HCN News & Notes

Michael Fox Named Dean of College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst

AMHERST — Michael Fox has been appointed dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at UMass Amherst by Tricia Serio, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, effective Aug. 15.

“Dr. Fox brings deep experiences in academic leadership,” Serio said. “Through his collaborative leadership experience, support of interdisciplinary initiatives, dedication to faculty mentoring, and commitment to building an inclusive campus community, Dr. Fox is well-positioned to advance academic excellence and student success both within CNS and across campus.”

Fox has been a member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2012, where he currently serves as director of the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience, the endowed I.D. Wilson Chair in the Virginia Tech College of Science, and professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, a research-intensive institute on the health-sciences and technology campus of Virginia Tech.

“I am tremendously excited to join the College of Natural Sciences and the UMass Amherst campus community,” Fox said. “I look forward to bringing my leadership and research experience to support faculty, staff, and trainees in the College of Natural Sciences and to help foster collaborative initiatives that advance the mission of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.”

After beginning his undergraduate studies at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), Fox earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of William and Mary and his Ph.D. in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed his post-doctoral training in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University.

Throughout his career, Fox has received numerous awards and honors, including both the Jordi Folch Pi Award and the Marian Kies Award from the American Society for Neurochemistry, and has served as a counselor for the American Society for Neurochemistry, on several leadership committees for the Society for Neuroscience, and as a reviewer and chair for National Institutes of Health review panels. The focus of his research is the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neural circuit formation in the developing brain.

Fox will succeed Serio, who served as dean of the College of Natural Science from 2017 to 2022. Nathaniel Whitaker has been serving as interim dean of CNS for the past academic year and will return to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as department head.