Rice University
Rice Magazine| The Magazine of Rice University | No. 1 | 2008
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Carson Appointed Dean of Natural Sciences

By B.J. ALMOND

Dan Carson, currently the Trustees Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware, has been appointed dean of Rice University’s Wiess School of Natural Sciences.

CarsonHe will succeed Kathy Matthews when she relinquishes the position Dec. 31 after serving as dean for 10 years. Matthews will continue to do research as Rice’s Stewart Memorial Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

“I am thrilled to welcome a gifted scientist like Dan Carson to Rice’s leadership team,” said President David Leebron. “Following in Kathy Matthews’ footsteps is a daunting task, but Dan has the combination of research, teaching and management skills that will help Rice take another giant step forward in the natural sciences arena. We look to Dan to continue to drive the research that has made Rice a leader across a broad range of endeavors and that will make a difference for our students, our university, our city and the world.”

“We have developed a culture of mutual respect here. The faculty and staff feel that they can express their views, that they will be heard and that things will happen.”

- Dan Carson

At the University of Delaware in Newark, Carson manages a department with 40 faculty members, 1,000 undergraduate majors, 80 graduate students and 24 support staff. Scientist magazine recently named the University of Delaware one of the top places to work in life sciences.
“We have developed a culture of mutual respect here,” Carson said. “The faculty and staff feel that they can express their views, that they will be heard and that things will happen.”

Since becoming department chair in 1998, Carson has recruited 17 faculty members and developed a robust research program, with external research funding increasing from $1.5 million to $10 million. His comprehensive revision of the graduate program has resulted in four times as many graduate students as the department enrolled 10 years ago. He also has built collaborations with other biomedical research institutions in the region as well as with the university’s College of Engineering.

“Dan has the combination of research, teaching and management skills that will help Rice take another giant step forward in the natural sciences arena.”
            - David Leebron

Carson, who also will serve as a professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice, is a reproductive biologist. His research interests focus on the molecular basis by which mammalian embryos implant into the uterine wall. His work earned him a prestigious National Institutes of Health MERIT Award in 2002.

Carson’s wife, Mary C. Farach-Carson, is a professor of biological sciences and materials sciences at the University of Delaware. She has been appointed associate vice provost for research at Rice. The Carsons have four children, the youngest of whom will finish high school next year.