Campus Division of Biological Sciences names new dean

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G. Steven Martin has been appointed dean of the Division of Biological Sciences of the UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science following roughly a year as the division’s interim dean.

Martin is also a campus professor of cell and developmental biology and took over as interim dean of the division — which encompasses various biological disciplines, including integrative biology and molecular and cell biology — in July 2011.

In an email, Martin said his goals for the position include improving research infrastructure, investing in emerging scientific areas and increasing support for research initiatives in the biological sciences. He said he also hopes to increase the amount of research collaboration with other universities and firms and to improve undergraduate education in the biological sciences.

“I’m not sure if I deserve congratulations or condolences,” Martin said in the email. “There are satisfactions (being dean), as for example when a faculty recruitment is successful, or when one can help solve a problem for a faculty member or a student. But there are also frustrations when one can’t accomplish something because of budgetary constraints or political resistance.”

Martin first came to campus in 1968 as a postdoctoral fellow. In 1975, he became an assistant professor in the department of zoology. He began serving as chair of the department of molecular and cell biology in 2007, according to a biography for Martin posted on the MCB department webpage. He has also been a principal investigator at the Berkeley Stem Cell Center.

Martin became the division’s interim dean after the former dean, Mark Schlissel, departed the campus in summer 2011 to become Brown University’s provost — the university’s chief academic officer.

Terry Machen, associate dean of biological sciences and a professor of cell and developmental biology, said Martin’s style will mesh well within the division.

“It’s a really hard job, and he does it extremely well,” Machen said. “He’s extremely equitable, and he thinks about and considers the various issues. He’s extremely good at being able to consider all the interests very thoroughly.”

Machen said that one of Martin’s main challenges will be dealing with budget constraints.

“Navigating all the things that have to be cut — that’s going to be the big thing,” he said.

David Raulet, co-chair of the department of molecular and cell biology, said he is pleased with the appointment because Martin is highly involved in faculty recruitment and fundraising programs.

“I think it’s great for biology at Berkeley,” Raulet said. “He represents Berkeley very well.”

Jamie Applegate of The Daily Californian contributed to this report. Contact Shannon and Jamie at [email protected].