AUCD Welcomes Rodney Samaco, PhD as Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer

August 15, 2023

John Tschida, the Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, announced today that Rodney Samaco, PhD has been hired as AUCD’s Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer (CSBDO). Dr. Samaco will serve in this key leadership role to develop new business models, procure resources, spearhead research initiatives and uncover new opportunities as part of AUCD’s Strategic Plan.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Samaco has been engaged in research related to rare genetic intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities. As an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), and Investigator of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH), he has leveraged his interests, curiosity and acquired domain expertise to build a robust preclinical portfolio to address questions related to neurodevelopmental disabilities through basic and translational research. 

In addition, he has most recently served in the role as Co-Director (MPI) of the BCM Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), one of 15 nationally recognized IDDRC's funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Dr. Samaco is a known quantity for ‘team science’ endeavors, including co-leading or contributing to various initiatives within and across stakeholder communities in the disability space including his most recent role as Vice Chair and Chair of AUCD’s Council on Research and Evaluation. His work with patient advocacy and non-profit research organizations, industry partners and external academic partnerships has resulted in either directly leading, or contributing to joint publications among consortia and collaborators, and successfully securing funding, with over $50M (direct cost) in federal and non-federal support for projects that Dr. Samaco has contributed to as Key Personnel (~$39M) or as the Principal Investigator or Project Lead (~$11M) as a faculty member of BCM and TCH. 

In collaboration with senior leadership, staff, consultants, other personnel, advocates and self-advocates, and various committees associated with AUCD’s broad Network of Centers and Programs, Dr. Samaco will advance strategic direction, drive innovation, strengthen existing efforts and pioneer new developments and partnerships to accelerate progress towards fulfilling the mission and vision of AUCD. Within his timeline of immediate and long-term objectives as CSBDO, Dr. Samaco will aim (1) to cultivate new partnerships, identify novel mechanisms of revenue/resource generation, and enhance research readiness, (2) to co-create opportunities and tangible deliverables to increase impact, and advance diverse, equitable, and inclusive community engaged practices throughout the research enterprise and workforce, and (3) to bridge gaps, build trust and highlight the value-add of authentic partnerships through effective dialogue and knowledge translation.

Read Rodney's full bio.