The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has named Ken Bayles, Ph.D., as interim associate vice chancellor of research and creative activity. The decision was announced today by Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs B.J. Reed, Ph.D., who will oversee Bayles in his new role.
“UNO is gaining someone who not only brings a wealth of personal and professional experience in helping oversee campus-level research and creative efforts, but also understands UNO’s role as a premier metropolitan university,” Reed said.
Bayles is coming to UNO to fill the role previously held by Scott Snyder, Ph.D., who served in the role since 2010. The interim appointment will initially be for two years and begin effective Monday, July 16. As is standard process, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will act on this appointment at its next meeting.
“I have had the immense pleasure of working with a number of UNO faculty and students over the years and I have been so impressed by the work being done on campus,” Bayles said. “I am excited to learn more about the diversity of research and scholarship activities that exist at UNO; assist in achieving established goals; and work with the faculty to shape a vision for the future.”
Bayles earned his Bachelor of Science in biology and Ph.D. in microbiology from Kansas State University. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Bayles served as first an assistant professor then associate professor in the University of Idaho Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry. He has served as a faculty member in the UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology since 2005, as well as an adjunct associate professor position in the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences at the University of South Dakota. He was named associate vice chancellor for basic research at UNMC in 2011.
As the director of his own UNMC research lab, Bayles has built his career around combating infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. He currently leads a lab of six researchers who are working to better understand why implanted device-associated infections are so difficult to treat, often forcing a complete surgical replacement of the implanted medical device.
While serving as interim associate vice chancellor of research and creative activity, Bayles will continue to maintain a presence at UNMC in his current roles as associate vice chancellor for basic research and professor. Each role will have its own respective responsibilities and mission.
“Dr. Bayles has a long track record of collaboration with UNMC and UNO faculty. I know he sees tremendous excellence in UNO’s research and creative activity as well as incredible potential,” Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said. “I believe UNO is uniquely positioned to stand tall as leaders, and Mavericks, of the research world and that is a vision I know Dr. Bayles shares with many UNO faculty, students and staff.”
Bayles was selected by Reed to lead UNO’s research and creativity efforts after a robust search process, including a committee, led by Deborah Smith-Howell, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at UNO. The committee was made up of faculty from each of UNO’s six academic colleges. In-person candidate interviews were also held with members of UNO’s Office of Research and Creative Activity, deans from each of the colleges and members of the UNO Faculty Senate.
“The faculty were especially pleased with the quality of the applicants for this interim position. Everyone took extra care throughout the process to ensure that we were not only rigorous in identifying viable candidates, but inclusive as well,” Smith-Howell said. “I know that Dr. Bayles will be a tremendous asset to UNO in this role.”
Bayles is the author of more than 100 academic journal articles and a regular collaborator with UNO faculty on research projects. His work is recognized internationally and has led to honors including being elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2017 and being named UNMC’s Scientist Laureate in 2018.
“I believe that research and creative activity truly go hand-in-hand. Both require powerful imaginations, the willingness to think ‘outside the box,’ and the courage to present paradigm-changing discoveries and creations to the world,” Bayles said. “I see huge opportunities at UNO and I am honored to have been asked to be part of this great academic community.”
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.
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