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Morris Foster Named ODU Vice President for Research

Photo of Morris FosterMorris Foster

Morris W. Foster, a medical anthropologist who has been on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma for 27 years and has received more than $12 million in independent research funding, has been named vice president for research at Old Dominion University.

ODU President John R. Broderick made the announcement Wednesday. "I believe Dr. Foster will be a dynamic leader of our Office of Research and ODU Research Foundation," Broderick wrote in a letter to the ODU community.

Foster will assume his duties on July1.

At the University of Oklahoma, Foster currently serves as special assistant to the president, associate vice president for research (Norman campus), associate vice president for strategic planning (all campuses), deputy director for cancer prevention and control for the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, deputy director of the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resource and a professor of anthropology. He also is chair of the Ethics Advisory Board for Illumina Inc., the leading manufacturer of sequencing instruments, and was co-chair of the Communication Group for the International Haplotype Map Project, a multinational research consortium.

Foster has been awarded four R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as research funding from the National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal sources. He has held leadership positions for large multimillion-dollar institutional grants, such as NIH General Clinical Research Center and Clinical and Translational Resource awards. His research in medical anthropology has focused on the involvement of communities and groups in genetic studies, on the relationship between race and genetics and on the utility of personal genomic information.

He has published articles in top-tier journals such as Nature, American Journal of Human Genetics, Nature Genetics, American Journal of Public Health and Nature Reviews Genetics. He was editor of American Indian Quarterly from 1993-98.

Foster received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and went on to graduate work in anthropology at Yale University, earning a master's in 1984 and a Ph.D. in 1988. His initial research was in ethnohistory and ethnography, and he published "Being Comanche: A Social History of an American Indian Community" in 1991. That book won the 1992 Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin Prize as the best book in ethnohistory from the American Society for Ethnohistory.

Joan Fay Cuccio, a novelist and former newspaper editor, is his wife and the couple has three children, Emma, Henry and Rose.

Rodger Harvey, chair of ODU's Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, served as interim vice president for research during the last 10 months. He will return to his departmental duties and active research program.

"I thank Dr. Harvey for his able service as interim vice president. He is a remarkable colleague. I also thank the hardworking members of the ODU search committee, led by Provost Simpson, who conducted this nationwide search," Broderick wrote in the announcement. "Under the leadership of Dr. Foster, we expect research and development expenditures by ODU to continue their impressive upward trend."