Appointment of James S. Economou as Vice Chancellor for Research

August 4, 2010

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Administrative Officers, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of James Steven Economou as vice chancellor for research, effective July 1, 2010.

Dr. Economou is professor of surgery at UCLA.  He received his B.A., M.D. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, completed his general surgical training at the University of California, San Francisco and joined the UCLA faculty in 1986.  He is the Louis D. Beaumont Chair in Surgery and has joint appointments in the departments of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and molecular and medical pharmacology.  A tumor immunologist, Dr. Economou has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since joining the faculty and has chaired two NIH study sections.  He undertook the first gene therapy trial on the West Coast; founded and led for 15 years the UCLA Human Gene Medicine Program; and has served as deputy director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2002.

Dr. Economou is president-elect of the Society of Surgical Oncology and the recipient of its James Ewing Medal.  Dr. Economou’s research interests include DNA and dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines, T-cell receptor engineering of lymphocytes and hematopoietic stem cells, and molecular mechanisms of resistance to apoptosis.  As vice chancellor for research, Dr. Economou plans to maintain a focused referral-based clinical practice in melanoma cancer surgery and translational cancer gene therapy research.

I very much appreciate Professor Economou’s willingness to take on this critical position.  I also am deeply grateful to Roberto Peccei for his dedicated service as vice chancellor since October 2000.  During Vice Chancellor Peccei’s tenure, UCLA achieved unprecedented growth in research productivity and funding, and in 2009-10 broke the $1 billion mark for research grant and contract awards.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for its role in recruiting Dr. Economou.  The committee was co-chaired by Kevin S. Reed, vice chancellor for legal affairs, and Emil Reisler, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.  Other members were Jonathan Braun, professor and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine; Diane Favro, professor of architecture and urban design; Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., dean of the School of Public Affairs; Luisa Iruela-Arispe, professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology; Adrienne G. Lavine, chair and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Elizabeth F. Neufeld, professor of biological chemistry; Letitia Anne Peplau, professor of psychology; Ann M. Pollack, assistant vice chancellor for research; Todd S. Presner, associate professor of Germanic languages and comparative literature; Seth J. Putterman, professor of physics and astronomy; Daniel G. Solorzano, professor of education; Abel Valenzuela Jr., professor of Chicana/o studies and urban planning; and Xiangdong William Yang, associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.

Chancellor Block and I are confident that the research enterprise at UCLA will continue to thrive under Jim’s leadership.  Please join me in congratulating him and welcoming him to this important role at UCLA.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost