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Rockefeller University Picks Interim President to Replace Levine

NEW YORK, Feb. 12 - Rockefeller University late on Monday picked Thomas P. Sakmar to be acting president following Arnold J. Levine's abrupt departure over the weekend.

Sakmar, 45, is a physician and researcher who heads the university's Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and has played an active role as an administrator and manager at the university.

For the past year, Sakmar has headed the university's Academic Senate, which comprises 71 scientists who lead the laboratories at the school, according to Rockefeller. Sakmar has been associate dean for graduate studies since 1997, a job that requires him to oversee the university's participation in the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, which is offered with Sloan-Kettering Institute and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

"Tom Sakmar enjoys the broad support of the faculty and students of Rockefeller University, as an outstanding scientist, administrator and individual," Richard B. Fisher, chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, said in a statement. "His leadership is widely respected on campus."

 

A search would begin "immediately" to select a permanent president, the school said in a statement.

 

On Sunday, Levine, 62, abruptly quit his post as a response to an inquiry into an affair he allegedly had with an adult female student, The New York Times reported on Monday.

 

GenomeWeb later learned that his departure may have equally been linked to his post on the board of ImClone, the embattled New York-based biotech company currently under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the subject of a slew of investor-driven class-action law suits.

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