Dr. Praveen Sethupathy ’03 begins role as chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) selected Dr. Praveen Sethupathy ’03, professor of physiological genomics, as the new chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, effective Oct. 1.

“I am very pleased to have Dr. Sethupathy join the college leadership team in this role,” says Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “He brings an innovative and collaborative approach to everything he does, and I look forward to seeing his positive impact on the department, the college community and Cornell University as a whole.”

Sethupathy has roots at Cornell, having studied computer science and biology as an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences. He went on to get his Ph.D. in genomics at the University of Pennsylvania, and later earned a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute under the mentorship of NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, where Sethupathy and his colleagues worked toward defining multiple layers of gene expression control — including microRNAs — in human pancreatic islets, a tissue critical in the development of diabetes. Sethupathy continued this work, expanding his studies to the liver and the intestine as well, as an assistant professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During that time, he was selected by Genome Technology as one of the nation’s top 25 rising young investigators in genomics.

In 2017, Sethupathy joined CVM to continue his research on the digestive system, using molecular and genome-scale approaches to define gene regulatory mechanisms controlling liver and gut biology. In addition to his basic research, his work has a translational focus, with projects focusing on diabetes, Crohn’s disease and fibrolamellar carcinoma. Sethupathy has authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals such as PNAS, Cell and Science and has served as a reviewer for over 50 different journals, won several awards and served on the advisory board for the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion. In 2019, Sethupathy was appointed as the new director of Cornell’s Center for Vertebrate Genomics, stepping into the role previously held by Dr. John Schimenti, James Law professor of genetics.

“I am very pleased to take on this challenge and opportunity,” says Sethupathy. “The Department of Biomedical Sciences is made up of really talented, inspiring, and collaborative people, and it’s an honor to serve them and help implement a shared vision for biomedical sciences over the coming years.”

Sethupathy follows Dr. Paul Soloway, professor of molecular genetics, who held the role of chair from 2017 until earlier this year. Dr. David Lin, associate professor of neurobiology, served as interim chair while Sethupathy was away on sabbatical.

“I’m very grateful to Dr. Soloway for his years of excellent leadership and contributions in advancing the missions of the college,” says Warnick. “I’m also very appreciative of Dr. Lin, who willingly stepped in to guide the department during the transitional period.”

Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts