Interim Vice President for Research
(612) 624-5054 | Oakes007@umn.edu
419 Johnson Hall 101 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
J. Michael Oakes, PhD, serves as the University of Minnesota’s interim vice president for research, a position that oversees the institution’s $1+ billion research enterprise across all campuses and facilities.
He directly manages units responsible for sponsored projects, research and regulatory compliance, and technology commercialization, as well as 10 interdisciplinary academic centers and institutes. Along with colleagues at the University of Minnesota Foundation and across the system, he oversees a growing corporate engagement portfolio for the University of Minnesota.
Michael assumed the interim role following the departure of Christopher J. Cramer, who stepped down as vice president for research on June 1, 2021.
Michael has held many academic and administrative roles during his 20 years at the University, including serving as associate vice president for research since January 2019. He served many roles in faculty governance, including vice chair of the faculty consultative committee and faculty legislative liaison. Michael co-chaired the University’s Institutional Review Board for more than 15 years and has also served leading roles on panels with the Human Research Protection Program and the Conflict of Interest Program. He founded and previously directed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program.
Outside of his role in research administration, Michael is a professor in the School of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. As a social epidemiologist his research has been highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, devoted to enhancing methods for understanding the social determinants of health and enhancing health equity. He has been the principal investigator (PI) of several R01 grants from NIH.
His scholarly interests include quantitative methods, especially data and models for estimating contextual effects and applied experimental designs, as well as research ethics. He taught masters and doctoral courses in advanced epidemiologic methods, design and analysis of cluster trials, statistical programming, and social epidemiology.
He has published over 135 articles in scholarly journals addressing problems found at the intersection of the social and health sciences. He is also the author and lead editor of the textbook Methods in Social Epidemiology, which has been printed in two editions.
Michael’s journey in the world of higher education began as a first-generation college student when he enrolled at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. He later went on to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he earned both his bachelor’s degree in management economics and a PhD in sociology (with a focus on research methods and social epidemiology).
After working as a research scientist at the New England Research Institutes in Massachusetts and as a methodologist and statistician with the Gallup Organization in New Jersey, he joined the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in 2001.
Teaching: McKnight Presidential Fellow, University of Minnesota (2007–2010); Leonard Schuman Teaching Award, School of Public Health (2010); Award for Excellence in Advising, School of Public Health (2012)
Associate Editor: American Journal of Epidemiology (2014-Present); Obesity (2014-2018); Journal of Causal Inference (2011-2021)
Member: Statistical Review Board, American Society of Nutrition (2019-present); Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health
Chair: NIH Social Sciences and Population Studies B (SSPB) Study Section (2016-present); UMN Institutional Review Board (IRB) panel (2001-2016)
Recent research support: Robert Woods Johnson Foundation; UK Department for International Development; NIH: National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and National Institute of Mental Health
Author & Lead Editor: Methods in Social Epidemiology (textbook)
Appearances & Presentations
The Vice President for Research shares regular updates with the Board of Regents and, upon request, engages with key stakeholders.
Request an Engagement with VPR Oakes
VPR Oakes welcomes the opportunity to speak to your organization, conference, or at an upcoming event. Please get in touch with the scheduling team by submitting a Speaking Request.