Santa J. Ono, Ph.D., is the 15th president of the University of Michigan. He began a five-year term on Oct. 14, 2022.
A recognized leader in higher education in the United States and Canada, President Ono is an experienced vision researcher whose pioneering work in experimental medicine focuses on the immune system and eye disease. At U-M he is professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the Medical School.
He joined U-M from the University of British Columbia, where he served as president and vice chancellor since 2016.
While at UBC, he chaired the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and the Research Universities of British Columbia, and served on the board of Universities Canada. He also served on the steering committee of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities; Government of Canada’s Industry Advisory Ad Hoc Roundtable on COVID-19 Testing; and the boards of Fulbright Canada and Mitacs.
Prior to his appointment at UBC, he was president of the University of Cincinnati, where he also served as professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. While at the University of Cincinnati, he was appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to lead the state’s Biopharmaceutical Task Force and to the Board of the Ohio Third Frontier, the state’s technology-based economic development program.
Dr. Ono has served as senior vice provost and deputy to the provost at Emory University. He also has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University and University College London.
He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, USA and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. In 2022, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
He serves on the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He is the leader of the University Climate Change Coalition, and a member of the International Advisory Board of Keio University and the Terramera Strategic Advisory Board.
He has served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the Council on Competitiveness, as chief innovation adviser to the Province of British Columbia, and as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for the Government of Canada.
He has advised national and regional governments on higher education and mental health. He also has advised companies such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Novartis, and served as director and chief scientific officer of iCo Therapeutics.
President Ono has served on the editorial boards for several peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, including Immunology, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Journal of Immunology and The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
He holds honorary doctorates from Chiba University and the Vancouver School of Theology and is a recipient of the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, the Professional Achievement Award from University of Chicago, a Grand Challenges Hero Award from UCLA, and the NAAAP 100 Award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals.
He earned his B.A. in biological sciences from the University of Chicago in 1984, and a Ph.D. in experimental medicine from McGill University in 1991.
President Ono is married to Wendy Yip, an immunologist and lawyer. They are the parents of two daughters, Sarah Yip-Ono and Juliana Yip-Ono.