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Trudeau Institute hires firm to hunt for new director

November 15, 2011
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Trudeau Institute officials have hired a consulting firm that specializes in recruiting senior executives to help find the Institute's next director.

Benjamin Brewster, chairman of Trudeau's board of trustees, said last week that the Institute has enlisted Russell Reynolds Associates to aid in the search.

"We've offered some candidates that have come to our attention, and they'll offer some candidates," Brewster said. "It will be a very thorough search, and it's going to take a number of months. It's not going to happen today or tomorrow."

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The Institute is looking to fill the vacancy left by David Woodland, who left Trudeau last month to become director of a Colorado institute that organizes conferences for scientists. Woodland joined Trudeau as a faculty member 12 years ago and became its director in 2007.

While Woodland was promoted from within to the job of director, Brewster said the current search is focused on candidates from the outside.

"We're pretty much looking for somebody from the outside in large measure because nobody from the inside has expressed interest," he said. "Being director is a hell of a lot of work. (Current faculty) want to do their science, and if somebody steps up and wants to throw their hat in the ring, more power to them. But at this time it would probably be directed outside."

Brewster spoke briefly with the Enterprise last week following the induction of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau into the village's Walk of Fame.

Other Trudeau Institute officials declined a request from the Enterprise to answer several additional questions about the search for a new director.

"Since the departure of Dr. Woodland, the Institute is being headed by an interim management team while we seek a new director," Kim Godreau, Trudeau's institutional advancement administrator, said in an emailed statement. "During this period, the Institute continues operations and fulfillment of its scientific mission as attested by recent publications of our scientific progress reported in the Enterprise."

Woodland isn't the only full-time faculty member the Institute has lost in recent months. Ed and Erika Pearce have moved their research laboratories to Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Marcia Blackman, Woodland's wife will join her husband in Colorado, although Trudeau officials have said she'll remain a faculty member and will conduct research at the Institute on a part-time basis.

The loss of faculty is a big financial hit for the Institute, as departing scientists typically take their research grants with them. Before they left, for example, the Pearces had a combined $2.1 million in National Institutes of Health research grants, a portion of which supported Trudeau's operations. Earlier this year the Institute was forced to lay off nearly a dozen scientific and support staff due to a 25 percent drop in research revenue.

Brewster said recruitment of new faculty is ongoing.

"We're recruiting very hard," he said. "We'd like to find, ideally, a senior scientist. Senior scientists are naturally more difficult to recruit than junior scientists, but Trudeau has a great reputation and the faculty we have there is very strong. We've interviewed several people, is my understanding, but I don't know any more details than that."

Despite the challenges the Institute is facing, Trudeau's current faculty and scientists continue to make important discoveries. The Institute reported last month that scientist Andrea Cooper's lab has discovered how lymphoid tissue that forms in the lungs during chronic inflammation is connected to the way the body fights tuberculosis, a finding that could lead to improved vaccinations. Research conducted in Stephen Smiley's laboratory could lead to new treatments for people sickened by listeria and other sepsis-causing bacteria, the Institute also announced in October.



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