March 17, 2022 — Professor David C. Bloom, Ph.D., was in high school when he first became fascinated by microbiology — viruses, specifically.
“I just knew microbiology and viruses interested me at that point,” he said. “It wasn’t until graduate school that I began to look at viruses on a deeper level, and what drew me to them was that they can affect so many systems of the body using so little genetic material.”
Bloom, who has contributed research and mentored the next generation of scientists in his various roles with the UF College of Medicine Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology for more than 20 years, will soon step into a new role as chair of the department.
Bloom’s early attraction to science led him to become a nationally recognized virologist who developed novel therapies to treat herpes simplex virus, or HSV, and a leader in academics. He has been a UF professor since 1999 and has held various leadership roles both within the department of molecular genetics & microbiology and on the larger UF campus. He served as director of the UF College of Medicine’s Training Program in Basic Microbiology and Infectious Disease for 18 years, which is supported by the longest-standing National Institutes of Health T32 training grant at UF, now in its 37th year. He previously served on the UF Graduate Council and Academic Personnel Board and is currently chair of the UF Faculty Senate, as well as a member of the UF Board of Trustees.
Bloom said serving as chair of the UF Faculty Senate was one of the experiences that made him most interested in becoming department chair.
“As part of that role, I’ve had to address concerns among administration and faculty, which I found to be an invigorating process,” he said. “It really showed me the power of effective communication and bringing people together to solve problems.”
Bloom will succeed Henry V. Baker, Ph.D., the Hazel Kitzman Professor and Chair, who has led the department for 19 years. Baker is retiring after nearly 35 years as a faculty member in the College of Medicine, and Bloom will take over the role beginning June 30.
“It will be a big task to step into Dr. Baker’s shoes when the department has seen so much success and growth under his leadership,” Bloom said. “But I am looking forward to helping us increase our reputation even further in the field of molecular genetics and microbiology around the nation.”
As department chair, Bloom said he hopes to elevate the national and international reputations of faculty by encouraging them to become thought leaders in the field — the kind of researchers who are well known among their peers and professional societies. He also said hiring diverse faculty and establishing new partnerships with UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute and across the College of Medicine and UF campus are top priorities.
“My challenge is to make an already strong department better,” Bloom said. “By having diverse faculty who work on more collaborative projects, we’ll have a greater chance at winning larger grants and elevating the great work we do here every day.”