Robert Palazzo Appointed Provost of Rensselaer

June 28, 2007

Robert Palazzo Appointed Provost of Rensselaer

Robert E. Palazzo, Ph.D.

     Robert E. Palazzo (Profile)

Accomplished scientist and teacher is a national leader in his field

Troy, N.Y. — Robert E. Palazzo, acting provost, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and professor of biology at Rensselaer, has been appointed to the position of provost after a rigorous national search, it has been announced by President Shirley Ann Jackson. Palazzo will assume his new position July 1.

“Robert Palazzo is an accomplished scientist and teacher, and he is a national leader in his field,” Jackson said. “He brings a wealth of experience to the position of provost. I look forward to continuing our work together toward the goal of elevating Rensselaer into the top-tier of technological research universities with global reach and global impact.”

As provost, Palazzo will work closely with the academic divisions to develop leading academic programs and to develop a world-class instructional and research faculty. He also will collaborate with the vice president for research to strengthen the research mission of the Institute.

The decision was reached after an extensive national search involving an outstanding pool of candidates, according to Jackson. The recruitment committee interviewed four finalists on campus, with extensive participation by faculty, students, and administrators. She expressed her gratitude to the Core Recruitment Committee for an effective search, and said she “particularly would like to thank committee co-chairs Robert Linhardt, acting director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life.”

“I am grateful to President Jackson for her confidence in providing me the opportunity to serve, humbled by the extraordinary commitment and generosity of the Board Trustees, and invigorated by the strength and scholarship of the faculty of Rensselaer,” Palazzo said. “The quality of students at Rensselaer brings a deep sense of responsibility to the Office of the Provost to ensure that we offer them the very best in educating them as the technological leaders of tomorrow. What we do for them now will emanate throughout the world, and, as such, reflects the care, wisdom, and scholarship of our faculty.”

Palazzo has been a leader in Rensselaer’s academic community since joining the Institute as a professor of biology in 2002. “Dr. Palazzo has been instrumental in elevating the prestige of Rensselaer’s scientific community as we developed our Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, which now stands on equal footing with many of the world’s most advanced research facilities,” Jackson said. “He also has played an important role in recruiting world-class faculty to lead interdisciplinary research and teaching.”

Palazzo is a national leader in his field, having been elected president of the Federation for American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB), a group of 21 societies representing more than 80,000 life scientists across the country. His one-year term as president will begin July 1, when he will take over as the head and lead spokesperson for the organization. FASEB is recognized as the principal voice of the biomedical research community on issues related to biomedical research funding and research integrity.

Prior to joining Rensselaer, Palazzo spent time as a visiting professor at Harvard University Medical School, and 10 years in a variety of roles with the University of Kansas, where he chaired the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology that later became the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Prior to his work in Kansas, Palazzo spent three years as an assistant scientist/principal investigator for the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., where he also has served on the Board of Trustees.

A member of many scientific societies, Palazzo has focused his research on centrosomes and cellular organization; cell-cycle regulation; fertilization and reproduction; regulation of cell motility; and drug discovery. He has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research, and the National Science Foundation for research in a range of areas, including biomolecular science and engineering, biotechnology undergraduate curriculum development, and institutional transformation. He has published many papers, articles, and edited books; has chaired symposia for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Cell Biology; and has participated in invited seminars for biology and microscopy organizations across the United States and Europe.

Palazzo earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a doctorate in biological sciences at Wayne State University, and studied as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia.

Contact: Jason Gorss
Phone: (518) 276-6098


For general inquiries:

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit