Vice President for Research


For the past eight years, Dr. Leslie Tolbert has served the University of Arizona as Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies, and Economic Development, and, starting in 2011, as Senior Vice President for Research. During that time, Dr. Tolbert has led a major research and grants management enterprise, supervised graduate education, and worked to fulfill the University’s outreach mission through technology transfer and commercialization. She also has stayed involved with her research group that studies cellular and molecular mechanisms to understand the role of olfactory sensory input in brain circuitry development. Leslie has recently decided to return to this important research full-time and will continue her role as a Regents’ Professor in the Department of Neuroscience with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

With Dr. Tolbert returning full-time to her research work, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Barton, Associate Vice President for Research, has accepted added duties as the Interim Vice President for Research. Dr. Barton has been in her current role since 2012 and has provided important leadership in collaboration with Tech Launch Arizona as the UA develops its technology commercialization and interdisciplinary research infrastructure. Jennifer has been a member of the UA community since 1998, when she was appointed as a faculty member in Biomedical Engineering, with joint and affiliated appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Optical Sciences, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, and at the Arizona Cancer Center and BIO5 Institute. In 2007 she became Director of the Division of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering, and guided the unit to its current status as an autonomous academic department within the college. Previous to her role on the University’s research leadership team, Dr. Barton also served as Assistant Director of the BIO5 Institute. As Interim VP for Research, Dr. Barton’s long commitment to interdisciplinary research and to the integration of basic science and technological innovation will inform the evolution of the UA’s land-grant mission, and she will help to ensure that the UA’s scientific research and creative inquiry are conducted with the highest levels of excellence and integrity.

Please join me in thanking both of these remarkable leaders for their dedicated service to the mission of this great university. I look forward to Dr. Tolbert’s further contributions as a faculty member and as a leader in neuroscience, and to Dr. Barton’s leadership in this important moment of transition as we begin a national search for a permanent Senior Vice President for Research this fall.