Neuroscientist Gregory Ball to Lead $1.3B Joint Research Enterprise Starting Feb. 1

Published 1/25/22 on Maryland Today

Gregory Ball speaks at a podium
Incoming Vice President for Research Gregory F. Ball has served as dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences since 2014.
Photo by Thomas Bacho

The presidents of the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) today named Gregory F. Ball the next vice president for research (VPR). He will oversee the joint research enterprise at the two campuses, which earn a combined $1.3 billion in research awards annually.

For the past seven years, Ball has served as dean of UMCP’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, a large and academically complex college with more than 5,000 undergraduate students and more than 800 master’s and doctoral students across 10 departments and multiple centers.

“Dr. Ball’s exemplary leadership record combined with a commitment to interdisciplinary research, scientific standards and diversity in education make him an ideal choice to keep us on our upward trajectory in world-leading research and innovation,” said Darryll J. Pines, president of UMCP.

Ball prioritized diversity and inclusion in faculty and staff hiring during his tenure as dean. He also focused on modernizing research training and expanding experiential learning opportunities and career preparation services for all students in the college.

“We know that being prepared for the future requires a strong focus on innovation and discovery now,” said Bruce E. Jarrell, president of UMB. “Our joint research enterprise brings together scientists and researchers across disciplines to advance discoveries, and I’m confident in Dr. Ball’s leadership of this powerful research enterprise.”

Throughout his deanship, Ball maintained an active research lab in the Department of Psychology. His research examines seasonal changes in the brains and behavior of songbirds in order to understand how hormones and external natural forces affect behavior. A highly accomplished scientist, Ball has amassed more than 200 research publications and continues to receive research grant support from the National Institutes of Health.

“I am tremendously honored and excited for this opportunity to lead our joint research enterprise, which continues to set an outstanding example nationally and internationally for how public research institutions can transform society and address the grand challenges of our time,” Ball said. “I’m thrilled to work with the stellar faculty in both College Park and Baltimore to build upon the momentum created by my predecessors.”

Ball will serve a three-year appointment and start his new position as VPR on Feb. 1. He takes over the role from Amitabh Varshney, who has served as interim VPR for the past three months. Prior to that, Laurie Locascio served as VPR since 2017 and stepped down after being nominated by President Joe Biden to be undersecretary for standards and technology in the Department of Commerce.

Before joining the University of Maryland, Ball was vice dean for science and research infrastructure in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and also served as director of the school’s undergraduate neuroscience program. He was a faculty member in the JHU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences for 23 years. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in psychobiology from the Institute of Animal Behavior at Rutgers University.