The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has named David W. Niesel vice president and dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He has been interim VP and dean in the GSBS since September 2013.

Niesel, who has been at UTMB since 1983, holds the J.P. Saunders Professorship in Graduate Biomedical Sciences and the Ethridge Professorship in the graduate school.

“Dr. Niesel is the best person to lead our graduate school. He’s already demonstrated his skills and expertise in so many areas. After a national search, we’ve concluded that he represents the best traits that we want our scientists, educators and administrators to embody,” said Dr. Danny O. Jacobs, executive vice president and UTMB provost.

“Dr. Niesel has an excellent reputation in the international research community,” said Jacobs, who also is dean of UTMB’s School of Medicine. “He has had experiments conducted on the space shuttle. He holds four patents, has trained and mentored graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows who have greatly benefited from his scientific, administrative and teaching wisdom.”

Jacobs added that Niesel has been a strong advocate to increasing the diversity of the biomedical workforce and is the principal investigator of two NIH-sponsored training programs for minorities and the disadvantaged, “Bridges to the Doctorate” and the post baccalaureate “PREP” program.

Niesel received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1980 and completed postdoctoral research fellowships at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. and in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Texas in Austin. He joined UTMB’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1983. He became interim chairman in 2000 and was appointed permanent chairman in 2004. Under his leadership, the research profile of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology rose to a top 10 ranking in NIH funding among microbiology and immunology departments nationally. In 2013, the department ranked No. 5 in NIH funding.

Niesel became the assistant dean for recruitment and alumni in the GSBS in 1992. He is a co-founder of UTMB’s summer undergraduate research program, which is in its 22nd year. He was named vice dean of the graduate school in 1997.

Niesel is co-creator and co-host of Medical Discovery News, a radio show that is syndicated and broadcast on more than 110 stations in 16 states and in Puerto Rico and three countries. This program and companion newspaper column, which is published in five Texas newspapers, brings advances in biomedical research to the public and has won national and regional awards.