Marine Ecologist is New Vice President for Research

By Lisa James

Christopher F. D’Elia, formerly director of the Maryland Sea Grant College of the University System of Maryland, is the University’s new Vice President for Research. He assumed his responsibilities on March 1.

"Christopher D’Elia brings energy and new vision to the position of vice president for research," said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Judy Genshaft. "He has considerable connections with individuals and funding agencies in Washington D.C. and, as a faculty member himself, he understands faculty concerns." She noted that D’Elia was selected from a very strong pool of candidates.

In addition to directing the Maryland Sea Grant College, D’Elia was also a professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies, and he served as Distinguished Ruth Patrick Scholar and as a research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. He served as provost of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in 1994.

One among a select group of the nation’s scientists credited with discovering the importance of nitrogen as a nutrient pollutant, D’Elia has received numerous grants and contracts from a variety of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the state of Maryland.

His areas of academic expertise are nutrient dynamics in aquatic systems, estuarine and coral reef ecology, science policy, marine pollution, global climate change, and analytical chemistry. He has written extensively on these topics for a variety of publications.

In addition to being the leader of Sea Grant network, D’Elia has attained a strong national profile through his past presidency of the Estuarine Research Federation, his position as chairman of the Board of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and his chairmanship of the Board on Oceans and Atmosphere of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the nation’s oldest higher education association.

D’Elia spent much of his youth in the New York City metropolitan area, where his father was a practicing psychiatrist. Through living in and near New York, he says he developed a familiarity with and concern for state environmental issues. A member of the board of the Hudson River Foundation (HRF) for several years, he has reviewed several science projects on behalf of HRF for most of the last decade.

"I am delighted with this new opportunity,” D’Elia said. "Both my wife and I have been extremely impressed with the hospitality and team orientation of everyone we have met.

“In addition to having widely recognized excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, the University at Albany has established a record of accomplishment in research and scholarly inquiry in a broad range of disciplines. Its prospects to expand on this record are both substantial and exciting.

“My principal challenges are to help lead the University at Albany to the top tier of public research universities and to ensure that the services provided by the Division of Research are uniformly excellent and responsive to the needs of the University community.”

The vice president for Research is responsible for the administration of the Office for Research, the Technology Development Office, research subject review committees, a number of institutional research centers, and the ongoing development of two University-related business incubators.

University at Albany