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Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
  • John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine, Pitt School of Medicine
Shekhar is a nationally recognized educator, researcher and entrepreneur, with major contributions in medicine and life sciences. He became senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in June 2020. Pitt annually ranks in the top five nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.


As leader of all six health sciences schools at Pitt, Shekhar directs the university’s efforts to invigorate and expand its research portfolio. He oversees the work of more than 6,000 faculty and staff, and the academic success of approximately 5,000 students, while working closely with Pitt’s clinical partner, UPMC.


Shekhar’s career has been defined by innovation, transformation and sweeping and successful collaborations across the private, public and philanthropic sectors. In addition, he has received continuous funding from the NIH for basic, clinical and translational research since 1989, and has authored hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed publications. 


His professional and research accomplishments include:


  • co-founding or leading five biotech companies, including Anagin, a startup company that is developing treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, neuropathic pain, depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; 
  • demonstrating a novel mechanism of action—the first in more than 70 years—that is being developed as a new approach to treating schizophrenia;
  • directing a laboratory that has developed highly regarded translational models for panic and related anxiety disorders that resulted in patents for novel therapies and the discovery of new treatments.   
Prior to joining Pitt, Shekhar was executive associate dean for research affairs at Indiana University (IU), which has the nation’s largest medical school. Under his tenure, the IU School of Medicine’s research funding from the NIH grew 73%. He also led the Precision Health Initiative—a more than $140 million strategic investment at IU in subjects including genomic medicine and big data sciences. 


Shekhar, who was born in India, earned his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College and Ph.D. in neuroscience at IU.