Florida Atlantic University has named Gregg B. Fields, Ph.D., as executive director of FAU’s Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH), one of the university’s four research pillars. Fields will lead efforts to develop interdisciplinary research by combining expertise across many FAU centers and colleges as well as forging strategic health care and research partnerships in the region. I-HEALTH’s service regions will include Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.
I-HEALTH was created to advance health through pioneering research and practical applications. Under Fields’ leadership, the team is redesigning the health care infrastructure to create novel intervention programs to provide patients and the community with health care for everyday needs as well as the most specialized services for complex diseases, illnesses, and injuries. I-HEALTH also will focus on aging patient populations to provide unique care that is not available elsewhere in the region. In addition to developing clinical trials and conducting clinical and translational research, I-HEALTH will teach and train generations of health care professionals to meet South Florida’s diverse needs.
“Dr. Fields is internationally renowned in his field and he possesses the knowledge and experience that is required to successfully lead our Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU’s vice president of research. “In addition to his impressive background, cutting-edge research, and prestigious accolades, his spirit of collaboration and charismatic leadership qualities make him the perfect choice to fulfill the vision and mission of this important university pillar.”
Prior to being named executive director of I-HEALTH, Fields served as a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and director of the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. From 1998 to 2008, he was a faculty member at FAU, and also held faculty appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School (1991-1997) and the University of Texas Health Science Center (2008-2010).
Fields is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds six United States patents and has three applications under review. Technology he has developed has resulted in three commercial products currently sold by five different companies. He has authored or coauthored more than 260 scientific publications and has presented more than 190 invited lectures.
His research is focused on the use of chemical approaches to better understand cancer progression and to develop novel anti-cancer therapeutic agents. His research program has incorporated elements of organic synthesis, structural biology, cell biology, chemical biology, enzymology, and molecular biology in the pursuit of understanding basic mechanisms of metastasis, with a focus on proteolytic regulation of signal transduction pathways. His proteolysis research has recently branched out to include neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, and sepsis. Fields also is utilizing the mechanistic information obtained in the proteolysis studies to develop novel probes and inhibitors. His laboratory has a tissue engineering component as well, based on the development of collagen-model “mini-proteins.”
Fields has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health for more than 26 years and also has received support from the American Cancer Society, U.S. Department of Defense, the Florida Department of Health, and the Multiple Sclerosis National Research Institute.
“I am both honored and excited to lead Florida Atlantic University’s Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention,” said Fields. “I look forward to working with the university’s many talented faculty, students and staff as well as members of our health care community who share our passion for improving the quality of life for our citizens and beyond.”
FAU’s research pillars are I-HEALTH, the Brain Institute (I-BRAIN), the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE), and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (FAU Harbor Branch). FAU is expanding on its robust culture of research and inquiry and leveraging regional assets, such as the ocean, patient populations, culture and business, to advance scientific understanding, discover new technologies, and contribute to the economic vitality of the region. The university is investing in its research enterprise, and has made significant progress in establishing research pillars focused on institutional strengths.
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About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit fau.edu.