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Kaiser, Sipser to head departments

Chris Kaiser
Chris Kaiser
Michael Sipser
Michael Sipser

Professor Chris Kaiser of the Department of Biology and Professor Michael Sipser of the Department of Mathematics have been named heads of their respective departments.

Kaiser is a leader in using yeast as a model organism to study cell biological processes. He has devised genetic and biochemical systems to dissect the molecular mechanisms for intracellular trafficking of proteins. His research program has been recognized with Markey Scholarship and Searle Scholarship awards.

"I am confident that Chris will make an outstanding head of biology, and I look forward to working with him over the next five years," said Dean of Science Robert J. Silbey in a letter to biology faculty and staff announcing the appointment.

Kaiser succeeds Professor Robert Sauer, who held the post for five years. Silbey, the Class of '42 Professor of Chemistry, noted Sauer's "leadership and dedication to the department... ." Bob has been a strong advocate for the needs of the department, and he has been a great supporter of intellectual and scholarly excellence in the School of Science."

Kaiser joined the MIT faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor of biology. In 1996 he was promoted to associate professor, and in 2002 he became a full professor. He holds a B.S. in biochemistry from Harvard University and earned a Ph.D. in biology from MIT in 1987.

Michael Sipser is a theoretical computer scientist recognized for his work on complexity theory, automata and language theory, and algorithms. He is the author of the widely used textbook "Introduction to the Theory of Computation."

"Mike combines outstanding accomplishments in mathematics with excellent intellectual and educational leadership," Silbey said in a letter to math faculty and staff. "He was enthusiastically recommended by the Mathematics Head Search Committee."

Sipser succeeds Professor David Vogan as department head; Vogan held the position for five years. "David has been a truly outstanding department head who has served both the department and the Institute very well," Silbey said.

Sipser has been on the faculty of MIT since 1980; he was Chairman of Applied Mathematics from 1998 to 2000. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Cornell University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979.

Sipser's and Kaiser's appointments as department heads were effective July 1, 2004.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 30, 2005 (download PDF).

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