After president's unexplained exit, UTMB names finalist for top post

After an abrupt leadership exit and nearly seven-month national search, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has landed on a finalist to serve as president. 

The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously voted to name Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD, as the next president of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dr. Reiser is currently chairman of the department of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He has been with the academic health system since 2012. 

Dr. Reiser's candidacy was recommended to the board of regents by a 15-member presidential search advisory committee, which included representation from the UTMB faculty, students, alumni and community leaders, as well as UT presidents and regents. 

The UT Regents now must wait 21 days before officially naming Dr. Reiser president. 

Dr. Reiser, a prominent leader in kidney disease research, previously served the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine as professor of medicine, anatomy and cell biology, vice chairman for research in the department of medicine, and chief of the division of nephrology and hypertension. 

Once approved, Dr. Reiser will succeed Charles Mouton, MD, who has served as UTMB's interim president since August 2022, when predecessor Ben Raimer, MD, abruptly resigned from the role. 

Dr. Raimer submitted his resignation as head of the academic health system Aug. 22, two weeks after he was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons. When he was placed on leave Aug. 8, the system only said the move was not "in any way connected to the operations at UTMB or the Galveston National Lab," which had drawn scrutiny over agreements with three Chinese research labs, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

UTMB includes four hospital campuses and more than 90 primary and specialty care clinics in Southeast Texas.

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