Simpson Named Biochemistry Department Head

Dr. Melanie Simpson, Willa Cather Professor of Biochemistry and associate director of the Center for Biotechnology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will join NC State in June as the new head of the Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry.

Simpson is widely recognized as a top researcher on mechanisms of prostate cancer progression and metastasis. She discovered a new biomarker for identifying patients who are less likely to respond to hormone deprivation treatments and thus might benefit from altered treatment decisions.

Also known for her excellence in building interdisciplinary research and training programs, Simpson spearheaded a new Ph.D. program in complex biosystems at the University of Nebraska that brought together more than 100 faculty from different disciplines to create new opportunities for doctoral students.

“Dr. Simpson is an exceptional scientist who also has an outstanding track record as a visionary leader who brings people together to tackle complex problems,” said CALS Dean Richard Linton. “In addition to conducting ground-breaking cancer research, she has developed several interdisciplinary programs that help graduate students and junior faculty learn the skills needed for careers in competitive research. We are thrilled that she has joined our college.”

Simpson leads the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s participation in a multi-institution $20 million NIH grant to establish the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network, a clinical/translational research network to mentor early career researchers, helping them generate pilot data and pursue competitive research grants for projects that will benefit people in rural and medically underserved areas.

She also is a member of the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Oral Biology in the university’s College of Dentistry and director of the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Predoctoral Training Program.

Simpson earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and her doctorate in biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics from the University of Minnesota.

She is an elected member of the board of trustees of the International Society for Hyaluronan Sciences and has received numerous awards, including the Mortar Board People Who Inspire Award and the McNair Faculty Appreciation Award.

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