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Garcia-Pichel appointed dean of natural sciences at ASU

January 23, 2013

Ferran Garcia-Pichel, an internationally recognized microbiologist, has been appointed dean of natural sciences in Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He most recently served as professor and associate director of research and training for ASU’s School of Life Sciences.

Garcia-Pichel assumes the leadership role held previously by professor Robert E. Page Jr.  Page continues in his position as university vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Professor Garcia-Pichel is a master teacher and a committed academic leader,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “He is a renowned scholar in the natural sciences and has a deep understanding of the vital, exciting and interconnected role they play in our world. Highly respected by the faculty, staff and students, he is exceptionally positioned as dean to help the college attain the ambitious goals before it.”

“Ferran Garcia-Pichel is a superb and broad scientist who has shown his ability to lead groups of researchers and make hard decisions about allocation of resources,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips. “He is an excellent choice to lead our continued progress in the natural sciences.”

Garcia-Pichel's research investigations range from the desert’s biological soil crust communities and cyanobacteria, to microbial sunscreens and biosignatures. He joined ASU in 2000, participating actively in the foundation of the School of Life Sciences, where he has served as associate dean of facilities, associate director for research and training initiatives, and chair of the microbiology graduate program.  

“Ferran Garcia-Pichel has more than 12 years of service at ASU and is a faculty exemplar,” Page said. “His investments in undergraduate and graduate educational reform, interdisciplinary research and collaborations in biology, earth and space studies, chemistry and engineering make him ideal for this position.”

“The natural sciences are at the core of the university’s ability to fulfill its missions in education and research,” said Garcia-Pichel. “As a whole, they provide access to the scientific world view to a large number of students, and allow many of them to delve in state-of-the-art programs of research during their college years. The sciences are paramount in helping produce the highly skilled graduates that are required to achieve and sustain prosperity in Arizona and the Nation in the near future.”

“The excellence of the natural sciences at ASU is largely based on the hard work and brilliance of the faculty, staff and students in its departments and centers,” noted Garcia-Pichel. “I am excited about the possibility of leading the efforts in these units so that the whole exceeds the sum of its parts.”

Garcia-Pichel received his Licenciatura con Grado in science (M.S.) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, and his master's and doctorate from the University of Oregon in microbiology. Prior to his position at ASU, he was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Germany. In addition to his appointment at ASU, he is an affiliated scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Calif., and research associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Garcia-Pichel speaks five languages and has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles in prestigious journals. He is also a former Fulbright scholar, an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Distinguished Lecturer from the American Society for Microbiology.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established in 1953 and is the largest ASU college, with more than 21,000 students and 753 tenured or tenure-track faculty. In his role as dean of natural sciences, Garcia-Pichel will oversee all natural sciences academic units and centers.

Reporting to Garcia-Pichel will be the School of Earth and Space Exploration, School of Life Sciences, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Physics, Department of Psychology, and the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Centers and institutes he will support are the Center for Bioenergy & Photosynthesis, Center for Biological Physics, The Center for Biology and Society, The Center for Global Health, the Center for Metabolic Biology, the Center for Meteorite Studies, The Center for Practice, Research and Innovation in Mathematics Education, LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science, Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center and the Prevention Research Center.