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Press Release

The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute names new President

The Stowers Graduate School Board of Directors names Matt Gibson, Ph.D., as President

25 March 2024

KANSAS CITY, MO – March 25, 2024 – The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research has named Matt Gibson, Ph.D., current Dean of the Graduate School and Investigator at the Stowers Institute, as its third president. Gibson, who has served as dean since 2019, was approved unanimously by the Board of Directors and will officially begin his new role July 1, 2024.

“Dr. Gibson is a proven leader with creative vision and a passion for education,” said Caroline Kane, Ph.D., Chair of the Board for the Stowers Graduate School. “We are thrilled to have his continued leadership and look forward to seeing him build upon the past success of the school.”

Gibson was chosen after an extensive nationwide search and will succeed Betty M. Drees, M.D., current President of the Graduate School since 2018, who announced her retirement in October of 2023. “Dr. Gibson is a skilled and thoughtful leader who is dedicated to excellence in graduate science education, as well as the learning experience at the school,” said Drees.

Matt Gibson, Ph.D., will officially begin his new role as President July 1, 2024.

Gibson joined the Stowers Institute in 2006. A developmental cell biologist, he received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Yale University in 1994 and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2001. Upon completing his Ph.D., he was awarded a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. As an Investigator at the Stowers Institute, Gibson’s lab investigates evolutionarily ancient mechanisms of development and regeneration using both sea anemones and corals as model organisms.

“When I first came to the Stowers Institute, we did not have a graduate school,” said Gibson. “With the founding and growth of our PhD program, we are now an institution dedicated to creating not only exceptional science but also exceptional scientists. In the work they do here and in their careers beyond our labs, each of our predoctoral researchers represent the pursuit of our founders’ vision of excellence in basic biological science for the betterment of all.”

The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute is located on the 10-acre life science campus of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo. The school is an integral component of the complex of scientific organizations created by the generosity of Jim and Virginia Stowers in the establishment of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, enabling it to receive its financial support from those generous philanthropic decisions by Mr. and Mrs. Stowers in the late 1990's.

The Stowers Institute

Predoctoral researchers come from across the world to conduct curiosity-driven research and pursue a Ph.D. in biology alongside 31 faculty members who are investigators and scientists at the Stowers Institute.

The Graduate School currently has 48 predoctoral researchers enrolled in the Ph.D. program. They participate in module courses, lab rotations and thesis labs, which require them to accomplish a significant body of work in their field of research. To receive their doctoral degree, Graduate School predoctoral researchers must demonstrate competency in each of the following six areas upon completion of the degree program: research leadership, critical thinking, scientific knowledge, experimental skills, scientific communication, and professional and ethical behavior. Predoctoral researchers contribute to scientific journals and regularly attend scientific meetings and talks.

"I am both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the entire Stowers Institute community as President of the Graduate School," said Gibson. "I am particularly excited about the prospect of further enhancing an environment where fundamental and curiosity-driven research can flourish as we train the next generation of scientists."

About the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

The mission of the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research is to prepare a superb cadre of predoctoral researchers from around the world for the pursuit of innovative and creative investigations in the biological sciences. The Graduate School educational program stresses critical thinking and the rapid development of experimental prowess. The program also focuses on in-depth understanding of the latest methodologies and approaches. The Graduate School is designed to provide predoctoral researchers with mentorship and hands-on experience to refine their abilities to carry out independent biological research. The Graduate School welcomed its first class in the fall of 2012, and in 2017 the first predoctoral researcher completed the PhD program. The Graduate School is certified by the State of Missouri as an institution of higher education and has institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Learn more about this unique program at

Media Contact:

Joe Chiodo, Head of Media Relations

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