Gordon Ringold, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with strong academic and research credentials, will assume leadership and oversight of UC Santa Cruz's growing initiatives in Silicon Valley. UC Santa Cruz currently oversees $35 million annually in Silicon Valley-related research, has approximately 600 employees there, and is participating in the development of a 75-acre education and research community in partnership with NASA Ames.

UCSC chancellor George Blumenthal has appointed Ringold, a UCSC alumnus and currently chairman and CEO of Alavita Pharmaceuticals of Mountain View, to serve as senior director of Silicon Valley Initiatives, effective June 14. He replaces Martin Chemers, professor of psychology, who retired in March.

"Gordon Ringold is uniquely qualified to lead our Silicon Valley Initiatives. He is a successful entrepreneur with strong connections in the valley as well as academic and research experience," Blumenthal said. "I am confident in his ability to strengthen our presence as the UC for Silicon Valley, advancing our research and educational activities there."

Blumenthal added that he felt it would be especially valuable to bring in someone with experience launching new companies at a time when the University Associates - Silicon Valley LLC is in "start-up mode" in developing an education and research community at NASA Research Park.

UCSC's Silicon Valley initiatives focus on professional and executive education and research efforts designed to fuel technological innovation. The campus has established a broad-based partnership with the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View that includes the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) and the Advanced Studies Laboratories. A range of academic programs are offered at the UCSC Silicon Valley Center in the NASA Research Park, as well as through UCSC Extension in Santa Clara.

"We will continue to build on our strong relationships with NASA and other partners in Silicon Valley," Ringold said. "Part of the reason for UCSC to be in Silicon Valley is to connect with the incredible breadth and depth of the high-tech community, and I look forward to strengthening campus relationships there, not only to build our Silicon Valley programs, but to raise awareness on this side of the hill of the superb academics and research efforts on the Santa Cruz campus."

As a longstanding trustee and past president of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation, Ringold is very familiar with the current academic priorities and goals of UC Santa Cruz. He plans to resign from his position as a Foundation Trustee. His appointment as senior director of Silicon Valley Initiatives will begin as a 50-percent-time position and increase to 80-percent time in September.

Ringold has nearly 30 years of experience managing the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals and novel life-science technologies. He earned his B.S. in biology at UCSC in 1972 and a Ph.D. in microbiology at UCSF. He then joined the pharmacology faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine, where his research efforts included developing novel methods to produce recombinant protein therapeutics. In 1987, Ringold left Stanford to head the Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology at Syntex Research, and he later served as CEO and scientific director of the Affymax Research Institute, where he managed the development of novel technologies to accelerate the pace of drug discovery.

Ringold cofounded several biotechnology companies, including SurroMed, Maxygen, Alexza Pharmaceuticals, and Alavita Pharmaceuticals. He served as chairman and CEO of SurroMed from 2000 to 2005, and he currently serves on the boards of directors of Maxygen, Alexza, and 3V Pharmaceuticals. He will be stepping down as CEO of Alavita Pharmaceuticals, a private company developing therapeutics for treatment of damage associated with stroke, heart attacks, and organ transplantation.