Vandenberg Named Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement
Her responsibilities will include increasing research support and communication, and implementing strategic initiatives.
Laura Vandenberg, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) and professor of environmental health sciences, has been named associate vice chancellor for research and engagement by Vice Chancellor Mike Malone. Vandenberg succeeds Martina Nieswandt, who was recently named vice president for research at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.
Beginning in January, Vandenberg will work on centers and institutes, increasing research support services and capacity, communication, and implementing strategic initiatives including international research.
Vandenberg joined the SPHHS faculty in 2013 from Tufts University’s Department of Biology and Center for Regenerative & Developmental Biology, where she completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship. Prior to her time at Tufts, she received postdoctoral training at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute in Boston. She earned her doctorate in cell, molecular and developmental biology from Tufts University School of Medicine and a BS in biology from Cornell University.
Vandenberg is a developmental biologist trained in the study of endocrinology with a research program that is focused on the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), i.e., synthetic chemicals that alter what hormones do in the body or how those hormones normally function. Her work brought her to the fields of environmental health sciences and public health, which are interdisciplinary areas of research. Several of her research collaborations focus on issues that impact the health of minoritized populations, women, and biologically vulnerable groups.
“I am especially enthusiastic about strengthening interdisciplinary research programs at the university and stimulating the work supported by university centers and institutes,” Vandenberg says. “My own work has utilized the resources of several centers and institutes on campus.”
Vandenberg’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and several foundations and NGOs, including the Cornell Douglas Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the JPB Foundation, and the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition. She is an author on 115 published papers and 17 book chapters — her high-profile work has led to numerous invitations to give keynote and platform talks, interviews with news outlets, and other outreach opportunities.
In her former role as graduate program director in environmental health sciences and her current role as associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in SPHHS, she has developed and demonstrated leadership and management skills that will equip her to develop innovative solutions to pressing challenges in the research and engagement enterprise at UMass Amherst.
“Laura has an excellent record in her own research, including international collaborations and in administration in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences,” says Malone. “I am excited that she will join our team in Research and Engagement, bringing a lot of enthusiasm for growing programs and support for the research community.”