By: Ananya Sen
The mission of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology is to tackle grand challenges in fundamental and applied research using multi-disciplinary research themes. Additionally, the IGB strives to engage with the public to understand the impact of its research and to stimulate bio-economic development in Illinois. As the Director of External Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Tracy Parish will help IGB themes partner with companies, tech-incubators, foundations, and philanthropists.
Parish previously worked in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. “I worked with academic departments, centers, and other units within the college to make connections with external partners, including corporations, corporate foundations, private foundations, and, in some cases, government agencies,” Parish said. “In fact, the University of Illinois Observatory will be restored because of a grant we received just this week.”
Parish also served as the Director of Career Services at Gies College of Business and as their Associate Director for Undergraduate Affairs. Additionally, he coordinated public engagement efforts for the Office of the Chancellor at the University of Illinois. “In all these positions I was able to bring together external partners and community organizations to help us not only address social issues, health, wellness, energy, and sustainability challenges, but also to support internal efforts including student professional development,” Parish said.
Parish is looking forward to continuing those same initiatives at the IGB. “There is a lot of synergy with what I will be doing at the IGB and what I was doing in LAS,” Parish said. “The only difference is LAS is a large college and it was difficult to focus on one area. This position is an opportunity to continue working in areas where I have already been spending the majority of my time in a more focused way to address specific challenges and hopefully have even more impact.”
Among the different projects at the IGB, Parish is excited about efforts to address challenges to human health through the Personalized Nutrition Initiative and a variety of research themes. “Diseases like pulmonary fibrosis have impacted my family substantially and so I am happy to work on bringing in corporate support and partnership that will create new therapies for the disease,” Parish said. “Having those kinds of tangible solutions come out of the work that we're doing here is going to be really satisfying, and it is something I am looking forward to."
By: Ananya Sen
Photos By: L. Brian Stauffer