Justin R. Garcia, research director of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, has been named the institute’s acting executive director, effective July 1.
Established by Alfred C. Kinsey at IU Bloomington in 1947, the Kinsey Institute is the largest and most intellectually and materially diverse research institute of its kind.
Garcia, who is also the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies and a Bicentennial Professor, is an evolutionary biologist and an international leader in sex research. His research program focuses on the evolutionary and biocultural foundations of romantic and sexual relationships across the life span, with emphasis on variation in monogamy and the tensions between gender and sexuality and between romantic and sexual desires and how they shape intimate relationships.
In his new role, Garcia will focus on the research and education goals of the institute, including fostering strong campus partnerships with crucial IU initiatives such as the Grand Challenges program, the Center for Rural Engagement and the Emerging Areas of Research program at IU Bloomington. Working with the IU Foundation and deans of the academic schools, Garcia intends to deepen the institute’s research program and promote new activities related to education and outreach, including a revamped research blog platform and a recently accredited continuing education program.
“I’m honored and excited to serve as the Kinsey Institute’s acting director,” Garcia said. “I’m privileged to work with remarkable faculty and staff at the Kinsey Institute. They are full of knowledge and passion for the scientific and scholarly research the institute is known for. I look forward very much to furthering that work and seeing us through several exciting initiatives over the coming year.”
Garcia serves as co-chair of the Interdepartmental Graduate Committee on Human Sexuality at IU, which administers the Kinsey Institute’s Ph.D. minor in human sexuality. He is also co-director of the IU School of Medicine’s new human sexuality and health concentration.
For the past several years, Garcia has served as the primary faculty partner for the Bloomington campus climate assessments of sexual violence. An award-winning researcher and teacher, Garcia was named one of IU’s 25 Bicentennial Professors in 2018. The Bicentennial Professors will travel around the state to deliver public presentations in community forums in celebration of IU’s 200th anniversary.
Garcia earned an M.S. in biomedical anthropology in 2009 and a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2011 from Binghamton University. He completed an NIH T32 postdoctoral research fellowship before joining the IU faculty in 2013. He has co-authored dozens of academic articles and book chapters and is co-author of the book “Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior.” He has also served as a consultant to several organizations, including acting as scientific advisor to the world’s largest relationship company, Match, providing expertise to the annual Singles in America study on the romantic attitudes and behaviors of single people in the United States.
“Justin is extremely well-respected as a productive and innovative faculty member, a generous and collaborative colleague, and a dedicated mentor and educator,” said Rick Van Kooten, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington, whose office provides oversight and support for the institute. “He has been a key member of the Kinsey Institute, actively contributing to the institute’s academic and public success. I am confident that he will be an outstanding leader for the institute, advancing the very important research and education it provides at IU and to the world.”
Garcia replaces Sue Carter, director of the institute since 2014, who will step down from her position June 30. Carter will continue her research program on oxytocin, social bonding, and reproduction, and she will focus on a new collaborative project on the maternal brain, funded by the NI H. She will hold the titles of Emerita Professor of Biology and Emerita Rudy Professor and Distinguished University Research Scientist at the Kinsey Institute.
“We deeply thank Sue Carter for leading the Kinsey Institute over the past years as well as expanding its science-based studies of sexuality by adding research on the endrocrinology of love and social bonding,” Van Kooten said.
The Kinsey Institute has long been recognized for its interdisciplinary research on human sexual behavior as well as its outstanding collections of historical archives, art, artifacts and photography. The institute recently displayed its collection of photography by George Platt Lynes as part of a collaborative special exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
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