Aug. 25, 2021
Thomas Spencer has been named vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of Missouri. Spencer is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor in both the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine’s Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health and has served as the interim vice chancellor for research and economic development since Jan. 26.
As vice chancellor, Spencer will continue to develop a culture that promotes and celebrates research, recruit outstanding faculty researchers, develop approaches to grow extramural research and scholarly output as measured by the Association of American Universities, create business models for existing and new centers to achieve excellence, maintain and restructure core facilities to better support faculty, and utilize resources for investments in strategic areas. As the scientific director of the NextGen Precision Health initiative, Spencer also will continue to lead the scientific pursuits and the successful implementation of NextGen Precision Health programs.
In his previous role as associate vice chancellor for research and strategic initiatives in biomedicine and agriculture, Spencer worked with academic leaders, deans and center directors to shape and enhance the university’s current research centers, developed strategies for new centers of excellence in research and creative works, supported the research core facilities, coordinated faculty recruitment among departments and colleges to strengthen research collaboration, and led strategic initiatives that enhance MU’s AAU research mission.
Spencer is a reproductive and developmental biologist nationally and internationally recognized for his work on the development and function of the uterus and placenta. His research has been continuously funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health during his faculty career. He has authored or coauthored more than 350 research articles, reviews and book chapters and served as editor-in-chief of Biology of Reproduction. He also serves as an associate editor for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. His scholarly impact has an h-index, a metric for evaluating the cumulative impact of an author’s scholarly output and performance, of 117, which is in the top 1% of all scientists in the world.
Other career accomplishments for Spencer include his election to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2019, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and the UM System President’s Award for Sustained Career Excellence in 2020.