Caroline Genco Named Interim Provost and Vice President of Tufts

Genco, currently vice provost for research, will take over as the university’s chief academic officer ad interim at the start of 2022

Caroline Genco, vice provost for research at Tufts, will become provost and senior vice president ad interim starting January 1, 2022. She will take the reins from Nadine Aubry, who is taking a sabbatical next year before returning to Tufts as a faculty member. 

As provost ad interim, Genco will oversee Tufts’ eight degree-granting schools, as well as the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and numerous interdisciplinary programs, centers, and institutes on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France.

“I am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of provost and vice president ad interim of Tufts, an institution that prioritizes academic and research excellence, interdisciplinary collaboration, and civic engagement,” said Genco. “These qualities are critically important as we educate the next generation of active and diverse citizens in a broad range of subjects from arts and humanities to engineering and science.”

“Some of Tufts’ greatest strengths are the research capabilities across our unique constellation of schools and centers and the numerous possibilities for synergy. I look forward to helping Tufts capitalize on these strengths while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff,” she added.

President Anthony P. Monaco said Genco is a respected leader and scientist who values the spirit of collaboration.

“Dr. Genco’s contributions to biomedical research and her commitment to our mission as a student-centered research university make her a natural choice for this pivotal university position,” he said. “She has the deep knowledge and thoughtful insight needed to carry forward our commitment to discovery and innovation.”

Genco, who holds the Arthur E. Spiller M.D. Endowed Professor in Genetics, has served as vice provost for research (VPR) for the past two years. During her tenure, Genco moved Tufts’ research agenda forward and enhanced its supporting organizational structures and programs by initiating operational changes in key areas, while also pivoting to respond to opportunities and challenges as they arose.

Known for her ability to foster collaborations across schools, centers, and offices in university-wide initiatives, Genco also has helped facilitate numerous interactions with Tufts Medical Center, the School of Medicine’s principal teaching-hospital affiliate, on shared research initiatives and resources.

In support of the university’s commitment to anti-racism, Genco partnered with Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Joyce Sackey and school faculty and administrators to develop the Tufts FIRST Cohort Program, the goal of which is to provide critical resources and infrastructure to increase faculty diversity among those underrepresented in medicine and science and to ensure the long-term success of new, early career faculty hires.

And in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Genco worked closely with Christopher Sedore, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, and Michael Jordan, University Infection Control Health Director, to capitalize on research strengths and implement COVID-19 surveillance testing for public schools in Tufts’ host communities of Medford and Somerville. This enabled the safe return to in-person learning in Spring 2021 for a significant proportion of children in preschool through 12th grade. 

Also as vice provost for research, she worked with faculty and university leadership to develop and implement strategic research priorities and advocated for the research and scholarship mission of all disciplines across all schools. She oversaw the administration of grants and contracts, the protection of Tufts’ intellectual property, the implementation of the University’s policies on conflict of interest and misconduct in research and scholarship, Comparative Medicine Services on the Boston and Medford campuses, the administration of the University’s postdoctoral scholars program, and the use of human and animal subjects, biological and chemical hazardous agents, blood borne pathogens, and radioactive materials and lasers in research.

Before becoming vice provost for research in 2019, Genco served as chair of the Department of Immunology at Tufts University School of Medicine. In that capacity, she recruited new early career faculty and facilitated interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments and schools. These developments led to increased funding that strengthened the department’s research portfolio and restored fiscal stability. Her own research spans basic, translational, and global health as it relates to bacterial pathogens, with a focus on the effects of chronic infections on systemic health, sexually transmitted infections, and oral and respiratory infectious diseases. She has authored more than 130 articles in scientific journals. 

She joined Tufts in 2015 from Boston University (BU) School of Medicine, where she was a professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology, and research director of the Section on Infectious Diseases. She was also an affiliate faculty member in the Biomedical Engineering Department at BU’s School of Engineering. Before her time at BU, she held appointments at Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University.

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