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Frontiers > News & Events > News > Frontiers Announces Mario Castro, MD, MPH, as New Director

Frontiers Announces Mario Castro, MD, MPH, as New Director

June 01, 2020

By Marion During

Headshot of Dr. Mario Castro, Frontiers PI/Director

Mario Castro, MD, MPH, has been named the Principal Investigator and Director of Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute, effective June 1, 2020. In this role, Castro will lead, manage and shape the strategic direction of the clinical and translational research enterprise throughout the Kansas City region and across the state.

"As a clinical translational researcher in severe asthma, I am thrilled to take on this role with Frontiers and work with my KU Medical Center colleagues, as well as our partner institutions and other community organizations, to achieve the promise of clinical and translational medicine," Castro said.

Castro will take over for Richard J. Barohn, MD, who was recently appointed Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for the University of Missouri Health System. Barohn served as the founding Co-PI alongside Lauren S. Aaronson, PhD, RN, FAAN, when Frontiers was established in 2006. He took over as PI and Director upon Aaronson's retirement in 2016. Barohn was also chair of the Department of Neurology for 16 years at KU Medical Center and the vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Institute since 2014.

"Dr. Barohn has been a driving force in the expansion of clinical and translational research throughout the Midwest," Castro said. "I am honored to take over this position from him and lead Frontiers forward."

As Director of Frontiers, Castro's responsibilities will also include serving as liaison to national committees and collaborating with leaders from all Frontiers institutions, including KU Medical Center; Children's Mercy Kansas City; Kansas City University; Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine; Saint Luke's Health System; The University of Kansas Health System; and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"Dr. Castro brings leadership, scientific accomplishment, a commitment to pediatric research and tremendous energy to this important position, and we look forward to continue collaborating with him and the Frontiers community to extend the impact of clinical and translational research in the region and across the nation," said Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, Senior Vice President, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Children's Mercy Research Institute.

Castro joined the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2019 after 25 years at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he oversaw the asthma and airway translational research unit, which conducted 30 clinical trials at a time. He is currently the Scientific Director of the Rainbow Clinical and Translational Science Unit, the Chief of the Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division of the Department of Internal Medicine and is Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

"We are pleased to have a senior, expert translational scientist to lead Frontiers at this critical time in its history," said Dr. Robert D. Simari, executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. "Dr. Castro has the full support of university leadership and our investigators within the clinical and translational science community. We anticipate great things from Dr. Castro and the Frontiers team as we look to the future of our clinical and translational science institute."

As a leading clinician in his specialty, Castro has held leadership positions in several national organizations, is a frequent invited lecturer nationwide and has published more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He has also received many honors, including two awards from the American Lung Association of Eastern Missouri and the CHEST Foundation's Humanitarian Recognition Award.

Castro received his bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, completing the latter in 1988. He continued his medical training with an internal medicine residency and pulmonary care fellowship at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and then joined the Washington University in St. Louis faculty in 1994. He completed a master's in public health at Saint Louis University in 1998.

Last modified: Jun 02, 2020