After serving as interim chair for the department of molecular genetics and microbiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine since 2003, Henry V. Baker, Ph.D., was just the person to continue developing the department.
Baker was appointed chair on Nov. 1 following a national search to fill the position. He also was named the Hazel Kitzman Professorship in Genetics.
“Dr. Baker has done an exemplary job contributing to its recognition as one of the best departments of its kind in the nation,” said Dr. Michael L. Good, interim dean of the College of Medicine. “In terms of National Institution of Health research funding, MGM ranks eighth when compared with medical school genetics departments among public universities and 18th overall in the United States.”
One of Baker’s main missions for the department of molecular genetics and microbiology is to expand and enhance areas of existing strengths such as virology, pathogenesis, gene therapy, and the use of animal models for the study of human diseases, he said.
“I’m excited about the future of the department and the opportunities for growth. The basic and translational research we do in this department provides a foundation for the clinical medicine and therapies of tomorrow,” said Baker, who received his bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Maryland.
After a fellowship in microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School, Baker arrived at the College of Medicine in 1987 as an assistant professor of Immunology and Medical Microbiology.
Baker became interim chair after serving as associate chair of molecular genetics and microbiology from 1995 to 2003. He recently said the best part of the department is the great group of students and colleagues with whom he works .
“I enjoy working with really smart and passionate people who have such a broad range of scientific interests,” Baker said.