May 22, 2023

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Frank LaFerla has been reappointed to an additional five-year term as Dean of the School of Biological Sciences, beginning July 1.

This decision follows a thorough review, which included materials submitted by Dean LaFerla and feedback from faculty, staff, fellow deans and community colleagues. Dean LaFerla is praised for his vision for the School, recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and students, and growth in both extramural research funding and philanthropic giving. I am grateful to the committee and its chair, Professor Thomas Schilling, for their efforts throughout the review process.

During Dean LaFerla’s second term, he oversaw the hiring of 33 faculty members and provided resources to support faculty development. In the past five years, the School established an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and increased faculty diversity through hiring 19 women and nine faculty from underrepresented groups. Philanthropic support has included a gift of $57.5 million from the estate of Audrey Steele Burnand to establish the Noel Drury, M.D. Depression Research Center. Overall, the School has raised more than $90 million over the last five years as part of the Brilliant Future Campaign.

The School continues to offer in-demand programs for undergraduate and graduate students looking to make a difference in the life sciences and the medical fields. During Dean LaFerla’s tenure, the School implemented an initiative to increase local and national prominence and enhance student recruitment. These efforts helped improve the School’s national ranking to its best level ever while increasing student enrollment and retention rates in the major.

A renowned Alzheimer’s disease scholar, Dean LaFerla has been instrumental in advancing the campus’s profile in the study of the disease. In addition to his role as dean, he is the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and co-director of the UCI Model Organism Development and Evaluation for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (MODEL-AD) group, which have both reached new heights in funding and research, bringing in a combined total of $12 million annually.

Please join me in congratulating Dean LaFerla on his reappointment and for his contributions to UCI.


Hal Stern
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics