Dr. Mark S. Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution.
Since beginning as president in July 2014, he has launched initiatives including Academic Innovation; Biosciences; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Poverty Solutions; and Precision Health. As part of his commitment to college affordability, President Schlissel in June 2017 announced the Go Blue Guarantee, a new financial aid program that provides up to four years of free undergraduate tuition to in-state students from families in Michigan making $65,000 or less. U-M is perennially the nation’s top public university in research productivity and is consistently ranked as the No. 1 or among the top public universities in the nation.
A graduate of Princeton University (A.B., summa cum laude, 1979, Biochemical Sciences), he earned both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1986, Physiological Chemistry). He completed residency training in internal medicine at Hopkins Hospital and conducted postdoctoral research as a Bristol-Myers Cancer Research Fellow under David Baltimore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Whitehead Institute. President Schlissel is a board certified internist.
President Schlissel previously was provost of Brown University, where he was responsible for all academic programmatic and budgetary functions within Brown’s schools and colleges, as well as its libraries, research institutes and centers.
President Schlissel began his career as a faculty member in 1991 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he earned a number of awards and fellowships for his research and teaching. He moved to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1999 as associate professor, advancing to full professor in 2002, and serving as the department’s vice chair from 2002 to 2007. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in immunology, as well as a large introductory course in biology for life science majors.
He was UC-Berkeley’s dean of biological sciences in the College of Letters & Science beginning in 2008 and held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry until his appointment as Brown’s provost in 2011.
His research has focused on the developmental biology of B lymphocytes, the cell type in the immune system that secretes antibodies. His work has contributed to a detailed understanding of genetic factors involved in the production of antibodies and how mistakes in that process can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 scientific papers and has trained 21 successful doctoral candidates in his lab.
Nationally, he has served as member and chair of the Immunobiology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health and on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Scientific Review Board. President Schlissel was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigators in 1998 and the American Association of Physicians in 2013.
He has been a member of the American Association of Immunologists since 1992. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013 and as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2015. He has helped organize major international scientific meetings and is a frequent seminar speaker at universities through the United States.
In January 2018, the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project presented President Schlissel with one of its inaugural Let Freedom Ring Awards, in recognition of the Go Blue Guarantee and for his proactive work in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion on the Ann Arbor campus. The awards pay tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his legacy in uplifting the human condition.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., President Schlissel is married to Monica Schwebs, an environmental and energy lawyer. They have four grown children.