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K-State Today

May 19, 2023

Brad Behnke named interim dean of College of Health and Human Sciences

Submitted by Division of Communications and Marketing

Brad Behnke

Brad Behnke, professor and associate dean of research and graduate studies in the Kansas State University College of Health and Human Sciences, will serve as interim dean of the college, effective July 1.

Behnke was appointed to the position by Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president, following an internal search. Behnke will serve while a national search is conducted to fill the deanship. He will replace Craig Harms, who is stepping down as interim dean after serving in the role since July 11, 2021.

"Dr. Behnke has a distinguished career as an award-winning researcher, teacher and leader, which gives him the perfect skill set and experience to serve as interim dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences," Taber said. "I also wish to thank Dr. Harms for his two years of service as interim dean. We appreciate his leadership in assuring the integrity, excellence and relevance of the college's programs."

As interim dean, Behnke will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer of the college. He will be responsible for providing leadership, strategic vision and direction and support for the college, along with inspiring, guiding and facilitating a strong and diverse faculty in the advancement of high-quality teaching, research, service and extension.

"Our college has a rich history of contributing to the land-grant mission of Kansas State University," Behnke said. "As a native Kansan, I have seen firsthand how K-State and the College of Health and Human Sciences have had a positive impact in every county in the state through research, education and outreach. My goal is to grow our capacity in the college, both internally and through collaborations with other colleges on campus, to support the health and well-being of our rural and urban communities in Kansas and prepare our students to be leaders in these fields. I am excited to work with faculty, staff, students, alumni and external stakeholders to build the college infrastructure, physical and intellectual, to accomplish our goals." 

Behnke, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is an award-winning researcher who has been recognized with many university and professional honors, including the 2021 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from the College of Health and Human Sciences; the 2018 College of Human Ecology Excellence in Research Award; the 2011 New Investigator Award from the Environmental and Exercise Physiology Section of the American Physiological Society; the 2009 New Investigator Award from the American College of Sports Medicine; and the 1999 Outstanding Student Research Award from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Behnke was named a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine in 2013. He is also a member of the American Physiological Society, the Microcirculatory Society, the American Cancer Society and the American Thoracic Society. He serves on multiple journal editorial boards and reviews articles for more than 20 journals.

Behnke's research interests include the manipulation of tumor microenvironments to enhance conventional cancer therapy outcomes; cardiovascular regulation of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue perfusion with age and pathological conditions including diabetes, heart failure and mechanical ventilation; and the effects of real and simulated microgravity on the cardiovascular system.

Behnke has two current projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, or NIH. He is the principal investigator for a $456,000 NIH grant that focuses on understanding the effect of heart failure and aging on diaphragm vascular dysfunction. He is co-principal investigator on a more than $1.6 million NIH grant that funds the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Research Training Program at Kansas State University to provide educational and research opportunities for underrepresented minorities from partner community colleges in Kansas. Behnke also is the principal investigator for the Johnson Cancer Research Center's Cancer Research Collaboration of Excellence in Tumor Microenvironment Studies. 

His previous research projects have been supported with funding from organizations such as the NIH, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association, NASA and the American Cancer Society, among many other organizations. He has published more than 100 refereed journal articles, book chapters and reviews.

Behnke joined K-State in 2014 as an associate professor of kinesiology and was promoted to full professor in 2017. He became associate dean of research in the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2021. He earned three degrees from K-State: a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, a master's degree in kinesiology and a doctoral degree in physiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine. Before joining the faculty at K-State, he served as a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University, an NIH NIA postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Cardiovascular Sciences at West Virginia University School of Medicine and a faculty member at the University of Florida.

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