Terry Magnuson named vice chancellor for research at UNC

A renowned geneticist whose work spans disciplines will take the top research post at UNC-Chapel Hill

Terry Magnuson named vice chancellor for research at UNC click to enlarge Terry Magnuson, PhD (Photo by Max Englund, UNC Health Care)

February 23, 2016

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Terry Magnuson, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Genetics and founding chair of the department of genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been appointed as the vice chancellor for research at UNC. The university appointment, effective July 1, was approved by the UNC Board of Trustees.

“Terry is a national leader in his field and one of our deeply trusted colleagues,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “We are so honored that he will guide the basic curiosity, passion, and creativity inherent in our faculty and students to help unleash the innovation potential of this great university.”

Magnuson will succeed Barbara Entwisle, PhD, who will serve as vice chancellor until the end of the fiscal year, when she will return to her role as Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology in the sociology department in the College of Arts and Sciences and fellow of the Carolina Population Center. During her five-year tenure, UNC-Chapel Hill entered, for the first time, the ranks of the nation’s top-10 research universities in both overall and federal expenditures, underscoring UNC-Chapel Hill’s meteoric rise as a research powerhouse.

As vice chancellor, Magnuson will lead a campus-wide research program that has attracted nearly $1 billion in contract and grant funding in fiscal year 2014. Helping spur that growth are investments and policy decisions made by the North Carolina General Assembly that have helped finance major initiatives, including the Marsico Hall Research Laboratories, the Genome Sciences Building, and the University Cancer Research Fund.

Magnuson, a renowned geneticist who studies chromatin and gene expression in various diseases, will lead efforts to connect academic units across campus with the university’s overarching mission and manage research support offices as well as select centers and institutes. He stresses the development of new technology will help inform us of the new ways researchers can come together.

“We have a lot of room to maximize our research efforts,” said Magnuson. “As technology develops, we can incorporate disciplines and bring researchers together in ways we have never thought of before. That’s where we can work closely with Judith Cone, vice chancellor for commercialization and economic development, and her team to commercialize university intellectual property.”

Magnuson was recruited to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2000 as founding chair of the department of genetics and director of the newly established Carolina Center for Genome Sciences. He also created the Cancer Genetics Program in the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. In July 2010, he was appointed vice dean for research in the School of Medicine, helping oversee the construction of the university’s newest research building Marsico Hall, with the idea of bringing many different scientists together to collaborate closely across different units of campus.

He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also to the National Academy of Medicine. In 2014, he was appointed to the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils, an exclusive group of the top minds in the nation charged with guiding research projects that transcend NIH’s centers and institutes.

Born in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, Magnuson grew up in Arcadia, California, graduated from the University of Redlands, earned a doctorate degree in biomedical sciences from Cornell University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He served as professor and director of the developmental biology center at Case Western Reserve before he was recruited to UNC-Chapel Hill. 

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