Dr. Michael Criscitiello, a comparative immunologist and professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB), has been appointed associate dean for Research & Graduate Studies at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS).
Criscitiello, who previously served as the assistant dean for Research & Graduate Studies, has been a CVMBS faculty member since 2008 and leads the college’s Comparative Immunogenetics Laboratory.
“Dr. Criscitiello and I share strong interests in exploring new collaborative opportunities among our faculty in the basic and clinical sciences and with colleagues in the broader university community,” said Dr. John R. August, CVMBS dean. “I would like to thank Dr. Criscitiello for accepting this position, and I am very optimistic that our college will achieve a strong trajectory in our research and graduate programs under his leadership.”
As Criscitiello begins his new position, he is optimistic about the future of research and graduate studies at the college, largely because of the progress his predecessor Dr. Robert Burghardt has made over the past several years.
“I would like to continue the upward trajectory that Dr. Burghardt has set in place. He established the college’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, and we want to keep strengthening that,” Criscitiello said. “I think we’re doing well in graduate studies, so research is where I want to increase our focus and look for ways to maintain the Texas A&M veterinary school’s prominence.”
One of Criscitiello’s priorities as associate dean will be increasing the CVMBS’ research collaborations with other colleges at Texas A&M and external partners.
“Something that will be a focus is trying to find ways to bring basic and clinical scientists together within the veterinary school and also with other entities at Texas A&M, such as the medical school and College of Engineering,” Criscitiello said.
“I’m just really, really excited because we have terrific senior faculty, staff, veterinary students, undergrads, graduate students, and post-docs in the labs,” he said. “I think the future is bright with our recent hires, and I’m excited to see what we can do together and with other terrific scientists around the world.”
One of the new aspects of Criscitiello’s role will be working with Texas A&M’s recently established Graduate and Professional School, which was created to elevate graduate and professional education at the university.
“The new grad school is going to be value added for philanthropy, development, and getting high-caliber students who might not have thought about Texas A&M for grad school,” he said. “The school is going to be the provider of lots of terrific programs.”
In addition to his new administrative position, Criscitiello is planning to continue his work in the classroom and his Comparative Immunogenetics Lab.
Criscitiello’s lab leads studies in immunology, molecular genetics, and evolution. His work focuses on the evolution of the vertebrate adaptive immune system, including its genesis, subsequent natural history, and trajectory into the future.
Some of his current projects include studying the thymus and immune system of nurse sharks, the relationship between the immune system and genetics in marine mammals, and the development of new treatment strategies for HIV and triple-negative breast cancer from cattle antibodies.
Training and mentoring the next generation of researchers is an important goal for Criscitiello both inside and outside of the lab. He has trained veterinary students, high school students, post-doctoral fellows, visiting national and international scholars, and one high school teacher.
“The older I get, the more I realize how lucky I was that I bumped into really good people who were quietly mentoring me and nudging me away from problems and into good directions,” Criscitiello said. “I don’t think that necessarily happens organically, but it can be taught and groomed. We have terrific mentors here and I want those mentors to keep training other mentors and for us all to keep learning. I think that culture needs to be nurtured and developed.
“It’s a good time to be a scientist,” he said. “We need to keep the pipeline of terrific young minds primed so we can solve problems, and I’m looking forward to keeping the CVMBS at the forefront of that.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216