Edward Eisenstein appointed acting President of UMBI

William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland (USM), announced June 26 he has appointed Edward Eisenstein as acting president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI), effective July 1. A scientist at UMBI’s Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB) in Rockville, Md., Eisenstein served as director of CARB for eight years. He will succeed UMBI President Jennie Hunter-Cevera, who will step down from the position June 30.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Eisenstein has accepted this position,” said Chancellor Kirwan. “He is a widely respected scientist and as director of CARB, he was an effective and productive leader. I am confident that he will provide the strong leadership needed to bring UMBI through this critical period of transition.”

The USM Board of Regents at its June 19 annual meeting unanimously approved recommendations to align UMBI’s centers with other USM institutions. Once these alignments are complete, UMBI will no longer exist as a USM stand-alone institution. The restructuring is expected to pave the way for more multidisciplinary and collaborative biosciences research across the system, increase access to outside funding for research, and enable USM to have even more impact on the state’s economic development.

Eisenstein first joined CARB as an assistant professor in 1989. His research interests include structural metabolic engineering and the technology for measuring protein interactions. During the next several years, he rose through the ranks serving as associate professor, associate director, and director.

Under Eisenstein’s leadership from 2001 to 2008, CARB’s programs expanded from strengths in protein engineering and design to adapting new scientific tools to address issues related to the pathobiology of disease, drug discovery and bioengineering. Also during his tenure as director, he oversaw the expansion of facilities with the construction of CARB II to include new laboratories in insect and plant transformation as well as biomanufacturing.

Eisenstein earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgetown University and his B.S. in biology/chemistry from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He also is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Montgomery, a Montgomery County program that helps current and emerging leaders enhance their leadership abilities.

As acting president, Eisenstein will work with Chancellor Kirwan, the UMBI center directors, and the appropriate USM institutional presidents on memoranda of understanding (MOUs) outlining details of the UMBI centers’ future operations and collaborations. The chancellor will present the MOUs to the USM Board of Regents by December 31, 2009, with the goal of completing final transactions by the end of fiscal year 2010.

“I welcome this opportunity to lead UMBI through the next several months,” said Eisenstein. “Given my history of leadership with the organization, knowledge of the programs, experience in building partnerships, and deep respect and appreciation for the marvelous work done by the scientists and staff at UMBI, I will help ensure a smooth organizational transition as envisioned by the Board of Regents and Chancellor Kirwan.”

Established in 1985, UMBI comprises four centers: CARB in Rockville, Center for Biosystems Research in College Park, Center of Marine Biotechnology in Baltimore, and the Medical Biotechnology Center in Baltimore. UMBI also includes the Institute of Fluorescence in Baltimore and offers active K-12 educational programs.

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