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New VP for Research (VPR)

May 17, 2017

Dear University of Maryland community:

I am pleased to inform you that Laurie E. Locascio will be our new VPR. For the past 30 years, she has worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD, rising from a research biomedical engineer to senior leadership positions.

She currently serves as the Principal Deputy Director at NIST, supporting the Director as NIST transitions to new political leadership in the U.S. Department of Commerce. She is also Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, providing leadership and operational guidance for NIST's seven scientific and mission-focused laboratories.

Previously, she directed the Material Measurement Laboratory (MML), NIST's largest scientific lab, overseeing 1,000 research staff in eight locations around the nation and a $170M annual budget. MML does research and develops standards in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences and in engineering. Its work supports innovation in areas such as climate change, renewable energy, healthcare, food safety, nutrition, and homeland security.

As MML director, she recruited top talent, fostered excellence, and built a collegial and collaborative workplace. She implemented strategic partnerships with universities, industry, and other government labs. One of these partnerships is with UMD's Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at Shady Grove. She is knowledgeable about the UMD/NIST collaborations that led to the Joint Quantum Institute and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science. 

To the position of VPR at UMD, she brings strategic thinking, policy and diplomatic acumen, and interpersonal and negotiation skills. She has an appreciation of the importance of the arts and humanities in a comprehensive  S-T-E-A-M university. 

Laurie received the BS in Chemistry from James Madison University, the MS in Bioengineering from the University of Utah, and the PhD in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. A Fellow of the American Chemical Society and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, she has published 115 scientific articles and has been awarded 11 patents.

She will begin full-time at UMD on October 1, 2017. To transition into the position, this summer she will be spending about a day on campus each week to get acquainted with faculty, staff, and students.

I want to thank the search committee, chaired by Dean Darryll Pines, for its diligent work that resulted in a slate of exceptional finalists. I also want to thank Professor Amitabh Varshney for his outstanding service as interim VPR.

To the talented and dedicated staff of the Division of Research, and to the faculty, staff, and students engaged in scholarship and innovation, thank you for your contributions that make UMD a front-rank research institution.


Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland