Matsuda reappointed dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies

Seiichi Matsuda has agreed to serve a second term as dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies.

“Dean Matsuda’s leadership in the area of graduate education and postdoctoral studies since 2014 has been exceptional, and I look forward to our continued collaboration,” said Provost Marie Lynn Miranda in an email to the Rice community. She said she was “extremely pleased” that Matsuda accepted the reappointment and thanked him for his “continued commitment and leadership, which will be absolutely critical to achieving our aspirational goals for achieving excellence in graduate education, attracting the very best faculty, expanding our research portfolio and providing meaningful mentorship opportunities for undergraduates.”

Seiichi Matsuda

Seiichi Matsuda

Matsuda, who is also the E. Dell Butcher Professor of Chemistry and a professor of biosciences, said, “It is a privilege to serve the graduate and postdoctoral students, whose research and creative achievements inspire us and improve human welfare. The Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2) initiative positions us to develop Rice scholars who will lead the world’s academic, technological and business enterprises.”

Under Matsuda’s leadership, the applicant pools for Rice’s graduate programs have expanded and the achievements of Rice graduate students are increasingly recognized. Rice graduate students have become more competitive for national awards, including a doubling of new matriculants with national awards (e.g., Goldwater Scholarships, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and Fulbright Scholarships). Matsuda worked with Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning to increase stipends for humanities graduate students and has strengthened Rice’s position as a destination for the best scholars from Latin America. Matsuda’s intense focus on improving all aspects of graduate education at Rice is fully consistent with the V2C2.

A member of the Rice faculty since 1995, Matsuda served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2007 to 2013 before becoming dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies in 2014.

A former recipient of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, Matsuda conducts research on terpenoids, the most numerous and structurally diverse group of small molecules synthesized by plants. They play essential roles in plant physiology and important functions in all cellular membranes. Matsuda’s lab is modifying terpene biosynthetic genes to produce catalysts that make novel natural products.

Matsuda has a B.A. in chemistry from Bethel College and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.