Dan Weisdorf, Peter Crawford, Damien Fair

CTSI leadership retirement and transition

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute extends best wishes to Daniel Weisdorf, MD, who has recently retired from the University of Minnesota after a distinguished career as an outstanding researcher, physician, teacher, mentor, and leader. 

CTSI is also delighted to share that Peter Crawford, MD, PhD, and Damien Fair, PA-C, PhD, will be joining Bruce Blazar, MD, to lead CTSI and its Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) grant. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) recently approved this personnel change and three-person, multiple principal investigator (multi-PI) team.

The three of them will oversee different aspects of CTSI. Dr. Blazar oversees CTSI’s administrative, education and training (CTSI-Ed), and evaluation functions as well as the Health Informatics Program (HIP). Dr. Crawford has oversight for CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT), research services (CTRS), and the Clinical Research Support Center (CRSC), while Dr. Fair will oversee CTSI’s community engagement (CEARCH) and child health functions, CTSI's DEI Catalytic Collaborative, and the Rural Health Program, a collaborative program of CTSI and the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA). 

Daniel Weisdorf

Thanking Dr. Daniel Weisdorf

Since joining CTSI’s leadership team in 2015, Dr. Weisdorf has shown unwavering commitment to CTSI’s mission, driving us forward through his exceptional leadership and dedication to our values. He played a pivotal role in shaping the vision and direction of our Clinical Translational Research Services (CTRS) team, where he evolved and expanded our services. 

As CTSI Deputy Director and Multi-PI of our most recent CTSA grant, Dr. Weisdorf was an invaluable partner in forging the vision and plan that secured the institution’s new CTSA UM1 award that will fund our activities until 2030. His ability to inspire and lead by example has cultivated a culture of collaboration, innovation, integrity, and excellence.

His legacy is a testament to his extraordinary qualities as a leader, mentor, and friend. When you needed a spark of inspiration or a nugget of wisdom, Dr. Weisdorf was the person you could count on and the go-to for so many. His thoughtful ideas shaped much of CTSI and are a reflection of the depth of his perspective and the breadth of his experience. He helped so many people grow and thrive through his knack for mentoring and inspiring those around him to be more creative and innovative. 

Beyond his work in CTSI, Dr. Weisdorf conducted groundbreaking translational research on stem cell transplantation, and is considered a world expert on graft versus host disease. His steadfast efforts have touched thousands of lives, improved quality of life and survival for those battling cancer, and internationally impacted the standards of bone marrow transplant practices. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.

Transitioning roles

As Deputy Directors of CTSI and multi-PIs of our grant, Drs. Crawford and Fair will build upon the strong foundation Dr. Weisdorf established, bringing a wealth of experience, fresh perspectives, and a dedication to accelerating discoveries toward better health. 

In addition, Dr. Crawford will assume Dr. Weisdorf’s responsibilities as Director of CTSI’s Clinical Translational Research Services (CTRS) team. 

Peter Crawford

About Dr. Peter Crawford — Multi-PI, Deputy Director, and Clinical Translational Research Services (CTRS) core Director

Dr. Crawford serves as CTSI’s Deputy Director and also directs CTSI’s Clinical Translational Research Services (CTRS) core. As Deputy Director, Dr. Crawford has oversight for CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) and works closely with CTSI’s executive leadership team to oversee the institute’s operations and achieve excellence in clinical research. 

In his CTRS Director role, Dr. Crawford oversees research support teams that provide a wide range of services and expert consultations to support clinical and translational research, which includes the Biostatistical Design and Analysis Center (BDAC), the Biorepository Laboratory Services (BLS), the Clinical Research Support Center (CRSC), Regulatory Support, the Workforce Development Program, and the Recruitment Center.

Dr. Crawford is a Professor and the Vice Dean for Research for the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also serves as the director for the Department of Medicine’s Division of Molecular Medicine. As a CTSA Multi-PI and Vice Dean for Research in the Medical School, Dr. Crawford has the vantage point and authority to identify and foster strong synergies in clinical and translational research infrastructure and support across CTSI and the University's six health science schools.

Dr. Crawford’s research program focuses on the interplay between intermediary metabolism and the processes of obesity and cardiovascular disease. To do this, his lab studies human participants and leverages novel genetic mouse models to develop new perspectives of how metabolism adapts in obesity, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cardiomyopathy; how these adaptations ultimately prove deleterious; and how personalized nutritional and pharmacological therapies may mitigate these adverse responses. His program focuses heavily on the development of students, fellows, and early-career faculty.

Dr. Crawford received his MD and PhD from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he also completed an Internal Medicine Residency and Clinical Cardiology and Postdoctoral Fellowships. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2017 and served as vice chair for research in the Department of Medicine from 2018–2023.

More about Dr. Crawford

Damien Fair

About Dr. Damien Fair — Multi-PI, Deputy Director

As CTSI’s Deputy Director, Dr. Fair works closely with CTSI’s executive leadership team to oversee the institute’s operations and achieve excellence in clinical research. Through this role, he also has oversight of CTSI’s community engagement (CEARCH) and child health functions, CTSI's DEI Catalytic Collaborative, and the Rural Health Program, a collaborative program of CTSI and the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs (OACA).  

Dr. Fair is a Professor with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Institute of Child Development at the College of Education and Human Development. He also co-directs the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB), a new collaboration at the University of Minnesota between the Medical School and the College of Education and Human Development. It has seen several areas of success in uniting UMN expertise and community to accelerate scientific excellence into clinical care, education, and policy.

Dr. Fair’s research focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. Combining technical advances in functional MRI, advanced mathematics, and expertise in psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Fair has been able to demonstrate several basic principles of brain development and its relationships to typical and atypical behaviors. His work cuts across both human and animal models using these non-invasive tools as a bridge between species. He aims to advance the intersection of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and medicine while widening the reach of those who are trained and touched by the efforts. 

Dr. Fair received his MMSc degree from the Yale University School of Medicine Physician Associate Program, and practiced in the Neurology department at Yale New Haven Hospital. Following, he received his PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and did his postdoctoral work at Oregon Health and Science University. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2020 to co-direct the MIDB.  

More about ​​Dr. Fair

Next steps

To ensure a smooth transition, Drs. Crawford and Fair have begun attending CTSI's Executive and Hub Leadership Team meetings and have been actively preparing for their new roles.

Please join us in thanking Dr. Weisdorf for his extraordinary contributions and welcoming Drs. Crawford and Fair to CTSI and their new leadership roles. We are confident they will augment the impact of CTSI, the broader research community we support, and our collective work to improve health.