Kevin Strange, Ph.D., became the MDI Biological Laboratory’s first president in July 2009 after a distinguished career as an NIH-funded biomedical scientist and leader at Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Strange is leading a dramatic transformation of the Institution’s biomedical research and educational programs. He began his tenure by refocusing the Institution’s research program and recruiting a new generation of multidisciplinary scientists to understand the genetic mechanisms of tissue repair, regeneration, and aging. These scientists are defining how diverse animal models rapidly replace damaged hearts and nervous systems and lost limbs, and how gene activity influences lifespan and the degenerative changes that occur during aging. Only three years after establishing this new research focus, the MDI Biological Laboratory was recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in regenerative and aging biology and medicine.
Before arriving in Maine, Dr. Strange was associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Critical Care Research Laboratories at Children’s Hospital in Boston. In 1997, he moved to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he was the John C. Parker Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Anesthesiology, founding a much-needed basic, translational and clinical research program that quickly elevated the department’s prestige to “top ten” status.
Dr. Strange is an expert in the field of cellular stress biology, and leads groundbreaking research into how proteins are damaged by environmental stressors and how cells detect, degrade and repair these damaged proteins. This work is vital to understanding the degenerative changes that occur as humans age. Dr. Strange holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California at Davis, and received his doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Strange excels at creating multidisciplinary environments for dynamic and innovative scientific investigation, and is building the MDI Biological Laboratory into a pioneering 21st-century biomedical research and development institution. In 2013, together with assistant professor Voot Yin, Ph.D., he founded the Institution’s first spinout company, Novo Biosciences, Inc., to accelerate the testing and development of a novel drug for patients with heart disease. Novo Biosciences is one of a growing number of institutional ventures designed to transform discoveries into cures and stimulate entrepreneurial thinking and risk-taking. Dr. Strange was named in 2013 as one of ten Maine “innovative business people” who “hold tremendous promise for the state” and its future economy.
Dr. Strange was also recognized by Maine magazine in June 2017 as one of 50 Mainers who are “leading by example.” The magazine highlighted Mainers who are driven to do what’s best for their communities, “no matter what the odds or expectations.” The leaders selected by the magazine were chosen because they “take action, even if they don’t know who will follow.” In the process they make their communities “healthier, more prosperous, more educated, more diverse, and more culturally rich.”