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Meet the Provost



Curriculum Vitae 

Since 2009, James V. Staros has served as Provost & Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is also a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.  As Chief Academic Officer of the campus, he leads the Office of the Provost, which has primary responsibility for the academic missions of the campus in education, research and scholarship, and outreach and service.

Dr. Staros received his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1969.  At Dartmouth, he became involved in research and co-authored his first published scientific paper with his undergraduate research advisor.  He was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at Yale, where he earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry in 1974, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University where he held a Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship.

Dr. Staros’ research straddled the interface between the physical and biological sciences.  One of the major thrusts of his research program focused on biophysical and biochemical aspects of signal transduction by hormone receptors, in particular the receptor for epidermal growth factor.  A second focus was the development of new chemical and spectroscopic probes of protein structure and function.  His research and teaching have been supported by major grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the author or co-author of more than 70 scientific journal articles.

Dr. Staros began his faculty career at Vanderbilt University, starting as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine in 1978. He was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and professor in 1986.  From 1988-91, he served as Interim Chair of the school’s Department of Biochemistry.  In 1991, he moved to the College of Arts & Science at Vanderbilt as Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology.  In 1999, he led the merger of the Departments of Molecular Biology and Biology at Vanderbilt, and he was named founding Chair of the newly created Department of Biological Sciences.  During his years at Vanderbilt, he was very active in elective faculty governance, serving as Vice Chair of the Graduate Faculty Council (its highest elected office), Chair of the Arts & Science Faculty Council, and Chair of the University Faculty Senate.  He also established a number of new programs, including an interdisciplinary and inter-school graduate training program in molecular biophysics and the Vanderbilt Minority Summer Research Program. He was awarded Vanderbilt’s Affirmative Action Award, the Golden Apple Award for teaching and mentoring, and the Thomas Jefferson Award for faculty governance.

In 2002, Dr. Staros was named Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Stony Brook University, one of the State University of New York’s four university centers.  As Dean, Dr. Staros led the College’s efforts to increase undergraduate retention and graduation rates through an aggressive program of matching resources with student needs in order to reduce unmet demand and by careful coordination of student advising within the college and with units outside the college. These improvements contributed to major enhancements in Stony Brook’s undergraduate retention and graduation rates and to the concomitant rise in Stony Brook’s ranking for undergraduate programs (National Universities) in U.S. News & World Report, which improved 21 places during his tenure.

Staros is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society and its Biological Chemistry Division, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biophysical Society (and two of its subgroups, Molecular Biophysics and Membrane Structure and Assembly), and the Sigma Xi honorary society.

Dr. Staros is married to Alice C. Harris, Professor of Linguistics at UMass Amherst.  They have three grown children, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.