Chemistry Professor F. Jon Kull ’88 Appointed Dean of Graduate Studies at Dartmouth

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Michael Mastanduno, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth, has appointed Chemistry Professor F. Jon Kull ’88 to the position of dean of Graduate Studies. Kull, the inaugural holder of the Rodgers Professorship at Dartmouth College, began his three-year term this month.

F. Jon Kull

Jon Kull ’88 has been a member of Dartmouth’s chemistry faculty since 2001 and is a recipient of the Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising. (photo by Eli Burak ’00)

An internationally known structural biologist and biochemist, Kull joined Dartmouth’s chemistry faculty in 2001. His research in structural biology and biophysics focuses on the mechanism of molecular motor proteins and the proteins involved in the regulation of bacterial virulence. Kull teaches undergraduate chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysical chemistry, and has supervised graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and the Molecular and Cellular Biology programs. In 2010, he was awarded the Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising.

In announcing the appointment, Mastanduno said, “President Carol Folt and I are delighted that Jon will be leading Dartmouth’s graduate studies for the next three years. He is a highly regarded teacher and researcher and an outstanding mentor to undergraduate and graduate students. I know that he will continue outgoing Dean Brian Pogue’s excellent work, and we all look forward to working with him to continue to strengthen Dartmouth’s graduate programs.”

“It’s a great honor to be named dean and I’m excited to work on issues specifically relevant to graduate studies,” said Kull. “Strong graduate programs directly contribute to faculty scholarship. For example, the structural biology research in my lab largely depends on the work of graduate students.”

He continued, “The Office of Graduate Studies supports nearly 800 students, who represent future leaders in many different disciplines. It is critical that we mentor these students and train them well. I am looking forward to working with the great staff in the graduate studies office, as well as the graduate students, faculty, and administration, to make all of our graduate programs as strong as they can possibly be.”

Kull graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth in 1988 with a double major in chemistry and biology and earned his PhD in biochemistry in 1996 from the University of California, San Francisco. Following a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in San Francisco, he moved in 1998 to the Department of Biophysics at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany. There he continued to use X-ray crystallography as a tool to study structure-function relationships in force-generating proteins.

He returned to Dartmouth as an assistant professor in 2001, was promoted to associate professor in 2007, and to full professor in 2012. This July, Kull was appointed to the Rodgers Professorship at Dartmouth College, a new faculty chair endowed by former trustee T.J. Rodgers ’70.

Kull has published his work in a number of high-profile journals, including Nature, Cell, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He recently began a five-year term as an editorial board member for the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Roughly 50 undergraduate and graduate students have performed research in his lab, which receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. A dedicated teacher, he will continue to co-teach “Chemical Principles and Biological Processes,” an undergraduate introductory chemistry and biology course he developed with Biology Professor Roger Sloboda. Kull, along with Sloboda, has also presented mentoring seminars at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members.

He has contributed to numerous departmental and institutional committees at Dartmouth, including the Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. An avid outdoorsman, Kull has served on the Dartmouth Outing Club Advisory Council and is a member of the Dartmouth Second College Grant Management Committee. He is also the Dartmouth Ski Team’s faculty adviser.