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UNT Insider | September 2008 Issue | Denise Perry Simmons

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UNT taps renowned cancer researcher to lead research development

From a UNT News Service Press Release


Denise Perry Simmons joined the University of North Texas as leader of the newly installed Research Development Team, which will work to heighten UNT's national and international visibility as a top research institution.


Simmons comes from the Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, where she has served as the director of clinical cancer research for the past three years. Before that, she worked for five years as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.


"Dr. Simmons brings an impressive wealth of experience and knowledge to UNT," says Vish Prasad, vice president for research and economic development. "She is exactly what the university needs to encourage and strengthen the innovative research already being done here."


Simmons' hire is the latest in a string of initiatives that illustrate UNT's commitment to increase and emphasize research.


The university announced at the start of the fall 2008 semester a $25-million investment in collaborative research that will help strengthen the state's economy and assist in developing technology crucial to addressing today's most pressing concerns. As the main thrust of the plan, the university expects to hire several new faculty members, many of whom will be senior level researchers with national and international reputations.


Rick Nader, a program director for the National Science Foundation, joined the Research Development Team as a director who will specialize in humanities, social services and arts. Nader will report to Simmons.


In August, UNT brought on Harold Strong as the director of Discovery Park and technology transfer. Strong, who came from Texas A&M's research park, will help conceptualize, design, build and manage Discovery Park, which houses the College of Engineering and is UNT"s research park.


The addition of Simmons nearly completes UNT's Research Development Team. The university still plans to hire an assistant director of research development.


Simmons' responsibilities will include increasing extramural research funding and developing university-wide initiatives to advance faculty research, creativity and innovations through proposal development. She will also assist in writing, reviewing and editing proposals for major research projects and will develop and present grant-writing workshops and seminars.


Simmons will lend her experience with the National Institutes of Health and will help increase the university's funding from NIH, as well as from other federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Defense, Energy and Education departments.


With more than 30 years of experience in research, Simmons also has worked for the University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Medical School and University of Chicago. She has developed seven drug design patents and has received professional and service awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Institutes of Health.


UNT News Service Press Release
Sarah Bahari can be reached at sarah.bahari@unt.edu.

Read other stories in this issue:


September 2008

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