been continuously funded by research grants from the NIH since 1989.

He founded and directed the Neuroscience Clinical Research Center at the Department of Psychiatry from 1997 to 2007. He has initiated several Investigational New Drug applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has conducted a broad range of clinical trials of new compounds for treatment of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Shekhar has authored more than 200 scientific papers, served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Mental Health in 2014, and is a tenured member of the Advisory Board for Clinical Research of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.

He recently joined as a member of the Advisory Council for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the Board of Governors of the NIH Cures Acceleration Network.

As executive associate dean for research affairs, Dr. Shekhar will succeed David S. Wilkes, M.D., who recently was named dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.