Lifespan executive named URI vice president for Research and Economic Development

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Peter J. Snyder
URI Vice President for Research and Economic Development Peter J. Snyder. Photo courtesy of Dr. Snyder.

KINGSTON, R.I. — February 8, 2018 — The University of Rhode Island has named Peter J. Snyder, a distinguished professor and neuroscience researcher, prominent health systems manager and member of the University’s Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, to the position of vice president for Research and Economic Development and professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science.

Snyder will begin his duties in March. He succeeds Gerald Sonnenfeld, the former vice president of the division, who retired in December 2017.

Snyder has served as senior vice president and chief research officer at Lifespan Health System since 2008. Lifespan is the parent of Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s, Bradley, The Miriam and Newport hospitals and the Gateway Mental Health Network.

In that role, he led a biomedical research organization with about $84 million per year in funding, $18 million in total annual operating budget and capital improvements, approximately 650 full-time employees and nearly 350 basic and clinical researchers. He was responsible for the academic mission of the five teaching hospitals aligned with the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

In his position at URI, Snyder will also hold appointments as an adjunct professor of neurology at the Alpert Medical School; scholar-in-residence at Rhode Island School of Design; and professor and member of URI’s graduate faculty with the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience and the URI Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program. He is also licensed as a clinical neuropsychologist in New York.

“With his outstanding research, academic and leadership experience, Dr. Snyder is uniquely qualified to advance research and scholarly development at the University,” said URI President David M Dooley. “I am confident that Dr. Snyder will provide outstanding leadership for our research enterprise, and play a key role in economic development initiatives throughout the state.  He will build on his already strong relationships with hospitals, other universities, state agencies and businesses to increase URI’s impact and influence.”

Snyder will serve as the University’s chief research officer and as chair of the board of the URI Research Foundation. He will work closely with the provost and fellow members of the President’s Leadership Team to ensure the integration of research, scholarship and creative work with other components of the University’s academic mission. Snyder will report to President Dooley.

The vice president has responsibility for managing the ethical conduct of research, and for overseeing intellectual property, technology transfer and economic development.

Snyder remarked, “I am honored to have been chosen for this important post, and I am impressed by the talented scholars, bright students and innovative research that permeates the URI system. I look forward to joining both the faculty of the University as well as President Dooley’s leadership team. I have much to learn from colleagues across all of the University’s schools and interdisciplinary centers.”

Snyder earned his bachelor’s degree with high honors in neuroscience and psychology from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University and his doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State. He was a clinical neuropsychology resident in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and he completed the Wilder Penfield Post-Doctoral Fellowship (awarded by the American Epilepsy Society) at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prior to joining Lifespan in 2008, he served as an early clinical leader at Pfizer Inc., as a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, and as chief of the Division of Behavioral Neurology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Snyder is an internationally renowned expert in Alzheimer’s disease, and he is editor-in-chief for one of the journals of the Alzheimer’s Association.  He will move his laboratory and active research program to the Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, and he plans to continue to mentor promising graduate students and junior faculty.