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University of Cincinnati

Santa J. Ono, PhD

University of Cincinnati


Santa Jeremy Ono, PhD, is the 28th President at the University of Cincinnati. After serving on an interim basis for two months, he was appointed to the presidency on Oct. 23, 2012.

President Ono first arrived at UC in 2010, serving two years as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. As Provost, he led the development of an Academic Master Plan (AMP) aligned to the university’s strategic plan, UC2019. The AMP, unveiled in May 2012, outlined an initial investment of about $10 million toward long-term strategic goals set for completion in UC’s bicentennial year, 2019.

Dr. Ono is the first Asian American to serve as UC's chief executive and one of only a few Asian Americans to serve as president of a major research institution in the United States.

Dr. Ono also serves as Professor of Pediatrics within UC’s College of Medicine and Professor of Biology in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Ono's principal research interests focus on transcriptional regulation in the human immune system, mechanisms of mast cell dependent inflammation on the ocular surface and the immune component of age-related macular degeneration.

Prior to UC, Dr. Ono served at Emory University as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Deputy to the Provost and then Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, also serving as Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine.

Earlier in his career, he also served in a variety of teaching, research and administrative positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (and the Schepens Eye Research Institute), University College London (UCL) and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

Dr. Ono’s service in the community includes serving as the Honorary Consul for the Japanese embassy in the state of Ohio. He also holds membership on the Cincinnati Business Committee and on the boards of Ohio’s Third Frontier, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, CincyTech, UC Health, Uptown Consortium, United Way, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Japan America Society of Cincinnati. He chairs the UC Research Institute board, the United Way Research Council and the board of the Global HEED (Promoting Health, Education and Economic Development), and co-chairs the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Early Grade-Level Reading Campaign. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Ohio Completion Task Force of the Ohio Board of Regents as well as the Executive Committee of the STRIVE partnership and served on the Board of Advisors for Strive for College.

He has served on the Medical Research Council's Medical Advisory Board and College of Experts and the IMS and HAI study sections of the National Institutes of Health. He has consulted widely for companies such as GSK, Cambridge Antibody Technologies plc (now part of Astra Zeneca), Johnson & Johnson, Santen Inc. and Oxagen plc.

As a scholar and researcher, Dr. Ono has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Immunology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Immunology and the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Among his many honors and awards are the American Diabetes Association Career Development Award, the Investigator Award from the National Arthritis Foundation, the Brit Katz Award (Emory University), the Roche Laboratories Award for Excellence in Research, the Pharmacia International Award in Allergy Research. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.

Dr. Ono earned his PhD at McGill University and his BA at the University of Chicago. His training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard was supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship.
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