Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine officials plan to take the school’s research efforts to the next level — and the school’s newest faculty member says he’s excited to be part of it.

Cucullo joins OUWB Department of Foundational Medical Studies
An image of Luca Cucullo

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine officials plan to take the school’s research efforts to the next level — and the school’s newest faculty member says he’s excited to be part of it.

Luca Cucullo, Ph.D., joined OUWB as a professor on Sept. 1, primarily serving on a research track.

Cucullo brings more than 20 years of research experience to OUWB — and has big plans for the furthering the school’s research program.

“We want to be a medical school that pushes boundaries beyond what we currently know,” said Cucullo.

“We want be engaged in current treatment of patients and have an active role in doing — not just teaching what we know.”

Cucullo, originally from Italy, earned his doctoral degree in chemistry and pharmaceutical technology (biotechnology) from the University of Pisa, School of Pharmacy, in 2000.

He continued his education via post-doctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in the Department of Neurosurgery/Cerebrovascular Research Center, where his specialty was in vitro cerebrovascular modeling with emphasis on CNS vascular pathophysiology.

After Cleveland Clinic — and prior to OUWB — Cucullo spent nearly a decade at Texas Tech University HSC. During his tenure as a TTUHSC faculty member, he held the positions of associate professor and vice chair for Research in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

National research portfolio

Among his many accomplishments, Cucullo built a strong research portfolio that’s currently funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the FDA, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In all, he was at Texas Tech for about a decade.

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But Cucullo said the thing that consistently drives him is his passion for research, which is a passion he hopes to spark in others with connections to the OUWB community.

“It’s all about trying to find something new…something nobody has looked at before. It’s exciting,” he said. “And even when you get unexpected or wrong results, chances are (the results) can still be used.”

Cucullo said he was interested in OUWB because he “missed the mix between a university and a clinical environment, particularly for research purposes.” He said OUWB’s relationship with Beaumont Health and the Beaumont Research Institute opens the door for him to spend more time in that setting.

In the next year, Cucullo said he expects to have established his research program and built bridges with other researchers in the area and at Oakland University.

“I hope to get to know as many people as possible and who might be interested in collaborating on future projects,” he said. 

Measuring success

Further, Cucullo said he will look at several variables to measure the level of success his team has in furthering OUWB’s research work. Those variables include looking at the quantity and quality of papers published with OUWB authors, how often OUWB faculty members are asked to review other papers for their peers, and the amount of research grants secured.

Cucullo said there is another big factor that should be considered.

“Another way we measure success is via the success of our trainees…the students who we train and graduate and position themselves well in the workforce,” he said. “That’s really what it’s all about.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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