DEAN JAKUB TOLAR, MD, PhD
Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School
Vice President for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota
Campus Public Health Officer at the University of Minnesota
Board Chair for the University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians)
Co-Lead for the M Health Fairview Joint Clinical Enterprise
Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, became Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2017 and Vice President for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 2018. Dr. Tolar also serves as Board Chair for the University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians), a multi-specialty group practice for the University of Minnesota Medical School faculty. Dean Tolar serves as the Campus Public Health Officer for the University of Minnesota College System, a role that has been pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to his academic roles, Dr. Tolar also serves as the co-lead for the M Health Fairview joint clinical enterprise, a partnership between Fairview Health Services, the University of Minnesota Medical School, and University of Minnesota Physicians. These three entities together comprise M Health Fairview, the third-largest academic health system in the country, with 2,456 beds, 34,000 employees, 80 clinics, 9 hospitals, and annual revenue of $6B.
Education, Training, and Experience
Originally from the Czech Republic, Dr. Tolar received his medical education (MD) in Prague at Charles University. In 1992, he came to the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he completed his PhD in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Genetics, and also completed his residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation. In his almost 30 years at the University, Dr. Tolar has served in many positions, including Director of the Stem Cell Institute from 2013-2017, and Executive Vice Dean of the Medical School from 2015-2017.
Tenure as Dean
Dr. Tolar’s tenure as dean has been eventful. The formalization of the Joint Clinical Enterprise, called M Health Fairview, brought together University research and education with a large clinical practice, benefiting patients, learners, and faculty. Dr. Tolar also led the creation of the first-of-its-kind Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB), an interdisciplinary institute that brings together experts from across the University to advance brain health from the earliest stages of development, supporting each person’s journey as a valued community member.
Leadership During COVID-19
Dr. Tolar has provided strong and flexible leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of particular note, Medical School labs assembled the state’s first large-scale PCR diagnostic testing site, which expanded to help realize the “Minnesota Moonshot” with Governor Walz vowing to get 1 million Minnesotans tested by the end of summer in 2020. Our researchers also led the nation in clinical trials, demonstrating the inefficacy of hydroxychloroquine and the potential of metformin in treating COVID-19 in addition to many other drug studies.
Research and Laboratory
A physician-scientist, Dr. Tolar's laboratory and clinical research focuses on finding new ways of treating children with lethal genetic diseases—like epidermolysis bullosa, mucopolysaccharidosis type I (Hurler syndrome), Fanconi anemia, and dyskeratosis congenita—by developing safer and more effective cellular therapies in. Dr. Tolar is credited with the first successful bone marrow transplant to treat a disease of a different organ, the skin. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and has an H-Index of 51. The Tolar Lab is part of a team working with state-of-the-art gene-editing technologies to repair genetic errors in a patient’s own cells and use the corrected cells for transplant and other therapies.
Medical Practice and Professional Service
Board-certified in pediatric hematology/oncology, Dr. Tolar practices at the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital. He is a mentor for our MD/PhD scientist training program and has trained over 30 post-doctoral fellows. He is a member of many professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Academic Health Centers, Royal Society of Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and been active in several patient support organizations.
He was invited to join the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society in 2021, awarded Distinguished McKnight University Professorship in 2015, and was inducted into the Rare Disease Research Hall of Fame in 2013. He has given invited presentations in over 20 countries, including speaking at the Nobel Conference on “Hematopoietic Stem Cells: From Basic Science to Regenerative Medicine,” in Stockholm, Sweden in 2012, and organizing the “Precision Dermatology: Next Generation Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment” session at the 2017 Montagna Symposium on the Biology of Skin in Salishan, OR.
Outside of work, Dr. Tolar spends time with his wife, children, and grandchild. He enjoys reading, listening to opera, kayaking, and crossfit training.