NY CAP Research Alliance Executive Leadership Team


James J. Barba

James J. Barba

President and Chief Executive Officer, Albany Medical Center

James J. Barba has been president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center, the only academic health sciences center in northeastern New York, since 1995. He also served as the chairman of the board of directors of Albany Med from 1994-2006. 

In his role as president and CEO, Mr. Barba oversees the largest hospital in 25 counties; Albany Medical College, one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, where 40 percent of the doctors and health care professionals in this region are trained; a research operation with projects totaling $30 million in funding; a workforce of more than 7,200, making Albany Med one of the region’s largest private employers; and a Physician Practice Group of 350. 

Mr. Barba is currently directing a $360 million expansion, the most ambitious in the Center’s 173-year history and the largest such project in the region. 

Well recognized in the arena of health care, he has served on numerous special commissions and councils by gubernatorial appointment and at the request of his peers, including the board of directors of the Health Care Association of New York State. Mr. Barba served Governor Mario Cuomo as chair of the state’s Special Advisory Commission to Restore Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care insurer – which ultimately put the state on track to save billions of dollars. 

Previously, Mr. Barba chaired the board of trustees of the Trudeau Institute, a biomedical research organization in Saranac Lake. He has also served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Center for Economic Growth and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired.  In 2011, he was named by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Regional Economic Development Council, one of 10 across the state, charged with creating a new model to stimulate economic development and create jobs. 

He has received numerous accolades: Business Review’s “Executive of the Year;” Siena College’s “Career Achievement Award;” and Twin Rivers Council Inc., Boy Scouts of America’s “Distinguished Citizen” award. He was recently inducted into the Tech Valley Business Hall of Fame.  He has been cited for his leadership in health care by the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and is a frequent lecturer and author on health care topics and policy.  

Formerly senior counsel to the law firm of Hiscock & Barclay, he is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and Siena College, from which he holds an honorary doctorate.


Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.

President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut.

Calling her a “national treasure,” the National Science Board selected her as its 2007 Vannevar Bush Award recipient for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.”

She has senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. A theoretical physicist, she was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1995- 1999). She serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, appointed by President Obama in 2009. Dr. Jackson also is a member of the International Security Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of State. Her research focus lies in theoretical studies of optoelectronic properties of two-dimensional systems. Her policy focus includes energy security and the national capacity for innovation, including addressing the “Quiet Crisis” of looming gaps in the science, technology, and engineering workforce and reduced support for basic research.

President of Rensselaer since 1999, Dr. Jackson has led an extraordinary transformation of the Institute with an ambitious strategic effort known as The Rensselaer Plan. Under her leadership, hundreds of new faculty members have been hired, research awards have more than doubled, and scholarships have increased. There have been innovations in curriculum, expansion of undergraduate research, and new award-winning student life initiatives.

Nearly $1 billion has been invested in The Rensselaer Plan, including more than $715 million in new construction, renovations, new equipment, technology, and infrastructure. In 2004, President Jackson launched a $1 billion Renaissance at Rensselaer capital campaign. In 2006, the goal was expanded to $1.4 billion. The campaign closed in 2009, having surpassed the ambitious goal of $1.4 billion in gifts and gift commitments, nine months ahead of schedule, exceeding all previous fundraising at Rensselaer.

Dr. Jackson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and a member of the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution. She is a vice-chair of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chaired its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative. She is a member of the Board of Directors of global companies including IBM and FedEx.

Dr. Jackson holds an S.B. in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from M.I.T. She has been awarded 50 honorary doctoral degrees.


Robert J. Jones

Robert J. Jones, Ph.D.

President, University at Albany

Dr. Robert J. Jones was appointed by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees on September 12, 2012 as the 19th president of the University at Albany. Previously, Dr. Jones had served as senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System since 2004.  Prior, Dr. Jones spent more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, including vice president and executive vice provost for faculty and academic programs, vice president for campus life and vice provost for faculty and academic personnel, interim vice president for student development and president of the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park Development, LLC.

A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. After earning the Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Dr. Jones currently serves as Regional Council Co-Chair for the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) alongside Albany Medical Center President James J. Barba. He is a fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He has been a visiting professor and featured speaker in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and from 1984 to 1994 served as an academic and scientific consultant for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Education Program. In 2010, he was awarded a University of Minnesota endowed chair in urban and international development; he was also named a recipient of the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
Dr. Jones held a gubernatorial appointment as a commissioner of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and served on the board of directors for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities. Currently, he serves on the boards of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and the Bush Foundation, among other leadership roles. He was also a member of the Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based choral ensemble.
Dr. Jones and his spouse, Lynn Hassan Jones, M.D., have five children and two grandchildren

Dr. Jill TaylorJill Taylor, Ph.D.

Director, Wadsworth Center

As Deputy Director since September, 2005, Interim Director since August, 2012, and Director since May, 2014, Dr. Taylor is guiding Wadsworth's future research directions and advancing the Center's critical mission in population health. As a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the CDC's Office of Infectious Diseases, she also contributes to policy discussions at the national level. Day-to-day, she ensures the efficient management of the Center by working closely with senior administrative and scientific staff in the laboratories, as well as with Executive Staff within the Depar tment of Health. In all regards, Dr. Taylor relies upon a commitment to openness and to strong communication, coordination and problem- solving skills, whether developing a future research agenda or formulating continuity of operations plans.

Dr. Taylor first joined the Wadsworth Center in 1986 as a research affiliate in a laboratory focused on research on vaccinia virus. In 1990, she joined Virogenetics Corporation where she was responsible for the successful development of three poxvirus-based recombinant vaccine vectors for veterinary use. Dr. Taylor rejoined Wadsworth in 1999 as director of the Viral Genotyping Laborator y where she oversaw clinical research studies of HIV drug resistance and hepatitis C virus. In 2002, she was appointed director of the newly formed Clinical Virology Program. In this position she assumed broad responsibility for introducing molecular technologies to ensure responsiveness to the state's changing public health needs, with particular emphasis on influenza virus.

NY Cap Research Alliance Scientific Leadership Team


Vincent Verdile, M.D.

Vincent Verdile, M.D.

Dean and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Albany Medical College

Dr. Vincent Verdile is the dean of Albany Medical College and executive vice president for Health Affairs of Albany Medical Center, positions he has held since 2001. He is also a professor of Emergency Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the college.  

As dean, Dr. Verdile oversees the operations of Albany Medical College, one of the nation’s oldest private medical schools. Under his leadership, the college has expanded its academic programs.  Approximately 40 percent of the region’s practicing physicians are alumni of the College. He is responsible for four interdisciplinary biomedical research centers, which are bringing the latest medical treatments to patients, while advancing the knowledge of various diseases. With his direction, these research facilities have received more funding from the prestigious National Institutes of Health than any other university or college in northeastern New York. He also manages the college’s more than 300-member physician practice, one of the largest groups of multi-specialty physicians in the Northeast. 

Before coming to Albany Medical Center in 1993, Dr. Verdile held a number of academic and clinical appointments at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he completed his residency training in emergency medicine. Dr. Verdile is the author of more than 60 academic publications and has served on several editorial boards. He has served on numerous state and national committees, and is a past president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He currently serves on the board of directors for Union Graduate College, the University Heights Association and the Fort Orange Club.


Jonathan S. Dordick, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Jonathan S. Dordick is the vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he is also the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He has served as director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies since 2008. In addition to his primary appointment in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Dordick holds joint appointments in the departments of Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biology. 

As a leading researcher, Dordick has published 300 peer-reviewed papers and has delivered over 200 invited lectures worldwide, including seminars at more than 70 universities. As an entrepreneur, Dordick has founded three companies providing products and services that impact industries as diverse as healthcare and energy, and has served on the scientific advisory boards of five others companies.

Dordick is an elected fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. He has received numerous awards, including the Marvin Johnson and Elmer Gaden awards of the American Chemical Society, the International Enzyme Engineering Award from the Engineering Foundation, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.

Dordick received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in biochemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his B.A. degree in biochemistry and chemistry from Brandeis University.


James A. Dias, Ph.D.

James A. Dias, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research, University At Albany

James Dias serves as Vice President for Research. His academic affiliation is with the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Public Health, where he served as Chair. His previous work experience includes being a member of the Department of Biochemistry in the Albany Medical College from 1981-1988; a research scientist with the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health; scientific director of the Wadsworth Center’s scientific core facilities; and service on national trade journals, study sections and external advisory panels.

Professor Dias received his B.S degree in biology from the Gonzaga University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in reproductive physiology, with the subspecialty of animal science, from Washington State University. He was the recipient of several NIH career development awards, including an individual National Research Service Award, a New Investigator Award and a Research Career Development Award (1985). He has published more than 100 research articles on the reproductive hormones which control high quality gametogenesis and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for 20 years.



James A. Dias, Ph.D.

Erasmus Schneider

Associate Director for Research and Technology, Wadsworth Center

Dr. Erasmus Schneider joined the Wadsworth Center in 1995 as a research scientist when he established an externally funded research program to investigate multidrug resistance of cancer cells. This research resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications and presentations at major conferences. Over the years he has continued to work in the area of cancer cell drug resistance, expanding into drugs targeting the folate pathway and DNA precursor synthesis. He was a grant reviewer for the American Cancer Society and currently is a member of its Council for Extramural Research.

From 2007 to 2013 Dr. Schneider was the director of the Center’s Division of Translational Medicine, and in 2013 assumed his current role as the Center’s Associate Director for Research and Technology. In that role he is, among other things, overseeing the Center’s scientific core facilities and internal research funding programs.

Dr. Schneider is also the section head for Oncology in the Clinical Laboratory Reference System. In that position he is responsible for the review of laboratory developed tests submitted by NYS permitted laboratories in the area of Oncology, and for conducting proficiency testing for serum tumor markers, human papilloma virus, molecular oncology and fetal defect markers. He is par ticularly interested in the technical and quality control challenges posed by the advanced molecular techniques used for the diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of therapeutic response of cancer