Mark E. Lowe, MD, PhD, an academic leader and accomplished pediatric physician-scientist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed the university’s vice chancellor for research. He also has been named senior associate dean of research at WashU Medicine. Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Provost Beverly Wendland and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor of medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, announced the appointments, which are effective July 1.
Lowe, the Harvey R. Colten Professor of Pediatric Science, has served since 2022 as the university’s interim vice chancellor for research and the interim associate dean of research at WashU Medicine.
As vice chancellor, Lowe leads the university’s ambitious research mission, which in 2022 attracted more than $1 billion in funding from public and private sources. This includes an estimated $620 million in funding from the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support innovative investigator-initiated laboratory and clinical research programs, as well as graduate training programs in the sciences.
“We are elated to have Mark Lowe at the helm of our research mission,” Martin said. “A highly regarded academic leader, Mark brings a deep knowledge of Washington University to this position along with his own extensive research experience. He will build upon our many strengths as a top research university, helping to ensure that our numerous, diverse research programs continue to grow and thrive.”
In overseeing the university’s leading-edge, collaborative research programs, Lowe’s responsibilities stretch across the university’s Danforth and Medical campuses. He is responsible for the university’s massive research infrastructure, including oversight over research operations, administration, policies and compliance, and promoting the ethical conduct of research and a culture of responsibility among faculty, students and staff engaged in research.
“I’m honored to lead Washington University’s research mission and be a strong advocate for our researchers and their work,” Lowe said. “As our research programs grow, it is important that our researchers — and all those involved in our research mission — have the institutional support from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research to succeed in their academic endeavors.”
Lowe, a Washington University alum, has served on the WashU Medicine faculty in the Department of Pediatrics for more than two decades and is well regarded by university leaders and colleagues. His research in pediatric gastroenterology has been funded continuously by the NIH since 1990, and he has served on numerous NIH study sections through the years.
“Mark is exceptionally well-qualified for this position,” Wendland said. “His dedication and leadership will prove to be tremendous strengths as we continue to expand our research mission and look for opportunities to move our researchers’ discoveries from the university out into the world, for the benefit of society.”
Lowe comes to his new roles at an exciting time. On the Medical Campus, the $616 million Neuroscience Research Building — the largest construction project in the medical school’s history — is nearing completion. The building, scheduled to open in August, is among the largest in the country dedicated to neuroscience research and features laboratory space organized around research themes, a design that will bring together scientists from various scientific disciplines and spur collaborations.
The School of Medicine is also in the midst of a construction project to add six floors of state-of-the-art laboratory space to the top of the Steven & Susan Lipstein BJC Institute of Health building, which sits at the center of the Medical Campus. The addition will include specialized laboratory space for infectious diseases research aimed at enhancing scientists’ ability to develop diagnostic tools, treatments and vaccines to control infectious viruses and bacteria.
“Mark brings immense expertise to his dual leadership roles in research across the university and at WashU Medicine,” said Perlmutter, who also is the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor. “As a top-tier research university and medical school, we believe in the value of research for advancing knowledge and improving health. To conduct such high-caliber research, we need a strong research infrastructure. Mark is just the person to ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with our flourishing community of researchers and graduate students.”
Lowe began his academic career at Washington University, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1973. He received his doctorate in biochemistry in 1977 from the University of Pennsylvania and then worked as a staff scientist at the NIH for five years. He went on to earn his medical degree from the University of Miami in 1984.
Lowe then trained in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology at the School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital and served on the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics from 1989-2003. He left to become chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and vice chair in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In 2017, Lowe returned to Washington University and was named vice chair of clinical affairs and strategic planning in the Department of Pediatrics. He has published 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and authored 24 book chapters.