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Psychologist to head University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Franco Vaccarino (above) will become Principal of U of T Scarborough effective July 1.

Franco Vaccarino is respected scholar, popular teacher

The University of Toronto today announced the appointment of Professor Franco J. Vaccarino as Principal, University of Toronto Scarborough and Vice-President, University of Toronto. Vaccarino will begin his five-year term as head of U of T Scarborough on July 1.

Professor Vaccarino began his career at the University of Toronto in 1984 as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and is currently a full professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, graduate chair of the tri-campus graduate Department of Psychology, and a full professor in the department of psychiatry. He is also the past head of the neuroscience program in the Department of Psychiatry and a former vice-president of both the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

Vaccarino is an award-winning scholar who has been internationally recognized for his interdisciplinary research accomplishments in the areas of neuroscience, addiction, mood and anxiety systems. His contributions to neuropsychopharmacology are extensive and his work has had a great impact on current thinking about human motivation systems and how abnormalities in these systems are expressed in psychiatric disease or addiction.

"Franco Vaccarino truly embodies the values of the University of Toronto," said President David Naylor. "He is an excellent researcher and a talented teacher and mentor. With his outstanding leadership skills, I am confident he will foster positive development at U of T Scarborough in each of these areas.”

Vaccarino is also the principal editor of the World Health Organization’s report, Neuroscience of Psychoactive Substance Use and Dependence, the first authoritative report published by WHO on the biological basis of addiction. His international prominence has helped advance the addictions, mental health and neuroscience agenda at the provincial, national and international levels.

In addition to his scientific achievements, Vaccarino has taught and mentored numerous students and researchers. His undergraduate teaching has been highly recognized by his students and his PhD graduates have gone on to develop their own independent and successful careers.

“Professor Vaccarino is an excellent choice to lead U of T Scarborough,” says Jonathan Freedman, Interim Vice-President and Principal. “I have known him for many years. He brings to the campus the enthusiasm that U of T Scarborough needs in a principal.”

Vaccarino also brings valuable experience in community and government relations to his new position. He has served as a member of various committees of the Medical Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and National Institutes of Health in the USA. In 1999 he was appointed by the federal minister of health to the interim governing council that established the platform for today’s CIHR.

“I began my career at the University of Toronto at Scarborough campus and so I am very happy to come back to the community in this role,” says Vaccarino. “Because of its leading research, outstanding faculty, and vibrant student life, the campus is experiencing unprecedented growth. I look forward to working with students, staff and faculty to steward that growth.”

by Sonnet L’Abbé

© University of Toronto Scarborough