Noted Scientist Vassilios Papadopoulos to Lead USC School of Pharmacy

The innovative leader has published over 300 papers, holds numerous patents and serves on many national and international advisory committees.

By Emily Gersema

Vassilios Papadopoulos, executive director and chief scientific officer of the Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, has been named dean of the USC School of Pharmacy, effective Oct. 1.

Papadopoulos, who also has been the associate executive director of research for the McGill University Health Centre, will hold the John Stauffer Dean’s Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences at USC.

USC Provost Michael Quick announced the appointment today on behalf of USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

“Vassilios Papadopoulos is a transformative leader and I am thrilled that the USC School of Pharmacy will be helmed by someone of his broad experience and expertise,” said Nikias. “Over the years, the USC School of Pharmacy has established itself as a national leader through its pioneering research, its work with at-risk communities and by leading the evolution of the pharmacist’s role from service provider to patient care steward. With today’s appointment, I have every confidence that the school will continue on its impressive trajectory.”

Papers and patents

Papadopoulos has published over 300 papers, holds numerous patents and serves on many national and international advisory committees. He is an elected foreign member of the National Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy in France, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

“I am excited to join the Trojan Family,” Papadopoulos said. “USC is a highly ranked education and research institution that rises in stature every year. The USC School of Pharmacy has been leading the field of pharmacy for more than 100 years, and it is known for its intense focus on excellence. The faculty and students are among the best in California.”

For nearly a decade, Papadopoulos has led initiatives at McGill University Health Centre’s research arm, including Translational Research and Intervention across the Lifespan, which resulted in over $300 million in federal and provincial grants to build a state-of-the-art facility for clinical and biomedical research, said McGill University Health Centre officials.

“We found Dr. Papadopoulos to be highly qualified to lead the School of Pharmacy as it continues to advance its already-outstanding legacy of scholarship and influence,” Quick said.

To foster the development of future scientists and clinicians at McGill University Health Centre, Papadopoulos established the institution’s Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training and established a Business Development Office to facilitate knowledge transfer and assist in the commercialization of technologies. Under his leadership, the Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre launched numerous international collaborations.

Enthusiasm and leadership

Papadopoulos promised to bring enthusiasm, leadership and innovation to his new role as a USC dean.

“The USC School of Pharmacy has a major role to play in the U.S. health care environment and in the future of health care delivery,” Papadopoulos said. “Together, the faculty, students and I will work to advance treatment and care for patients now and for many years to come.”

A School of Pharmacy graduate of the University of Athens in Greece, Papadopoulos holds a PhD in health and life science from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, and he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in France and Australia. In 1988, he joined the faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine, rising to become professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 2004, Papadopoulos was appointed associate vice president for research and then director of the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization at Georgetown University Medical Center. He moved to McGill in 2007. In addition to his leadership roles, he has been a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Biochemical Pharmacology and the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine.

Papadopoulos and his wife, Martine Culty, a tenured associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill, will soon move to Los Angeles. Culty, whose research focuses on reproductive biology, toxicology and endocrine disruptors, will become an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at USC School of Pharmacy.

Two of their sons are in college and one has become a lawyer. All are excited to visit Los Angeles, Papadopoulos said.

“I have lived in Athens, Paris, Sydney, Washington, D.C. and Montreal, and I look forward to living in Los Angeles, a cosmopolitan city known as a center for arts, health care, innovation and creativity,” Papadopoulos said.