Millhorn Named UT Vice President of Research

KNOXVILLE — Internationally renowned biomedical researcher and native Tennessean David Millhorn has been selected to lead University of Tennessee System research efforts.

New UT Vice President of Research David Millhorn

Millhorn, currently director of the Genome Research Institute at the University of Cincinnati, will serve as vice president of research at UT. He will lead the university system-s $273 million research enterprise at its campuses and research centers throughout Tennessee, pending approval from the UT Board of Trustees at its June 23 meeting.

Millhorn, who earned a bachelor-s degree from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and a doctorate from Ohio State University, is slated to begin his duties Aug. 1. He will have a faculty appointment with the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, which will enable the university to maximize his biomedical expertise in a more direct way.

UT President John D. Petersen said: -We had an outstanding pool of applicants, including four exceptional finalists, which I believe signals broad recognition of the potential for world class research development at the University of Tennessee.-

A primary focus of Millhorn-s efforts will be capitalizing on the university-s partnership with Battelle to operate Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the nation-s leading research facilities. Last year, the national lab received more than $1 billion in funding for work in areas including neutron science, high performance computing, complex biological systems, energy, materials science and national security. Millhorn also will focus on building system-wide teams to compete for the larger-sized grants that require teams of scientists.

-It is not overstating things to say that the University of Tennessee, through its partnership at Oak Ridge, is uniquely positioned in the nation to make a quantum leap in its research efforts,- said Petersen. -In David Millhorn we have a person with the knowledge, skills, energy, vision and drive to make our aspirations for our university and our state become reality.-

Millhorn has consulted extensively with private pharmaceutical firms, national and international science organizations and is the recipient of numerous national and international research honors. Petersen said this experience will be critical as UT looks to leverage not only its research partnership with Oak Ridge, but also to expand research opportunities through additional partnerships with St. Jude-s Children-s Hospital in Memphis, Vanderbilt University and other organizations in Tennessee and elsewhere.

-UT has a tremendous opportunity to lead the nation and the world in research breakthroughs in many areas, and the benefit to the state of Tennessee will be enormous. Having individuals the caliber of Dr. Millhorn on our staff is the key to attracting major grant funding. His track record in that regard is superb,- Petersen said.

Millhorn, who has published more than 200 papers, consistently has been awarded federal support for his research. Groups such as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, the Polish National Academy of Science, and the Tohoku Medical School in Japan have recognized Millhorn-s work.

His research emphasis is to understand the mechanisms for cellular regulation of oxygen supply at a molecular and genetic level.

Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati, Millhorn served at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He began as a postdoctoral researcher and moved up through the professorial ranks to full professor and served as director of graduate studies in the UNC physiology department.

Millhorn also worked as a visiting scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden during his tenure at North Carolina.

At Cincinnati, he was named the Joseph Eichberg Professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, a post he held until he accepted leadership of the Genome Research Institute.

The University of Tennessee is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research-Extensive Institution, placing it in the highest ranks of all colleges and universities in the country. Research activities magnify the university’s educational mission and enhance its state, national, and international public service role.