Patricia Wittkopp, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Sally L. Allen Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has been named the new associate dean for the natural sciences at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan. Wittkopp succeeds Myron Campbell, who has served in an interim role since July 2022. Wittkopp’s term begins July 1, 2023.

“I am delighted to welcome Professor Wittkopp as the associate dean for the natural sciences,” said Anne Curzan, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. “The research and academic curriculum in LSA’s natural sciences division have produced some of the most innovative, impactful, and creative work in the country, helping to address the world’s most challenging issues, from climate change to cancer, and answer compelling questions about life on Earth and in the universe. In her nearly two decades at LSA, Professor Wittkopp has demonstrated that she is an exceptional scholar, teacher, mentor, and leader. Her accomplishments cannot be overstated. We are proud that she is a member of our college and university and now a member of the dean’s office leadership team.”

As associate dean, Wittkopp will work with the natural sciences chairs and directors in the division’s 14 units: Applied Physics, Astronomy, Biological Station, Chemistry, Complex Systems, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Mathematics, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Museum of Paleontology, Physics, Program in Biophysics, Program in Computing for the Arts and Sciences, and Statistics.  

"As a graduate of U-M, I know personally how transformative a Michigan education can be, both in the classroom and in the research laboratory,” said Wittkopp. “I am excited to work with LSA students, faculty, and staff in this new role to support teaching and research that furthers our understanding of the natural world and use this understanding to solve some of our most pressing challenges. Perhaps most importantly, I look forward to doing this work in a way that fosters a sense of belonging, encourages wellness, and enables people from all backgrounds to do their best work.”

Wittkopp researches evolutionary genetics and genomics, as well as the evolution of development. She studies the genetic changes responsible for phenotypic differences in and between species and how those changes impact development and molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression and how they evolve. Her current research uses species of fruit flies and yeast to investigate these biological processes.

Wittkopp has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan since 2005 and currently serves as the chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is a member of the prestigious Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is affiliated with several departments and units at U-M, including the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Center for Statistical Genetics, the Program in Biomedical Sciences, and the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics.