By Wendy Sarubbi | August 11, 2014 4:12 pm

New Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences graduate students will kick off the school year Thursday, August 14 with an official welcome and meet-and-greets with faculty and new Burnett school Director Dr. Griffith Parks.

Dr. Parks, who joins the UCF College of Medicine from Wake Forest University, was formerly chair of that university’s Department of Microbiology and said he sees great potential for growth and excellence at the Burnett school. “When I first saw Medical City with the cows and pasture and buildings coming out of the flat land I thought, 10 years from now how completely different it will be–and I want to have a part in building it,” he said.

Dr. Parks will spend his time between the Burnett facilities on the main UCF campus and Medical City but will be based at Lake Nona where he will work closely with Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, interim associate dean for research.

“We are delighted by the arrival of Dr. Parks as the director of the Burnett school. With his experience as a leader, we hope to see a dramatic push towards excellence not only in research and teaching but also in making the Burnett school the bridge between clinical and basic sciences,” Dr. Parthasarathy said. “Above all, his presence will bring stability, harmony, collaboration and togetherness between the Burnett School campuses.”

Dr. Parks sees collaborative research as the way of the future, especially in terms of grant funding and said he hopes to foster a teamwork environment at the Burnett school.

Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean of faculty and academic affairs, who will step down as the Burnett school’s interim director, will formally introduce Dr. Parks on August 14.

The day will also include a poster session by current graduate students and a talk by guest speaker, Dr. Leland Chung, director of the Cancer Institute at Cedar-Sinai. He will present “Recruitment and Reprogramming of Bystander Cells in Cancer Metastasis.”

Following the presentations, the school will hold a reception for students and faculty to meet Dr. Chung.






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