Research, economic development vice chancellor finalists named

News for Researchers


Posted January 4, 2018 | View original publication

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced that four finalists will interview to become the next vice chancellor for research and economic development. The candidates will visit campus between Jan. 8-24.

The candidates will participate in multiple-day interviews, including public presentations. Each public presentation is 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. Receptions in the Nebraska Union Heritage Room follow the public presentations.

The finalists, listed by public presentation date, are:

  • Jan. 9 — Marty Schlotz, executive associate vice president for research and professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular and cellular medicine, Texas A&M University;
  • Jan. 11 — Richard Hichwa, senior associate vice president for research and economic development and professor of radiology, physics and radiation oncology, University of Iowa;
  • Jan. 18 — Robert (Bob) Willhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development and professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and
  • Jan. 23 — Mo Dehghani, vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship and professor of mechanical engineering and systems and enterprise, Stevens Institute of Technology.

As Nebraska’s chief research and economic development officer, the vice chancellor provides intellectual, strategic and visionary leadership for the university’s research and economic development enterprise. The vice chancellor collaboratively leads and develops programs that enhance the university’s intellectual contributions to discoveries, innovative partnerships to advance research and economic development, and strengthen the national standing of the university.

Working in national and international arenas, the vice chancellor strengthens links with the external community, articulating and implementing the overall vision for partnerships.

The vice chancellor serves on the chancellor’s cabinet and reports to the chancellor and executive vice chancellor/chief academic officer. The position works closely with the vice chancellor of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, college deans, industry partners, and the University of Nebraska’s offices of the president and provost.

The candidates were identified through a national search and selected by a committee led by Nebraska’s Deb Hamernik and David Sellmyer.

Additional candidate information is available on the vice chancellor for research and economic development website, which includes complete bios for each candidate.

  • J. Martin (Marty) Scholtz will interview Jan. 8-10. A Nebraska alumnus, Schlotz is a full-tenured professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M. He joined the university’s research division in 2010 after having served six years as the chair of molecular and cellular medicine in Texas A&M’s College of Medicine. He joined Texas A&M in 1993 as an assistant professor of medical biochemistry and genetics. He was granted tenure in 1999. Scholtz graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in chemistry from Nebraska in 1984. He earned a doctorate in chemistry in 1989 from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine from 1989 to 1993. His research program has focused on fundamental studies on the folding, stability and solubility of proteins and peptides. His research activities have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, The Robert A. Welch Foundation, Amgen, Inc. and The Advanced Research Program of the State of Texas.
  • Richard Hichwa will interview Jan. 10-12. While in the office of the vice president for research, Hichwa has led Iowa’s research compliance effort, created a research development team, and oversaw the University of Iowa Research Foundation, tech transfer office and a group dedicated to creating faculty startup companies. He also has initiated several incubator spaces within research buildings to assist faculty innovation. Hichwa earned a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Science in radiological sciences and doctorate in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin. He also held faculty positions at the University of Michigan. His research focus is on positron emission tomography imaging. He has designed and directed PET centers at the University of Michigan and University of Iowa. During his 29 years at Iowa, Hichwa was instrumental in creating an animal imaging core and securing high-end imaging infrastructure grants. He has assisted groups throughout the United States, Europe and Asia to bring PET technologies to the forefront of biomedical research.
  • Robert (Bob) G. Willhelm will interview Jan. 17-19. Willhelm has served at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in executive roles since 2005 and as a faculty member since 1993. He has been instrumental in advancing research at the institution by connecting to academic programs and engaging regional and national partners. As an executive, Willhelm has assisted with the founding of six National Science Foundation industry/university cooperative research centers, as well as focus areas for large-scale research and academic programs in data science/business analytics, energy, advanced manufacturing, and biomedical and bioinformatics. Recent initiatives support social science, digital humanities and the broader research culture. Willhelm joined the UNC faculty in 1993. Since 2005, he has served as executive director of UNC-Charlotte’s institute for business-university partnerships. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Wichita State University, a Master of Science from Purdue University and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. He is a full-tenured professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science, having lectured and worked in 38 states and more than 18 countries.
  • Mo Dehghani will interview Jan. 22-24. Dehghani joined the Stevens Institute of Technology, a private research university in New Jersey, in 2013. As vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, Dehghani has significantly enhanced the institution’s research, graduate education and economic development efforts. The work includes raising funds in support of research and graduate scholarship. Prior to Stevens, Dehghani was a professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He served as founding director of Johns Hopkins’ university systems institute and was instrumental in establishing collaborative education and application programs with external organizations and internal divisions. He was associate director for engineering and a member of the executive council of Johns Hopkins’ applied physics laboratory, with fiduciary and administrative responsibilities for more than 500 researchers and staff with a budget of more than $150 million. Dehghani also held faculty and administrative roles at the University of California and served as the new technologies division leader for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, master’s degree and a doctorate all from Louisiana State University.

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