April 13, 2020 — Over the past 11 years, the University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Neuroscience has greatly expanded its national visibility and scientific impact under the leadership of Lucia Notterpek, Ph.D. After 21 years at UF, Notterpek will relocate to the Western U.S. in May and take on a new leadership role with the University of Nevada, where she has been chosen to serve as associate dean for biomedical research and professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.
A trailblazer in her field, Notterpek has led the department of neuroscience to a No. 5 national ranking in National Institutes of Health funding, with NIH-supported research programs now exceeding $21 million annually for faculty in neuroscience and in the department of neurology combined. Since taking over as chair, she has recruited 12 outstanding tenure-track and 13 multi-mission track faculty members, which has led to the department’s approximately five-fold increase in its NIH grant portfolio.
During her tenure, the department has also advanced academic contributions in teaching, initiating a number of educational and outreach programs, including the Summer Neuroscience Internship Program, or SNIP, Brain Awareness Week and affiliated outreach activities, as well as online neuroscience certificate and master’s programs. An exceptional mentor, Notterpek has guided junior and early mid-career faculty members who have gone on to publish in high-impact journals and earn coveted speaking invitations at national and international conferences.
Notterpek has established herself as an outstanding faculty member and leader, and as she departs the UF College of Medicine to assume her new role at the University of Nevada, the college extends its deepest gratitude for her many contributions to the institution and to the field of neuroscience.
Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., has accepted the position of interim chair of the department of neuroscience beginning today. Bizon currently is a professor and associate chair in the department of neuroscience and co-director of UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory. In addition, she serves on the College of Medicine’s promotion and tenure committee and as a member of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute Executive Committee, and she also co-leads the MBI Education and Outreach Committee.
A native of Burlington, North Carolina, Bizon earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctorate in neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to her arrival at UF, Bizon spent seven years at Texas A&M University as a professor of psychology, where she served as vice chair of the Neuroscience Executive Committee.
Bizon’s research program is broadly focused on understanding brain aging and its implications for cognitive function, with the long-term goal of identifying strategies and interventions that promote cognitive resilience at advanced ages. In recognition of her research accomplishments, she has been named both a UF Term Professor and a University Foundation Research Professor.
Bizon looks forward to working with the outstanding faculty, staff and students in the department of neuroscience to continue its steep trajectory of growth. Through collaborations with the McKnight Brain Institute and the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, the department of neuroscience has the momentum to continue to lead the state and nation in discovery-based research and expand educational opportunities in the neurosciences for students and trainees at all academic levels.
A Gator since 2010, Bizon moved to Gainesville with her husband and collaborator, Barry Setlow, Ph.D., a professor in the department of psychiatry.