Physics Professor Wolfgang Losert Named CMNS Interim Associate Dean for Research

University of Maryland Physics Professor Wolfgang Losert has been named interim associate dean for research in the university’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS), effective immediately. He assumes the role from Computer Science Professor Rance Cleveland, who passed away unexpectedly in March. Losert will serve in the role while an internal search is conducted for a replacement.

Wolfgang Losert headshot
Wolfgang Losert. Credit: Lisa Helfert

As associate dean for research, Losert will help grow the college’s annual sponsored research funding, which currently exceeds $250 million. He will also lead the college to higher levels of research excellence and national prominence, working closely with the college’s leadership team, as well as department chairs and research institute and center directors, to enhance all research and entrepreneurial activities.

Losert previously served as the college’s associate dean for research from 2014 to 2022. During that time, he helped grow the CMNS research enterprise to over $200 million in annual sponsored research funding. He also led efforts to launch the Science Academy and its first two professional master’s programs in data science and machine learning, worked to establish a professional-track faculty promotion policy, and helped develop a graduate student program with the Max Planck Institute.

An MPower Professor, Losert also holds a joint appointment in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST), an affiliate appointment in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and an adjunct appointment in the University of Maryland Medical System’s Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In his research, Losert aims to discover emergent dynamic properties of living systems at the interface of physics and biology. His current projects—funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Lockheed Martin, and the Army Research Office—focus on understanding how living cells can sense the physical properties of their environment and how living neural networks process information.

Losert actively fosters cross-disciplinary interactions and new research and educational opportunities on campus and beyond. He helped launch and led the American Physical Society Group on Data Science. He was part of a trans-university initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (called NEXUS) that developed new science and math courses for biology majors and pre-health care students that are being widely adopted. He also led the development of and co-directs the NCI-UMD Partnership for Integrative Cancer Research, which provides UMD faculty members and graduate students the opportunity to tackle pressing problems in cancer research in collaboration with National Cancer Institute experts. 

A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Losert joined UMD in 2000 as an assistant professor and served as an associate dean in CMNS (2014-22) and as interim IPST director (2019-20). He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the City College of the City University of New York in 1998 and his diplom in applied physics from the Technical University of Munich in Germany in 1995.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.