Cornelis J. (Neels) Van der Schyf

Vice President of Research, Idaho State University


Cornelis J. (Neels) Van der Schyf, current dean of the Idaho State University Graduate School, has been named ISU Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, pending approval from the Idaho State Board of Education.

“I am excited about this new position,” Van der Schyf said. “This is a logical ‘marriage’ of the research and graduate school components of the University. Graduate students and their mentors are per definition, intimately involved with research. This is a model that has worked well at other universities.”

He will begin in this new position on March 1.

Van der Schyf’s position has been redefined; he will hold the dual titles, reporting directly to ISU President Arthur Vailas as vice president for research, and to ISU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Laura Woodworth-Ney as dean of the Graduate School.

Van der Schyf replaces Howard Grimes, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, who recently accepted a job with the Idaho National Laboratory and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies.

Under Van der Schyf, the Office for Research will continue to manage intellectual property and patents for the University, and will also be involved in broader economic development activities, working with the newly established Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development housed in ISU’s College of Business.

“These two units, the Office for Research and the Graduate School, have been aligned to improve the effectiveness between research and graduate education,” Vailas said. “Neels has an exceptional background and academic credentials for this new position, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”

Van der Schyf joined ISU in May 2013 as dean of the Graduate School and professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences.

Prior to joining ISU he was associate dean for research and graduate studies, founding chair and professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy, and professor of neurobiology in the College of Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).

At NEOMED he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the College of Pharmacy and was the primary author and architect in creating and establishing NEOMED’s graduate program (MS and Ph.D.) in Integrated Pharmaceutical Medicine and in the creation of the College of Graduate Studies at that institution.

He was also intimately involved with the planning and design of the new NEOMED Research and Graduate Education Building, a $42 million campus expansion focused on graduate research and education.

As of February 2015, he has published 116 peer-reviewed research and review articles, 205 abstracts and presentations – many of these as invited keynote speaker; 10 book chapters, several reports to industry, and numerous journal editorials. He holds 14 patents. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biophysical Chemistry and is or has been a member of the editorial advisory boards for an additional 11 international research journals and an invited guest editor for one. The impact of his research is reflected by his work receiving more than 2,374 peer citations in the literature.

Van der Schyf earned his Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Science, Doctor of Science (Ph.D.) and DTE degrees from North-West University (NWU, formerly Potchefstroom University) in South Africa, and spent 1986-7 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Connecticut and at the National Magnet Lab at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Van der Schyf served as visiting professor in Australia, Belgium and the United States, and currently serves as Emeritus Extraordinary Professor at Northwest University in South Africa, and has extensive international experience.

In addition to serving or having served, since 2002, as a chartered and ad hoc member on several NIH Study Sections and many other national and international research granting agencies, he is a member of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society and Sigma Xi, and has received several teaching and research honors, including “Teacher of the Year” and “Most Cited Paper” awards, the APSSA Upjohn Achievement Award and South Africa’s highest honor in drug discovery research, the FARMOVS Prize for Pharmacology and Drug Development.

Van der Schyf is also the recipient of the 2010 Olson/Blair Award for Administrative Excellence.