The Directors serve five year terms and are required to be from two different departments.
Potential Directors are identified through a nomination process which begins at least a year before directorship is set to change over. The Interdisciplinary faculty group solicits nominations and discusses all available options. Once they have candidates, names are sent to the Dean of the Graduate School. Reappointment of the current Directors is possible but is subject to a vote and reappointment by the Dean of the Graduate School. Leadership transition requires close coordination with the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs & Planning and the Director of Interdisciplinary Programs.
She is a vision scientist whose research includes work on color vision, gene therapy, and the prevention of nearsightedness. She holds the Ray H. Hill Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington and she is the director for the National Eye Institute P30 funded Vision Research Core at UW. Neitz earned a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986. After continuing at UC Santa Barbara as a postdoctoral fellow, she joined the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1991. She moved to the University of Washington in 2009. Neitz is married to and works with Jay Neitz, also a vision scientist. They have been successfully collaborating in studies of the visual system from genes to behavior since 1986. They started a company, and successfully translated discoveries at the bench to therapeutic interventions for nearsightedness. Their work on gene therapy to “cure” color blindness was listed in Time magazine as #3 in the top 10 most important scientific discoveries of 2009.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in 1979 and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University in 1991, working with Barry Peterson and Jim Baker. He did a postdoctoral fellowship with Eberhard Fetz at UW and joined the faculty here in 1997. He is currently Research Professor in the Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics and Core Scientist in the Washington National Primate Research Center. For many years, he studied the neural mechanisms of reflex and voluntary movements, and more recently his research focuses on interventions to induce neural plasticity and promote recovery from CNS damage. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and kayaking in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.