Board approves appointment of Anantha Shekhar as SVC


The Pitt Board of Trustees on Feb. 28 formally approved the appointment of Anantha Shekhar as the next senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, as well as an officer of the board.

Shekhar was selected for the job in January after a nearly year-long search that included public meetings. Provost Ann Cudd chaired the search committee and Steve Shapiro, a professor in the School of Medicine and chief medical officer of UPMC, served as vice chair. More than half of the committee members were from the schools of the Health Sciences, and staff, faculty and students also represented.

He will officially start at Pitt in June. Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said at the board meeting that “we have found an outstanding leader for Pitt’s world-class health science schools.”

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of this senior position for the future of our University,” he said. Gallagher said Shekhar, who comes to Pitt from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Bloomington, is known as a “broad thinker and a visionary with a talent for bringing people together to make things happen.”

At the IU School of Medicine, Shekhar served as executive associate dean for research affairs, associate vice president for university clinical affairs and research, executive vice president of academic affairs for clinical research at IU Health, and founding director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He has grown the IU School of Medicine’s research funding from the National Institutes of Health by 73 percent since 2015.

As a researcher, he has demonstrated a novel mechanism that is being developed into a new approach to treating schizophrenia. He also has co-founded or led four start-up companies.

Shekhar — who was born in India and earned his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College there and Ph.D. in neuroscience at Indiana — will oversee all six health sciences schools, more than 6,000 faculty and staff, and approximately 5,000 students while working closely with UPMC.   

Arthur Levine, who has held both jobs for the past 20 years, announced in January 2019 that he planned to transition to a role as a researcher looking for a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Levine has for the past several years been the highest-paid academic officer at Pitt. His base salary from Pitt for 2019 was $891,667, plus what he earned from UPMC. Shekhar’s salary, which was not announced, must be approved by the Board of Trustees compensation committee, which will likely meet before the next full board meeting on June 26.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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