Anantha Shekhar, Indiana University associate vice president for university clinical affairs and research and executive dean for research affairs at the IU School of Medicine, has been awarded the IU President’s Medal for Excellence. The medal is the highest honor the university’s president can bestow. It recognizes those who’ve made outstanding professional achievements and provided exceptional service to the university.

Shekhar earned his doctoral degree in neuroscience at the university before joining the faculty in 1989. The National Institutes of Health started funding Shekhar’s research that same year. His work has resulted in patents for new therapies and the discovery of new treatments for panic and related anxiety disorders. 

He also served as the principal investigator on the IU Precision Health Grand Challenge initiative, the first of IU’s Grand Challenges. The initiative aims to develop cures and preventive treatments for devastating diseases prevalent among Hoosiers. It has resulted in an estimated economic impact of nearly $200 million in four years, the hiring of more than 126 scientists and the creation of four companies.

Shekhar is the founding director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, an NIH-funded research partnership among IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, as well as other private and public organizations. Indiana CTSI is the only statewide institute of its kind.

As executive associate dean for research affairs, Shekhar has helped increase NIH funding for the School of Medicine’s research by 73 percent since 2015. He has also co-founded or led five biotech companies. He has served on numerous boards, including the Advisory Board for Clinical Research for the NIH.

Shekhar is leaving IU to serve as the University of Pittsburgh’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. He begins his new position in June.

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