Chair's Announcement: Appointment of Li-San Wang, PhD, as Vice Chair for Research

Published by daniel, on June 15, 2021

Chair's Announcement: Appointment of Li-San Wang, PhD, as Vice Chair for Research

June 15, 2021

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Li-San Wang, PhD, to Vice Chair for Research, effective July 1, 2021. With this appointment, Dr. Wang will assume a senior role in the Department leadership team, along with Drs. Mike Feldman, Vice Chair for Clinical Services, and Nicole Aqui, Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In his role as Vice Chair, Dr. Wang will oversee research and research operations in all research-oriented Divisions of the Department (with the exception of CHOP) and take a leadership role in implementing aspects of the Department's portfolio that involve research and education of research-oriented trainees. In doing so, Dr. Wang will guide and enhance the Department's overall research mission and support faculty development of all of our basic, translational, and clinical scientists. He will also work closely with Bob Challender, Chief Operating Officer, and Eric Schneider, Director of Fiscal Operations in the Pathology Business Office, to provide high-level oversight of research finance and administration, grants management, and the research cores through Path BioResource.

Dr. Wang is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Professor of Genetics. He is an internationally renowned specialist in the genetics of Alzheimer's Disease and related dementia, using computational approaches for big data in genomics research. He co-directs the Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center (PNGC) and served as Chair of the Genomics and Computational Biology Graduate Group between 2014 and 2018. He holds a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the National Taiwan University and a PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the University of Pennsylvania as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Biology under the mentorship of Junhyong Kim, PhD, in 2003 and was appointed as a faculty member in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 2007.  

Dr. Wang directs two national centers for Alzheimer's Disease genetics research, the NIA Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS), a repository for human genetics data in Alzheimer's research and the Genome Center for Alzheimer's Disease (GCAD), which just received a $20M five-year renewal grant from the National Institute on Aging. He also recently founded the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer's Disease (ACAD), an international collaboration to recruit at least 5,000 participants from Asian communities in the US and Canada, making it one of the largest national studies focusing on Asian Americans. I am confident that Dr. Wang will be an inspiring leader for the Department's research mission.

I also wish to express my deep appreciation to my friend and colleague Warren S. Pear, MD, PhD, who has served with distinction as the inaugural Vice Chair for Research since 2017, while simultaneously serving as Director of the Division of Immunobiology, a key component of our research enterprise. Warren has been instrumental in uniting the Department's research activities with clarity and focus. He has been an unwavering champion for basic and translational research and a collaborator with me and our senior team, helping us to guide the Department's research mission. Under Warren's leadership, we have recruited new outstanding basic and translational scientists, and several junior research faculty have been promoted over the past four years. Under Warren’s leadership we have expanded our traditional strengths in immunology, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer biology, molecular diagnostics, and development of CAR-T based therapeutics, while extending our research portfolio in new directions.  

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Li-San Wang to his new position and extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Warren Pear for his service in this role. We are very fortunate that Warren has agreed to stay on as Director of the Division of Immunobiology.

David B. Roth, MD, PhD
Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine