Santa J. Ono

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Santa J. Ono
President & Vice-Chancellor,
University of British Columbia
Assumed office
August 15, 2016
Preceded byMartha Piper (interim)
President of the University of Cincinnati
In office
August 2012 – July 2016
Preceded byGregory H. Williams
Succeeded byBeverly Davenport (interim)
Personal details
Santa Jeremy Ono

(1962-11-23) November 23, 1962 (age 56)
Vancouver, British Columbia
NationalityCanada and US
Gwendolyn (Wendy) Yip (m. 1989)
Alma materUniversity of Chicago
McGill University
Harvard University
ProfessionBiologist, Academic, Researcher, College administrator
WebsiteOffice of the President

Santa Jeremy Ono (Japanese: 小野三太; born 1962) is a Canadian-American biologist and university administrator.

Serving as a faculty member of Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and University College London, he contributed to the field of gene regulation in the immune system and to the understanding of inflammation in the eye.[2] Ono served as the 28th President of the University of Cincinnati and is currently the 15th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born November 23, 1962, Santa J. Ono is the son of mathematician Takashi Ono, who emigrated from Japan to the United States in the late 1950s. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and also raised in Philadelphia and the northern suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended Towson High School.

Ono graduated with a BA in biological science from the University of Chicago and a PhD in experimental medicine from McGill University in Montreal. He holds a PhD, honoris causa from Chiba University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University supported by the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation.[4]

Scientific career[edit]

The Human Major Histocompatibility Complex : HLA region of Chromosome 6. The class II MHC encoded class II genes reside in the HLA-D region

Ono completed his fellowship at Harvard and then held faculty positions at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, University College London (UCL), and Emory University. He was GlaxoSmithKline Chair of Biomedical Science[citation needed] and Head of the Department of Immunology at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and honorary staff member at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. From March 2006 until September 2008, he served as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Deputy to the Provost at Emory University in Atlanta. He was promoted to Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Affairs in September 2008 and also served as Professor of Ophthalmology, Medicine, Pediatrics and Biology. In September 2010, he became Senior Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Cincinnati.

Ono has studied on ocular surface inflammation and the immune basis of age-related macular degeneration. His early work focused on the association of certain MHC haplotypes with susceptibility and resistance to type 1 diabetes. Using a number of recombinant and congenic rat strains, the work mapped susceptibility genes in the BB rat to the class II MHC loci. His work also showed that class I and II MHC gene products are expressed at higher levels or de novo on the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans.[5][6][7][8] He focused much of his research in the next decade on the regulation of MHC gene expression.[9] He showed that the different class II MHC isotypes are differentially expressed[10] and showed that the X2-box cis-element controls this differential expression.[11] His work also showed that the bZIP transcription factor: XBP1 forms a hetero-dimer with c-Fos.[12] This has turned out to be relevant to the developmental control of B cell differentiation. His lab also discovered the NFX1 transcription factor and cloned both the human and murine cDNAs.[13][14] This factor can bind DNA, RNA and protein via a reiterated RING finger motifs in the central domain of the polypeptide. The protein appears to have important roles in neuronal development and mRNA transport.[15][16] NFX1 is also a probable E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase.[17] These enzymes are of interest as they have been shown to participate in 3 metabolic pathways: ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, parkinson's disease, and huntington's disease. His lab also demonstrated that the non- histone chromosomal protein HMGA is required for the induction of multiple genes, including MHC genes, interferon-gamma and rhodopsin.[18][19][20][21] They mapped the interaction of HMGA1a and the paired homeodomain motif within Crx and showed that these interactions help recruit such transcriptional activators to the promoter/enhancer.[20][22]

Using transgenic mouse technology, they also showed (concurrently and independently of Alfredo Fusco), that fusion proteins between HMGA2 and other C terminal peptides (following chromosomal translocation) can drive the development of lipomas and generate obese mice.[23] Further contributions in the field include the mapping of the HMGA2 promoter/enhancer.[24][25]

More recently, his laboratory determined the role of beta-chemokines in mast cell-dependent inflammation in the ocular surface.[26][27] The work showed that chemokines not only contribute to leukocyte recruitment, but can cooperate with other mast cell activation signals to trigger mast cell degranulation.[28] Finally, his lab showed that certain autoantibodies might contribute to the pathogenesis or exacerbation of AMD and other rapid onset retinal degenerative diseases and may constitute useful biomarkers for the screening for AMD and its progression.[29][30]

Administrative work[edit]

Human eye cross-sectional view. Allergic conjunctivitis involves mast cell-dependent inflammation in the mucosal surface (conjunctiva) of the eye. Macular degeneration results from photoreceptor death in the macula.
Normal vision (B&W).
The same view with age-related macular degeneration (B&W).

At Harvard, he served as head of the Inflammation, Immunity and Transplantation Focus Group at the Schepens Eye Research Institute. There, he served on the Executive Committee of the Harvard Program in Immunology and on two NIH Training grants within ophthalmology (Ocular Immunology and Molecular Bases of Eye Diseases). He worked with the late President J. Wayne Streilein and COO Ken Trevett and others in developing a strategic plan for the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard and helped attract funding from entities such as the Markey Charitable Trust and the Fidelity Investments.

Ono was then recruited to UCL to the Cumberlege Chair and then as GSK Professor. Major funding from the Wellcome Trust, Fight for Sight, and GSK supported the development of a new immunology division at the UCL-Institute of Ophthalmology which grew to 27 members.[31] While at UCL, he also took on administrative duties including as Associate Dean of Students and as a member of the UCL Council (the university's governing board).[32]

In 2006, Ono moved to Emory University as Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Affairs.[33] He had oversight of student enrollment activities, certain aspects of academic affairs and other responsibilities related to initiatives within the university strategic plan.

In June 2010, he was named Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Provost at the University of Cincinnati, with oversight of budgets, personnel, and planning.[34][35] During that time, he helped lead major initiatives, including Phase I of the university's Academic Master Plan which was released on April 11, 2011.[36]

In 2012 Ono was named the 28th president of the University of Cincinnati.[32] He became the first Asian-American president of that university and in the state of Ohio. At UC Ono lead the implementation of the Academic Master Plan that invested $100 million into academics at the institution, including strengthening advising, the Honors Program and Study Abroad. During his tenure the university completed a $1 billion capital campaign 5 months ahead of schedule. Considerable investment in the campus and surrounding area occurred during his tenure, including renovations of 6 colleges and of Nippert Stadium and Fifth Third Arena. U Square at the Loop, a $78 million mixed use development was opened during his presidency.[37] UC also invested heavily in faculty recruitment, bringing over 300 new faculty to the university in cluster hires.

Inside Higher Education named Ono America's most notable university president in 2015.[38] Upworthy has profiled him as one of 9 high-profile CEOs in the world who exemplify servant leadership.[39]

On June 15, 2016, Ono was named the 15th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, effective August 15.[40]

Public communications[edit]

Ono has written extensively[citation needed] on research and innovation,[41] college rankings,[42] healthcare,[43] STEM education,[44] diversity,[44] social media,[45] and more.[45]

Ono has also reached out to the public by giving talks at K–12 schools in the US and UK and to the general public at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. There he gave talks to K–12 students in the Student Education program and to adult audiences in the Talking Points Evening Lecture Series.[46] He has also served as an invited panelist to discuss the Reith Lectures at Windsor Castle on BBC Radio 4.

He has spoken and written frequently on the issue of mental health in adolescents and young adults and advocated for enhanced funding for identifying at-risk youth and for early mental health interventions.[47][48]

Honours and awards[edit]

Ono is the recipient of the Pharmacia International Award in Allergy Research (the top international prize awarded to inflammation researchers under the age of 40), a Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, the American Diabetes Association Career Development Award, the Arthritis Foundation Investigator Award, a Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Award, the Medal in Bronze from Osaka City University and the Roche Award presented at University of Texas Medical Branch.

In 2016, he was awarded the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education and the NAAAP100 Award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals. In 2017, he received a Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago Alumni Association.[49] He has been recognized as an outstanding mentor at Phi Beta Kappa ceremonies and received the JW McConnell Award for Potential in Teaching at McGill University.

Ono has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Inventors, the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Fellow of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected International Fellow, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) and of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum and in 2017 the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.[50] He has been a member of the Faculty of 1000 since 2003.[51]

He has delivered plenary or major lectures at: the International Congress of Immunology, the International Congress of Eye Research, the Annual Meetings of ARVO and AAAAI and the Kyoto Cornea Conference. Ono has been a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Visiting Professor at Kyoto University and a Genentech Visiting Professor at the University of Cincinnati.

Advisory roles[edit]

On January 23, 2017, Ono was appointed Chief Advisor of the British Columbia Innovation Network and a member of the BC Technology Council.[52]

Ono has served on the governing bodies/Board of Trustees of University College London, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship US, World Affairs Council of Cincinnati, Alois Alzheimer Center, Strive for College, the Japan America Society, the Taft Center at University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, University of Cincinnati Foundation and Trent School Cockfosters, Church of England. He has served ex officio on the Presidential Advisory Committee at Emory University. He is a founding member of the Board of the Posse Foundation, Atlanta and has served on the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS)[53] the Medical Advisory Board and College of Experts of the Medical Research Council, UK[54] and the IMS and HAI study sections of the US National Institutes of Health. Ono has served on the Council of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship of Georgia and the Selection Committee for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation National Graduate Scholarships.[55]

He has served as Associate Editor of Immunology and the Journal of Leukocyte Biology and on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Immunology and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He chaired the Novartis Foundation Symposium in 2004 and has participated in three Keck Futures Initiatives of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

At Emory, he also served as the faculty advisor for Emory Christian Fellowship and the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He was elected to the National Board of Directors of Alpha Tau Omega in 2014.


  1. ^ Hoffman, Ryan (February 11, 2014). "Ono, Yip recount love story, reflect on marriage". The News Record. Cincinnati, Ohio. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  2. ^ "Eyelid protein is key to allergy". BBC News. January 16, 2005. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "Can the Role of University President Really Be that Easy?" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Helen Hay Whitney Foundation - Directory Results". Helen Hay Whitney Foundation. Archived from the original on July 31, 2007.
  5. ^ Ono SJ; Issa-Chergui B; Colle E; Guttmann RD; Seemayer TA; Fuks A (October 1988). "IDDM in BB rats. Enhanced MHC class I heavy-chain gene expression in pancreatic islets". Diabetes. 37 (10): 1411–8. doi:10.2337/diabetes.37.10.1411. PMID 3046971.
  6. ^ Ono SJ; Colle E; Guttmann RD; Fuks A (July 1989). "Interferon-gamma induces transcription and differential expression of MHC genes in rat insulinoma cell line RINm5F". Diabetes. 38 (7): 911–6. doi:10.2337/diabetes.38.7.911. PMID 2544472.
  7. ^ Colle E; Ono SJ; Fuks A; Guttmann RD; Seemayer TA (October 1988). "Association of susceptibility to spontaneous diabetes in rat with genes of major histocompatibility complex". Diabetes. 37 (10): 1438–43. doi:10.2337/diabetes.37.10.1438. PMID 2901375.
  8. ^ Ono SJ; Fuks A; Guttmann RD; Colle E (1989). "Susceptibility and resistance genes to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in the BB rat". Experimental and Clinical Immunogenetics. 6 (2): 169–78. PMID 2517027.
  9. ^ Abdulkadir SA; Ono SJ (November 1995). "How are class II MHC genes turned on and off?". The FASEB Journal. 9 (14): 1429–35. doi:10.1096/fasebj.9.14.7589984. PMID 7589984.
  10. ^ Ono SJ; Bazil V; Sugawara M; Strominger JL (March 1991). "An isotype-specific trans-acting factor is defective in a mutant B cell line that expresses HLA-DQ, but not -DR or -DP". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 173 (3): 629–37. doi:10.1084/jem.173.3.629. PMC 2118821. PMID 1997650.
  11. ^ Ono SJ; Song Z (March 1995). "Mapping of the interaction site of the defective transcription factor in the class II major histocompatibility complex mutant cell line clone-13 to the divergent X2-box". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 270 (11): 6396–402. doi:10.1074/jbc.270.11.6396. PMID 7890777.
  12. ^ Ono SJ; Liou HC; Davidon R; Strominger JL; Glimcher LH (May 1991). "Human X-box-binding protein 1 is required for the transcription of a subset of human class II major histocompatibility genes and forms a heterodimer with c-fos". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 88 (10): 4309–12. doi:10.1073/pnas.88.10.4309. PMC 51648. PMID 1903538.
  13. ^ Song Z; Krishna S; Thanos D; Strominger JL; Ono SJ (November 1994). "A novel cysteine-rich sequence-specific DNA-binding protein interacts with the conserved X-box motif of the human major histocompatibility complex class II genes via a repeated Cys-His domain and functions as a transcriptional repressor". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 180 (5): 1763–74. doi:10.1084/jem.180.5.1763. PMC 2191754. PMID 7964459.
  14. ^ Arlotta P; Miyazaki D; Copeland NG; Gilbert DJ; Jenkins NA; Ono SJ (June 2002). "Murine NFX.1: isolation and characterization of its messenger RNA, mapping of its chromosomal location and assessment of its developmental expression". Immunology. 106 (2): 173–81. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2567.2002.01416.x. PMC 1782705. PMID 12047746.
  15. ^ Floyd JA, Gold DA, Concepcion D, et al. (November 2003). "A natural allele of Nxf1/TAP suppresses retrovirus insertional mutations". Nature Genetics. 35 (3): 221–8. doi:10.1038/ng1247. PMC 2756099. PMID 14517553.
  16. ^ Katzenellenbogen RA; Egelkrout EM; Vliet-Gregg P; Gewin LC; Gafken PR; Galloway DA (April 2007). "NFX1-123 and Poly(A) Binding Proteins Synergistically Augment Activation of Telomerase in Human Papillomavirus Type 16 E6-Expressing Cells". Journal of Virology. 81 (8): 3786–96. doi:10.1128/JVI.02007-06. PMC 1866132. PMID 17267499.
  17. ^ Xu M; Luo W; Elzi DJ; Grandori C; Galloway DA (August 2008). "NFX1 Interacts with mSin3A/Histone Deacetylase To Repress hTERT Transcription in Keratinocytes". Molecular and Cellular Biology. 28 (15): 4819–28. doi:10.1128/MCB.01969-07. PMC 2493374. PMID 18505829.
  18. ^ Liu F; Chau KY; Arlotta P; Ono SJ (2001). "The HMG I proteins: dynamic roles in gene activation, development, and tumorigenesis". Immunologic Research. 24 (1): 13–29. doi:10.1385/IR:24:1:13. PMID 11485207.
  19. ^ Abdulkadir SA; Krishna S; Thanos D; Maniatis T; Strominger JL; Ono SJ (August 1995). "Functional roles of the transcription factor Oct-2A and the high mobility group protein I/Y in HLA-DRA gene expression". The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 182 (2): 487–500. doi:10.1084/jem.182.2.487. PMC 2192141. PMID 7629508.
  20. ^ a b Chau KY, Munshi N, Keane-Myers A, et al. (October 2000). "The architectural transcription factor high mobility group I(Y) participates in photoreceptor-specific gene expression". Journal of Neuroscience. 20 (19): 7317–24. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.20-19-07317.2000. PMID 11007889.
  21. ^ Chau KY, Keane-Myers AM, Fedele M, et al. (March 2005). "IFN-gamma gene expression is controlled by the architectural transcription factor HMGA1". International Immunology. 17 (3): 297–306. doi:10.1093/intimm/dxh209. PMID 15710911.
  22. ^ Chau KY; Chen S; Zack DJ; Ono SJ (November 2000). "Functional domains of the cone-rod homeobox (CRX) transcription factor". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275 (47): 37264–70. doi:10.1074/jbc.M002763200. PMID 10984472.
  23. ^ Arlotta P; Tai AK; Manfioletti G; Clifford C; Jay G; Ono SJ (May 2000). "Transgenic mice expressing a truncated form of the high mobility group I-C protein develop adiposity and an abnormally high prevalence of lipomas". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275 (19): 14394–400. doi:10.1074/jbc.M000564200. PMID 10747931.
  24. ^ Chau K; Arlotta P; Patel UA; Crane-Robinson C; Manfioletti G; Ono SJ (September 1999). "A novel downstream positive regulatory element mediating transcription of the human high mobility group (HMG) I-C gene". FEBS Letters. 457 (3): 429–36. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(99)01100-X. PMID 10471823.
  25. ^ Noro B, Licheri B, Sgarra R, et al. (April 2003). "Molecular dissection of the architectural transcription factor HMGA2". Biochemistry. 42 (15): 4569–77. doi:10.1021/bi026605k. PMID 12693954.
  26. ^ Beer F, Kuo CH, Morohoshi K, et al. (June 2007). "Role of beta-chemokines in mast cell activation and type I hypersensitivity reactions in the conjunctiva: in vivo and in vitro studies". Immunological Reviews. 217: 96–104. doi:10.1111/j.1600-065X.2007.00521.x. PMID 17498054.
  27. ^ Miyazaki D; Nakamura T; Toda M; Cheung-Chau KW; Richardson RM; Ono SJ (February 2005). "Macrophage inflammatory protein–1α as a costimulatory signal for mast cell–mediated immediate hypersensitivity reactions". The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 115 (2): 434–42. doi:10.1172/JCI18452. PMC 544033. PMID 15650768.
  28. ^ Toda M, Dawson M, Nakamura T, et al. (November 2004). "Impact of engagement of FcepsilonRI and CC chemokine receptor 1 on mast cell activation and motility". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 279 (46): 48443–8. doi:10.1074/jbc.M408725200. PMID 15337751.
  29. ^ Patel N, Ohbayashi M, Nugent AK, et al. (July 2005). "Circulating anti-retinal antibodies as immune markers in age-related macular degeneration". Immunology. 115 (3): 422–30. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2567.2005.02173.x. PMC 1782158. PMID 15946260.
  30. ^ Mantel I, Ramchand KV, Holder GE, et al. (April 2008). "Macular and retinal dysfunction of unknown origin in adults with normal fundi: evidence for an autoimmune pathophysiology". Experimental and Molecular Pathology. 84 (2): 90–101. doi:10.1016/j.yexmp.2007.10.006. PMID 18255057.
  31. ^ Smaglik, Paul. "London's calling for entrepreneurs". Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  32. ^ a b Hand, Greg (October 23, 2012). "Santa Jeremy Ono Named President of the University of Cincinnati". UC News. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  33. ^ Santa J. Ono on LinkedIn
  34. ^ Greg, Hand (June 22, 2010). "Ono Named Provost at University of Cincinnati". UC News.
  35. ^ "Williams Challenges UC to Excel, Achieve". UC News. September 19, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  36. ^ Peale, Cliff (April 9, 2011). "University of Cincinnati launches bold academic plan". Archived from the original on October 8, 2012.
  37. ^ Maties, Adrian. "U Square @ the Loop Finally Open". MultiHousing News.
  38. ^ Molski, Henry (January 2, 2015). "UC's Ono named 2015's most notable president".
  39. ^ Ali, Maz (December 21, 2015). "9 high-profile CEOs who did positive things in 2015".
  40. ^ "Dr. Santa Ono to become UBC President and Vice Chancellor". UBC News (Media Release). June 13, 2016.
  41. ^ "Remembering research and innovation in higher education: Santa J. Ono".
  42. ^ Ono, Santa J. (April 21, 2014). "College 'labeling' plan cannot be one-size-fits-all". myDayton Daily News.
  43. ^ Ono, Santa J.; Glazer, Greer (December 27, 2013). "A Remedy for What Ails the Urban City". RWJF Human Capital Blog. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  44. ^ a b Ono, Santa J.; Hardcastle, Valerie Gray. "Campuses must create formal networks for female STEM professors". Inside Higher Ed (essay).
  45. ^ a b Ono, Santa J. (April 21, 2014). "This College President Has More Than 30,000 Twitter Followers". The Chronicle of Higher Education – via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  46. ^ Professor Santa Jeremy Ono[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ "For Ono, the time to speak about mental health is now".
  48. ^ [1]
  49. ^ "2017: Professional Achievement Award Santa J. Ono, AB'84 University of Chicago Alumni Awards". University of Chicago Alumni Association. September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  50. ^ "Two Faculty Members Become Newest Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences".
  51. ^ "Faculty Member: Immunology > Allergy & Hypersensitivity (since 1 April 2003)". Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  52. ^ "Premier tasks Santa Ono to establish innovation network". BC Gov News. Government of British Columbia. January 23, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  53. ^ Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society. "tear film & ocular surface society". Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  54. ^ "Medical Research Council". October 4, 2010. Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  55. ^ "Jack Kent Cooke Foundation". Retrieved October 23, 2010.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Gregory H. Williams
President of the University of Cincinnati
Succeeded by
Beverly Davenport
Preceded by
Martha Piper
President and Vice-Chancellor
of the University of British Columbia