Patricia D. Hurn, Ph.D., is Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at The University of Texas System. She serves as the chief health research officer to the UT System and its six academic health center campuses. Her focus is on building collaborative models of bio-health research, creating innovative science education programs and constructing technological systems and infrastructure for the mission of discovery.
In addition to her UT System leadership role, Hurn is an active neuroscientist and is internationally known for her work in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of gender differences in response to experimental brain injury. She also serves as a research professor in neurobiology in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Hurn directs a translational laboratory that studies the role of hormone in post-stroke immunology and is generously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
One aspect of research leadership that Hurn enjoys most is the opportunity to bring together diverse groups of faculty and leaders from outside the university to accomplish common research goals. As principal investigator, she has led multi-investigator initiatives, including two NIH program project grants of approximately 12 million in total dollar awards and an NIH Training Program for Oregon Scholars to train residents, clinical and postdoctoral fellows in translational research.
Her educational background is unique and emphasizes trans-disciplinary training and a deep understanding of basic science, medicine and nursing. Hurn holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees of Science in Nursing, specializing in trauma and critical care. She earned a doctorate in Physiology in 1990 from The Johns Hopkins University, followed by postdoctoral training in biomedical engineering. She began her faculty career at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and attained the rank of full professor at that institution in 2003.
Hurn’s academic career is highlighted by her joint activity in both clinical and basic science departments. Prior to joining the UT System, she served as professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, as professor of neurology and of physiology and pharmacology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). In addition, she created and directed the OHSU Center for Gender-Based Medicine, a multi-disciplinary research center for the study of sex-based differences in cardiovascular disease.
As a previous associate dean for faculty affairs, Hurn remains strongly committed to faculty development and mentorship of researchers and learners at all levels.She has created university-wide programs in faculty mentorship, evaluation, leadership development, the advancement of women in science and medicine, and attaining excellence through collaboration. She believes that her success as a scientist and leader has been forged, in large measure, by her collaborative skills. Her view that collaboration shortens the distance to any goal and enhances the outcome is continuously shared with her many protégés over the years.
Hurn sits on numerous editorial boards and is a charter member of the NIH Acute Neural Injury and Epilepsy study section. In 2009 and 2010, she chaired the International Symposium Stroke Conference of the American Heart Association. She is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the American College of Critical Care Medicine and the American Physiological Society.