By Wendy Sarubbi | May 22, 2014 1:05 pm

Dr. Griffith Parks is the UCF College of Medicine’s new Director for the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.

He comes to UCF from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he is currently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and founding Director of the WFU Vaccine Center. He also serves in leadership positions with the WFU Cancer Center and the Center for Comparative Medicine.

Dr. Parks’ research focuses on innate immune responses to negative strand RNA viruses, a diverse group of medically important pathogens that include the influenza, measles virus, parainfluenza virus, RSV and Ebola virus. His research program has had more than 20 years of uninterrupted funding from the National Institutes of Health. His current research projects include complement interactions with parainfluenza virus and the bioterrorism agent Nipah virus, and the suppression of innate immunity to influenza virus during pregnancy. His research interests also include developing novel virus-based vectors as vaccines and the targeted killing of tumor cells.  He is a member of the editorial board for both Virology and The Journal of Virology.

In his new role at UCF, Dr. Parks will lead the Burnett School and serve as program director for the interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program. He will work to maximize research initiatives to implement the medical school’s strategic plan. He said he was “honored to accept the Burnett School director’s position,” calling it “a terrific opportunity to lead a vibrant community focused on educating the next generation of scientists and in tackling the most important research problems in cancer, and infectious, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.”

Dr. Parks earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was an American Cancer Society Fellow at Northwestern University. He said he is excited about the growing collaboration between the Burnett School and scientific institutes, centers and hospitals in the community. “These partnerships represent outstanding opportunities for innovation in both research and education,” he said.

Dr. Parks will start at the College of Medicine in August.

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