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Executive Directors Announced as UW Science Initiative Building Nears Completion

February 14, 2022

As the University of Wyoming’s new Science Initiative Building nears completion, two positions of leadership have been designated -- one to serve as the main point of contact for research collaborations and operations, and one to oversee the educational programs associated with the Science Initiative.

UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development has named Greg Brown, a professor in the Department of Botany, as the part-time executive operations director for the Science Initiative effective Feb. 1. And Mark Lyford, an academic professional in the Department of Botany, will continue to serve as the executive program director.

The Science Initiative is focused on the foundational biological and physical sciences that help train undergraduate and graduate students in all of the colleges and schools at UW. The $100 million Science Initiative Building, which will open this spring, is home to modern laboratory research space for faculty and students; a state-of-the-art greenhouse; the Model Organism Research Facility (MORF); the Center for Advanced Scientific Instrumentation (CASI); and active-learning classrooms and collaborative spaces for undergraduate and graduate education and research. 

As the Science Initiative Building comes online and faculty and students begin to move in, the initiative’s educational programs continue to grow.

Brown serves on the Science Initiative Building Advisory Team and has been a member and head of the campus Science Initiative Leadership Team. He has been involved with the Science Initiative since it was conceived in 2014. In his new role, he supports, organizes and facilitates interdisciplinary research connected to the life and physical sciences, and has oversight of building management of the greenhouses, MORF, CASI and the Competitive Research Innovation Program, which provides research support through seed funding and graduate fellowships.

“I am honored and excited to be selected as the first executive operations director for this incredible new UW research facility,” says Brown, a former head of the Department of Botany; a former director of the Robert and Carol Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center; and a former associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. “The new building also will serve as the hub for the Science Initiative programs needed to help drive UW to Tier-1 research status, the overall goal of the UW Science Initiative, and I look forward to working with Dr. Lyford and all of the faculty to achieve that goal.”

In his role, Lyford oversees the Learning Actively Mentoring Program; the Wyoming Research Scholars Program; the Science Initiative K-Community Roadshow outreach programs; the Student Collaborative Research Outreach Learning Laboratory; the active-learning classrooms; and overall program administration. Lyford also serves on the Science Initiative Building Advisory Committee and was an original member of the Science Initiative Leadership Team.

“I am honored to continue in my position overseeing the Science Initiative programs and to have the chance to work alongside Dr. Brown, who has served as a mentor for many years,” says Lyford, who has held leadership positions as director of the Life Sciences Program, the Office of Distance Education and the Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning, and has overseen campuswide assessment of student learning. “I’m truly excited to see our programs grow and continue to provide transformational experiences for our students and faculty here at UW and across the state.”

Brown and Lyford will work together with the Office of Research and Economic Development to further develop an executive committee to make top-level decisions concerning the direction of Science Initiative programs, space allocation and usage, and operations.

“To have Dr. Brown and Dr. Lyford serve in these positions and work together ensures a coordinated effort between the facilities and programs to achieve the interdisciplinary research, education and outreach goals of the Science Initiative,” says Diana Hulme, interim vice president for research and economic development. “Their long-term involvement with the Science Initiative from its conception -- and their understanding of the research and educational objectives of the Science Initiative Building and programs -- make them a dynamic team that is well suited to move the Science Initiative forward.”

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