James Dahlberg retiring from Morgridge Institute

James Dahlberg, the Associate Director of the Morgridge Institute for Research who led the organization during a key stage in its development, recently announced plans to retire from the management of the institute at the end of 2014.

Since 2009, Dahlberg has served on the Morgridge Institute Board of Trustees as the chancellor’s representative, and he will continue in that role. He was asked by the board in 2012 to serve as interim executive director after the institute’s inaugural leader, Sangtae Kim, left Morgridge in April, 2012. Dahlberg served in that role until Brad Schwartz joined as CEO in February 2013.

During his leadership Dahlberg focused on three core goals. They included redefining the institute’s mission, improving financial accountability across the institute, and hiring a dynamic permanent director who could implement a long-term vision.

Dahlberg credits the support of several dedicated people for much of his success, including Morgridge Board Chair Ernest Micek, WARF Director Carl Gulbrandsen, and Morgridge leadership members Kathi Stanek and Laura Heisler.

“We now have a focus, clear goals and we’re on the right path with Brad’s leadership,” Dahlberg says.

Dahlberg is especially pleased that Morgridge is implementing the new research focus area of metabolism, a project he championed early, which has generated considerable campus support.

“This has been a great experience,” says Dahlberg. “I’m pleased that the board came to me to take on this challenge — and even more pleased to have done what was needed.”

“Jim was just the right person at a critical time in the development of the Morgridge Institute,” says Micek. “He was able to lay the groundwork for collaboration amongst the scientific community within the Discovery Building, and also in and around the University of Wisconsin.”

As emeritus professor in the UW–Madison Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, Dahlberg continues to run a lab studying RNA. Dahlberg says he looks forward to having more time to spend with his wife, two daughters and a new granddaughter (his first). He also plans to take on more committee responsibilities with the National Academy of Sciences, where he has been a member since 1996.

Dahlberg also co-founded Third Wave Technologies in Madison.