NSM Dr. Helen TurnerChaminade University President Dr. Lynn Babington has named Dr. Helen Turner, an internationally-regarded cellular immunology researcher, as the institution’s first Vice President for Innovation. The appointment is in addition to Dr. Turner’s responsibilities as Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“Creating this new leadership role reflects Chaminade’s growth trajectory and commitment to providing cutting-edge academic and research programs that benefit our students, faculty and all the populations we serve,” Dr. Babington said. “Moreover, this appointment supports Hawaii’s critical transition to an innovation economy.”

Chaminade Board of Regents Chair Vaughn Vasconcellos describes Dr. Turner as a respected leader in the scientific and higher education communities with a “proven track record of innovation,” thus making her well qualified for the new position.

“Along with representing the campus on numerous scientific advisory boards, Dean Turner attracted grants and developed programs that placed Chaminade on the map for STEM education,” Vasconcellos pointed out. “She also helps students gain admission to prestigious graduate and health professional programs nationwide.”

In her new role, Dr. Turner said she’ll focus on “student readiness for the workplace, for leadership and for making contributions to their communities.”

“Our innovative programs and cutting-edge approaches draw on our deep faculty expertise,” Dr. Turner emphasized, “and will position our students to lead in Hawaii’s economic development.”

A biology professor, Dr. Turner conducts immunology research on pathologies such as asthma and eczema. She receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Defense, as well as private foundations.

Dr. Turner recently obtained a $1 million STEM education grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She also developed the $9.6 million Ho`oulu STEM Scholarship program with Kamehameha Schools.

Prior to joining Chaminade in 2007, Dr. Turner was an associate director at The Queen’s Center for Biomedical Research in Honolulu. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of London and performed post-doctoral work at Beth Israel Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.