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Lisa C. Freeman has focused her academic career on bringing people and resources together to solve complex problems.

Freeman was appointed acting president at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in July 2017. Previously she served as executive vice president and provost since May 2014, after serving on an interim basis. From 2010-2013, she served as NIU’s vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. Freeman is also a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. 

Formerly, Freeman spent 16 years at Kansas State University (K-State), where she served as a principal investigator on research and training grants; taught courses in pharmacology, and in the responsible conduct of research; and acted as a mentor to numerous graduate students, postdoctoral trainees and early career faculty members. In 2005, Freeman was promoted to professor and also became the associate dean for Research and Graduate Programs for the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine. Subsequently, in 2008, she became associate vice president for Innovation for the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus. In this role, Freeman was responsible for fostering partnerships across academia, industry and the public sector to promote educational attainment, economic engagement and workforce development.

Since joining NIU, Freeman has served on the Illinois Innovation Council, as well as on the boards of directors of the Fermi Research Alliance; the Chicago Council on Science and Technology; and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. She has been a member of the executive committees of the Association of Public, Land- Grant Universities (APLU) Councils on Research Policy and Graduate Education and Academic Affairs; the APLU Commission on Information, Measurement and Analysis; and the American Council on Education Council of Fellows.

Freeman earned a bachelor's degree in 1981, and a master's degree and a doctor of veterinary medicine in 1986, from Cornell University. She went on to earn a doctor of philosophy at The Ohio State University in 1989, and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the University of Rochester, School of Medicine. In 2004-05, Freeman was a Fellow of the American Council on Education hosted by the University at Buffalo.

Freeman's research focused the role of ion channels in the development of diseases such as gastrointestinal ulcers and ovarian cancer as well as on strategies for encouraging interdisciplinary interactions. Her work was funded by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Freeman has written more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, invited reviews and book chapters. She has been invited to present research findings, and to discuss effective strategies for engaging trainees in STEM research, at national and international conferences.