Citing personal reasons and the departure of former University President Lee Bollinger, Life Sciences Institute Co-Director Scott Emr has decided to remain at the University of California at San Diego where he is a professor of molecular medicine and biology.

Emr, who was selected in October 2000 to head the LSI with University of Michigan biological chemistry Chair Jack Dixon, was set to move to Ann Arbor this July.

“My decision not to come to Michigan and serve as the Co-Director of the Life Sciences Institute has been the most difficult decision of my professional career,” Emr said in a written statement received by the University”s deans and directors with a statement from interim University President B. Joseph White yesterday.

“I wrestled with it for the past two months. However, in the end, my decision was based on both personal considerations, as well as the needs of my lab personnel.”

Emr also said he developed a close relationship with Bollinger a factor that weighed heavily in his decision to stay in California.

“With Lee”s departure, I had to re-evaluate everything about the move and the momentous change in my career,” Emr said.

“I think Lee”s departure upset the apple cart in terms of that close relationship,” Dixon said.

Emr is the first member of the University administration to cite Bollinger”s move to Columbia as a reason for leaving the University. He is also the second high-profile University administrator to step down in recent weeks. Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Gil Omenn announced last month that he would be leaving his post to become a faculty member at the University.

Dixon will stay on as the sole director of the institute. He said he has already been handling much of the daily business of the institute and expects that to continue.

“I have no immediate plans to appoint a co-director,” White said. “We have in Jack Dixon an outstanding leader.”

Dixon praised Emr”s scientific achievements and the effort he put into the institute.

The LSI”s current progress is not expected to be disrupted by Emr”s decision to vacate the position as co-director.

“I would describe it as a bump in the road,” Dixon said. “I think the initiative is all on track.”

He said his office window affords a view of the progress of the construction on the Life Sciences Institute, which is on schedule and within budget. The institute facility is expected to be finished early in the fall semester.

The University is also in the process of recruiting and hiring faculty for the institute.

“That will go on unabated pretty much as scheduled,” Dixon said.

White said it is not likely Emr”s decision will impact prospective faculty. He said the $700 million venture holds a great deal of incentive in itself, and the University”s constant commitment to the life sciences supplements that.

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