UTICA — A little more than two years after joining the organization as director of research, Maria Kontaridis is now the executive director of the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI) in Utica.
Kontaridis assumed the top spot on May 6, MMRI said. She is the first person to hold the executive director position, the organization tells CNYBJ.
At the same time, MMRI promoted Susan Bartkowiak to fill the permanent position of director of administration. She has been interim director of administration for the past year.
MMRI is a biomedical research institute founded by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in 1958, per its website.
MMRI contends it has “vastly grown” with Kontaridis serving as director of research. The organization increased its number of employees, transitioned from the moniker Masonic Medical Research Laboratory to MMRI, underwent rebranding, and diversified its research portfolio.
“We have been repeatedly impressed and made proud by our decision to hire Dr. Kontaridis. Her ambition is inspiring, and we are excited to bear witness to the growth of the MMRI in the coming months and years under her outstanding leadership,” Alvaro Quiroga, president of the MMRI board of directors, said in a statement.
MMRI said the restructuring of its leadership will increase the effectiveness of its expansion goals for the future as the institute continues to branch into new areas of research, attract more scientists, and increase laboratory space.
“As executive director, I look forward to the bright future of MMRI, knowing we have the ability and dedication to continue our expansion of research efforts towards life changing discoveries, treatments, and, hopefully, cures” Kontaridis said.