Stacey Patterson, University of Tennessee associate vice president for research since 2015, has been appointed interim vice president for research, outreach and economic development, UT President Joe DiPietro announced today.
Patterson fills a vacancy created by David Millhorn’s move to the position of UT senior vice president emeritus and national laboratory relations advisor. Millhorn has been UT senior vice president and vice president for research, outreach and economic development since 2016; president of the UT Research Foundation since January 2014; and a member of the UT president’s staff with system-wide research oversight since 2005. Patterson’s appointment is effective as of July 1, 2017, and she will serve in an interim role until the UT Board of Trustees acts on DiPietro’s recommendation of her appointment in November.
“The University of Tennessee is fortunate to have in Stacey Patterson someone with the understanding of the statewide UT system and the expertise in conducting research and facilitating partnerships to sustain the momentum established by David Millhorn,” DiPietro said. “I am pleased that Stacey is able to step into this role even as the University continues to benefit from David’s knowledge and stature in the research community.”
Patterson joined the University in 2006 in a joint role as a licensing associate for the UT Research Foundation (UTRF) and a research scientist in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB). At UTRF, she was responsible for managing a broad portfolio of intellectual property for licensing and commercialization to the private sector. Her research at CEB led to significant external funding and the launch of a startup company developing biological cell lines for optical imaging applications.
In 2009, Patterson joined UT System administration as director of research partnerships for the executive vice president office. She served as lead author of a proposal for research infrastructure that won a $24-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Among several statewide initiatives Patterson has led is the $62.5-million Volunteer State Solar Initiative. In 2012, she was named assistant vice president and director of research partnerships, and in 2015 she was promoted to the dual roles of UT associate vice president for research and vice president of the UT Research Foundation.
“I am honored and humbled to serve my alma mater and promote the importance of research, outreach and economic development to our University and our state in this new role,” Patterson said. “I’ve had the distinct privilege to work with a great mentor over the past eight years, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to move UT’s research enterprise forward.”
Patterson has bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology from UT Knoxville and a master’s degree in environmental health sciences from East Tennessee State University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida and returned to UT Knoxville with a joint appointment in research and technology transfer in 2006. Patterson has secured research funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the U.S. Army, NSF and the National Institutes of Health, and she has been a contributor on discoveries achieving seven U.S. patents in sensor development and cancer imaging.
Millhorn began serving as a member of the UT president’s staff as vice president for research and economic development in 2005, and held both the offices of executive vice president and vice president for research from 2007 to 2017. Millhorn’s achievements have included two five-year extensions – both without having to re-compete – of the U.S. Department of Energy’s contract for the University to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) through the UT-Battelle partnership (with Battelle Memorial Institute).
Millhorn also led implementation of the Governor’s Chairs program with joint UT-ORNL appointments for world-class scientists, who now include 17 of the leading researchers in their fields. Millhorn also led the collaborative UT-ORNL team involved in competing successfully for a $65-million NSF grant awarded in 2008 – the single-largest research award to UT or any institution in the state at the time – to build what was then the world’s fastest supercomputer and which signaled the arrival of UT-ORNL as a global leader in supercomputing capability.
Millhorn spearheaded planning, development and construction of the UT Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus in Knoxville. The first on-site building at Cherokee Farm to house private tenants is now occupied, including anchor tenant Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC). Now sharing the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus with the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, the CEC building marks a major milestone for the site planned as the home of a mix of university and public-private partnership research and development ventures.
In his new role as senior vice president emeritus and national laboratory relations advisor for the University, Millhorn will concentrate on working with the new leadership at ORNL to create major opportunities for the University and the national laboratory in areas of common interest such as leadership computing, neutron science, advanced materials, national security and healthcare.
“With visionary leadership, David Millhorn has brought about some of the most transformative accomplishments in the history of the University,” DiPietro said. “The incredible success of UT-Battelle’s management of the national lab, the multiple UT-ORNL joint institutes, the Governor’s Chairs program, and the momentum under way at Cherokee Farm all are game-changers that have attracted national attention and raised the prestige of the entire statewide UT system. David’s contributions in these and multiple other areas have made impact that will continue for decades. We look forward to him accomplishing even more in his new role at ORNL and there is no one better to take on his new assignment.”
“We are staged to create meaningful opportunities to grow and advance our research programs, joint activities, and shared resources and capabilities,” Millhorn said. “I will focus my efforts on building world class programs that can engage in research to solve problems of national significance and to create economic opportunities in our community, state and nation.”
Millhorn came to UT from the University of Cincinnati where he served as inaugural director of its Genome Research Institute and chairman of its Department of Genome Science. He is a member of the American Physiological Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Millhorn has a bachelor’s degree from UT Chattanooga and a doctoral degree from Ohio State University. He was a professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from 1980-1994.
UT system research encompasses programs on the flagship campus in Knoxville, at UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, the Health Science Center in Memphis, initiatives of the Institute of Agriculture, Institute for Public Service, and the Space Institute at Tullahoma.
The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 10,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 370,000 alumni around the world.