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DBI Names Hughes New Associate Director

UDaily, March 8, 2011

Alicia Hughes has joined the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) as its new associate director. Hughes comes to DBI with a wealth of diverse knowledge and expertise in the life sciences, public policy, education and law.

As associate director, Hughes will have responsibility in the areas of grants strategy, leadership and professional development, program development, education outreach, marketing and communications, and community relations.

"I am delighted that Alicia Hughes has joined the DBI leadership team under Kelvin Lee. Alicia's considerable prior experience will clearly be an asset to DBI as she assumes her new responsibilities at one of UD's premier research institutes," said Mark Barteau, senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives.

“We are very excited to have Alicia as a part of our team,” said Lee, DBI director and Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering at UD. “She has a wonderful background that includes life science, technology transfer, and public engagement. We had input from a broad set of key stakeholders and there was significant enthusiasm for bringing Alicia onto our leadership team.”

Hughes said she is “thrilled to be on board at DBI, an academic-public-private partnership done right,” adding, “However, I realize that as time and circumstances have changed, so too must DBI change to remain critical to the success of life science enterprise in Delaware. I look forward to merging all facets of my civic and academic backgrounds to further the Institute's vision of creating a better future through leadership in life science research in a manner that sustains our relevance.”

Hughes' Background

Hughes attended Texas Southern University as a Douglass Honors Institute Scholar, earning a bachelor of science degree in biology with minors in biomedical engineering and organic chemistry in 1996. While in college she was student body president, a congressional fellow for U.S. Rep. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), a Ronald McNair Research Scholar and a National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine.

As a result of her work, Hughes received the NIH MARC Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award in 1995.

Immediately after college, she spent two years as a sixth grade science teacher in a suburban Houston school district. Thereafter, she went on to receive her juris doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law, with concentrations in intellectual property, health policy and international and comparative law in 2002.

As a law student in 1998, Hughes was a member of the inaugural class of Miami Scholars for public interest law and concurrently served as Miss Black USA, advancing as her platform the value of graduate school education for students of color. She returned to Capitol Hill on externship as a congressional staffer, writing health policy and serving as the co-chair of the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force Working Group in 2000 and 2001.

Since completing law school, Hughes has enjoyed a distinguished career in law and public service. She went on to work as a lobbyist in a large south Florida law firm, as a federal law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and for the past four and a half years, as a pharmacology patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At the same time, she has remained civically engaged.

Hughes received a competitive fellowship from the University of Virginia and has been designated a Sorensen Institute Fellow for Political Leadership in 2009. She is also an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow for Public Leadership, and a delegate to the American Council of Political Leaders (Australia '10). Hughes also received Texas Southern University's 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Delaware BioScience Association

Bob Dayton, president of the Delaware BioScience Association, which has a longstanding relationship with DBI, said he is pleased with the selection of Hughes as associate director. "As we continue to provide a unified voice for the local and regional bioscience community and continue to work with DBI to expand access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through greater public outreach, we are fortunate to have Alicia on board as DBI's associate director,” he said.